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And for our particularly avid readers, here we have another article on the direction liturgical theology is increasingly. This article is taken from Antiphon (2006), the journal of the the Society for Catholic Liturgy:

“The Genius of the Roman Liturgy”
CIEL Colloquium 2006
Shawn Tribe
The Growth of a New Liturgical Movement
Even a cursory glance at the current landscape of the Church, from the
pope down to the laity, strongly suggests that a new liturgical movement
is taking shape. Characterized by a hermeneutic of continuity,
this movement is dedicated to the revival of solemnity and decorum
in the liturgical life of the Roman Rite according to the principles
established by the Second Vatican Council.
The success of this movement will not rest exclusively either on
the classical (or Tridentine) liturgical communities or on the “reform
of the reform,” but rather on the synergy of both of these dynamics
as today’s Catholics strive to enhance their worship by a profound
understanding of and love for the Roman-Rite liturgy. The excesses
often associated with post-conciliar liturgical reform, pointedly
identified in several books and articles by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,
then prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and
now Pope Benedict XVI, will find correction in this necessary and
beneficial synergy. While the desired result of greater fidelity to the
authentic liturgical tradition of the Roman Rite remains to be seen,
careful study of sources and sound pastoral application have their
role to play as part of this process.
CIEL and the Study of Roman Liturgical Tradition
The Centre International des Études Liturgiques (CIEL) is an organization
that takes its place within the new liturgical movement from
the perspective of the classical liturgy, pursuing the careful study of
the Roman liturgical tradition and of the liturgical books in use prior
to the reforms ushered in after Vatican II. Although its academic focus
remains fixed primarily on the classical Roman liturgy, interest and
participation in its research nevertheless arise from a cross-section of
those working within both the classic and the current Roman rites.
Past CIEL colloquia have addressed such topics as “Theological
and Historical Aspects of the Roman Missal,” “Liturgy, Participation,
and Sacred Music,” “Altar and Sacrifice,” and “Liturgy and the
Antiphon 10.3 (2006): 314-322
Sacred.” Recently, CIEL hosted its eleventh annual colloquium at
Merton College at The University of Oxford, the oldest university
in the English-speaking world. The theme of the eleventh CIEL colloquium
was “The Genius of the Roman Liturgy: Historical Diversity
and Spiritual Reach.”
Liturgical Praxis
Each full day of the colloquium was punctuated with the liturgical
offices of lauds, vespers, and compline, celebrated in the thirteenthcentury
chapel of Merton College according to the 1962 Brevarium
Romanum. Furthermore, solemn Mass was celebrated daily in accordance
with the 1962 Missale Romanum. All these liturgies were marked
by due solemnity, reverence, and excellence. The external participation
of the congregation in all the chants, both of the Masses and the
hours, was at once precise and uplifting.
Liturgically, the colloquium observed two important feast days: the
Exaltation of the Holy Cross (14 September), and the Seven Sorrows
of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 September). The first solemn Mass,
celebrated by Fr John Emerson fssp, on the Exaltation of the Cross,
marked the actual anniversary of the dedication of Merton College;
hence Mass was sung in the chapel for the intention of the members of
the college, living and dead, for the first time since probably the reign
of Queen Mary I (1553-58). Fr Armand de Malleray, fssp, Secretary
General of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, preached the homily.
The Most Reverend David McGough, auxiliary bishop of Birmingham,
celebrated a solemn pontifical Mass to conclude the colloquium.
Overview of the Speakers
Twelve papers were delivered in the course of the colloquium. Presenters
included some of the most recognized names in Catholic liturgical
scholarship, men and women whose work is acknowledged with praise
by the highest authorities in the Church. The colloquium afforded a
welcome opportunity for these scholars to confer with their colleagues
and to share the results of their research, thereby facilitating a crossfertilization
of ideas and perspectives.
Speakers included Professor Eamon Duffy of Cambridge University
(author of The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England,
1400-1580); Fr Uwe-Michael Lang of the London Oratory (author
of Turning towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer); Dr László
Dobszay (author of The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform);
M. l’Abbé Claude Barthe (author of Beyond Vatican II: The Church at
a New Crossroads); Rev. Dr Alcuin Reid (author of The Organic De316
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velopment of the Liturgy); Rev. Dr Laurence Hemming (of the Society
of St Catherine of Siena and author of numerous philosophical and
theological works); Dr Lauren Pristas (of Caldwell College, New
Jersey, and author of studies on the revision of the prayers that occurred
in the liturgical reform as well as the Society of St Catherine
of Siena Research Fellow in Liturgical Theology); Fr Gabriel Diaz (a
Russian Catholic priest in Paris, France); Fr Nicola Bux (a professor in
Bari, Italy and consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith); Dr Christina Dondi (of Lincoln College, Oxford); Dr Sheridan
Gilley (emeritus of Durham University); and Fr Joseph Santos (of
Providence, Rhode Island).
Pope Benedict and the Liturgy
Eamon Duffy, professor of the history of Christianity and president
of Magdalen College at Cambridge University, delivered a paper on
“Pope Benedict XVI and the Liturgy.” Duffy traced the development of
the present Pontiff’s liturgical thought, from his upbringing in Bavaria
to the times surrounding the council and finally to the present. Duffy
highlighted the influence of the Liturgical Movement on the young
Ratzinger and, in particular, the writings of Romano Guardini. On
the one hand these influences underscored the central importance of
the liturgy in the life of the Church, yet on the other they served as
conduits for some of the modernizing tendencies of the times. They
prompted Ratzinger during the Second Vatican Council to criticize
the pre-conciliar liturgy and to point out the need for reform. Duffy
highlighted the change in direction that Ratzinger’s thought would
take after the council, when the ends of the Liturgical Movement
underwent radicalization, shifting from a balance of organic reform,
prudent conservation, and careful restoration to a more fundamental
liturgical change. Ratzinger regarded this as disastrous, representing in
his view an essential betrayal of the work and goals of Guardini and
the original Liturgical Movement. Duffy further pointed out that Ratzinger
served on a committee of cardinals who judged that the adoption
of the missal of Paul VI in 1970 did not in fact abrogate the missal
promulgated by Pius V in 1570 and revised over the course of four
hundred years. According to Ratzinger, the attempt in many quarters
to prohibit the missal of 1570/1962 was unprecedented, constituting
a break with tradition that led to unintended consequences.
For Ratzinger, the Church’s liturgy is something received rather
than conceived. The sacred liturgy is not something we invent but
rather a body that develops organically and gradually over time;
Catholics are caretakers of it in every generation. Furthermore, the
liturgy is not a self-centered affair; it focuses primarily on God. Duffy
CIEL Coloquium 2006 317
concentrated on Ratzinger’s critique of the exaggerated emphasis on
the dimension of the Mass as “meal,” a notion promoted by liturgical
reformers to the exclusion of other important dimensions of the
Eucharist. From this emphasis on the Mass as a communal meal came
a number of new emphases, most particularly that of the orientation
of the priest at the altar. This led after the council to the celebration
of Mass nearly exclusively versus populum.
Liturgical Latin and the Concept of Sacred Language
Father Uwe-Michael Lang of the London Oratory, currently a research
fellow at Heythrop College, University of London, addressed “The
Early Development of Christian Latin as a Liturgical Language.”
Lang outlined the historical development of Christian Greek and
Latin, pointing out examples of their inherent differences. He also
gave a general consideration of the principle of sacred or hieratic
language, including its history and its fundamental characteristics
as inherently conservative and stylistically different from common
linguistic usage.
The paper hinges primarily on that distinction. Although in some
cases the idiom of hieratic language was the result simply of liturgical
language remaining fixed while common language developed, Lang
points out that this was never the case with Christian Latin, which
was highly stylized and thus never a part of the common or vulgar
tongue. Lang further discussed the gradual shift in the Latin Church
from the dominance of the Greek language to that of Latin, a shift
that played an important role in aiding the Church in evangelizing
pagan Roman society, particularly the aristocratic classes. But, as Lang
noted, the assumption that this was a concerted, principle-based effort
to vernacularize the Roman liturgy would be faulty: the Latin used
in the liturgy would have been rather difficult for the average Roman
to understand – not to mention those cultures within Europe whose
languages were not cognate with Latin.
The Integral Place of Chant within the Roman Liturgy
Professor László Dobzsay teaches at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of
Music and is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In
“Music Proper to the Roman Liturgy,” Dobszay considered the place
of the proper Roman liturgical chants in the liturgy. He began with
a comment that while most scholarship on the liturgical reform has
focused on the Ordo Missae, the Roman liturgy is not made up solely
of the Ordo Missae but is concerned as well with the euchological
content of the propers of the liturgy, the cycle of scriptural readings,
the divine office, and the administration of the sacraments. It further
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pertains to the music of the Roman liturgy, particularly the chants
of the Roman Church, the ultimate focus of his paper. Analyzing the
question in detail, Dobszay argued that the chant does not merely
accompany the liturgical rite but is a fundamental component of it,
for it exercises an integral role in delivering the content of the sacred
liturgy of the day. In this regard, the proper chants are as fundamental
to the Roman liturgy as are the other prayers and readings. Dobszay
thus asserts that to exclude these chants actually compromises the
message of the liturgy.
Organic Development and Sacrosanctum concilium
In “Sacrosanctum concilium and the Organic Development of the Liturgy,”
Rev. Dr Alcuin Reid challenged those involved in liturgical
debates to set aside simplistic, dated characterizations and assertions
that would simply demonize agendas or groups in order to consider
anew the Second Vatican Council’s call for organic development
within the liturgy. Reid himself contributed to this effort by examining
Sacrosanctum concilium (SC) and by considering further how authoritative
commentators of the time understood its mandate. These, he
proposed, provide us with tangible and credible interpretive keys for
resolving the questions of our own day.
According to Reid, the keys for understanding SC and its call
for liturgical reform may be found laid out from the beginning in
the document itself in its general principles for the restoration of the
liturgy. There we find, for instance, the call for active participation
in the liturgy on the part of the faithful. The path to this goal, however,
is not through an “activist” interpretation, but rather through
sound liturgical education. In reference to the more specific liturgical
reforms called for by SC, the methodology of those reforms was to
be organic in nature, and where need for reform was genuinely and
certainly required, it was to rest on careful consideration of historical,
theological, and pastoral developments. Reid carefully pointed out
that this proposal met no controversy among the council fathers and
was even more narrowly delineated to ensure clarity in the manner of
reform. The council fathers did not consider this to be an open door
for radical innovations but simply prudent liturgical reform. Expert
commentators of the time further confirm this intention. Reid mentioned
that, prior to the vote on SC, the council fathers were assured
that, although there was a call for some reform of the Ordo Missae,
the rite of Mass which had developed down the centuries was to be
retained. In order to clarify this, Reid shared the results of his 1996
survey of the remaining council fathers, many of whom confirmed
CIEL Coloquium 2006 319
the conservative intention of the document and of their fellow fathers
of the council.
Reid concluded with a criticism of the liturgical positivism that
has insinuated itself into both the liturgy and the exercise of authority.
This has led to a further principle of “organic progression” that allows
for a relativist approach to the Roman liturgical tradition, reforming
the liturgy ostensibly within the context of organic development and,
ultimately, to the conciliar decrees themselves. Tangibly, it constitutes
a de-objectivization of the Roman liturgy in favor of a subjectivist
understanding whereby we might form the liturgy as we think it ought
to be, and in turn we give that subjective determination the objective
weight of the tradition and of legitimate authority. Reid surmises
that if we use the interpretative keys found within SC, look to the
interpretation of the experts of the time, and consider the testimony
of the council fathers, it becomes clear that the principle of organic
liturgical development was not respected, and it is only reasonable
to look again at liturgical reform.
The Rites of the Military Religious Orders
Doctor Cristina Dondi of Lincoln College, Oxford, presented “The
Liturgies of the Military Religious Orders,” which concentrated on
the liturgical books of the Knights Templar and the Hospitallers. This
study detailed their liturgies’ relation to the liturgy of the church
of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which itself was derived from,
according to Dondi, a variety of western sources in accordance with
Latin usage at the end of the eleventh century. She further explored
variations in the local liturgical usages of these orders, whether or not
they adapted to local liturgical customs or festivals, and their development
in other locales, through the advent of the printing press and
beyond the Council of Trent.
Corpus Christi and the Liturgical Year
Doctor Lauren Pristas of Caldwell College, New Jersey, addressed
“The Development of the Feast of Corpus Christi and its Place in
the Church’s Sacred Year.” Pristas examined the relationship between
the celebration of the Lord’s Day and the mysteries of the liturgical
year from both historical and theological perspectives, considering
how the Church presents to us the mystery of our redemption.
Pristas then examined the origins and development of the feast of
Corpus Christi itself, furnishing a theological consideration of its
place within the Church’s liturgical year and the illumination of the
paschal mystery.
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Roman Liturgical Poetry
Father Gabriel Diaz, a Russian Catholic priest residing in Paris,
presented “Poetry in the Latin Liturgy,” a detailed look at the early
history of Christian poetry and hymnody. He particularly noted the
eloquent expressions in the hymns of St Ambrose of Milan (c. 339
– 397), who created a Christian poetic language and who might be
considered the father of Christian hymnody. Diaz commented likewise
on the poetic works of Prudentius (348 – c. 404), which were culled
for the composition of liturgical hymns, and on the hymns Fortunatus
(c. 530 – c. 609) composed specifically for various liturgical events.
Through this ongoing venture in hymnography, the Latin liturgy was
gifted with such poetical masterpieces as Pange lingua gloriosi and Veni
Creator Spiritus. After this initial cataloging, Diaz discussed the introduction
of hymns into the divine office and concluded with a critical
consideration of the reforms to Christian liturgical poetry undertaken
by the humanists of the sixteenth-century Renaissance.
Medieval Liturgical Allegory
Abbé Claude Barthe spoke on “Liturgical Catechesis in the Middle
Ages: The ‘Mystical’ Meaning of the Ceremonies of the Mass.” He
discussed the role of the mystical-spiritual sense or the allegorical
interpretation of the Mass. Barthe highlighted the role of the medieval
liturgical commentators and the patristic link to an allegorical
or typological interpretation of Sacred Scripture. In this exercise,
the medieval commentators looked beyond the surface of the actual
ritual gesture or work of liturgical art or architectural structure to the
deeper spiritual symbolism found therein. Barthe listed examples of
this kind of liturgical commentary and provided a summation of the
major medieval liturgical commentators. Barthe focused in particular
on William Durandus (c. 1237 – 1296), the most substantial liturgical
commentator of the Middle Ages, whose Pontificale and Rationale
divinorum officiorum explain the symbolism underlying the rites and
vestments of the sacred liturgy. From there he detailed the decline of
this allegorical tradition in explicating the rites, gestures, and accoutrements
of the liturgy, particularly after the Reformation with the
attendant rise of Renaissance humanism. Barthe further remarked
that this decline paralleled the rise of scientific criticism in relation to
biblical studies. This decline reached its nadir in the twentieth century,
when such allegorical commentaries were dismissed outright. Barthe
was careful not to repudiate the development of scientific critique
and the value of such a methodology, but he pointedly distinguished
between rationality and rationalism. There is a place for this scientific
study, Barthe noted, but there is also a place for allegory.
CIEL Coloquium 2006 321
Moving Toward an Adequate Approach
to Liturgical Theology
The Rev. Dr Laurence Hemming, dean of research at Heythrop College,
University of London, and member of the Society of St Catherine
of Siena, gave the final paper of the colloquium. In “The Liturgy
and Theology,” Hemming discussed the importance accorded by the
Second Vatican Council to the study of the sacred liturgy in relation
to other theological disciplines. In institutes of theological learning,
the liturgy is to be studied not only in itself but also in its relationship
to other areas of theology. Hemming argued that the study of
the liturgy today suffers from an exaggerated emphasis on its pastoral
dimension. Its historical development and the inner relationship of
the texts rarely impinge on actual practice and belief. Also lacking
is attention due to the other aspects mentioned by the council: the
juridical, the spiritual, and the theological. The central importance
of liturgical theology is precisely its relationship to all theological
disciplines: all other domains proceed from liturgical theology and
are subordinate to it. As Hemming puts it, theology has its home in
prayer and in openness to God, and this is first and foremost found
in the liturgy, the prayer of the Church.
In the second part of the paper, Hemming raised a rather interesting
point that must be taken into account in any adequate approach
to liturgical theology. The liturgy, contrary to widespread opinion,
is not necessarily to be immediately and universally intelligible, as
though intelligibility were an end in itself. Rather, the liturgy is the
means to intelligibility – the means, not the end, of coming to know
God. As in the Scriptures, where we are told that in faith we see now
“as through a glass darkly” (1 Cor 13:12), so too in the earthly liturgy
there naturally will be some incomprehension. In fact, Hemming
argues, some incomprehension in worship is normal and even part
of its character, insofar as it illustrates our distance from God in our
quest to draw closer to Him.
A Brief Mention
In “The Rite of Braga,” Fr Joseph Santos of Providence, Rhode Island,
outlined some of the historical and liturgical specifics of that ancient
western rite. Father Nicola Bux, a professor in Bari, Italy, and consultor
to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, presented “Theological
Foundations of the Liturgy that Are in Need of Restoration.”
Finally, Dr Sheridan Gilley delivered an informative paper titled “Roman
Liturgy and Popular Piety,” in which he traced the development
of manuals of piety for laity in England and Ireland, and the role of
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sodalities and confraternities in fostering frequent Communion and
promoting active participation in the sacred liturgy.
The CIEL Colloquium 2006 presented a rich mixture of academic
research in the varied field of liturgy and superb celebration of the
liturgy itself. Beyond this, it provided many opportunities for friendly
debate and discussion. It may with reason be taken as an auspicious
sign for the future of liturgical studies and praxis that within the
span of a mere few months, a number of other organizations held
similar liturgical conferences, including the Society for Catholic Liturgy
(Northampton, Pennsylvania, September 2006), the Research
Institute for Catholic Liturgy (Plymouth, Michigan, May 2006), the
Latin Liturgy Association (St Louis, Missouri, July 2006), and the
Fellowship of Catholic Scholars (Kansas City, Missouri, September
2006). Such positive signs give promise of the growing liturgical
movement of our day.
Shawn Tribe of London, Canada is a representative of CIEL Canada and the editor
of The New Liturgical Movement, a liturgy weblog.

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