Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reforming the Reform: A Primer

Mr. Shawn Tribe asked me to post a synopsis of my lecture, "The Reform of the Reform," given on May 12 at St. John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia (in the Diocese of Arlington). An audio recording of the talk will soon be available at My thanks to Mr. Sabatino Carnazzo, director of the parish's Office of Evangelization, for inviting me to speak at St. John's when we met at the CIEL 2006 colloquium in Oxford; I am grateful also to Ms Magdalen Ross (a canon law student whom I likewise met at Oxford) for providing the photo.

Approximately forty people attended the hour-long lecture, which is best described as a primer on the reform of the reform (and so an opportunity to promote the New Liturgical Movement). The talk consists of four sections: [1] What Vatican Council II ordered with regard to the Liturgy; [2] What actually happened, 1965-70; [3] The contemporary liturgical camps and their agendas; and [4] What a re-reformed Roman rite might look like. The first two sections closely follow Dr. Alcuin Reid's fine paper, "Sacrosanctum concilium and the Reform of the Ordo Missae," presented at the CIEL 2006 colloquium and published in the current issue of the journal Antiphon; the second half draws largely upon my book, The Reform of the Reform? A Liturgical Debate (Ignatius Press, 2003).

I had the great pleasure of returning to St. John's the next day to offer the 12:00 noon Latin Mass (2002 Missal), which was celebrated ad orientem and with copious use of polyphony and Gregorian chant. My gratitude to Fr. Franklyn McAfee, the pastor and an occasional commenter on this blog, for permitting me to preside. To his credit, St. John's in McLean is one of many (though fewer than a thousand) points of light in the cause of authentic liturgical renewal.

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