Feb 15, 2004

News & Views

Online Edition – Vol. IX, No. 10: February 2004

News & Views

Montreal Manifesto: "Sacred Meals", Not Mass Promoting Liberal Liturgists "central to NCR’s mission"UK Liturgy Official: Recent Changes Not in the "Spirit of the Council" Corrections

Montreal Manifesto: "Sacred Meals", Not Mass
"Intimate family-like meals, with hearty chunks of crusty bread, as well as wine, soup, other food, Scripture readings, singing and discussion, often in the absence of a priest, would largely — but not wholly — supplant the traditional Mass", according to Harvey Shepherd in The Montreal Gazette December 6.

"How Quebec Catholics remember Jesus with bread and wine will change dramatically if more than 110 Catholics — from young adults to leading theologians and a few church bureaucrats — have their way", Shepherd wrote.

The report said that a campaign to promote the "Repas de Fraternité" (Meal of Brotherhood) was launched at the end of October at the Relais Mont-Royal, a center for young adults sponsored by the archdiocese of Montreal.

The objective? To "build community", organizers say. "It lets me become human again", said actor Mario Bard, who co-founded the Relais seven years ago. He explained that the intimate sacred meals were conceived as a way for the Church to carry on with fewer priests. But there is more on the agenda.

A manifesto, signed by about 110 Catholics, states that the failure of the Eucharist to fulfill its original purpose of building the Church as a community poses a mortal danger to the church in Quebec and France.

"A church that no longer embodied community would run the risk of becoming a (mere) religion, providing ceremonies and other services to people who hardly know one another, if at all", the manifesto says.

Source: "A More Intimate Mass",
The Montreal Gazette, December 6, 2003


Promoting Liberal Liturgists "central to NCR’s mission"
Tom Roberts
, editor of the National Catholic Reporter, delivered an encomium to former Chicago liturgist Gabe Huck in his editorial "The Sinews of Christian Life" — declaring that making the voice of Huck and allied liturgists heard is "central to the mission" of the NCR.

Roberts’s editorial — and an essay by Huck, "What we have done and what we have failed to do" — appeared in the January 16 edition.

Wrote Roberts, "Gabe Huck, one of the central figures of the movement in the United States, writes a second installment of our look at liturgical reform…. Huck felt personally the insistent campaign of some to roll back the reforms of Vatican II. A highly successful director of Liturgical Training Publications of Chicago, one of the major publishers of liturgical materials, he was ousted from that position in 2001 because of differences with his archbishop, Cardinal Francis George, over a number of issues, including the use of inclusive language in liturgical material….

"Perhaps such struggles are inevitable when the target of renewal is something as essential as Liturgy. I can only hope that we keep talking, keep listening to people like Huck who have invested their lives in the deeper meanings of what many of us take for granted each week.

"Central to NCR‘s mission is to make sure voices such as Huck’s are not lost.

"For Huck, Liturgy is the sinew of Christian life, that which connects all the parts of the body and that body to the world at large. ‘It helps, always, to remember that the goal of all this isn’t the Liturgy’, he writes, ‘let alone the institution, but rather something more like the remaking of the world (that’s who we are, after all) into the reign of God’".

Source: National Catholic Reporter, January 16, 2004


UK Liturgy Official: Recent Changes Not in the "Spirit of the Council"
Jesuit liturgist Father Andrew Cameron-Mowat joins harsh critics of the "sea change" caused by Liturgiam authenticam, the Vatican’s 5th Instruction on implementation of the Council’s liturgical reform issued in 2001 — and recent efforts to restore sacredness to translated texts and to the Liturgy as a whole.

In a lecture observing the 40th anniversary of the Constitution on the Liturgy, "Sacrosanctum Concilium: Still a Challenge", given November 15, Father Cameron-Mowat, a member of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, who teaches Liturgy at London’s Heythrop College, lauded the early post-Conciliar liturgical reform.

The changes, he said, were "extraordinarily dramatic" as "the Liturgy was reformed for ever.

"Imagine the excitement and joy as puzzling, frustrating, repetitive, archaic, discriminatory, illogical, insensitive, tautological, inaudible, ahistorical, invisible, and unintelligible words, gestures, actions and texts were expunged, obliterated, edited, shortened, translated and clarified … the new mystagogy would be the experience of Liturgy in itself; it would be in its celebration, self-explanatory; this would make more wonderful what we could see, hear, taste, smell, touch; now the Paschal mystery could, as in the earliest times, come alive for us in ways which were directly ‘perceptible to the senses’. It was to be through this mystagogy of our senses that we would come to experience and celebrate the divine mysteries that lie beyond our perception". (original emphasis)

The Liturgy should be characterized by pluriformity, local variations to reflect changing "styles of life", said Father Cameron-Mowat. "In ‘enlightened’ places, variety is regarded as a positive aspect of the rich tapestry of styles of life", he says.

"When we come to the time for the ‘reform of the reform’, which we must, I hope we won’t consider going back to the old books and starting again; the next reform should be a further development of the present rites which will acknowledge the importance of variety and pluriformity, and which will give a far greater license to episcopal conferences to shape the Roman Rite (characterized by unity with pluriformity rather than uniformity) in the best way for their cultures and pastoral settings".

In his view, good inculturation was reflected in ICEL’s proposed revisions of the Missal.

"The translations that were produced by ICEL until 1996 were enriching, poetic, developed, insightful, articulate. They were more beautiful on the ear and elegant on the tongue than the first, somewhat rushed versions".

But he deplores the "recent trend … to ignore or act against the spirit and the meaning of Sacrosanctum Concilium"; and cites as evidence of this offense — you guessed it — Liturgiam authenticam‘s insistence that the sacred dimension of liturgical texts be transmitted in translation.

Father Cameron-Mowat’s essay, in the British Music and Liturgy (Vol 29, No 4, Winter 2003) is but one of several similar in tone to appear in "liberal" Catholic publications in recent weeks. Clearly a full-court press from establishment radicals is in progress. Evidently they hope to overcome the growing momentum for authentic renewal — and fear the tide is turning against them.

Stay tuned. It isn’t over ’til it’s over.


The correct date of ICEL’s Third Progress Report on the Revision of the Sacramentary is 1992. The wrong date appeared in the November Adoremus Bulletin ("New ICEL Statutes Signal Coming Changes").

Also in the November issue, the caption on the cartoon on page 11 contained an error. It is Musicam Sacram, the Instruction on music, that forbids instrumental solos during Advent and Lent:

MS 66: Solo playing of musical instruments is forbidden during Advent, Lent, the Easter triduum, and at services and Masses for the dead.

We apologize for the errors.

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The Editors