Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vatican II Liturgical Successes is not an Oxymoron

This interesting interview at Catholic World Report in which French monk Dom Alcuin Reid talks about the upcoming Sacra Liturgia conference in Rome. The entire thing is worth reading if all things liturgical interests you. Here is an excerpt, where Dom Alcuin answers the question, what are the most positive acheivements of the Second Vatican Council regarding the Liturgy? I'm happy that he mentions the Liturgy of the Hours at the end.

Dom Alcuin Reid: Personally, I think that the greatest achievement, which is a direct fruit of the Constitution on the Liturgy, has been to place actuosa participatio in the liturgy at the center the spiritual life. This was the great desire of the 20th-century liturgical movement for 50 years before the Council, and of others, including St. Pius X, before that.
In the quote you mentioned, which is from Pope Benedict XVI’s closing message to the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin last year, “misunderstandings” are spoken of. “Actuosa participatio” has often been translated as “active” participation and has sometimes been applied in an activist way: the “everyone has to do something at Mass in order to participate” approach, so often seen in Masses with children, etc.
Sometimes, the busier people are “doing” things at Mass the less they actuallyparticipate. The liturgy is an action, Christ’s saving action, in which we are called to participate first and foremost with mind and heart, and with bodily expression second. The two are reciprocal, of course, but internal participation has to have priority. Perhaps it may be clearer, today, to speak about being “connected” to the liturgical action. Liturgical connectivity is what the Council called for, because it is by means of this connection Christ touches us and empowers us to respond to his grace with lives of faithful service.This is the motivation for the liturgical reforms called for by Vatican II. 
Since Sacrosanctum Concilium there have also been more widespread efforts in liturgical formation. The Constitution regarded this as the pre-condition for fruitful participation in the liturgy, something I plan to explore in my own conference presentation.
Other achievements undoubtedly include the acceptance of the vernacular for liturgical readings from Sacred Scripture and in the rites of the sacraments. The promotion of the Liturgy of the Hours as the prayer of the whole Church and not just that of clergy and religious is most certainly an advance.