Bruce Morrill, S.J., holds the Edward A. Malloy Chair in Roman Catholic Studies at Vanderbilt University, where he is Professor of Theological Studies in the Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion and Director of the Doctorate of Ministry program. He provides educative, liturgical, and pastoral ministry in parish, school, and prison settings in Nashville and has done so over the years across the USA, including regular trips to Yup’ik villages in western Alaska. In addition to ongoing publications in academic journals, collective volumes, and popular platforms, his ten books include Anamnesis as Dangerous Memory (2000), Divine Worship and Human Healing (2009), and the forthcoming Practical Sacramental Theology: At the Intersection of Liturgy and Ethics (2021).

Too Many Masses? Pastoral-Liturgical Practice on Ash Wednesday

Given the history of Ash Wednesday’s emergence and various morphings over the centuries as a ritual-symbol inaugurating a season of penitence, I simply do not see why, in the Roman Catholic Church, at least, the most apt liturgy would not be based on the sample penitential services (basically, liturgies of the word) found at the end of the Rite of Penance.

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A Homely Reminder of How Rote Ritual Is

So much of the analysis of liturgy remains focused on the words in the books or even the words recited or repeated in assemblies, and this with an uncritical, unarticulated assumption that the discursive content of those texts impact/shape the ideas or imaginations of most of the participants. The individual performances and ongoing practices of a rite/ritual/liturgy are so much more and most often a matter of non-discursive, semiotic (if you will) patterns …

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Reviewing Louis Bouyer Ten Years Later

My own impression of the purpose of [the increasinlgy speculative, abstract] development in his work was that it served to support the practical, clerical, highly conservative ecclesiology he promoted in his writings, lectures, and not least through his formative influence on an inner circle of students he nurtured in 1970s Paris, including (the later cardinals) Lustiger (Paris) and Shoenborn (Vienna) … .

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Community as Communio?

“Community is not formed by fellowship, familiar faces, and coffee and doughnuts after Mass; community is formed when all of the congregation lifts up our hearts and voices in praise of God. That is the deep and timeless fellowship that the Mass offers to each of its participants. Through the action of the Mass, the strangers and saints gathered together at Mass become a community.” — Renee Roden

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