Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches
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Re posting 1197:
Paddy Jones of the Pastoral Liturgy Institute mentions the follwoing in his article in the September 2006 number of Intercom:
“It is a matter of grave concern that there are several different positions on liturgy adopted today, characterised by a strong element of disagreement, and some of which oppose the charter of reform given by Vatican II”.
In relation to this comment some other points must be made.
1. While it is true to say that a spectrum of theological opinion has given rise to a concomitant spectrum of liturgical positions, it has to be borne in mind that none of these positions adopted by liturgists necessarily represents the OFFICIAL position of the Catholic Church with regard to liturgy and what is required for its celebration. In effect, the spectrum of opinions mentioned by P. Jones must be classified as PRIVATE opinions.
2. The OFFICIAL position of the Church with regard to liturgy, and what is required for its celebration, is contained in the Code of Canon Law of 1983, the Praenotanda of the liturgical books, the Institutio Generalis Romani Missalis, the authentic interpretation of liturgical law given by the Holy See and the various Instructions issued for the implementation of the above mentioend corpus of liturgical law (e.g.the most recent being Ecclesiae de Mysterio, Liturgiam Authenticam, and Redemptionis Sacramentum). This, and only this, constitutes the OFFICIAL position of the Church and what is required for the celebration of the liturgy. Nothing more than what is contained in this corpus can be demanded of anyone. It is very surprising that Fr. Paddy Jones makes not even the slighest mention of this fact in his article.
3. It certainly is a move in the right direction for Fr. Jones to recognise that a range of liturgical opinion exists. The usefulmness of the various positions expressed with that range can be tested in reference to what is expressed by teh Church’s OFFICIAL position on liturgy and by reference to a long theological tradition. This exercise will quickly enough sort out what is genuinely helpful both at an academic and pastoral level.
However, our learned author is NOT engaged in any META-LITURGICAL exercise – if we can call it that – which seeks critically to examine the spectrum of private liturgical opinions expressed by any number of theologians so as to extract the positive elements that can be found in all (or nearly all) of these positions and integrate them into a new and higher liturgical synthesis. Our author does not mention that he is the promotor of a single position within the broader spectrum of liturgical opinion.
He is of course entitled to do so. But he may not represent his own view as the ONLY possible position that can be taken on the Liturgy and he may certainly not represent his view as that of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council nor as that of the Official position adopted by the Church.
4. Given that there is a spectrum of opinion with regard to liturgy, it is perhaps naive of our zealous author to have overlooked the certain fact that the general outlines of a theological consensus are gradually emerging and assuming an increasing dominance within liturgical debate. There can be doubt that one of the main players over the past thirty years in the development of that consensus has been Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. His ideas have been taken up and expanded by an ever increasing number of younger theologians. Our widely-read author seems either unaware of this movement or has chosen to ignore it and to cosset himself in the frail certitudes of another generation. Praxiteles is unaware of anything published by Fr. Paddy Jones in which he gives unqualified support to the present Pope’s liturgical agenda.
5. Let us be clear about one thing! The so called “re-ordering” of the interior of Cobh Cathedral is not the punctum stantis aut cadentis (as Luther said when referring to another matter) of the renewal of the liturgy instituted by the Second Vatican Council and given effect in the legislative enactments of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. That process will continue and is likely to evolve in the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI.
The so-called “re-ordering” of the interior of Cobh is, in reality, the Irish punctum stantis aut cadentis for a certain outlook that has arrogated to itself an almost total hegemony in the area of liturgy over the past thirty years. That same hegemony has been so complete that it has mistakenly assumed that the positions it holds are the only possible ones that can be held. But, more seriously, it has portrayed a private theoloogical position as an OFFICIAL position adopted by the Catholic Church. Perhaps our liberal minded author’s “disappointment” at the outcome of the Cobh saga may, at least in part, derive from a vague reliazation that things are no longer as they were?