Liturgy Newsletter ó Reviews
- Resources for times of remembrance: Beyond our Tears
- The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform
- Celebrating the Christian Year: Volume 1 - Ordinary Time
- Healed, Restored, Forgiven: liturgies, prayers and readings for the ministry of healing.
- Living the Lectionary — links to life and literature. Year C
- Preparing Parish Liturgies: A guide to resources
- Voices from the Council
Prepared by the Joint Liturgical Group and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
1. Brief review by Allen Morris
Beyond our Tears is a book that has its origins in the desire to provide resources for some revision of the traditional November Remembrance Day services. The official revision of those services will be published at a later date, but this book provides additional material to assist groups that do not wish to use the official service, and may wish to remember more than the 20th Centuries World Wars in their worship or other acts of remembrance.
Those involved in compiling this present book have provided a second and briefer part, intended to help with the commemoration of local or national tragedy. Frequently local communities will find their own secular ways of associating themselves with such tragedies. But many in the community will also turn to the Church for help ñ perhaps with acts of worship, perhaps simply in providing a place for prayer or reflection.
The book offers some simple suggestions for those seeking to respond to such need. There are also a number of prayer resources, and examples of service patterns that others have used.
There is a wide variety of material offered here. Some is Christian in its origin and content, some is not and would not easily find a place in Christian worship. But not all acts of remembrance or commemoration, not even those organized or assisted by the Church, will necessarily be ëChristianí nor will they necessarily be acts of worship.
Those taking responsibility for preparing and leading acts of remembrance need to be clear about what they are seeking to provide and for whom. It is not clear that this book will really help them to achieve such clarity. It is good to read in the introduction that, alert to the limitations of this present book, the Joint Liturgical Group is already engaged in doing further work in this field.
The layout of the book is somewhat confusing. It is not always clear where one section or text within a section starts or ends. However there is much here worth reading and worth pondering on, and it is probably a book worth having on the shelf for ready reference should the need occur.
2. CTBI Press release
Finding the words for a community's tears
'Tragedy always strikes on an ordinary day,' said the Revd Colin McIntosh as he reflected on the Wednesday morning in March 1996 when sixteen children and their teacher were shot dead in Dunblane where he is Minister at the Cathedral. Feeling chuffed to be driving his new car, the minister had turned on the car radio and then heard news reports of the tragedy. Numbness and paralysis took over as he met fellow clergy to plan how to care for their mourning community. 'We felt helpless,' he recalled, speaking at the launch in Dunblane last week of a new anthology called Beyond our Tears from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) and Joint Liturgical Group (JLG).
'In the eight years since there has been a string of tragedies, Soham, Bali, 11 September, Madrid...I fear the ability of the church to respond at such times is an ever recurring requirement. So I warmly commend those who have produced Beyond our Tears: resources for times of remembrance with such sensitivity and imagination and helpfulness.'
The book is a step towards producing, with the Royal British Legion, a new Service for the nation's remembrance for November 2005.
Edited by Jean Mayland, Beyond our Tears draws on the experience of those who can reflect on war and reconciliation, as well as those caught up in tragic events in Aberfan, Dunblane and Soham. There are short stories from the First and Second World Wars, the Falklands conflict and the war in Iraq, poems, prayers for justice and peace, worship material, hymns and music. It includes 'Blessed are the Peacemakers: a service of Reflection and Reconciliation' as well as extracts from memorial services for those who died at Dunblane, Soham, on 11 September and during the conflict in Iraq.
Andrew Barr represents the Scottish Episcopalian Church on JLG. He recalled his daunting task of broadcasting the night of the Zeebrugge ferry disaster in 1987. 'At such times newsrooms turn from being extremely secular places to extremely confused places, searching for words. I thought I would never again have such an event in my broadcasting experience as Zeebrugge.' Then came Dunblane. He paid tribute to the way Colin McIntosh and colleagues had responded to the needs of the community, providing space, providing tissues, listening, keeping silence, finding words. Beyond our Tears contains a checklist for what could be done at times of local or national tragedy.
Many of the resources in Beyond our Tears come from Scottish contributors, including Derek Browning, Gerry Fitzpatrick, Kathy Galloway, Donald Macaskill, James Murdoch Ewing, Neil Paynter and there are hymns from John Bell, Wild Goose Publications and the Iona Community. Another contributor, the Revd Andrew Scobie, Church of Scotland minister of Cardross, a liturgical scholar and a former convener of the General Assembly's Panel on Worship and its Liturgical Committee, spoke of the unexpected bonus found in creating liturgy in an ecumenical gathering. 'There's a richness in diversity I have never encountered before,' he said.
The Editor of Beyond our Tears, the Revd Jean Mayland, said the Churches must face the challenge of embracing popular expressions of community grief. Grieving mourners who lay bunches of flowers and candles at the roadside and tie scarves to goalposts need to feel the church offers a space for them. 'We have to enable people to express their grief, face their anger and pain and eventually move on to their future.'
The Royal British Legion has welcomed the book. Bill Clark, the Royal British Legion director of administration met veterans at the recent D-Day gatherings in Staffordshire. 'The veterans want their stories to be recorded and there are some stories here in Beyond our Tears. As the nation's de facto guardian of remembrance, the Legion welcomes the publication of Beyond our Tears which we are sure will be a useful resource for the nation's remembrance,' he said.
Beyond our Tears ISBN 085169 286 9 price £7.95
is available from CTBI Publications,
phone 01733 325 002 or via www.ctbi.org.uk
by László Dobszay (Church Music Association of America, Front Royal VA, 2003)
Describing the Roman Catholic liturgy as reformed by the Second Vatican Council as ëthe Bugnini-Liturgyí is a bit of a giveaway, even if the author does admit that the title of his book is ìessentially provocativeî (p. 10, fn. 2). But before supporters of the Tridentine Mass go rushing for their cheque books I should inform them that he is not happy with the Tridentine Mass and Divine Office either. His ideal seems to be a Roman liturgy of about the 12th century, but since the book appears to be a series of articles written at different times, there are some inconsistencies in the authorís views. He does accept that the Tridentine model is ìbut one of the branches of the Roman liturgyî (ìand not the most successful oneî, p. 12), whereas he claims that the ëBugnini liturgyí is not an organic development of the Roman tradition at all. But his real objection lies not only with the way in which the Vatican Councilís Constitution on the Liturgy was put into practice by the Consilium entrusted with its implementation ñ of which Fr Annibale Bugnini was only the secretary ñ but with the Constitution itself (ibid.). He appears completely oblivious of the 20th century liturgical movement that preceded the Council.
Mr Dobszay has an impressive CV as a musician. He has been a teacher at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest since 1975, and founded the Church Music Department there in 1990. He specialised in Hungarian folk music before turning to liturgical chant. A prolific writer, he has published books on Gregorian chant in Hungary and whole corpora of antiphons. He was co-editor of the Catholic hymnal Énekl&Mac222; Egyház (ëThe Singing Churchí), published in 1986; this contains 370 congregational hymns and some settings of the Ordinary of the Mass, but is notable for its settings of the Entrance and Communion antiphons of the Roman Missal in Graduale Simplex style but in Hungarian, of which more later. (The current reviewer was co-editor of the hymnal Praise the Lord and editor of The Simple Gradual, the English version of the Graduale Simplex, so feels a certain comradeship with Mr Dobszay.)
The problem is his understanding of what the Roman liturgy should be. Not for him the ënoble simplicityí required by the liturgy Constitution (SC 34): on the contrary, ìa reduction of rites always led to a similar laziness in spiritualityî (p. 146). So he completely rejects any reform that removes or corrects something accumulated in the past. He is unhappy even with the comparatively mild revision of the mediaeval Divine Office undertaken by the Council of Trent. No, he maintains, we must return to a monastic-style Divine Office in which all 150 psalms are recited in one week: 12 at the Night Vigil, 5 at Lauds and Vespers, 2 or 3 portions of Psalm 118 at Prime (restored), Terce, Sext and None and 4 at Compline. There might be accommodations for clergy with pastoral responsibilities, some Hours might be prayed only on certain days of the week, but ìthe full Roman Office is given into the hands of the faithful. No matter how large a portion is actually prayed following the rules: the whole, undiminished Office is proposedî (p. 79). And it is for the lay people ìto sing the Divine Officeî (pp. 183/4). Oh, and the author spends the whole of the first chapter of the book lamenting the re-positioning of the Office hymn at Lauds and Vespers from the middle to the beginningÖ
He proposes an elaborate reconstruction of Holy Week incorporating Tenebrae (chapter 2). And he is very upset by the change of the order of the Easter Vigil whereby the Baptismal Liturgy is placed after the Liturgy of the Word instead of between the Old and New Testament readings: ìif somebody [Bugnini?] anathematizes this ordo for the sake of his own invention, it is near impudenceî (p. 39). He wants to go back to the order decreed by Pius XII in 1950s, in which the four Old Testament readings were followed by the first half of the Litany of the Saints, sung on the way to the baptismal font, then the baptismal liturgy, then the second half of the litany sung on the way back from the font, followed by the Gloria of the Mass. But then he does not accept the structure of the Mass as being composed of the Liturgies of the Word and of the Eucharist ñ indeed, he regards the whole revised Lectionary with its three-year Sunday cycle as a big mistake (chapter 5, cp. SC 51).
However, his main gripe is with the ëProper of the Massí, which he sees as untouchable. But what he really means by the Proper of the Mass are simply the Introit and Communion antiphons with their Gregorian chant. The prayers (Collect, over the Gifts and after Communion) as constituent parts of the ëProperí he entirely disregards. He is less bothered by the loss of the old Graduals, Tracts and Alleluia verses, despite his dislike of the new Lectionary. He is not even troubled by the disappearance of the old Offertory antiphons. What is it about the Introit and Communion antiphons that so captivates him?
The answer is this: it is their optional but universally common replacement by ëalius cantus aptusí, ëanother suitable songí (p. 87 and passim thereafter). He says that these words come from the General Instruction on the Roman Missal. In fact the relevant paragraph (48) reads: ëThe antiphon and psalm of the Graduale Romanum or the Graduale Simplex may be used, or another liturgical song that is suited to (congruus) the sacred action, the day or the season, and that has a text approved by the Conference of Bishops.í Note the qualification, Mr Dobszay! Nonetheless he quotes ad nauseam the phrase alius cantus aptus, and complains bitterly that it has given general licence to anyone to replace the Introit and Communion antiphons with any song and without any effective regulation about the form or content thereof. ìThe fact is that this rule of unlimited substitution has practically swept away the Proper of the Massî (p. 88) ñ a rather sweeping generalisation, even if injudicious choice of hymns/songs at the Entrance and Communion is all too common.
Yes, ìthe Graduale has de facto disappearedî, but if by ëGradualeí he means the Latin Introit and Communion antiphons with their plainsong, these were only ever regularly within the competence of monastic and professional and semi-professional choirs. But for Dobszay it is psalmists and choirs who should even now be trained to sing the Proper which ìbelongsî to them to sing in the first place, not the congregation (p. 184), and preferably in Gregorian chant and in Latin. Where it is not possible to sing the settings in the Graduale Romanum then, somewhat grudgingly, he allows the use of the Graduale Simplex; where even these tunes ìseem too difficult, cantillation formulae can be provided for the Proper chants, perhaps after the fashion of Carlo Rossini or Edmunds Tozer, for exampleî (p. 115). Well Rossini published his settings in 1933 (they are still available) and Edmund Tozer his in 1907! They are no more than the texts of the Introit and Communion antiphons set to psalm-tones. Is a verse or two sung to a bland psalm-tone (as distinct from a melody) an adequate Opening or Communion song for a liturgical celebration?
And here is the problem with Mr Dobszayís analysis. He does not allow as a criterion the function of the Introit and Communion songs as processional songs having a particular role at a particular time in the Mass. Ironically, he finds it ìquite remarkableÖ that this connection between a Proper chant and a given part of the liturgy does not involve explicit mention of the start of Mass in the IntroitÖ or to the reception of the Sacrament in the Communio.î (p. 98, fn). The purpose of the Introit and Communion songs are precisely defined in the General Instruction (paras 47 and 86, q.v.), but for Dobszay these definitions are irrelevant because for him the only norms are the traditional Missal texts, with or without their Gregorian chant.
Now whether hymns or hymn-form songs are the best music in function, form and content for the Entrance and Communion processions is an arguable point. When the use of the vernacular in the liturgy was granted, in Hungary as in England there was a rush to embrace hymns as the most immediately available and practical music for congregational use. So the use of the strophic form and of sometimes uninspired texts and music imported from a different liturgical or devotional tradition became a de facto standard. In France, where there was no such hymn tradition, the adoption of a responsorial form of song favoured the use of psalms and a biblical flavour for the texts of the refrains. Indeed, even before the Constitution on the Liturgy had been promulgated ñ and thanks to the liturgical renewal already well under way there ñ there existed a complete psalter with liturgical refrains for every psalm (J. Gelineau & P. Cneude, Refrains Psalmiques, Editions du Cerf, 1963).
Dobszay feels that hymns are so alien to the Roman liturgy that they do not constitute liturgical music at all: they lack ìmusico-liturgical validityî (p. 115). But he is loyal to the Church; the new Ordo Missae will remain the ìdominantî rite of the Church for the foreseeable future ìand we owe respect and obedience to itî. So, bowing to the inevitable, he proposes (p. 191) the following Order of Mass. The people should sing an introductory folk hymn before Mass, then for the Introit have the ëProper of the dayí in vernacular with congregational participation, on simple antiphonal melodies, occasionally closed by the Latin version from the Graduale. The Ordinary should be sung in plainsong in Hungarian or Latin: he makes no mention of the Eucharistic Acclamation, though elsewhere he suggests a hymn at the Elevation ìwhile the celebrant interrupts the Canon Missaeî (!, p. 119). There should be a short congregational hymn before the Homily ìthat expresses succinctly the thoughts of the day or the seasonî and a motet or hymn at the Offertory (but apparently not the Gregorian Offertory antiphon). At the Communion, the Proper should be sung in the same manner as the Introit, then occasionally the Latin from the Graduale, followed by a congregational hymn. ìAnd a good congregational hymn is practically indispensable at the end of Massî (ibid.). The hymns, he says, are a concession for singing at Mass, not the singing of the Mass: but in his scheme ìexcept for the Offertory, the full Proper is performedî, he says triumphantly (p. 191).
I do not agree with Mr Dobszayís limited definition of the ëProperí as the only norm for liturgical texts at the Entrance and Communion. I would look carefully at the function of singing at these points, as defined by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Yes, liturgical songs ìshould be scriptural in their inspirationî, like ìprayers and collectsî (SC 24), but like them they should not be restricted to word-for-word quotations from Holy Scripture. Yes, what is chosen must always be ìsuited to the sacred action, the day or the seasonî. And I would also want to question (a) whether hymns are even a practical form of congregational participation during the Communion procession, (b) whether the now traditional Entrance hymn is necessarily the most effective way of preparing and leading the Mass-participant into the community celebration of the liturgy. But to insist on the ritual utterance of Missal texts chosen for a different Lectionary as a sine qua non of ìmusico-liturgical validityî is a pedantic extreme.
As for musical style, Dobszay is clearly wedded to the Gregorian idiom, but in a creative sense. He sees Gregorian music as ìa kind of generative techniqueî. ìThe question is not how to write syllables under the notes of a canonized melodyÖ but how to enunciate the new texts in this musical languageî (p. 204-5). For this ìthe ancient stock of antiphon and responsory melodies offer a flexible vocabulary reshaped again and again according to the different textsî (p. 205). For him, ìthe devotional character of Gregorian chant excludes extravagance but it does not allow boredomî (ibid.). He commends Anglican as well as Hungarian settings of plainsong in the vernacular. And yes, Pope John Paul II, in his letter commemorating the centenary of Pope Pius Xís Tra le Sollecitudini, says that Gregorian chant should not be copied to make new music, but new music ìshould be imbued with the same spirit that inspired and gradually modelledî the chant (para. 12). But then the Pope also welcomes new music alongside Gregorian chant (para. 10).
In his hymnal Dobszay did not always get his own way. Some of the 370 hymns were only included ìas a compromiseî and there is clear dissatisfaction registered in the phrase ìthough ëMass-hymnsí had to be retainedî (p. 213). However, there are 45 Introit and 34 Communion texts in Hungarian translation, set to no more than Gregorian-style 13 melodies, as well as seasonal texts (5 for Advent, 5 for Lent, 7 for Ordinary Time). The collection also includes 12 ìparishî settings of Vespers, Lauds, Terce and Compline. It also contains ìa splendidly restored order for Holy Week ñ the old traditional Hungarian riteî (p. 214), presumably with ecclesiastical approval; in one church a full earlier (i.e. mediaeval) ìordoî was allowed ad experimentum (p. 44): Dobszay certainly has friends in high places! Oh, and ìshortly after the publication of the new hymnal, a series of sung Offices was launched (7 volumes so far)î (!, p. 213-4). There is also a separate ëBook of Introitsí containing all the Introits of the Proper of Seasons (p. 112, fn.).
This is the more constructive aspect of the book. Earlier, in a more combative mood, Dobszay quotes with approval Cardinal Ratzingerís statement, ìThe cause of the Churchís inner crisis is the disintegration of her liturgyî (p. 158), and indeed the book is fulsomely dedicated to him, with his permission.
Celebrating the Christian Year: Prayers & Resources for Sundays, Holy Days & Festivals Years A, B & C
Volume 1: Ordinary Time
Compiled by Alan Griffiths. Canterbury Press: Norwich 2004
This is the first volume of a planned series of three offering resources for the Church of Englandís Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). The RCL is a revision of the Roman Lectionary for Mass which was further adapted by the Church of England as the Lectionary provision for Common Worship. In the Introduction Alan Griffiths comments that ëthe basic insight of (the) lectionary was that the Gospels and other documents of the New Testament should be allowed to speak to the Church in a form as uninfluenced as possible by choices of theme or subjectí. The RCL offers two tracks: one where the first reading reflects the Gospel; the other track offering a semi-continuous reading of books of the Old Testament.
For Anglicans and other Churches using the RCL this collection offers for every Sunday original scripture based opening prayers for years A, B, and C. A fourth collect collect is given for the semi-continuous track. Also included are texts for the Gospel Acclamation, a concluding prayer for the Intercessions, a Prayer over the Gifts and a Prayer after Communion. For the Sundays of Epiphany and the ëKingdom seasoní a proper preface is provided. Many are taken from the authorís previous collection of Ambrosian prefaces ëWe give you thanks and praiseí (Canterbury Press 1999). A similar collection of resources is provided for many Saintís days that occur in Ordinary Time.
In addition there is some material for Saturday Evening Prayer or a Sunday Vigil Service. This includes texts for a Service of Light and Rite of Incense. For the ëMain Service of Sundayí there are resources for the opening rites: a Commemoration of Baptism; extensive for tropes for the Kyrie; a litany of praise of All Saints day. The book ends with material for All Saints, All Souls and the Presentation of the Lord.
Texts throughout the book are garnered from a wide variety of sources; many are either translated or composed by the author and fine they are too.
What does this collection offer Catholics? There are texts here that can be used in the context of the Catholic liturgy: the tropes for the Kyrie and the collect for the Intercessions for example. Some communities will welcome the resources for the service of light and rite of incense for Evening Prayer. The Service of Commemoration of the Departed in November would be an effective and appropriate non-eucharistic service to which to invite those who have been bereaved in the previous year. Perhaps most importantly both through the short but pertinent Introduction and the texts of the prayers themselves it offers a real contribution to the on-going work of establishing how we can best pray the liturgy in the vernacular.
John Gunstone. Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2004.
Healed, Restored, Forgiven is a resource book to support the Ministry of Healing, as that ministry is expressed and exercised in the Church of England.
Until relatively recently the ministry of healing was most usually expressed in the Church of England through intercession in church, visits to the sick in their homes and hospitals, sometimes including the administering of Holy Communion. Now it is relatively common for these to be complemented by public services of prayer with the laying on of hands and anointing.
The Bishops of the Church of England commissioned a report, A Time to Heal, to review this development. More recently the Church of England has included services of healing in the Common Worship provision.
Ministers in the Roman Catholic church will have observed all this with interest. It has taken place at a time when within Catholic parishes there has been a renewal of interest in the provision for the anointing of the sick in Pastoral Care for the Sick.
It is clear that a good deal of the provision in Healed, Restored, Forgiven would not be appropriate for use in the Catholic community, for example the Rites for Anointing and Laying on of Hands, the Eucharistic Prayer and the Ministry of Reconciliation.
Even so there are things here that will be worth reflecting on by Catholic ministers. The Prayers for Ministry Teams and the prayers of Preparation reveal a lacuna in the Roman Rite, and the Prayers of Intercession (here called ëresponsive prayersí) will find ready use in prayer services. Perhaps what will be of most use, is the challenge this book offers for Catholic ministers to reconsider their parishís present practice. In particular whether all of the communityís needs for liturgies of healing and reconciliation can be met by the Churchís present provision in the Rite of Penance and Pastoral Care of the Sick. The experience of other churches strongly suggests that services of intercession and personal but non-sacramental ministry have a great deal to offer in the way of pastoral care.
Geoff Wood. Chicago, Liturgy Training Publications, 2003.
I am no lover of ëstories for the homilistí and picked up Geoff Woodís Living the Lectionary ñ links to life and literature rather doubtfully, suspecting that it was just such another collection.
But was delighted to find it was not so, and doubly delighted by what it does offer: a collection of well-crafted, insightful, brief essays, one for each Sunday of the year.
Wood uses each as an opportunity to prompt fresh thinking about faith. The word ëlinksí in the title of the book is well-chosen. There is no formal exegesis of scripture here, nor does the author go out of his way to situate the words of literature that he so fruitfully draws on. Rather he shares what they have meant to him: how they have linked to his life, how he links his life to them. As one reads through the essays, it becomes clear that Woodís own life has not been free of difficulties and trials. But how he cherishes lifeÖ and how skilled he is at evoking the moments of recognition and connection that validate all human lives.
I think the volume will offer very little to the homilist who at the last minute is hunting around for inspiration. It will offer a great deal to the homilist who is ready to be reminded of the importance of thinking, feeling, living deeply. It offers companionship of one who has already some accomplishment in these things, and who is ready to share.
The back cover of the book reveals that these weekly commentaries have been published in the weekly bulletin of St Eugeneís Cathedral, Santa Rosa, California. LTP give no indication as to whether they would welcome the reprinting of the essays in bulletins elsewhere. They are just a little too long for most parish newsletters in England and Wales ñ but would find a ready home in parish and deanery magazines.
Rita Thiron. Liturgical Press, Collegeville 2004
Preparing Parish Liturgies is a labour of love. Rita Thiron provides a guide to each of the liturgical books and all the major documents. A brief historical overview of the text is followed by a synopsis and an outline of the structure or list of contents. So choosing a rite at random, the Order of Christian Funerals, there are notes on the rite with an apposite quotation from the Rite; there are the dates of approval and mandatory use and then there is the contents of the rite with the structure of each liturgy briefly given. It should be noted that Preparing Parish Liturgies is published in the United States so Thiron describes the US edition of OCF ó with its far fewer options than the English & Welsh Rite ó and the dates of implementation are American too but this should not be a bar to the general usefulness of this volume. As a brief, succinct guide to the reformed liturgy it provides a useful reference.
The book is presented as a resource for those preparing parish liturgies ó it is not primarily intended as a crib for students ó and this is its main strength. It emphasises the importance of any group preparing liturgy needing to know the actual rites and documents. These should not only be the primary resource for those preparing liturgies but also a source for the groupís ongoing formation as well.
The different strands of the book are drawn together in Chapter 7 Preparing Parish Liturgies. Each of the seasons and rites are dealt with in turn and for each list of relevant texts is documented; so for the Season of Lent there are plenty of references to 7 different documents and a table outlining Missal and Lectionary texts.
The final section is a series of worksheets or templates for liturgy preparation.
Rita Thiron is obviously a thorough woman and it is perhaps churlish to draw readerís attention to mistakes or omissions but I found it surprising that in the survey of documents that the Directory on Popular Piety was not included as it provides a useful supplement to material on liturgical seasons. There are times in the commentaries when I would have like an opinion or two. Some may see their absence as a strength but it can lead to inconsistencies such as the worksheet for Evening Prayer has space for a Lucernarium and a Thanksgiving prayer but the body of the text makes no mention what they are and why you might like to include them. Perhaps the weakest section is the necessary first chapter which offers ten basic principles of liturgical preparation. There is nothing wrong with what is on offer here and much that is sensible and good it is just too brief for what it hopes to achieve.
These are minor niggles. In producing this volume Rita Theron has provided a real service for those preparing liturgies. Not only will it provide a foundation for their task it will hopefully send them back the documents and rites themselves with renewed understanding.
edited by Michael R. Prendergast and M.D. Ridge. Pastoral Press, Oregon, 2004
First things first: Do not be put off by the cover. The contents are very much better than it might lead you to expect.
The editors have commissioned interviews with bishops and others intimately involved in Vatican Council II and the subsequent renewal of the Liturgy which followed. Some are brief, (some thankfully so!), others are more extensive. Some of them are extraordinarily rich and provocative.
It being difficult to interview the dead, few of those Council Fathers most prominent at the Council were available for interview 40 years on. There were exceptions ñ Archbishop Denis Hurley and Cardinal König, for example (both of whom have since passed to their eternal reward) ñ but most of those interviewed were relatively junior at the time. Some have gone on to exercise considerable influence beyond the bounds of their own Diocese ñ Cardinal Arinze and Archbishop Hunthausen, for example ñ but what is most interesting in the interviews is not what they themselves contributed to the Council rather their memories, and their present views. The interviews have been carried out by a range of people but many seem to have used similar questions:
- What was the most significant moment at the Council for you?
- Of all the documents of the Council, which is the most significant for you?
- What is the most important teaching that came out of the Council?
- Whom do you feel was the most significant figure at the Council?
- What happened that you never imagined would happen?
- What hasnít happened
What comes through again and again is the impact that the experience of the Council had on the lives and the thinking of most of these men. In many of the interviews you sense they are still excited by what the Council meant to them. They witness to how they continue to find inspiration in documents of the Council, but more than that they give personal testimony to the other experiences of the Council that continue to inspire. Again and again the names of John XXIII and Cardinal Suenens are spoken of with respect and gratitude, as are many of the scholars who served as advisors to the Council or particular Bishops. Many of the interviewed Bishops seemed to find the Council a great time for learning more about the Church and its Tradition.
Interviews with theologians, periti and staff are also well worth reading ñ Deiss, Gelineau, Schillebeeckx, Gy, Jounel are all here Again their reminiscences of the Council communicate the inspiration they drew from all that took place. It is interesting to hear too their reflections on the efficacy of the changes in the liturgy that they took great part in enabling. The interviews with Jounel, Gy and especially Gelineau repay careful study.
Included also are interviews with Observers at the Council (including Brother Roger of Taizé, and the one woman interviewed for the book, Sr Mary Luke Tobin) and also the Media (including a characteristically lively and revealing reminiscence from Robert Kaiser).
It is well over 40 years now since the beginning of Vatican Council II. In Tertio Millennio Adveniente Pope John Paul urged the Church to a sort of examination of conscience concerning the reception given to the teaching of the Council. In order to do that the Church surely needs to re-read and reflect on the teaching documents that came from the Council itself, principally the Constitutions on the Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), the Church (Lumen Gentium), Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) and on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes). But by way of preparation for that, a week or so reading this volume would be hard to beat.