Last week I had the great pleasure to attend the Sacra Liturgia conference in London. The highlight of the conference itself was the opening address by His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah -- Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Cardinal's address was a bold call for the re-orientation of Catholic liturgy back towards God and, specifically, for a call to return to ad orientem worship. This is where the priest faces liturgical east in common direction with the people. The Cardinal looked at the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in Sacrosanctum Concilium and pointed out that many of the implementations of the reforms went too far, and were fuelled by an agenda that was at odds with what the council really intended. This led to an erosion of understanding about what the sacrifice of the Mass is, and what the Eucharist really means for Roman Catholics. It was a deft, and brilliant, analysis. The Cardinal suggested priests begin/return to ad orientem worship ASAP as a crucial step in reclaiming Catholic understanding of the Mass. He suggested the first Sunday of Advent this year, as we turn to 'face the Lord who comes', as being a good time to start. I, for one, hope that this starts to happen as I agree with the Cardinal's take on this.
Hopefully we will be publishing the proceedings of this year's Sacra Liturgia conference *watch this space*. In the meantime, I'm delighted to introduce Liturgy in the Twenty-First Century: Contemporary Issues and Perspectives, which will be published on 14th July. This is the volume from last year's event in New York, and we presented a copy to Cardinal Sarah in London. The volume considers many aspects of liturgy in the 21st Century, and features contributions from Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Cordileone, Lauren Pristas and many more. On the back, from his address to the conference, Cardinal Sarah says;
'I ask you to be wise, like the householder... who knows when to bring out of his treasure things both new and old, so that the Sacred Liturgy as it is celebrated an lived today may lose nothing of the estimable riches of the Church's liturgical tradition, whilst always being open to legitimate development'
There is also an excellent chapter on the 'youth' and the liturgy, which looks at the phenomenon of the high number of young people who are interested in the traditional liturgy, and questions why this preference is so often dismissed or condescended towards by older generations. Indeed, there is still a prevalent (Blowing in the) wind of people who believe they are experts in liturgy 'to which the youth relates'... despite the fact that their own youth was quite some time ago.
To get your discounted copy please order through our website, and enter the code LITURGY20 to receive a 20% discount.
Pope Francis offers Mass ad orientem in the Sistine Chapel.