Dec 15, 2005

International Scholars Address Liturgical Reform

Online Edition: December 2005-January 2006
Vol. XI, No. 9

International Scholars Address Liturgical Reform
Cardinal Medina Honored at “Sacrificium Laudis” Conference

More than eighty participants gathered October 27-30, 2005, at the Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan, for an international conference on the liturgy.

Titled “Sacrificium laudis: The Medina Years”, the conference observed the Golden Jubilee of Cardinal Jorge A. Medina Estévez’s ordination to the priesthood. Cardinal Medina was Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 1996 to 2002. In this capacity, Cardinal Medina completed the task of revising the liturgical books of the Roman Rite in response to the mandate of the Second Vatican Council (1963-65).

The conference papers, presented by local, national, and international scholars of the sacred liturgy, highlighted the achievements of the liturgical renewal during Cardinal Medina’s tenure as Prefect. The history and future of liturgical reform were also major topics of discussion. Papers delivered at the conference will be published in Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal. In keeping with its title, Sacrificium laudis (sacrifice of praise), the conference featured liturgies celebrated in fidelity to current books of the Roman Rite and the recent instructions.

Monsignor Peter Elliott of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, author of Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, and consultor to the Congregation for Divine Worship, had just returned from the Synod of Bishops in Rome, where he had been a consultor. In an informal evening session, Monsignor Elliott discussed the Synod on the Eucharist.

Three of the speakers were from Europe. Father Manfred Hauke, author of the acclaimed work Women and the Priesthood, and professor of theology at the University of Lugano, Switzerland; Father Jan Matejka, professor of liturgy at the Charles Seminary in Prague, and secretary of the Liturgy Committee of the Czech Bishops’ Conference; and Father Jo Hermans, theology professor at two seminaries and Secretary for Liturgy of the National Conference of Dutch Bishops.

Other addresses were presented by Dr. Carmina M. Chapp, Dr. Daniel Van Slyke, Dr. Robert Fastiggi, Dr. Monica M. Miller, Father Eduard Perrone, Father Neil Roy, and Helen Hull Hitchcock.

In addition to the conference lecture sessions, a highlight of the conference was a tour of four historic Detroit churches, with Mass on Saturday morning at the Church of St. Josaphat. The sung Divine Office was also celebrated before morning Masses at the Colombiere Center.

The Research Institute for Catholic Liturgy organized the conference, with support from the Knights of Columbus. Dr. Daniel Van Slyke and Father Neil Roy co-chaired the gathering. In keeping with the mission of the Institute, the conference brought together scholars, pastors, ministers, and interested lay Catholics. (For more information, see RICL web site:


Letter to the Research Institute for Catholic Liturgy on the Occasion of the Conference Sacrificium Laudis

Dear Father Roy,

With much pleasure, I wish to acknowledge my appreciation of the efforts of the Research Institute for Catholic Liturgy in organizing and hosting the international conference “Sacrificium Laudis, The Medina Years”, which proposes to reflect on the work of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments during the period from 1996-2002.

As is well known and generally acknowledged, this was a period of particularly fruitful and intensive work for the Congregation and saw the publication of the typical editions of a number of important liturgical books, not among the least of which must be numbered the Missale Romanum (2000), the Martyrologium Romanum (2001), and the De Exorcismis (1998).

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2001), following on Sacrosanctum Concilium 13, closely examined the nexus between the Liturgy and popular piety, recalling the principles underlying the relationship between the Liturgy and popular piety while at the same time giving certain direction so as to render that relationship ever more fruitful in the particular Churches.

Liturgiam authenticam, the instruction addressing questions relating to the vernacular translations of the liturgical books, is a significant contribution in elaborating the general principles underlying liturgical translating. Its importance for the unity and stability of the Roman Rite cannot be overemphasized. Among its more persistent efforts has been the provision of canonical structures truly in harmony with the Church’s hierarchical nature and the provisions of ecclesial law to those bodies charged with certain responsibilities in the development of liturgical translations.

Although published after 2002, the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum was already announced in the encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia of Pope John Paul II and the preliminary preparation for its publication was undertaken by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments shortly afterwards.

In undertaking these initiatives, the work of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was always inspired by fidelity to the principles set out by the Second Vatican Council and especially by those on the Sacred Liturgy examined in Sacrosanctum Concilium. An authoritative commentary on many aspects of these same principles is to be found in Pope Benedict XVI’s book, The Spirit of the Liturgy.

I am very pleased to learn that the Research Institute for Catholic Liturgy has devoted its first International Conference to analyzing several of these important liturgical initiatives so as to contribute to a genuine liturgical renewal based on effective use of the Church’s tradition of liturgical sources. This is indeed a timely and useful response to a long-felt need in the area of liturgical education and formation and should prove of value in training liturgists.

It is encouraging to note that the Institute, while based in North America, interests itself in the liturgical life of the universal Church, which is clearly evident from the international array of scholars who will present papers during the present conference. I note that for this occasion the Institute has gathered scholars from six countries: Australia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Canada and the United States of America. It is to be hoped that your work, imbued with a sense of fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church, may grow to achieve its objectives of promoting genuine renewal of the Liturgy so that Sacred Worship may increasingly redound to the praise of God and the sanctification of the faithful.

Please be assured of my prayers and best wishes for the success of your Conference and for the continued good work of the Research Institute for Catholic Worship, as I remain

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Jorge Arturo Card. Medina Estévez
Protodeacon of the Holy Roman Church



The Editors