Friday, July 18, 2014

Fota VII Liturgy Conference 2014: Second Report

This concludes the series of reports on the Fota VII liturgical conference recently held in Cork, Ireland by the St. Colman Society for Catholic Liturgy. The first report may be read here. For links to some videos of the liturgical celebrations, and the fine music provided by the Lassus Scholars at these events, click here.

Sunday’s Mass
The Pontifical High Mass was preceded by the celebration of the office of Terce, during which the Bishop was vested at the throne. The Ordinary for the Mass was Pier Luigi da Palestrina’s Missa Tu es Petrus (1572) with the Propers taken from the Choralis Constantinus of Heinrich Isaac (c. 1455-1517), Kappelmeister to the Imperial Court at Innsbruck. The Ecce Sacerdos Magnus at the entrance of the Bishop, and the Te Deum at the end of Mass were by Tomás Luis de Victoria. The music was prepared and sung by the Lassus Scholars, Dublin, under the direction of Dr. Ite O'Donovan. The Organist was Dr. Peter McKeever.

Manfred Hauke, Lugano
The Deacon and Ministerial Action in the Person of Christ. Fruits of the Recent Discussion on the Specific Profile of Sacramental Diaconate

The presentation was based on the Motu proprio Omnium in mentem (2009) which introduces a modification of the Codex of Canon Law on the difference between the bishop and the priest, at one side, and the deacon, at the other side. According to this change the bishop and the priest act in the person of Christ the Head, whereas the deacon acts in the person of Christ the Servant. The Motu proprio, however, does not state that the precedent formulations were false, but it wants to refer to the text on the diaconate in the Second Vatican Council (Lumen gentium 29). This modification, which corresponds to some similar changes also in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, poses the systematic question whether also the deacon represents Christ the Head of the Church or even whether he belongs to the Sacrament of Orders, if he does not act in the person of Christ.

The conference describes the action of the deacon in the person of Christ according to the Church Fathers and discusses the systematic topic of the headship of Christ represented by Holy Orders, referred to the deacon. The diverse participation in the same Sacrament manifests itself in the fact that certain functions of the ordained ministry are restricted to the priest, especially the consecration of Eucharist and sacramental absolution. The analysis of the participation of ordained ministers in the three offices of Christ and in the action of Christ as Head of the Church shows different accents which have favored the formulation of the Motu proprio Omnium in mentem.

The attributions of “servant” to the deacon and “head” to the bishop and priest are comparable with the appropriations in Trinitarian theology (God Father as Creator and the Holy Spirit as Sanctifier, for instance), but they cannot be accepted as determination of the specific essence of the three grades of Holy Orders. The action in the person of Christ the Head does not imply only functions of leadership (which in the deacon are less accentuated than in the bishop and the priest), but also the mediation of divine life and divine truth. For this reason, the modifications of the Codex of Canon Law and of some texts in the Catechism of the Catholic Church are compatible with the precedent formulations that the deacon, according to his grade, acts in the person of Christ the Head.

Dieter Böhler SJ
Levi’s Temple Service and the Messiah according to Luke

This conference investigates the meaning and importance attributed by Luke to the Temple in Jerusalem and its Levitical cult for the Messiah and his messianic activity in Israel. First it explores how Luke portrays the Temple in Jerusalem as the centre of Jesus’ teaching activity, the house of God, which Jesus claims for himself as the teacher of Israel, for God, his Father and as a house of prayer for God’s people. No other Gospel concentrates Jesus’ life and activity in the sanctuary of Israel as Luke does. But it is not just concerned with the temple as a building. Israel’s liturgy which is celebrated in this sanctuary - the Levitical cult - as prescribed in the Torah of Moses is the narrative frame of Luke’s Gospel into which he inserts his account of the life of Jesus right from his birth and childhood until his death and resurrection.

Old Testament liturgy is the framework around which Luke describes the life and activity of Jesus as Israel’s Messiah. In Luke’s account, Jesus hands this biblical cult over to his disciples before he himself ascends to heaven and returns to his Father. That is why Luke shows us the Apostles in the Acts of the Apostles going up to the temple for prayer at the hour of sacrifice whenever they are in Jerusalem. They reclaim their place in Israel’s temple and temple liturgy.

Christian liturgy, according to Luke in the Gospel and later in the Acts of the Apostles, is a kind of continuation of Israel’s Levitical service, Israel’s God-given liturgy enriched with the mysteries of Christ which Luke filled into this Old Testament temple service. Just as the Christian Easter is a combination of the Jewish Passover and the paschal mystery of Christ, so too, Christ’s mysteries filled into the memory of the Exodus during the Last Supper, enriching - not replacing - the older content of the feast. In the same way, Christian liturgy is the divine service of the Old Testament enriched with Christ’s paschal mystery.

Rev Dr Thomas J McGovern
John Paul II and his teaching on priesthood in persona Christi

This paper examines the relationship between the mission of the priest and the priesthood of Christ. The priest shares in Christ’s consecration and mission through the sacrament of Holy Orders. Participation in the priesthood of Christ consists in a configuration with Christ the Head of the Church. Consecration is an essential element of priestly ordination by means of which the priest is transformed into a persona sacra (sacred person) and is endowed with the sacra potestas (sacred power).

Discussion of the role of the priest as shepherd of souls leads on logically to a consideration of the concept of pastoral charity. In the case of the priest, charity is qualified as pastoral charity, an interior dynamic which impels him to follow Christ as the Good Shepherd. John Paul II pays particular attention to this characteristic of the priest in his apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, which is a participation in Christ’s own love for the Church. The idea of the Headship of Christ is an important key for understanding the specific nature of pastoral charity. The expression in persona Christi Capitis (in the person of Christ the Head) emphasises the very close relationship between the priest and Jesus Christ.

Pastoral Charity can also be viewed as an expression of the priest’s spousal love for the Church. John Paul II also sees this love for the Church under the prism of ‘gift of self’. This gift, he says, has no limits, marked as it is by the same apostolic commitment, the total gift of self to the Church, following the example of Christ. Ordination enables the priest to act in persona Christi, the ultimate source of the dignity of the priest. Acting in the person of Christ, he is the mediator of the message of salvation, and the means to achieve holiness. 

Sunday evening

Cardinal Burke marked the publication and launch of “Celebrating the Eucharist – Communion and Sacrifice” – the proceedings of V Fota International Liturgical Conference. The text of his address is posted here.

Msgr Andrea Bellandi
Fundamental Characteristics of Priestly Ministry as outlined in the writings of Joseph Ratzinger

These writings extend from the years immediately preceding the Second Vatican Council to the election of Joseph Ratzinger to the Chair of Peter. The reason for the ordained ministry, as well as its meaning and development, cannot be understood without original and immediate reference to the person and ministry of Christ. This is Ratzinger’s starting point and the decisive horizon within which he examines the nature of the priesthood, its function within the Church, and its correct exercise from a pastoral point of view. This would all seem obvious – but it is not. The various images of the priest which have arisen over the course of time – and which also arise today – would tend to confirm this.

According to Ratzinger, an adequate reply to the question “who is the priest?” can only be given after a profound scrutiny of the person of Christ, and especially of his revelatory dynamic, following in this the testimony of the New Testament writers. Firstly, the absolute originality of Christ is not something internally contradictory to God’s plan of revelation. Rather, it is its completion and fulfilment. In this way, the cultic-priestly dimension is not abolished in Christ, rather it is perfected and brought to fulfilment in him. It is in this light that the Letter to the Hebrews understands its theology of the mediation of Christ as a theology of the priesthood of Christ.

A second aspect, which is an essential attribute of the person of Christ, is his being in a state total relationship with the Father: “He who sees me, sees the Father” (John 14:9). He is “the one sent” by the Father. The structure of Christ’s mission is completely relational, because, and even more radically, in it this relational state is expressed at an ontological level: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). It is the Father who acts in everything that he does.

Finally, the Son of God, made man – if we recall Dei Verbum 4 – accomplishes his revelatory work tota Sui ipsius praesentia ac manifestatione, thus, in his words and deeds, of which the Paschal Mystery is the highest summit. In this regard, the proclamation of the Word always has a “sacramental” dynamic, that is, an efficacious Word, which realizes the salvation which it proclaims. Christ’s salvific death constitutes both the definitive act of God’s love made manifest in Christ and the definitive and total expression of all revelation. These three dimensions of Christ’s work of revelation would appear to define in a determining manner that particular task which, from the very first apostolic nucleus, was transmitted to the later Church and which took the form of the ministerial priesthood.

Prof Stefan Heid
The Altar as Centre of Prayer and Priesthood in the Early Church

The altar as the place of prayer and sacrifice is the center-piece of this exposition, reviewing a number of principles, which for centuries determined the image and self-understanding of the priest at the altar.

In addition, patristic, liturgical, and archeological sources of the early and pre-scholastic Church are analyzed, though with an important restriction, namely, that solely the ritual and visual aspects, that is, liturgy and art, are examined, leaving out themes such as the theology of the Holy Mass.

For this reason, the ritually rich offertory, for example, is discussed in depth while the consecration will only be mentioned in passing, since during the first millenium it was not yet ritually marked by the elevation.

A further qualification is that, at least for priests, the present considerations will hardly offer something new. In a period of time, however, in which even those things which were self-understood have become uncertain and threaten to disappear from their central place in the life of the Church, it will do no harm to assess the matter once again on the basis of the Norma Patrum, without making a case for archeologism.


Participants at VII Fota International Liturgical Conference attended a First Mass of Thanksgiving offered by the newly ordained Chanoine Louis Poucin de Wouilt in the presence of Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. The Ordinary for the Mass was Palestrina’s Missa Æterna Christi Munera. The music was prepared and sung by the Lassus Scholars, Dublin, under the direction of Dr. Ite O'Donovan. The Organist was Dr. Peter McKeever.

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