Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Liturgy and the New Holy Father

I have just read, with great interest The New Liturgical Movement After the Pontificate of Benedict XVl by Dom Alcuin Reid (with thanks to @enternoon on twitter who pointed it out to me).
Amongst other things he addresses the risk of ultramontanism, about my own tendency to which I blogged here.
But this is a wide-ranging piece which I will not attempt to summarise.
However, given my current immersion in Bugnini and his work (qv), here are some excerpts which particularly caught my eye; but I do urge you to read the whole piece.
In the second chapter of The Organic Development of the Liturgy I have attempted to demonstrate that in its origins the twentieth century liturgical movement sought to reassert the primacy of the Sacred Liturgy in the spiritual life through pastoral reform, not of the liturgical rites themselves, but rather in respect of the quality of liturgical celebration and of peoples’ capacity to participate in the rites. For the pioneers of the liturgical movement knew only too well that the liturgy as developed in tradition was theologically and pastorally rich. Their desire was simply that all of Christ’s faithful, clergy, religious and laity, would fully connect with and daily draw from these riches. To that end the liturgical movement worked tirelessly at what we would call “liturgical formation.”
That very much accords with my understanding that the true Liturgical Movement prior to the Second Vatican Council, had a focus on increasing understanding (and thus participation) in the Sacred Liturgy - not giving lay people roles and lines to say...
Whilst the liturgical movement continued its sound work and, indeed, whilst the Holy See enacted some helpful reforms (for example, the restoration of the authentic times of the celebration of the Holy Week Offices), it is also true that in its later phase the growing desire and agitation for ritual reform amongst some liturgical movement activists risked outrunning if not occluding the indispensible work of liturgical formation. Some thought it desirable to take the short-cut of conforming the Sacred Liturgy to the needs of modern man rather than carefully to lay the foundations for the long road of forming modern man so that he could connect with and draw from the riches of the developed liturgical tradition of the Church.
That resonates with the views of Fr Louis Bouyer which I quoted the other day. Dom Alcuin also writes:
These (sic) nature and interdependence of these two fundamental principles in the Constitution has been largely ignored in the past five decades and, I submit, has resulted in erroneous interpretations of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Instead of beginning the work of formation in order to prepare the soil for a more fruitful participation in the liturgy moderately reformed in line with the subsidiary and dependent principles of the Constitution which follow, the haste to have people become liturgical participants led too often to an activist, rather than an actual, participation in Sacred Liturgy built on the quicksand of facile reforms rather than the solid foundation of careful liturgical formation. Indeed, to borrow the words of Father Aidan Nichols OP, Sacrosanctum Concilium “carried within it, encased in the innocuous language of pastoral welfare, some seeds of its own destruction.”
 Well, quite.  Whilst I do not share all of Dom Alcuin Reid's positions and views, the whole piece is well worth reading.

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