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Saturday, 25 April 2009

Liturgy debate beginning

A recent book by John Baldovin SJ, "Reforming the Liturgy: A Response to the Critics", published by the Liturgical Press of Collegeville, Minnesota, is reviewed in this week's Catholic Herald by Alcuin Reid. (See: At last, the liturgical establishment is taking on its critics. Let the debate begin. Dr Reid pertinently quotes the saying of Mahatma Ghandi:
"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."
He notes that in Baldovin's critique of Klaus Gamber, he does not dispute Gamber's claim that there has been "a radical reform of the liturgy" which represents a "radical shift in Catholic theology and piety". For Baldovin, such a radical discontinuity is not an issue.

Baldovin also offered a critique of the work of Dr Reid, stating that he denies many of the principles of Sacrosanctum Concilium. He has apparently since accepted that this was inaccurate and that Dr Reid nowhere denies the principles of Sacrosanctum Concilium. This exchange is significant: as Dr Reid points out, it is important to be able to study the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy critically if there is to be any dialogue about the post-conciliar liturgical reform. I would add that Dr Reid's contribution to the study of the Sacred Liturgy goes a considerable way to furthering a correct and organic interpretation of the second Vatican Council in accordance with the hermeneutic of reform and continuity.

Dr Reid is right to point out the significance of Baldovin's new book: that the "mainstream agenda" should now include the "question of the liturgy" without ignoring the rehabilitation of the traditional form of the Roman rite is very much to be welcomed. To invoke another of the themes of Pope Benedict's pontificate, we are engaged in a common search for the truth.
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