Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dom Alcuin Reid on Benedict XVI and Liturgical Reform

Dom Alcuin Reid, a monk of Farnborough in the UK, is a brilliant liturgical scholar and author of The Organic Development of the Liturgy: The Principles of Liturgical Reform and Their Relation to the 20th Century Liturgical Movement Prior to the Second Vatican Council, and editor of Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy With Cardinal Ratzinger: Proceedings of the July 2001 Fontgombault Liturgical Conference. If anyone's opinion about the future prospects of the Mass of the Roman Rite should mean something, it's his.

In June of this year an article by Reid entitled "Benedict XVI and liturgical reform" appeared in the pages of AD 2000, Vol. 18, No. 15 (June 2005), p. 9. (The title above is linked to an online edition). In this article, he gives his frank assessment of the prospects for liturgical reform under the pontificate of Pope Benedict. Among other things, Reid says:

[Pope Benedict] has stated categorically in [God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald] and elsewhere that proscriptions against the traditional Mass should be lifted. So there is little doubt that we shall see freedom granted to the traditional Latin Mass. But we shall not see its forcible re- imposition, nor the reversal of the reforms of Paul VI.
Yet again, Reid observes:

Those who have spoken with the Cardinal about Redemptionis Sacramentum have no doubt that, as Pope, he would require not only its observance by all who prepare and celebrate the Liturgy, but also its enforcement by bishops, for he knows and appreciates the deep suffering caused by those who depart from the norms of the liturgical books.
And finally:

Pope Benedict XVI will not act beyond his competence in respect of the Sacred Liturgy, but he will act, for he is convinced that, as he wrote in 1997, "the true celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the centre of any renewal of the Church whatever."
The article goes into some detail about Pope Benedict's theological development and offers considerable data apropos the question of future liturgical prospects. Read the whole article here.

(A tip of the hat to David L. Alexander for his referral.)


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