Professor of Liturgical Studies, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame, ELCA pastor and Oblate of Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville

Mixed Messages

One of the great joys that I have experienced in my life of faith has been the ability to join with Roman Catholics and Christians of several differing traditions in occasions of worship, including ecumenical events, and to already know the words of many of the prayers and other liturgical texts. As a result of what has appeared to many Christians as a unilateral liturgical move, Presbyterian scholar of liturgy Horace Allen claimed that “the entire ecumenical liturgical conversation and dialogue is over-finished, dead, done.” While I find that sentiment somewhat premature, I do think its survival is not automatically assured any longer without serious attention and sustained reflection and conversation by those of us who remain committed to the liturgical implications of the pursuit of full, visible Christian unity.

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