Monday, April 11, 2011

Liturgical Thoughts

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I plan to post a few of my own thoughts on some liturgical matters that I think could be improved upon with some prayerful reflection. To a certain extent, I suppose some of these may be matters of opinion or personal taste. On the other hand, I do believe that there is a solid argument in favor of the positions that I advocate in each of these cases. With the issuance of the new liturgical translations due out this Advent, this may be a good time to reevaluate some of our current liturgical practices. Besides just the words that we speak, there are also gestures, symbolic actions, and music that may be in need of reform. As we adopt the new translation this Fall we may take this as an opportunity to ensure that other areas of liturgy comply with the rubrics and reflect a profound reverence for Sacred Tradition.

Here is a list of the topics I plan to address:
  • The orientation of the priest during worship
  • The use of Latin
  • Holding hands during the Our Father
  • Proper musical selections
  • Art and architecture
These are just a few topics that immediately come to mind. I may add to this list or change the order, and I may post on other topics outside of this series in the meantime. But each topic from this list will have its own brief post under the title Liturgical Thoughts (which will serve as a title for this series of posts). I do not intend any of these to be exhaustive treatments of the topics at hand, but they will at least give a brief account of what I think could be improved or how we might approach these issues differently than we do now.

I tend to think along "traditional" lines on these matters, but I am in no way an advocate of a complete return to the pre-Vatican II, Tridentine form of the Mass (however, I do favor greater access to this form). As I stated above, these are largely a matter of taste and opinion (though I think the case could be made that some opinions do weigh more heavily than others). As I am not trained in liturgy, I do not have the authority to say what is the correct path to follow. But I do have a pretty strong opinion on these issues, and I would like to convince fellow Catholics to rethink some of the practices we have come to accept as the norm.

For now, check out this post from the blog Roma locuta est. Blogger Jake Tawney tends to agree that the new Missal translation may spur a renewal of the liturgy in general. When the new translation is issued, the rubrics will be published more prominently, in the Sacramentary, where priests are more likely to read and obey:
"Many of these rubrics exist in General Instruction of the Roman Missal in one form or another, which is why I said that the rubrics themselves will not be changing with the new translation.  However, and here is the point, they do not exist in the Sacramentary.**  Having these rubrics printed in the Roman Missal, the very book from which the priest will read the Mass texts, will inevitably bring them to the forefront of his attention.  In this sense, perhaps the new translation will bring a change, not in the rubrics themselves, but in the degree to which they are followed."

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