Regina Magazine has just published an interview with Dom Alcuin Reid about his scholarly work in liturgy, and his assessment of the current condition of the Church’s liturgical life. Here are a few excerpts; you can click over to their website to read the full interview.Regarding the “reform of the reform” – wanting to align the Novus Ordo Mass more with the actual intention of Vatican II—where would you describe this process as being at?
Officially it would seem that consideration of this is stalled. But then, only a few years before Summorum pontificum in 2007 no-one could have foreseen its appearance, so who knows what could come from the Holy See in the future? At the grass roots level, however, many clergy are now putting into practice a manner of celebrating the reformed rites that is in more tangible continuity with liturgical tradition and with the intentions of the Council, which intended a moderate liturgical reform, not a ritual revolution!
What are the most positive things you see regarding the state of liturgical reform in the Church today?
The widespread realisation by practically all now that the liturgical life of the Western Church following the Council was not without serious defects is a very positive development. There are sharply differing responses to this “question of the liturgy” of course, but the fact that people are prepared to discuss and consider it is an important step forward.
So too is the growing appreciation of the essential role of beauty in the liturgy. We owe much of this to the example and teaching of Benedict XVI, certainly, pre-eminently in his 2007 Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, where he writes so beautifully of the ars celebrandi, “the fruit of faithful adherence to the liturgical norms in all their richness.” More and more clergy and others responsible for preparing liturgical celebrations are taking his teaching to heart and implementing it, which can do nothing but good.
And indeed Pope Benedict’s authoritative establishment that the usus antiquior – the older form of the Roman rite – may freely be celebrated by those who wish it enables its treasures to live and breathe in the Church of the 21st century. The number of young people who are attracted to this, and the vocations the usus antiquior inspires, are truly signs of the times. ...
If there is one thing should we keep in mind when considering the liturgy, what is it?
Cardinal Ratzinger put this beautifully in his preface to The Organic Development of the Liturgy: “If the liturgy appears first of all as the workshop for our activity, then what is essential is being forgotten: God. For the liturgy is not about us, but about God. Forgetting about God is the most imminent danger of our age. As against this, the liturgy should be setting up a sign of God’s presence. Yet what happens if the habit of forgetting about God makes itself at home in the liturgy itself and if in the liturgy we are thinking only of ourselves? In any and every liturgical reform, and every liturgical celebration, the primacy of God should be kept in view first and foremost.”