Rorate Caeli

Liturgy notes - the revolution is alive and well

1. The Committee on Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a document with the title Stewards of the Tradition to mark the 50th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

The document is effectively one long hymn to the liturgical reform as actually implemented, praising the "great work of reform of the Liturgy and renewal of the Church that has borne such abundant fruits" and the "great strides" in promoting full, conscious and active participation; calling on the faithful to "continually strive to deepen this renewal that was begun under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit", affirming that the reformed Liturgy was "the result of extensive historical scholarship and reflection on pastoral needs", calling for further inculturation, and the like. Anything in this document that is critical of the shortcomings of the liturgical reform, whether in its ideals or its implementation, is next to impossible to detect.

In short, there is nothing surprising about the document; it is what one would expect after five relentless decades of propaganda in favor of liturgical reform, only mildly blunted by tentative steps towards "reform of the reform" in the previous Pontificate. It is a Pontificate that has been gone for only six months but whose legacy is now as if it never existed in vast swathes of the Church. We confess ourselves more surprised by the silence on this document of a certain portion of the Catholic Internet that, not so long ago, was busy hailing every little quote from any prelate in favor of elements of liturgical tradition as a giant step towards restoration...

2.. In the capital of the Philippines, Manila, there will be a large conference on the New Evangelization next month, to be held in the country's sole Pontifical University. Called the "Philippine Conference of the New Evangelization", it is far wider in scope than what its name implies, with all of the priests of Brunei and numerous delegates from other Asian countries attending it. Of interest on matters liturgical is that the Conference program advertises that it will open with the "Misa ng Bayang Pilipino" (Mass of the Philippine People"), a highly inculturated rite of the Mass made in the 1970's and which has never received Roman approval or recognition. However, in the current Pontificate, this is no source of worry ... as the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila proudly states on the website of his archdiocese, the "eyes of the Vatican are on us", not to police but to see what happens in the Conference.