Dialogue Recommends Use of Original Text of Nicene Creed * * *
[Washington, D.C.; Nov. 13, 2003] From 1999, the Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation has discussed the two versions of the Nicene Creed in use by East and West. The Western version has the added words "and the Son" with regard to the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father. Otherwise, the two versions are the same, since 381. Off and on, this discrepancy has been a cause of division between East and West. The consultation has many practical recommendations for both Churches. Among these suggestions, one is that neither side should refer to the other as "heretical," because of this discrepancy. Another recommendation is that the Western Church, for the sake of unity and respect for the original text, from the Council of Nicea, should omit the controversial addition in liturgical and catechetical texts. This agreed statement of Oct. 25, 2003 is certainly epochal; it is available online, as is a good commentary by Gerard Serafin.
Computer Replaces Live Musicians in Performance * * *
[New York; Nov. 7, 2003] On its front page, The Wall Street Journal today reports on the upcoming January performance of "The Marriage of Figaro," by Mozart. The Opera Company of Brooklyn will perform with only 12 musicians in the pit; the other instrumental parts will be played by a computer, operated by a technician. The Journal describes this arrangement as an example of "increased productivity" in the American marketplace. Now, says the Journal, the "low-budget opera company" saves enough money on salaries that it can afford to offer more performances.
Pastoral leaders in liturgy for a long time have been warning that live accompaniment, especially that of trained organists, is important and necessary; they say that such accompaniment can never be replaced by recordings or other technical means. Now, with the world of secular music doing exactly that, the challenge will be greater for pastoral leaders in the liturgy. The temptation will be stronger for people to avoid hiring skilled organists and even to introduce artificial sounds into the liturgy itself. Libera nos, Domine.
Cardinal Arinze Introduces Roman Missal * * *
[Chicago; Oct. 22, 2003] [Here is a recapitulation of an earlier report of Oct. 11, lost by computer mishap.]
Today, Cardinal Arinze, head of the Roman Congregation for Worship, spoke at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. The speaker has published a book on interfaith relations. He encouraged the crowd of about 150 to study the new, third edition of the Roman Missal. Most of his remarks concerned pastoral implementation of this missal and its spirit. He said, for example, that in 1962 for some people, the Church "went into an ecclesiastical refrigerator. They want the same frozen chicken." If anyone should say that the Church is living, these people are unhappy, he said. Now, Trent insisted on Latin because Luther and others used the vernacular as a weapon. That is no longer the case, said Cardinal Arinze. Some such people say everything should be in Latin. Well, would they use Latin to ask for donations? Would they use Latin for announcements, at the end of Mass? These people should take it easy, he said. On the other hand, singing has great importance in the Eucharistic celebration. People should sing Mass in Latin once in a while. Give people a choice, said the Cardinal.
Songs in the liturgy, he said, should have ecclesiastical approval. The best body to approve texts of songs, he said, would be the diocesan music commission. Nobody should compose anything without approval of this body.
One participant asked how the new missal was being received in other countries. Cardinal Arinze answered that only [the Latin Rite Church of] Belarus has completed the translation of the Missal. Also, said the Cardinal, the American bishops were the first to work on adaptations of the missal and to incorporate those adaptations in the book itself. It's a big task, he said, to translate the missal. In other parts of the world, bishops are often more concerned about other issues, such as inculturation. Some bishops haven't even looked at the missal. Many are waiting for translations to be made into one of the major European languages. Reception of the Roman Missal, then, will take some time, even years.
Dean Hoge Speaks on Priesthood * * *
[Chicago; Oct. 17, 2003] Dean Hoge spoke on the priesthood, based on recent research on his part. He is sociology professor at the Catholic University of America. He spoke at St. Eulalia Church in Maywood, Illinois, to a group of about 100 priests, members of the Association of Chicago Priests. His topic studied the beliefs and priorities of Catholic priests in the U.S., especially in the past five years. Dr. Hoge's work will soon be available in his new book, Evolving Visions of the Priesthood, for example, changes in ecclesiology, understanding of the theological nature of the Church.
Bulletin Inserts on General Instruction * * *
[Chicago; Oct 1, 2003] Bulletin inserts are now available from the Office for Divine Worship, Archdiocese of Chicago. Edited by Todd Williamson, Director, these eight inserts are already formatted for copying and reprinting. Intended for use over a two month period, these well written articles introduce readers to the current edition of the Institutio Generalis, the "General Instruction" of the Roman Missal. Other valuable articles are a letter from Cardinal George and a four page summary of "Key Points" from the General Instruction.
These clear and informative inserts may be reproduced in parish bulletins at no charge. These articles are available online in PDF format at the Office for Divine Worship
Societas Liturgica Meets in Holland * * *
[Eindhoven; Aug. 21, 2003] In late August, the Societas Liturgica gathered in Eindhoven, Netherlands, for a week of study and prayer. The societas is an association of scholars and professors of liturgy; it meets every two years, usually in Europe.
This year, there were 193 particpants from all over the world. The general theme of the meeting was the role of saints and angels in the liturgy, as well as veneration and remembrance of the dead. There were five major addresses, a panel discussion, and about 85 shorter presentations.
Most members are Catholic, Anglican, or Lutheran, with some Orthodox and mainstream Protestants. At the principal liturgy of the week, Yngill Martola of Finland presided. For the past two years, she has been president of the society. With English words, music was used from the Finnish national hymnal. This Eucharist took place in the Domkirche of Utrecht. As might be expected, this church provides a free standing altar in the sanctuary. The pulpit, however, is all the way at the other end of the church, directly opposite, against the wall. Along the entire nave are two sets of facing pews, five on each side. In between is an aisle about 15 feet wide. The two sections of the congregation, then, face each other during the liturgy, as in a monastic church. Until the Reformation, this Domkirche was the cathedral of the Diocese of Utrecht, founded by St. Willibrord.
Mass for August 15, the Assumption, took place in the former chapel of De Konigshof Hotel, where participants were staying. Most of the songs were in Latin, from Taize and Mass XVIII. John Baldovin, S.J., was the presider.
Some members visited the Old Catholic Cathedral in Utrecht; this parish has been in schism from Rome since 1724. The cathedral, which makes extensive use of Gregorian Chant, has a regular Sunday attendance of about 150. Mass is celebrated versus populum. For each participant in Sunday Mass, there are three separate hardcover books to be used.
Of the various talks, Geoffrey Wainwright reflected on perspectives of Christian Churches, in terms of ongoing ecumenical dialogue. Lutheran-Catholic differences, for example, do not seem to be an impediment to mutual reconciliation.
John Barry Ryan spoke of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the "Lily of the Mohawks." There were also several presentations on both Byzantine and Syro-Malabar veneration of saints, especially Mary. As opposed to Western custom, Eastern Churches often sing in praise of Mary, without asking her for anything.
Michael Gilligan highlighted both Marialis Cultus and the recent Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, adding examples of implementing these documents in Marian hymnody. In the U.S., otherwise, this implementation has not generally begun. Popular Marian piety remains estranged from the spirit of the liturgy.
Bert Groen drew attention to the many anti-Semitic texts in the Byzantine liturgy, within a large corpus of hymns and prayers. In some churches, these anti-Semitic texts may be omitted. If so, they would not usually be missed.
Brigitte Enzner-Probst spoke on the "cloud of witnesses," saints, who are female. She spoke from a Lutheran perspective, in which saints are respected as models to be imitated, without any mention of their intercession.
With visual images, Vlastimil Dufka, S.J., reported on the liturgical work of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, especially their use of Old Slavonic in the Eucharist and the Divine Office. These two brothers came from a Slavic-speaking town in Thessalonica.
Standing for Communion: the BCL * * *
[Washington, D.C.; July 14, 2003] In the current issue of the Newsletter of the American Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, it is reported that many bishops [in the U.S.] have directed that the appropriate posture of the faithful during the distribution of Holy Communion is standing. These bishops, says the Newsletter, are following paragraphs 43 and 86 of the General Instruction, which say that the time of sacred silence, optional after the distribution of Communion, is a time when people may sit or kneel. Till then, people should remain standing. [As noted elsewhere, this norm of standing during Communion is not new. It goes back to the 1970 General Instruction. Back then, many priests and bishops didn't notice it. Now, they have.]
An inquiry from a German-American bishop asked Rome if it was verboten for lay people to kneel down or sit after they receive Communion, when they get back to their place. Cardinal Arinze replied that while postures at Mass are generally to be observed communally, individuals should be free to sit or kneel as they wish. He refers this observation "for the various parts of the celebration of holy Mass." He speaks from a Roman or an Italian perspective, in which one need not be too rigid about such things. Obviously, therefore, Cardinal Arinze's perspective would apply to the entire Mass and the postures that are said to be appropriate for each part. As with individuals who kneel down for Communion, one should be pastoral, gentle, and kind in promoting liturgical renewal. On the other hand, he also says that we want to ensure "a certain uniformity of posture." As during the Gospel or the Suscipiat or the Eucharistic Prayer, what is most important is what the whole community is doing, not what a particular individual might be doing.
Msgr. Moroney Highlights New Roman Missal * * *
[Chicago; June 10, 2003] Msgr. James Moroney gave a presentation today to priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is the head of the Secretariat of the Bishops' Commmittee on the Liturgy, for the United States. About 400 attended, roughly two thirds of the active priests in the Archdiocese. The location was St. Eugene's, on the North Side of the city.
Msgr. Moroney gave a fascinating and informative talk, with projected visual aids. He spoke with both wit and wisdom. Msgr. Moroney pointed out, for example, that in 1975 only 4% of the General Introduction to the Mass was changed; in 2000, 20% was changed. Revisions in this document were derived from over 300 questions and answers from the Worship Congregation in Rome, as well as circular letters on various topics. Msgr. Moroney drew special attention to the more extended theological reflections on the role of clergy in the liturgy and an entirely new chapter on adaptations. He also explained thoroughly the importance of a common posture during the liturgy, as emphasized in paragraph 42 of the document. He also acknowledged that this norm applies to the Communion procession during Mass, while allowing for exceptions for individuals. Msgr. Moroney has already given this presentation to 17,000 priests in the U.S.; he has miles to go before he sleeps.
Vietnamese Chant * * *
[San Jose, CA; June 8, 2003] In a recent issue of Ministry & Liturgy, Rufino Zaragoza, OFM, reports on chanting which is typical of Vietnamese Catholic liturgy.
He says that throughout the Vietnamese Mass, almost every word is intoned, except for such parts as the readings, homily, comments, and announcements. The musical sound, he says, is neither song nor chant
The author proposes three conclusions that might be helpful to Catholics in the U.S.:  There is a need for a cappella settings of ritual music. Most settings in use in the U.S. are dependent on instrumental accompaniment.  Standard settings are important, he says. Vietnamese chant does not change with the liturgical season or with the whim of the music director. It is known by heart by all.  The presider is a leader of sung prayer. People except him to sing in dialogue with them.
Scotland the Brave * * *
[Washington, D.C.; May 7, 2003] According to a recent issue of the newsletter of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions [FDLC], the bishops of Scotland have made an important decision regarding the order of initiation. Together, they have restored the Catholic tradition of timing confirmation after baptism and before First Communion. The bishops' decision will be put into effect gradually and in different ways, in the next few years. The FDLC newsletter says that the Scottish bishops are the first body of bishops to restore the traditional order of initiation for a whole country, as a national policy.
American Catholic Press * * *
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Is a "Music Issue" a Wise Investment? * * *
[Chicago; Apr. 15, 2003] In the current issue of Rite, Brian Michael Page says that OCP's Music Issue is much the same from year to year; only about two to three per cent of the music is new each year. To make room for this "miniscule addition," he says, that same percentage of what might have been used in your parish will be dropped. This is why he says he favors permanent hymnals. Page is the music director of Holy Name of Jesus Church in Providence, Rhode Island.
US Military Provides Liturgy Kits * * *
[Washington, D.C.; Apr. 14, 2003] According to today's issue of U.S. News and World Report, the American Army provides a "Catholic Ministry Extender Kit." Intended for use by a lay person, this kit provides religious materials needed for common prayer, e.g., a Communion service. Army Material Command Chaplain Vincent Inghiterra says that a large number of these kits have beeen shipped, because of the shortage of Catholic priests in the military.
Pope Says We Should Get Rid of 'Sloppy' Music! * * *
[Rome; Mar. 20, 2003] In a recent weekly general audience, Pope John Paul spoke out for good music. He said that the Christian community should make an examination of conscience on this matter. We should, said the Pope, do this so that we could regain beauty in music and song, within the liturgy. The Pope said that our common prayer should be purged of "stylistic rough edges," as he put it, of "sloppy forms of expression, and of clumsy music and texts." Such music, he said, does not fit the sublime character of what is being celebrated.
Pope John Paul cited Psalm 150, with its explicit mention of several kinds of musical instruments in the liturgy. It is necessary, the Pope said, to pray not only with theologically accurate formulas but also with beauty and dignity. Music, said the Pope, is meant to help people to pray.
Funeral Eulogies Restricted * * *
[Newark, NJ; Mar. 15, 2003] As you know, at funerals, someone may speak in memory of the deceased, after the Communion Rite at Mass, before the Dismissal Rite. Recently, Jim Goodness, spokesman for the Newark Archdiocese reported on eulogies at funerals. "The number and length," he said, "had been getting out of hand," sometimes exceeding an hour in length. So, in Newark, funeral eulogies are banned.
In 1997, the Archdiocese of Boston imposed a time limit of five minutes and a limitation to one speaker. Father Christopher Coyne, spokesman for the Archdiocese, said that priests themselves asked for guidelines.
In the ACP Family Bookstore, you can find many excellent commentaries on the funeral rite, including the official text.
Mustum [grape juice] Is Available. * * *
[Washington, D.C.; Mar. 4, 2003] The Secretariat for the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy reports that mustum is available for use at Mass by priests with the disease of alcoholism. Here are two suppliers mentioned by the BCL Secretariat. One is in California; the other, in Texas:
Mount La Salle Altar Wine Company
385 A La Fata Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
Ranelle Trading/Ojai Fresh Juice Corporation
2501 Oak Hill Circle, Suite 2032
Fort Worth, TX 76109
Back in 1999, the Secretariat reported on inquiries about mustum.
Standing for Communion Supported by Bishops * * *
[South Holland, IL; Jan. 11, 2003] In the United States, the customary posture for Communion is standing. As Cardinal Medina Estevez has indicated, no individual who kneels down should be refused the Sacrament. Most people, however, will stand for Communion, in accord with Church law for the U.S.
Several bishops have recently made statements commending the posture of standing for Communion. Bishop Loverde of Arlington, VA, asked that Christendom College stop the practice of kneeling down at the Communion rail. Bishop Kinney of St. Cloud, MN, says that standing is a "resurrection posture," expressing respect and honor. Bishop Ryan of Monterey, CA, asks people to remain standing after the Agnus Dei and not to kneel for Communion. Bishop Higi of Lafayette, Louisiana, says that kneeling "dissents from the mind of the Church." He instructs those who distribute Communion to ask people who kneel to stand up. Archbishop Kelly, O.P., of Louisville, KY, explains that standing is our common posture for Communion; he speaks of "humble obedience."
Thank God for these wise and prudent pastors of their dioceses. May their number increase.
Study Begins of Restored Order of Initiation * * *
[Washington, D.C.; Jan. 10, 2003] In this new year, the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions [FDLC] will undertake a study of the restored order of the sacraments of initiation in the United States. Across the country, many dioceses celebrate baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist in that order for those baptized as infants. The FDLC will determine which dioceses have done this and how the experience has developed. The results will be shared with the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy and with the members of the FDLC.
Another Diocese Restores Traditional Order of Initiation * * *
[Fargo, ND; Nov. 19, 2002] In a recent pastoral letter, the Bishop of Fargo, North Dakota, restores the traditional order of the sacraments of initiation: baptism, then confirmation, then First Holy Communion. This directive is in accord with similar decisions made by bishops and pastors across the United States, in the past ten years. In his letter, Bishop Aquila explains that confirmation is the second sacrament of initiation, not the third, and that it should be given in his diocese in the third grade. He bases his decision on the tradition of the Church and on contemporary documents of the Church, for example, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA].
In addition to the bishop's letter, the Fargo diocesan website also provides a set of 18 frequently asked questions [FAQ] about confirmation. For example, one answer says "...confirmation should not be perceived as the sacrament of adult commitment to the Church. . . An authentic, mature commitment to Christ and the Church is expressed in full participation in the Eucharistic and apostolic life of the Church."
Why Confirmation Should Precede First Holy Communion * * *
[San Jose, California; Nov. 14, 2002]In the current issue of Ministry & Liturgy, Terri Monaghan McKenzie, Ph.D., explains her pastoral work 20 years ago, in helping people appreciate the proper role of the sacrament of confirmation. As she points out, restoration of the proper sequence [baptism/confirmation, then Eucharist], also results in a better appreciation of the Eucharist itself, as the fullness of Christian initation. This sequence is already found, for example, in the RCIA. In the recent past, many parishes and dioceses in the U.S. have restored this proper sequence, to the benefit of the Church.
New Book from Cardinal Arinze * * *
[South Holland, IL; Nov. 8, 2002] The newly appointed head of the Congregation for Worship, as you know, is Cardinal Arinze. His book Religions for Peace is now available from ACP Family Bookstore. In the search engine there, in the middle of the home page, just type in "Arinze" or "Religions for Peace" or the ISBN number, 0385504608. Order the book online, conveniently, with your VISA or Mastercard.
New Instruction on Parish Priesthood * * *
[Rome; Oct. 18, 2002] A new instruction was presented today in the Holy See Press Office: "The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community." The document is primarily about the parish priest; in the United States, he would ususally be called a pastor or an associate pastor. One strong teaching in this instruction is the importance of the parish priest's obligation to teach; it is called an obligation more important than any other. This is why, for example, a lay person may not give the sermon at Sunday Mass; ordinarily, this talk is given by the presider at the Eucharist and takes the form of a homily, an informal talk rather than a scholarly lecture. The document emphasizes that this is a special occasion, when people expect to hear the Word of God and to learn about their faith.
Archbishop Pell Is Cleared * * *
[Sydney, Australia; Oct. 17, 2002] Archbishop George Pell of Sydney has had charges against him dismissed. Ex-judge Alec Southwell, an appointee of the Australian bishops, cleared Pell of all accusations. Therefore, Pell's leave of absence is over. He is back to work.
New Head Appointed for Liturgy * * *
[Rome; Oct. 1, 2002] Today, a new prefect was appointed for the Roman Congregation for Divine Worship. He is Cardinal Francis Arinze, 69, the son of a chief of the Igbo ethnic group, predominant in southeastern Nigeria. He is a convert to the Catholic faith. Ordained a priest in 1958, he taught liturgy for two years at the seminary in Enugu, Nigeria. During the Second Vatican Council, he was coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Onitsha, Nigeria. Since 1985, Cardinal Arinze has been a well respected member of the Roman Curia; till this Oct. 1 appointment, he was head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. For some years, Cardinal Arinze has been mentioned as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Ratzinger, for example, spoke of the possibility of an African Pope. The new prefect replaces Cardinal Medina Estevez, who had retired the retirement age of 75. In Liturgiam Authenticam, Cardinal Estevez had asked that Catholics not collaborate with Protestants, for example, in developing common translations for the liturgy. It remains to be seen if Cardinal Arinze will continue this policy. He has spoken widely on the Church's relationship to other religions.
American Catholic Press * * *
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Archbishop Pell Resigns from Diocese * * *
[Sydney, Australia; Sept. 7, 2002] In late August, reports The Tablet, Archbishop George Pell of Sydney said that he would take a leave of absence while charges are investigated of sexual abuse 40 years ago. Just recently, he had been appointed chair of Vox Clara, the new, 12-member committee to review translation of liturgical books into the English language. In the early 1990s, Archbishop Pell was a vocal critic of inclusive language in the first English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Bishop Taylor Defends Translation Work of ICEL * * *
[Glasgow; Aug. 30, 2002] Bishop Maurice Taylor of Scotland, formerly chairman of the the translation body for bishops from English-speaking countries, ICEL, released a press statement commenting on translation work up to the present.
Bishop Taylor said that the bishops who governed ICEL "have in effect been judged to be irresponsible in the liturgical texts that they have approved over the years. The bishops of the English-speaking conferences, voting by large majorities to approve the vernacular liturgical texts prepared by ICEL, have been similarly judged. And the labors of all those faithful and dedicated priests, religious, and lay people who over the years devoted many hours of their lives to the work of ICEL, have been called into question."
Bishop Taylor said that the impression fostered is that ICEL has been recalcitrant, uncooperative, even disobedient. "This is mistaken and untrue," said Bishop Taylor. "John Page, Peter Finn, and the other four members of the ICEL Secretariat do not deserve to be pilloried as they have been. Accusations on grounds of lack of professional integrity are false. These people deserve well of us, the bishops and all the Catholics in English-speaking Churches, whom they have served so well."
Directory Available on Devotions * * *
[Rome; Aug. 27, 2002] Earlier this year, the Congregation for Worship released a new Directory of Popular Devotions and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidance. In introducing this document, the head of the congregation, Cardinal Medina Estevez, mentioned an important directive of the Constitution on the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. The council said that devotions should be "in agreement with the liturgy, be derived from the liturgy in some way, and lead the people toward the liturgy."
The new document describes and comments on many devotions, some of which are common in certain cultures, some of which are widespread throughout the Church. This Directory of Popular Devotions also recommends that bishops provide some guidance for their people, in celebrating these devotions. The authors of the document provide genuine service to the Church by emphasizing theological and liturgical principles that should influence popular piety.
Msgr. Velo to Be Honored Sept. 28 * * *
[South Holland, IL; Aug. 6, 2002] At the Annual ACP Benefit Sept, 28, Saturday, Msgr. Ken Velo will be honored with the Gratiam Dei Award. He was the secretary for the late Cardinal Bernardin, in which capacity he was active throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago. For some years, he was also president of the Extension Society, which helps Catholic parishes and missions in rural areas in the U.S. Currrently, he is with DePaul University, Chicago, where he works to promote relationships between the University and the Catholic community at large. As the honoree, Msgr. Velo's good work for the Catholic Church will be acknowledged publicly.
Previous recipients of the Gratiam Dei Award include the Honorable Henry Hyde, Msgr. Ignatius McDermott, and Dr. Eugene Diamond. The award is given for outstanding service to the Catholic Church and/or for public service to the wider community.
Cardinal Medina Reaches Retirement Age * * *
[Rome; July 29, 2002] Cardinal Medina Estevez, the head of the Roman Congregation for Worship, has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75. According to one source, he has already submitted his resignation, which has been accepted. Who will be the new head of this important congregation? The decision is that of the Pope.
Cardinal Medina Rejects ICEL Translation * * *
[Rome; June 27, 2002] The Roman Congregation for Divine Worship has now provided a detailed letter, indicating why the English-language translation of the Roman Missal was rejected. In his letter, Cardinal Medina Estevez, the head of the Congregation, gives specific reasons for his decision. Although the version submitted to Rome was the result of many years' work and although it was approved by the American bishops, the entire translation was spurned. Both in guiding principles and in specific interpretations, in accord with Liturgiam Authenticam, the recent document on translation, it's a new ball game, with new rules. In particular, Cardinal Medina favors the use of such terms as "man" and "men" in the liturgy; he also requires, in some cases, a word-for-word translation, rather than one which would be more accurate in the receptor language. Furthermore, he says that sometimes the Congregation advocates idiom which is obsolete, in order to achieve an effect of reverence. [In the U.S., for example, the current Lectionary uses "Behold."] Although the American book in question has been known as a "sacramentary" [the priest's book for Mass] since 1966, in accord with ancient tradition, Cardinal Medina says that the English-language version of the Missale Romanum should be titled a "missal," not a "sacramentary." These are only a few of the new approaches being taken. The full text of Cardinal Medina's letter is available online at We Believe.
Latin Edition of New Missal Now Available! * * *
[South Holland, IL; May 22, 2002] The third typical edition of the Roman Missal [the Sacramentary] is now in print and available from the ACP Family Bookstore. This is the Latin-language edition of the Sacramentary that came out as a result of the Second Vatican Council; the first edition was in 1970. With a beautiful, red binding, with new art, with music in place, this new edition is truly something to be cherished. It's yours for $250, plus shipping and handling. Contact the ACP Family Bookstore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Roman Body to Monitor English * * *
[Rome; Apr. 23, 2002] According to the National Catholic Reporter, the Roman Congregation for Worship has set up a new body, explicitly to monitor translations of liturgy texts into the English language. This group will be called Vox Clara, Latin for "clear voice." Previous translations have been long delayed, and it is thought by some sources that Vox Clara will help speed up approval of official liturgical books.
New Roman Missal Finally Released! * * *
[Rome; Mar. 18, 2002] The long-awaited Missale Romanum was finally released today. This is the Latin version of the Sacramentary, the priest's book for use at Mass. It is the third edition, compared to the first of 1970 and the second of 1975. From this Latin edition will be derived many vernacular editions, around the world. In announcing this new Missale Romanum, Cardinal Estevez, the head of the Roman Congregation for Worship, spoke briefly. He said that this new version of the Roman Missal is the result of extended work, from 1991 to 1996. Now, he says, it is not not just a corrected reprinting; it is a truly new, official edition, an editio typica.
The introduction, the Institutio Generalis, said Cardinal Estevez, is especially important, since it too has been substantially revised and updated. It is not just a collection of rubrics but a directory of celebration, with content that is theological, liturgical, pastoral, and spiritual. A major change, said the Cardinal, is the wide permission for Communion under both forms of eating and drinking. There is also special provision for adapting the Mass to local culture, while preserving the integrity of the Roman Rite.
On the same day, Archbishop Tamburrino of the same congregation pointed out some specific improvements in the new Missal. For example, he said that the Apostles' Creed now is given as an alternative to the Nicene Creed, thereby restoring an old Roman tradition. Archbishop Tamburrino also pointed out that music is provided abundantly within the Order of Mass, not just in the Appendix.
New Weekday Lectionary Is Now Being Shipped Out * * *
[South Holland, IL; Mar. 12, 2002] The last three volumes of the Roman Lectionary for the U.S. are now available. As you know, the first volume is for Sundays. These last three volumes are for weekdays, including ritual and votive Masses. For an up-to-date report on the Lectionary, visit the ACP Family Bookstore. If you wish, you can also order any or all of these volumes online.
American Catholic Press * * *
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New, Important Intercommunion Ruling * * *
[Rome; Dec. 14, 2001] A new ruling from the Council for Christian Unity is said to be of dramatic importance. A liturgical scholar, expert in the Eastern Churches, Father Robert Taft, S.J., says that this decision is "perhaps the most significant decision" from Rome in the last fifty years.
This new ruling says that members of the Chaldean Catholic Church [which is in full communion with the Bishop of Rome] may receive Communion at Masses celebrated in the Assyrian Church of the East, which uses the same liturgy as the Catholics. Similiar decisions in the past have permitted this kind of intercommunion in "cases of pastoral necessity" with Eastern Orthodox, because their Eucharist is valid and because they possess the fullness of the Catholic faith. Now, that same understanding is also extended to the Assyrian Church of the East.
In Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere, there are about a million Christians of this East Syrian tradition, perhaps half of them Chaldean Catholics and half members of the Assyrian Church of the East. Both Chaldeans and Assyrians share the same customs, languages, and rites, as well as a common theological heritage. They are already in a close communion, in part because they are often a minority in predominantly Muslim regions, where together they have suffered discrimination and persecution. There is a special Assyrian/Chaldean presence in the Chicago area; the Patriarch lives in Morton Grove, Illinois.
[There are also close to four million St. Thomas Christians in southern India who follow the same East Syrian tradition. They are called Syro-Malabar. Most are in communion with the Bishop of Rome.]
What's remarkable about the new ruling? The most common Eucharistic Prayer in the Assyrian Church and in the Chaldean Church is the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, which goes back to the early Church. It lacks the familiar words from the Last Supper, "This is my body," etc., long thought, in the West, to effect the consecration of the bread and wine.
Father Taft says that the new document, dated July 20 but released much later, is very important. He says that the decision recognizes the "enormous advances made in studies concerning the evolution of the Eucharistic Prayer." In the perspective of the early Church, explains Father Taft, the entire Eucharistic Prayer was seen to bring about the consecration, not any specific part, such as the Last Supper narrative. Now, points out Father Taft, Rome recognizes the validity of the Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari, as it has been celebrated in the Assyrian Church for a very long time.
Father Ephrem Carr, O.S.B., of the Pontifical Institute for Liturgy, expressed similar sentiments. He said that the document takes us away from the medieval idea that the "words of consecration" were necessary for a valid Mass. He said that previously when Chaldeans and Syro-Malabar Catholics used this Eucharistic Prayer, they were asked by Rome to add the Last Supper narrative.
The document was released with the consultation of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As an official statement, the document signals a profound acceptance of the results of modern liturgical scholarship, says Father Taft.
American Sacramentary Delayed * * *
[Washington, D.C.; Dec. 7, 2001] The new American edition of the Sacramentary, the priest's book for Mass, now may never see the light of day. This sacramentary was the object of intense study, editing, and discusssion from 1987 to 1997; it was submitted to Rome in 1998. Since then, Rome has said nothing. What's up?
In an interview in Washington, Father Moroney said that this book, as such, will probably never be published. [He is the head of the Secretariat of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy.] In 1999, Rome said that there would be a third edition of the Sacramentary, published in Latin. That edition may be out very soon, perhaps in the next few months. That book will be the basis of a new American edition, said Father Moroney. When the Latin edition is available, the Americans may then begin the work of translation and editing. Once again, it may take several years to do the job, especially in view of new norms for translation, now required by Rome.
Therefore, for some time to come, Americans will continue to use the 1985 edition of the Sacramentary, available now in a Liturgical Press edition from the ACP Family Bookstore. Since there have been changes since 1985, this book is not fully up-to-date. For the next few years, however, it is our only choice. Otherwise, one must wait in joyful hope.
Bishops November Meeting: Liturgy * * *
[Washington, D.C.; Dec. 3, 2001] At the recent November meeting of the American bishops, liturgical renewal was a major topic. Rome had already returned to them their revised Appendix to the new General Instruction for the Mass, with some corrections. The bishops approved these corrections and asked for a revised translation of the document in English.
The bishops also spent most of an afternoon reflecting on Liturgiam Authenticam, a recent Roman statement on translation. Archbishop Pilarczyk of Cincinnati said that our bishops have played by the rules, "and the rules are now being changed." Archbishop Weakland of Milwaukee said that the document tries to stop a process of assimilation that, by and large, was healthy. Archbishop Vlazny of Portland, Oregon, said that he too hoped for a change. Cardinal Dulles said that Liturgiam Authenticam will have to be reconciled with other official documents which encourage moderate use of inclusive language, use of the most accurate Scripture translations [rather than the Latin Vulgate], and sensitivity to the concerns of other Christians.
The gathering also designated January 1 as a national day of prayer for peace; this is something like the request of Pope Paul VI years ago. Finally, the bishops elected Cardinal George of Chicago as the new head of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy.
Latin Displaced by English as Dominant World Language * * *
[Lexington, KY; Nov. 21, 2001] In the current issue of Inside the Vatican, the editors provide an extensive report on the recent synod of bishops in Rome. From Sept. 30 to Oct. 27, about 250 bishops gathered to study the role of the bishop in the Church.
This synod was not directly on liturgy, but one fact stands out as related to the use of Latin in the liturgy. Inside the Vatican reports that, of the 229 speeches given, 75 were in English. Only 2 1/2 were in Latin. English was so popular at the Synod that the chairman had to persuade "more than two dozen" participants to forego joining one of the three English-language working groups. [p. 31] That means that roughly half the bishops present, from all over the world, preferred English as their first choice, rather than French, German, Italian, or Spanish. In a commentary, in the same issue of Inside the Vatican, Father Kenneth Baker reports that most of the bishops at the synod were not at all fluent in Latin; they could not even understand it, when spoken. [p. 37] Father Baker says that a worldwide Church needs a common language. He asks if it will be Italian or English; there seems to be no longer a possibility that it will be Latin.
What, then, is the future of Latin for use in the Mass? How much will be passed on to the next generation? If bishops do not know Latin, can we expect any more from priests? O tempora! O mores!
Father Huels Reflects on General Instruction * * *
[Collegeville, MN; Nov. 16, 2001] In the lead article of the current issue of Worship, Father John Huels, O.S.M., studies the new Institutio Generalis of the Roman Missal, also called the General Instruction. He is the author of a number of books on Canon Law and the liturgy. In this current article, Father Huels considers whether or not these revised norms for Mass reflect implementation of the principle of subsidiarity, that is, leaving to a lesser authority what it can do by itself adequately.
He notes, for example, that now permission is widely given for Communion under both kinds, as the local bishop may direct. Since 1970, he says, "virtually no progress" had been made in the Church's general law, to promote restoration of Communion under both kinds. But now, in the revised version of the General Instruction, he says, decentralization of this matter is just about complete. The local bishop can permit the celebrating priest to offer Communion under both kinds whenever he wishes, provided that this can be done in an orderly way, without danger of irreverence.
As recently as the Second Vatican Council, says Father Huels, such a statement would have been revolutionary, especially in view of our history in the past four hundred years. Opposition to the "lay chalice" was a sign of Catholic loyalty; now that is decisively changed. Such a change is in the direction of subsidiarity, leaving the decision in this matter up to the celebrating priest.
Deacons in San Cristobal, Mexico * * *
[San Jose, CA; Nov. 15, 2001] According to an article in the current issue of Ministry & Liturgy, the previous bishop of San Cristobal, Mexico, ordained 100 deacons at a single liturgy last year. In that diocese, deacons now outnumber priests two-to-one. The new bishop, Felipe Esquivel, has been told by the Roman Congregation for Worship that he can keep these deacons in service, even though the ordination was "irregular." Rome is concerned that the deacons may not have been sufficiently trained and suggests further education is needed. For an indefinite period, ordinations to the diaconate have been suspended in San Cristobal.
Bishop Trautman Evaluates Liturgiam Authenticam * * *
[New York, NY; Nov. 13, 2001] In a recent article in America magazine, Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, provides a critique of the recent Roman document Liturgiam Authenticam, on translation. He asks, for example, why were the cardinal and bishop members of the responsible congregation not consulted? He also asks why the Pontificial Biblical Commission was not formally consulted. He says that the "non-collegial, centralizing, and controlling nature of this document is evident throughout." Bishop Trautman also asks another question: He wonders if we are now to tell our people that the English-speaking world has been praying with inaccurate texts for the past thirty years. These are texts, he points out, that were approved by Rome. He cites both St. Jerome and Father Anscar Chupungco, former president of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in Rome, to the effect that word-for-word translation produces not only poor vernacular but also distortion of meaning. Overall, says Bishop Trautman, this document is a disappointment; its compass needs to be reset, he says.
Dr. and Mrs. Eugene Diamond Honored at ACP Benefit * * *
[Flossmoor, IL; Sept. 21, 2001] At the recent American Catholic Press Benefit, the Gratiam Dei Award was conferred on Dr. Eugene Diamond and Mrs. Rosemary Diamond, for their pro-life work over the years. This dinner included many elements of liturgical celebration. The evening began with the hymn, Lord of All Life, a prayer by Bishop Listecki, a brief talk, and his solemn episcopal blessing. After the conferring of the Gratiam Dei Award, Dr. Diamond was acclaimed with Ad multos annos. He then spoke on the Birthright organization and other pro-life efforts. Dr. Diamond also thanked those of his 13 children who came to the Benefit. Afterwards, the gathering stood to say a prayer for human life, from the Leaflet Missal, to sing My Country Tis of Thee, to chant a four-part Kyrie, eleison [a response to the Byzantine Litany of Peace], and to hear a final pro-life prayer by Father Tony Brankin. Then followed singing by the Paulist Alumni Chorale, beginning with the National Anthem. Among their choices were settings by Arcadelt, Bach, Palestrina, and the Russian Byzantine tradition.
Biblical Scholars Critique New Roman Instruction on Translation * * *
[Washington, D.C.; Sept. 7, 2001] The Catholic Biblical Association recently sent a letter to all Catholic bishops in the U.S. The letter is endorsed and signed by the association's executive board, in reference to the recent Roman Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam. The biblical scholars say that the document "contains much that is positive and beneficial to true liturgy." They also say that some of the document's provisions are likely to be "an occasion of embarassment to the Church." It would, they say, "have a seriously detrimental impact" on reverence and knowledge of the Bible. The principal criticism made is the recommended use of the New Vulgate [Latin] edition of the Bible as normative, even over more correct versions.
New Lectionary to Have Four Volumes * * *
[Washington, D.C.; Aug. 31, 2001] We just received the August issue of the Newsletter of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy [BCL]. In this issue, we have a clarification about the number of volumes of the new Lectionary; there will indeed be four in total. The first volume, published in 1998, has Sundays and Solemnities. The second volume will have Week I of weekdays, with saints' days. The third volume will have Week II of weekdays, also with saints' days. The last volume will have ritual Masses etc.
In a phone call, Ed Vessel of Liturgical Press reported that Liturgical Press intends to publish the next three volumes of the Lectionary, as just described. By Ash Wednesday, 2002, Ed says they hope to have the needed volume of the weekday Lectionary available, for Year II. It's a big job, he says. [See below, July 20 & July 17, 2001.]
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Diversity Enriches * * *
[Santa Clara, CA; Aug. 18, 2001] One of the strengths of the Societas Liturgica is its diverse and international character. For example, at a Friday afternoon session on the question of general absolution, led by Michael Gilligan, participants came from 15 countries around the world. It was possible to review arguments on this topic, pro and con, as seen from many perspectives. Similarly, a session on Malankar funeral rites, led by Jacob Thekeparampil, was illuminating for those from the Western world. In the Malankar tradition, he pointed out, there are many complete burial rites, each for a specific person: priest, nun, child, etc. Each rite, from home to church to grave, has its own prayers and songs. The people know all the hymns by heart and sing them with vigor. Some of the hymns go back to St. Ephrem.
Saturday morning, the president of the Societas, John Baldovin, S.J., gave a major address to conclude the week. Baldovin considered marriage from an anthropological and theological perspective. He made special reference to the ongoing challenge of using appropriate music for weddings. After a brief morning prayer, the biannual Congress was concluded. The next meeting, in 2003, will be in Holland.
San Francisco Break * * *
[San Francisco, CA; Aug. 16, 2001] Today, members of the Societas Liturgica broke up in separate groups to visit, for example, the Napa Valley, the city of San Francisco, and local mission churches.
Father John Baldovin, S.J., president of the Societas, chose the readings and preached for an evening Mass celebrated at the Church of St. Gregory of Nyssa, in San Francisco. [The readings were all taken from the Roman Lectionary, for the celebration of marriage, in accord with the theme of the week's presentations.] The Liturgy of the Word was celebrated in one area, with the congregation divided into two facing groups, in the same way that monastery churches are designed. The Liturgy of the Eucharist was then celebrated in a separate space, with the congregation gathered around an altar. The vibrant singing, both choral and congregational, came from many traditions, including an English-language setting of the Russian Polychronia, "God grant them many years!" Bishop George Connor of Tauranga, New Zealand, concluded the celebration by giving the participants an individual blessing, one by one.
Funeral & Wedding Rites under Study * * *
[Santa Clara, CA; Aug. 15, 2001] At the Societas Liturgica Congress, Ansgar Franz and Hans Krech made major presentations on Christian funeral rites, from, respectively, a Catholic and a Lutheran perspective. Franz has written extensively on German-language hymnody; he teaches liturgy at Ruhr-University in Bochum. Franz presented a detailed report on the funeral rites of the Ordo Romanus 49, with its three stations for a funeral, at the house, in procession to the church, and at the graveside. He compared this text to a funeral rite proposed by the Communist goverment of what was East Germany, the DDR. He concluded with several theses, based on this research. Since 1993, the second speaker, Krech, has been supervisor of the Liturgical Institute of the United Lutheran Church at the University of Leipzig. His presentation was especially concerned with the proclamation of the Word in the context of a funeral.
Later in the day, case studies and short communications included presentations by Jan Michael Joncas [left], on nuptial blessings, by Edward Foley, OFM Cap., on marriage preparation, by Robert J. Daly, S.J., on Eucharistic Prayers for weddings, and Peter Galadza, on displaced elements of Byzantine Rite funerals. Noon Mass for the Feast of the Assumption, in the mission church, had Ron Krisman as cantor and Dennis Smolarski, S.J., as concelebrant. The Sanctus and Agnus Dei for the Mass were both sung in Latin, from Mass XVIII, probably the most familiar settings.
In the late afternoon, members of the English Language Liturgical Consultation [ELLC] reported on a recent survey of the use of their translations in liturgical texts. Robert Gribben of Australia said that the Roman Catholic members [ICEL] had withdrawn from the consultation, because of a recent Roman document, Liturgiam Authenticam. By and large, he said, the Orthodox have also not accepted their translations. As someone who is neither Catholic nor Orthodox, Gribben lamented the lack of effective ecumenical interaction as of now. He said that we have to look at such matters in the long term, under the perspective of eternity, sub specie aeternitatis.
Scholars Discuss the Fifth Instruction * * *
[Santa Clara, CA; Aug. 14, 2001] At the Societas Liturgica gathering at the University of Santa Clara, Roman Catholic members discussed a new Roman document, Liturgiam Authenticam, on principles of translation. This controversial document, already known to the general public through news reports, was the subject of animated exchanges among the participants. Patrick Jones of Ireland briefly introduced the topic and raised several questions. For example, what will be the fate of existing liturgical books, already approved and in use, which do not conform to the new norms? Eberhard Amon spoke of the situation in Germany and Austria. In his opinion, there should be no quick reaction. We need, he said, patient, "unexcited" conversation with all those involved.
Robert Taft, S.J., also spoke. He has 25 years experience as a consultor to the Oriental Congregation; he still lives and teaches in Rome. He has recently been active in work for the Holy See in Ukraine. His December, 2000, lecture on "Anamnesis, not Amnesia" is widely appreciated. Taft's comments on Liturgiam Authenticam were open and frank, leading to further discussion.
Tom Ehrlich of Australia, for example, spoke of what is called "centralization" in the Roman Rite, especially in the last few years. [For extensive commentary and current bibliography on Liturgiam Authenticam, see We Believe!.]
The morning discussion on Liturgiam Authenticam, to be sure, was only one session among many others. Later in the day, there were numerous case studies and short communications. Presentations were given, for example, by Alan Barthel, on wedding and funeral hymns, by Jacob Vellian, on funeral rites for priests in the Syro-Malabar Church, and by Alan McCormack, on a tenebrae service celebrated in the chapel of Trinity College, Dublin. After Evening Prayer, the day concluded with a concert of cello, recorder, and bass soloist.
Societas Liturgica Meets in California * * *
[Santa Clara, CA; Aug. 13, 2001] At the University of Santa Clara, the Societas Liturgica gathers today for its biannual Congress. This society is an association of scholars and others who study the liturgy; most are professors and researchers. Since its founding in 1967 in Holland, many of the meetings have been in Europe. This is the eighteenth Congress, with an attendance of about 180 scholars, as well as some family members. Several Anglican bishops are participating, as well as one bishop from the Mar Thoma Church. This year, there is substantial participation of scholars from the Syro-Malabar and the Malankar Churches; the Congress two years ago was held in India. Membership in the Societas Liturgica is predominantly Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran. There are also some others, such as Methodists and Presbyterians. An important segment of the membership is representative of the Eastern Churches, such as the Byzantine tradition.
This year, the members of the Societas Liturgica are studying marriage and funeral rites. The opening address, in English, is to be given tomorrow morning by Professor Catherine Bell, a respected scholar of Chinese popular religion. In the course of the Congress, the lectures, discussions, and liturgies are all in either English, French, or German. Each day of the schedule, for example, includes Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer in these three languages. The liturgies are all celebrated with singing. Monday Evening Prayer includes a Vietnamese choir, with a Vietnamese Gloria; this liturgy is to be celebrated in the original mission church on campus, Santa Clara.
John Thomas Hired as Director of LTP * * *
[Chicago, IL; Aug. 11, 2001] The new executive director of Liturgy Training Publications [LTP] is John A. Thomas. Since 1995, Thomas has been in charge of marketing and sales at Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ. Before that, he held various positions, including general manager, for Don Bosco Multimedia, New Rochelle, NY. He is a past president of the Catholic Book Publishers' Association and has also served on their board of directors. Thomas graduated from Fordham University, NY. His special expertise is in administration, marketing, and promotion.
Gabe Huck to Move on from LTP * * *
[Kansas City, MO; Aug. 10, 2001] Liturgy Training Publications [LTP], a publishing division of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, will be losing its director, Gabe Huck. According to an article in the National Catholic Reporter [="NCR"], Huck will be leaving LTP by the end of August. He was given notice, according to the paper, in mid-July by Cardinal George, the Archbishop of Chicago. In a letter, the Cardinal thanked Huck for his good work, which included editing many publications.
Huck and his publishing organization have been the recipient of numerous awards for their contribution to liturgical renewal in the U.S. As a well-known national leader in this field, Huck has written several books and many articles on the liturgy. He has a Benedictine background and is a married man with a family. Some of his work, for example, was done to promote prayer in the home, including family prayer of part of the Liturgy of the Hours, the Divine Office. He has also written widely on parish celebration of the Eucharist. Huck's most popular book is Liturgy with Style and Grace, which has gone through several revisions. Priests in particular have found this book helpful, because of its careful attention to the official and the pastoral details of celebration. It is a step-by-step guide to well thought out liturgy. Another excellent book of Huck's is The Communion Rite. This book reviews in detail that part of the Mass from the Our Father to the dismissal rite, at the end of the celebration. The Communion Rite is especially appreciated by liturgy planning committees and by parish musicians. In this book, Huck provides a historical and theological rationale for such practices as the sign of peace, the use of bread from the altar [not the tabernacle], and Communion under both forms of eating and drinking. In such respects, Huck's writing is a valuable support for the recommendations of the Church today and a convenient form of catechesis. Both books are written in a clear, readable style, with genuine pastoral concern.
Why is Huck moving on? He is quoted in NCR as saying, "We have had some clashes over inclusive language." A few years back, LTP published a Psalter and a lectionary using idiom that is not in accord with some principles of translation recently released by a Roman congregation, the Fifth Instruction on the Liturgy, Liturgiam Authenticam. The lectionary, for example, included the American translation, approved for use in the U.S., and the New Revised Standard Version, approved for Canada. Moreover, in a recent issue of Rite, a periodical from LTP, Huck explained how his editorial preferences for the new Gospel Book were constrained by the American Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy.
In the NCR article, Bishop Trautman, once the head of the Bishops' Committee, is quoted as saying Huck is "an extremely competent liturgist who has done so much for the American liturgical renewal." Father Michael Joncas, a professor of liturgy at the University of St. Thomas, in Minneapolis, spoke of Huck's "profound gift for crafting language," his reverence for our heritage, and his "sensitivity to what is possible in parish settings." No respected liturgist, including Cardinal George, has uttered any public criticism of the books that Huck has written. These publications are still esteemed and valued.
How Does Popular Sentiment Affect the Liturgy? * * *
[Chicago, IL; July 31, 2001] In a recent letter on several topics, Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, reflects on the sensus fidelium, the "sense of the faithful," that is, widespread belief or feeling on the part of lay people, apart from the leadership of the clergy. [Cardinal Newman wrote on this topic in the last century, showing how lay people kept the true faith, in the face of Arianism on the part of many bishops.] Sometimes, such aspirations can indeed be correct and valuable. Sometimes, though, they may not be.
For example, Cardinal George points out that some good people, moved by personal experience at Medjugore, have made a request for adding to the Mass. They want to restore the prayers that used to be said afterwards, the Hail Holy Queen and the Prayer to St. Michael, called the Leonine prayers. Now, to say it again, these are devout and dedicated people who make this suggestion. Nevertheless, he has had to point out that these prayers are no longer permitted. He says, in fact, he doesn't have the authority to restore them.
In other words, in the promotion of liturgical renewal, a popular, even widespread, "sense of the faithful" must itself be put to the test, according to the "sense of faith." That is what this bishop teaches, in the letter he authors. He acknowledges, therefore, that for some people general absolution is seen to be a good way to celebrate the sacrament of penance. [In this rite, the priest makes a single statement of God's forgiveness, to the assembled congregation, rather than to each individual, alone.] But that sense of the faithful must be evaluated by the sense of faith, taking into account the leadership of the Church.
In part, as Cardinal George points out, this sense of faith consists in several perspectives. Perhaps the strongest argument against general absolution at present is a simple one. If priests do not do what the bishops ask, how can priests expect that people in their own parishes will do what they ask? How can pastors look for obedience from others, if they themselves are not obedient? In a more profound sense, theologically, how can the communion of the Church be fostered locally if priests themselves damage that communion?
Bishops' Committee on Liturgy Reports on Lectionary * * *
[Washington, D.C.; July 20, 2001] In the June-July issue of its Newsletter, the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy [BCL] provides commentary on the newly approved Lectionary. The Chairman of the Committee, Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, spoke to the assembled bishops of the U.S. at their June 14 meeting. Archbishop Lipscomb said that the changes introduced by Rome were "moderate and reasonable." After his talk, the bishops voted unanimously that the second volume of the Lectionary should be published "as expeditiously as possible." This motion was proposed "in response to a pressing pastoral need."
As reported in the Newsletter of the BCL, this second volume of the Lectionary will actually be published in more than one book. As bishops in other countries have done, the BCL intends to avoid changing books too often in the course of a year. So, some material will be repeated in these volumes.
Here is an explanation of how this second volume will be published. While the Sunday readings are in three cycles [A, B, and C], the weekday readings are in only two cycles.
The BCL plans to have  one volume for Sundays and Solemnities, as we now have available.  There will be another book with weekday Masses, in their first cycle, with saints' celebrations.  Yet another book will have the second cycle of weekday Masses. This book will again have the same set of saints' celebrations, as well as various ritual Masses for funerals, weddings, etc. Such an arrangement will not only be more convenient; it will help prevent confusion at weekday Masses. [That is a total of three books; yet the Newsletter refers to "four." No doubt, you will hear more of this in the near future.]
The BCL reports that changes put into effect by Rome include conformity to the Neo-Vulgate [the current edition of the Latin Bible], some few restorations of such pronouns as "he" and "him," conformity of Scripture texts to existing idiom ["trespasses," rather than "debts," in the Our Father], and some isolated instances of gender inclusivity. In the latter case, for example, in reference to Jesus, the proposed translation had "Never before has anyone spoken like this one." Rome changed that to read, "Never before has anyone spoken like this man."
On another topic, the bishops also approved a new appendix to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. They gave their approval 203 to 2. Once Rome approves this appendix, it will have the force of law in the United States. This appendix includes minor clarifications and adaptations for the celebration of the Mass. Again, you will hear more of this in the near future.
Lectionary Available at ACP Family Bookstore * * *
[Washington, D.C.; July 17, 2001] The Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy announced that Rome has approved the second volume of the American edition of the Roman Lectionary for Mass. This second volume includes readings for weekdays, ritual Masses, and saints' celebrations. This volume will complete the current edition of the Lectionary for the United States, using a revised version of the New American Bible, also known as the Confraternity translation. The first volume of this Lectionary came into use with the First Sunday of Advent, 1998.
This second volume may be used as of Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2002. Both volumes must be used, in place of any other editions, as of Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2002. On that date, all other translations of Scripture will be excluded from use at Mass in the Latin Rite in the United States. The new Lectionary will be fully in use. As in the past, the Leaflet Missal « will always make the latest texts available for people in the pew.
To get a copy of the first volume of the Lectionary, order it online from the ACP Family Bookstore. You can use the online search engine, in the Bookstore, for the titles Lectionary for Mass, Lectionary for Sunday Mass, or just Lectionary. As soon as the second volume is published, it too will be listed online, in the Bookstore.
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