Online Edition – March 2005
Vol. XI, No. 1
News & Views
"I wonder when and where the current movement backward in liturgy will end and lead", said Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg in his speech to the national meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) held in Orlando, Florida, in October.
Bishop Lynch, who worked at the US bishops’ conference from the early 1970s, and was associate and general secretary of conference from 1984 until 1995 when he became bishop of St. Petersburg, recalled the "courage and resolve" of liturgical reformers working in the conference, who "courageously fought for proper liturgical implementation of the controlling documents, often refusing to take no as the first response from the Roman congregations and ultimately winning the day with a variety of prefects and congregational staff".
Continuing his reminiscence, Bishop Lynch said that the conference’s liturgical staff "were supported by an episcopacy with both backbone and resolve. Your speaker yesterday, Abbot Cuthbert [Johnson], was a staff member of the Congregation [for Divine Worship] at the time with whom we occasionally did ‘holy’ battle. They were good days".
Speaking of the bishop’s authority to govern the liturgy in his diocese, Bishop Lynch said, "I would understand that it is my duty to find the middle between the law and proper liberation from the law which might allow for cultural or local adaptations which are not in strident disagreement with the law". The bishop deplores "pontificalism", the "sin of symbolic and ceremonial excess", but says he does not hear of much pontificalism in his diocese. And he adds his voice to those who object to "Vatican interference":
"We now find ourselves in the difficult situation of taking back an indult previously given, and here I speak of the preparation of the gifts and the distribution of the Precious Blood. The extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion must now be instructed that what was previously approved is now wrong. The more astute are baffled or worse by this turn of events. No matter how it is explained, it usually ends up not making sense. Those of us who know the history of this issue find it hard to explain that what was previously OK with past Prefects [of the Congregation for Divine Worship] seems now anathema to the present Prefect. It seems like personal legislation. But whatever it is, we must implement the change, and I am certain we will. It may take some time, especially if we are dedicated to the option of Communion under both species, and it is that we must protect. That would be the ‘liturgical ditch’ that I might choose to die in were that also some time in the future to be forbidden or limited.
"We have thrown a lot at our people these past few years, and they need a rest. For this reason, I am happy that the new translation of the Roman Missal will be delayed. For this moment I think of these things like I think of four hurricanes within six weeks in Florida: Enough already, Lord".
The bishop’s speech to the FDLC was published in Origins, December 2, 2004.
A recent pastoral letter by the Swiss bishops provoked controversy when it apparently advocated preaching by lay "pastoral assistants" who have theology training in lieu of the priest’s homily at Mass.
The document, "Laity in the Service of the Church", issued shortly before the Swiss bishops’ ad limina visits to the Holy See in early February, said that "appropriate proclamation of the gospel", requires more preparation than priests "who are growing older and getting fewer" can give to preaching. Thus, the bishops said, "We agree that pastoral assistants with an appropriate education and preparation may give a sermon or meditation in lieu of the homily, provided that the celebrating priest agrees with this". They cautioned, however, that this permission not be construed as blanket authorization for pastoral assistants to preach, and noted that "priests and deacons are the primary proclaimers of the Gospel in the parishes".
The bishops’ document said that lay men and women who are "pastoral assistants" were already preaching at services, and it acknowledged that this practice does not conform to Church law concerning the homily. The Swiss letter also said that a visiting priest "may not be denied" his right to preach, "otherwise we consider this [lay preaching] to be an abuse".
Source: KATH.NET – News agency for German-speaking Catholics, February 15
The Liturgical Institute announces a spring conference: "The Lost Language of Vatican II: Cosmic and Heavenly Dimensions of the Sacred Liturgy", April 20-22, 2005 in Mundelein, Illinois.
The documents of the Second Vatican Council contain numerous references to the cosmic and heavenly dimensions of sacred worship, speaking of the earthly congregation as "united with the worshiping Church in heaven" (Lumen Gentium 50), with the saints and angels as the "warriors in the heavenly army" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 8), and asking for liturgical art to reveal the "signs and symbols of heavenly realities". (SC 122)
Yet much post-conciliar worship has tended to ignore or diminish the role of heavenly realities in earthly liturgy. The Liturgical Institute presents a conference that explores the cosmic and heavenly dimensions of the sacred liturgy from the perspective of the Second Vatican Council. Suitable for priests and deacons, religious, liturgy directors and coordinators, musicians, diocesan worship office personnel, liturgy and language scholars, and all who love the Church’s liturgy.
Speakers include: keynote speaker Edward T. Oakes, S.J.; Aidan Nichols, OP on sacred art; Pamela Jackson on Sacrosanctum Concilium and active participation; Todd Williamson on earthly applications of heavenly worship; Denis McNamara on a Balthasarian approach to liturgical architecture; Emery de Gaal on sacred texts; Robert Reilly on the metaphysics of music; Peter Galadza on heaven and worship in the eastern rites.
Information: 847-837-4542 or visit www.liturgicalinstitute.org.
Cardinal Arinze will be the keynote speaker for the 2005 Gateway Liturgical Conference to be held in at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown St. Louis April 7-8, 2005. Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is master communicator and theologian, who explains clearly the meaning of the Church’s liturgical documents.
The conference is co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Louis Office of Worship and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM). Major speakers will include Monsignor James Moroney, Executive Director of the US Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy; Duncan Stroik, professor of architecture at Notre Dame University (and a frequent contributor to AB); and Michael McMahon, Executive Director of the NPM.
Adoremus plans to have a table at this conference.
For information, contact the Office of Worship at 314-792-7230.