We are getting underway on the 3rd Day of the Sacred Liturgy Conference.
The first speaker is Fr. Michael Uwe Lang of the Brompton Oratory, one Sacred Architecture at the Service of the Church.
Non linguistic signs may be more important than words.
Fr. Lang examined what happens to church architecture when the wrong starting points are adopted. He assigned more blame to ecclesiastics rather than to architects. If the theological starting points are wrong-headed, the building will not serve its proper purpose. Lang posited that many modern (really ugly, failure) churches take as their starting points the notion of Rahner, and then Schillebeecxk, that sacraments recognize preexisting realities rather than confer grace. Contrast that with Sacrosanctum Concilium 7.
The next talk was by dom Alcuin Reid, who spoke to the need of a true “spirit of the liturgy”. To recover a proper liturgical spirit, and therefore to foster authentic “actual participation”, we need a kind of lectio divina in sound liturgical sources and commentaries.
Now my old friend Archbp. Sample is speaking about the role of diocesan bishop in regulating the liturgical life of a local church. He says that safeguarding he liturgical life of the diocese should be one of the highest priorities for a bishop.
He cited the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church, Christus Dominus, in speaking of the diocesan bishop, states: “In fulfilling their duty to sanctify, bishops should be mindful that they have been taken from among men and appointed their representatives before God in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. Bishops enjoy the fullness of the sacrament of orders, and all priests as well as deacons are dependent upon them in the exercise of authority … Therefore bishops are the principal dispensers of the mysteries of God, just as they are the governors, promoters and guardians of the entire liturgical life in the church committed to them.” (Christus Dominus, 15)
He goes on to talk about preventing abuses from creeping into the celebration of sacraments and sacramentals.
At the after noon session, we have a talk by the great Msgr. Nicola Bux!
Before he began, he told an anecdote about an Italian priest who went to the new bishop and said that he was celebrating the older form of Mass. The bishop, on the edge of indifference, shrugged and said that it was okay but that it wasn’t a “priority”.
It isn’t a priority? Consider that Benedict XVI’s letter to bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum points out that in some places the faith is dying out. That being the case, we have to start again from the liturgy and adoration of God. So, the Roman Rite IS a priority. We have to have our fons et culmen. If we want to evangelize we go to liturgy. We are in a critical period for the Roman Rite. It is about to be snuffed out. If it weren’t for Benedict XVI we would be in serious straights. We might look again at SC 37 with a stricter view. It, with SP, could be tools for rebuilding the Roman Rite.
Bux also reminded us that in the famous verse of the letter of St. Peter, in which we are admonished to be ready to reasons for the faith we have, we are not to be intimidated and we are to adore God in our hearts (cf 1 Peter 3).