Vol 43 No 3 September 2013

Contents

Title Author Topic Page
Our Cover: Annibale Bugnini Rush, Ormond People 1, 16
Editor: A Tale of Two Documents Elich, Tom History of Liturgy / Vatican II 2
Sacrosanctum Concilium - A Reading Guide Taylor, Paul Documents on Liturgy 3-5
APPreciating the Role of Technology in Connecting to the Sacred Schwantes, Clare Technology 6-8
A Wonderful Sense of Anticipation Smyth, Jeanette Architecture and Environment 9
How to Develop a Parish Youth Choir Reefman, Donrita Music 10-12
St Joseph in the Eucharistic Prayer - Texts – Liturgical 12
Changing Two Words - Texts – Liturgical 12
ICEL Anniversary - 50 Years - Texts – Liturgical 13
Jean Yves Hameline - In Memoriam 13
Ron Dowling - In Memoriam 13
Bill Jordan - In Memoriam 13
Two Interesting Church Buildings - Architecture and Environment 13
Societas Liturgica in Wurzburg - Liturgy 14
Vatican II: Reforming Liturgy - History of Liturgy / Vatican II 14
Books - The Prayers of the New Missal: A Homiletic and Catechetical Companion by Anscar J. Chupungco Cronin, James Texts – Liturgical 15

Editorial

A TALE OF TWO DOCUMENTS

Elich, Tom

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

 

THE YEAR IS 1943.  The middle of the year.  The fascism of Hitler and Mussolini still creates havoc.  Europe is devastated by war.  The trains roll inexorably to the concentration camps.  And the pope writes an encyclical on the Mystical Body of Christ.

 

What seems shockingly out of touch is actually quite inspiring.  Pope Pius XII counters evil incarnate with an affirmation of human nobility and the unity of the human race across national and racial boundaries by pointing to the Church.  Certainly he sees the Mystical Body of Christ coterminous with the Roman Catholic Church and he sees Christ with his Vicar, the pope, as its head.  And yet, the vision…

 

We trust that our exposition of the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ will be acceptable and useful to those also who are without the fold of the Church, not only because their good will toward the Church seems to grow from day to day, but also because, while before their eyes nation rises up against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and discord is sown everywhere together with the seeds of envy and hatred, if they turn their gaze to the Church, if they contemplate her divinely-given unity – by which all men [sic] of every race are united to Christ in the bond of brotherhood – they will be forced to admire this fellowship in charity, and with the guidance and assistance of divine grace will long to share in the same union and charity (MC 5).

 

From the point of view of the Church’s understanding of itself, Mystici Corporis is an important milestone.  The pope takes up the biblical image to affirm what was still at the time a controversial theological idea.  The Church is neither just an invisible ideal nor simply a physical hierarchical society.  The Body is an unbroken unity of baptised believers with Christ, definite, ordered and perceptible, yet enlivened and animated by the Holy Spirit.

 

Four years later in his encyclical Mediator Dei, Pius XII makes the connection with the liturgy which, he says, is the whole public worship of the Mystical Body of Christ, head and members.  Active participation is not only to do with the externals, but with the faithful uniting themselves to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

_____

 

THE YEAR IS 1963.  Martin Luther King delivers his pivotal I have a dream speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.  John F Kennedy is shot dead in Dallas.  It is Australia’s first full year in the Vietnam War.  And the new pope, Paul VI, signs off on the first document of the Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium.

 

In some ways the difference this document has made is obvious.  The liturgy now in the vernacular allows the assembly to join in making the responses.  Lay people progressively take up ministerial roles, reading the Scriptures, leading the singing, helping with communion.  Rites are restructured to achieve a noble simplicity, a clarity unencumbered by useless repetition.  Enriched liturgical books are prepared, offering a stronger focus on the sacramental sign – immersion in the baptismal font, the breaking of the bread and communion from the cup – reformed so that they express more clearly the holy things they signify.  The treasures of the Bible are opened more lavishly with an expanded Lectionary and the inclusion of a Liturgy of the Word in every liturgical celebration.  Whatever the disappointments and discouragement of recent years, these reforms are clear improvements and are here to stay.

 

What is even more exciting is the underlying theology which the document enshrines, particularly its ecclesiology.  Here we see some continuity with Mystici Corporis and Mediator Dei.  Christ is always present in his Church – in the sacrifice of the Mass through the person of the minister and under the eucharistic species, and in the other sacraments, in the Word, and when the gathered Church prays and sings.

 

In the liturgy, the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his members.  From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others (SC 7).

 

The liturgy therefore is the corporate action of the Church and, because by baptism one is incorporated into the Church and joined to Christ, the liturgy engages each of the baptised as an active participant in the action of Christ.

 

Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people’, is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit (SC 14).

 

This ecclesiological question is still largely unexplored.  We have implemented ‘the changes’ but it often seems that the people’s participation is not deeply rooted in the liturgical action.  We need to keep exploring ways to reform the music, the texts, the actions, the space for liturgy such that the assembly grows in its understanding that it is one with Christ in the doing.  Nor is this a matter only for a sophisticated understanding: it needs to be evident to all in the form and shape of the liturgy.

 

Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the ‘sacrament of unity’, namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops… It is to be stressed that whenever rites, according to their specific nature, make provision for communal celebration involving the presence and active participation of the faithful, this way of celebrating them is to be preferred, so far as possible, to a celebration that is individual and quasi-private (SC 26-27).

 

Two documents and two anniversaries, a seventieth and a fiftieth.  The lineage of the two (with Mediator Dei in between) makes it clear that Vatican II represents not rupture but reform, as Benedict XVI put it on Easter 2005.  But note it is reform, not ‘continuity’ in the sense that nothing significant has actually changed.  The Second Vatican Council offered a new relationship between the baptised people of God and its ordained leaders; there is a redefinition of the relationship between the visible structure of the Catholic Church and the Church as the Body of Christ; there is a fresh answer to the question, ‘who celebrates the liturgy?’  The Council’s reform is deep and lasting and exciting still.  Zeal for liturgical reform is still rightly held to be a sign of the providential dispositions of God in our time, as a movement of the Holy Spirit in his Church (SC 43).

 

TOM ELICH

Editor

 

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