Beyond Ad Orientem: First Gleanings from Sacra Liturgia 2016

The controversy that has been stirred up over Cardinal Sarah’s encouragement to priests to return to the traditional orientation at the altar during Mass has been fascinating, alarming, and perhaps ultimately necessary. It has provoked people on various sides to play their hands: unswerving loyalty to the status quo of liturgical reform, and a willingness to use an iron fist in a velvet glove to defend it; a commitment to reforming this reform to bring it more in line with the explicit intentions of the Council on which the status quo bases its legitimacy;  a rejection even of a reform of the reform and an overriding commitment to the pre-conciliar liturgy as liberated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007; and, incredulity among a minority at this bickering over such a peripheral thing as liturgy —”people are starving”, etc. On the positive side, it has renewed a discussion into what Christian worship is all about, what is its focus and what are its essential principles. This has led some to make more concrete and definitive judgments on related issues on which they had not previously come to any firm and final decision.

However, Sacra Liturgia 2016 had three full days of talks beyond Cardinal Sarah’s controversial address. So to help further the effects and fruits of the conference, I propose to single out what struck me as particularly noteworthy and deserving of ongoing thought and application. These strike me as seeds that deserve the water of our attention, our study and prayer, and our action. Continue reading “Beyond Ad Orientem: First Gleanings from Sacra Liturgia 2016”

A Quick Reply to Dr Shaw

Though I did not feel that he was obliged to, Dr Shaw has offered a timely reply to my previous post. In it he implies what I feel as well, that this is not personal but a discussion, a debate even, concerning the ways and means to a shared goal.

Dr Shaw does not address the whole of my post, just some issues he felt needed clarification. While I take on board what he says, I am not sure I find things much clearer.

I hypothesised that if the restoration of pre-conciliar worship is his goal, and wondering how this would be achieved, then one way that seemed to present itself would be imposing such a change much as the new Mass was imposed in 1969. We do not want a repeat of that. Cheeringly, Dr Shaw said that this was “obviously not” the way to proceed. He clarifies how he sees progress advancing: Continue reading “A Quick Reply to Dr Shaw”

By the Cross her vigil keeping

Today the blog has gone quietly into overdrive (for this little blog I mean – it is all relative). My thanks to you all for taking the time to read here. People from 130 countries have visited today, which is all rather extraordinary to a little Aussie in his inadequately-austere cell in a venerable but fading monastery on the Berkshire Downs.

Recent events have shown how little the dynamics in the Church have changed this past 3 years, despite all the prospects of reform (however one might conceive it). The Body of Christ is Holy, but its individual human cells are not so perfect, still saints-in-progress—hopefully! (save for those happy few patent saints who dwell among us). Continue reading “By the Cross her vigil keeping”

The Fallout and Propaganda: Cardinal Sarah and Sacra Liturgia 2016

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of matters ecclesiastical knew it would come. The boat had been rocked so there was bound to be some shouting, mounting insecurity and a sense of control lost. Having lost the battle of the Missal certain forces would be certain to move quickly so as not to lose the battle of the Altar.

However it it is not going to work so well this time around. The young laity and the young clergy and seminarians, in whose hands lies the future of the Church on earth for the next few generations at least, are now far more up to speed on the issues, and connected to each other across the globe in ways never possible when I was a baby Jesuit, thanks to the internet. Moreover, when the forces seeking to put Cardinal Sarah’s genie back in its bottle use highly deficient arguments, the young will see it, and will spurn it, even scorn it. Continue reading “The Fallout and Propaganda: Cardinal Sarah and Sacra Liturgia 2016”

Cardinal Sarah’s Address to Sacra Liturgia 2016 in Full

Of course I should be in bed; but the text of Cardinal Sarah’s important opening address to the Sacra Liturgia conference has been released, including the parts he cut on the day due to time constraints. So you can all have a head start on me. Read, and savour!

Cardinal Sarah’s Address to Sacra Liturgia UK – London – 5 July 2016 – English – Final Text

The reaction against it has begun. Pray that wolves do not get Cardinal Sarah as well.

IMG_4045web
Robert, Cardinal Sarah—London, 5 July 2016

The Flame Re-Ignites: Ad Orientem

In the abruptly-curtailed pontificate of Benedict XVI, the issue of the priest celebrating Mass ad orientem became a live topic in mainstream circles. Priests began to summon up the courage to return to the ancient practice which was so needlessly effaced from the life of the Church in the wake of the Council. Then came Pope Francis, who (not least because he is a Jesuit perhaps!) is not much interested in liturgy. This means that in practice he is content not to change any legislation on it (save for the extension to women of the optional mandatum on Maundy Thursday). This hands-off approach is actually a very traditional papal attitude. His sacred indifference has allowed those who had begun to re-align the liturgy with tradition to continue their quiet and increasingly popular work. Continue reading “The Flame Re-Ignites: Ad Orientem”