Moderator’s note: In this new series, “In This Issue,” Pray Tell will report briefly on the contents of current issues of important liturgical journals. The series is intended to alert readers to articles they might wish to search out in a library or on internet (as the case may be), or to consider subscribing to the journal reviewed. Comments will not be open on posts in this series, for the very brief summaries given here do not provide, and are not intended to provide, the basis for constructive discussion of the authors’ works. – awr
Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal, 17:2, 2013.
1. William H. Johnston, associate professor in Religious Studies at University of Dayton, in “Pope Benedict XVI on the Postconciliar Liturgical Reform: An Essay in Interpretation,” argues that Pope Benedict XVI sees the liturgical reform fundamentally positively, more than is generally thought. Johnston acknowledges the many negative things Benedict has written about the reform, including comments very sharp and sweeping in scope. But this must be set against Benedict’s many positive comments, and it is these that provide his fundamental viewpoint. Johnston creatively suggests that the reason for the sharp negativity in some of Benedict’s comments is his sense that his criticisms, which are but a small part of his overall viewpoint, have not been heard and received by others, and so he felt the need to express the concerns every more pointedly.
2. Alcuin Reed, Benedictine monk of the Monastère Saint-Benoît in France and author of The Organic Development of the Liturgy: The Principles of Liturgical Reform and Their Relation to the Twentieth-Century Liturgical Movement Prior to the Second Vatican Council, for which then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) wrote this review, wrote “From Rubrics to Ars Celebrandi – Liturgical Law in the 21st Century.” He notes that many of the great preconciliar rubricists were themselves critical of an obsession with tiny details, for example Fortescue: “You cannot conceive how I loathe the idea of going into all that horrid business of the minutiæ of tomfool modern ceremonies…” The Second Vatican Council gave helpful directives on the renewal of the liturgy and the importance of liturgical law, but the implementation of this was impeded by the cultural upheavals and the spirit of skepticism toward all authority. Reed thinks the “higher way” is to discover the “ars celebrandi,” the art of proper celebration. “Ars celebrandi is not about liturgical law or rubrics. It is about fidelity to Christ and communion with the One Church He founded,” Reed writes.
3. Roland Millare, chair of the theology department at Pope John XXIII High School in Katy, Texas and candidate for a licentiate in dogmatic and sacramental theology at the Mundelein Liturgical Institute, wrote “The Nominalist Justification for Luther’s Sacramental Theology.” With some nuance and ecumenical sensitivity, Millare nonetheless critiques Luther’s “erroneous views” – with contemporary Catholic theologians thrown in too – for their lack of rootedness in thirteenth-century Thomas Aquinas. “A recovery of a Thomistic sacramental theology is much needed as a corrective for the nominalist influence, which distorts the understanding of the sacraments by both Protestant and Catholic scholars,” he writes. Because the issues raised by Millare are so important, Pray Tell will publish in the coming a week a careful criticism of his essay.
4. Book Reviews
- Stratford Caldecott, All Things Made New: The Mysteries of the World in Christ (Angelico Press / Sophia Perennis, 2011) by Albertus Horting.
- Charlotte Kroeker, The Sounds of Our Offerings: Achieving Excellent in Church Music (Alban, 2011) by David Pitt.
- Joseph Swain, Sacred Treasure: Understanding Catholic Liturgical Music (Liturgical Press, 2012) by Brian MacMichael.
- Anthony Esolen, The Beauty of the Word: A Running Commentary on the Roman Missal (Magnificat, 2012) by David Fagerberg.
- Robin Jensen, Baptismal Imagery in Early Christianity: Ritual Visual, and Theological Dimensions (Baker Academic, 2012) by Dianne Phillips.
- John McKenna, Become What You Receive: A Systematic Study of the Eucharist (Hillenbrand/LTP, 2012) by James Lee.
- Michon Matthiesen, Sacrifice as Gift: Eucharist, Grace, and Contemplative Prayer in Maurice de la Taille (CUA Press, 2013) by David Fagerberg.
- John Piderit and Jelanie Morey, ed., Teaching the Tradition: Catholic Themes in Academic Disciplines (Oxford U Press, 2012) by Leonardo Franchi.