Updates: the Ordinariate lectionary and Fr Paul Gunter

Two small updates on recent topics.

The first is that Fr Paul Gunter OSB has a new short essay out on Zenit, on the Church’s liturgy as being located in the life and activity of the economic Trinity. In other words, it is first and foremost God’s work for us and in us, more than it is our work. Or put another way, the liturgy is our work insofar as God is at work in us as we perform it. The implications are clear if you dwell on it. If God works through his Church to establish a liturgy that, in giving Him worthy worship, furthers the work of our salvation, then we tamper with it at our peril. When it ceases to be identifiably the liturgy of the Church, I would venture, then it ceases to be a liturgy that contributes to our salvation. God works through his Church and not through cliques of the self-enlightened. But I am going way beyond what Fr Paul writes, which you can read on Zenit right now.

The second update concerns the Ordinariate’s newly-approved RSV lectionary which was mentioned yesterday. The question was raised as to whether the Ordinariate had negotiated their way through the copyright minefield to the point where they could publish anew a RSV lectionary. The answer is, no. Instead one of the other possibilities mentioned was closer to the mark. Monsignor Burnham has confirmed to me that the remaining stock of the Ignatius Press edition of the RSV Lectionary has been bought up in America on their behalf, and each Ordinariate group has been given a set. If the demand proves heavy enough, consideration will be given to trying to get a hand-missal produced for the faithful. But for now, each Ordinariate church having an Ignatius RSV lectionary is sufficient to get the liturgical ball rolling. Strength to their arm!

So it seems the wider anglophone Church will be getting the ESV as originally announced. Soon I will post some examples of ESV passages of scripture as we will find them in the new Lectionary when it comes.


Douai monk appointed to English liturgy office [UPDATED]

Our confrere, Fr Paul Gunter OSB, has just been appointed Secretary of the Department for Christian Life and Worship, which is part of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. This will of necessity make him something of a jet-setting monk, since currently he teaches the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in Rome, where he is the Vice-President. In Rome he is also Consultor to the Office of Papal Liturgy, which gives advice and direction concerning the liturgies celebrated by the Pope.

It should prove an interesting and fruitful appointment. Fr Paul is a proficient teacher of liturgy, faithful to the teaching and practices of the Church. His doctoral thesis was on the English liturgist, Edmund Bishop, famous for his paper The Genius of the Roman Rite, which is the origin for the oft-used “noble simplicity of the Roman Rite”. Yet he is no purely academic liturgist. Prior to going to Rome to study and subsequently to teach, he worked on our parishes for over a decade. In his last parish, where he was the Parish Priest, he was known for the quality of his liturgies, all the more remarkable for that parish having been a small rural one. So not only does he have a rich vision and knowledge of the Church’s liturgy; he also has practical parish experience and well knows what an ordinary small parish is actually capable of doing liturgically, both musically and ceremonially, with a little zealous input from its pastor.

Dare we say, Fr Paul’s appointment augurs well for a renaissance for liturgy in England and Wales. With the new Missal in place, the timing is spot on. Ad multos annos!


Below are links to some articles written by Fr Paul over the last couple of years. What he explains and advocates would not find contradiction on any page here.

The Introductory Rites of Mass unite Priest and People

Sacred Music serving the Truth

The Use of Missalettes and Hand Missals at Mass

Theological clarity regarding Communion under Both Kinds

The Role of the Priest in the Communion Rites

Priestly Prayer before and after Mass