Liturgy Newsletter — May 2007


  • News
  • Liturgy & livesimply
  • Roman Missal — the process of translation
  • Documentation
    Benedict XVI


Book Reviews


The Sacrament of Charity

Sacramentum Caritatis, the post-synodal exhortation by Pope Benedict XVI, was published on 13 March. The document follows the pattern set by Paul VI and John Paul II of following a meeting of the Synod of Bishops with an Apostolic Exhortation. The Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was held in Rome in October 2005 and took as its theme The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church. This followed the Year of Eucharist instigated by John Paul II.

The exhortation takes as its starting point the 50 propositions that were formulated by the Synod Fathers. These are closely woven into the text of the document. The text is divided into three sections: The Eucharist, a Mystery to be Believed; The Eucharist, a Mystery to be Celebrated; The Eucharist, a Mystery to be Lived. The first part offers a theology of the Eucharist which is explored first through the Trinity, then the Sacraments and then in eschatology and the Virgin Mary. The second part on celebration looks at some key parts of the Mass that were raised during the Synod including the homily and the sign of peace. This is framed by sections looking at liturgy as the work of the ‘whole Christ’, the liturgy and beauty, the art of good celebration and the meaning of active participation. A clear link is drawn between how well the liturgy is celebrated and participation in the liturgy. The third part looks at the Eucharist as a model for the Christian life. Connections are made between the Eucharist and not just how individuals live their lives (Eucharistic Consistency) but also the link with the Church’s social teaching — the bread broken for the life of the world.

Sacramentum Caritatis has been published by Catholic Truth Society. A short leaflet Introducing Sacramentum Caritatis (pdf) has been prepared by the Liturgy Office.

Synod on the Word

The next Synod will be 17– 21 October 2008 on The Word of God in the life and mission of the Church. The lineamenta for the Synod was published on 27 April. This document prepares for the Synod meeting by giving an overview of the subject and asking a series of questions to be responded to by Bishops’ Conferences. The document is in 3 parts: Revelation, the Word of God and the Church; the Word of God in the life of the Church and the Word of God in the mission of the Church. The introduction to the document explicitly makes the link between this Synod and the previous one on the Eucharist, the intrinsic connection between Word and Eucharist. The document can be found on the Vatican Website.

News from Bishops’ Conference

The Easter meeting of the Bishops’ Conference was held in Leeds 23–26 April. On the Monday the bishops celebrated both the Solemnity of St George and the 80th birthday of the Holy Father with Mass at the newly refurbished Leeds Cathedral. Most of the items on the agenda of the Department for Christian Life and Worship were ongoing matters including marriage rites, liturgical music, and electronic publishing. The Department received the annual reports of the Committees for Liturgy, Patrimony and Spirituality together with that for the Liturgy Office. These have been placed on the Department website.