Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Key Concepts of the New Liturgical Movement Affirmed by CDW Colombo Statement on Liturgy

The Liturgical Congress in Asia organised by the Congregation for Divine Worship which I had mentioned a month ago has, as Jeffrey just mentioned below, issued a final document, which deserves to be read in its entirety. Unfortunately, the text cannot be copied, but I will transcribe some of the more interesting points, which not only reaffirm the crucial points (which I will highlight) at the heart of the "Benedictine Restoration of the Sacred", but also provide welcome and necessary guidance concerning what is, and what is not, true inculturation in the field of the liturgy. It is especially welcome to see these key concepts of the New Liturgical Movement in an official document of the Congregation for Divine Worship, signed by its Cardinal Prefect and its Secretary, as well as four Asian bishops (among whom Card. Zen of Hong Kong) representing the 51 participating delegates. Also, it is not of little note that the hermeneutic of continuity is in this document expressly numbered among the magisterial teachings:

• "The 'sense of the sacred' stands at the heart of the cultural values to which all Asian people are most attached. An aura of holiness is expected to surround every element related to worship. In order to better live out the Gospel, the Christian community derives spiritual strength and motivation from its own definitve prayer traditions which took on their present form and identity over centuries of experience. Originating from the Lord Jesus Christ himself, these traditions constitute the rich heritage of the Catholic Liturgy. Liturgy has developed a distinctive individuality of its own and is organic in nature and venerable in its historical continuity over two millennia. Pope Benedict XVI emphasizes this continuity and points out that the Church is the guardian of this great heritage."

• "The Holy Father's vision and deep understanding of Sacred Liturgy is evident both in his magisterial teachings and the example that he gives when celebrating the Divine Mysteries. His cosmic theology of the worship of the whole Church resonates in an Asian context and his affirmation of a hermeneutic of continuity is welcome in cultures which have a deep sense of living tradition and organic development." [On Pope Benedict's cosmic theology of the liturgy cf. this post and this.]

• "To strengthen liturgical formation and in coherence with the magisterial teachings, especially of the Holy Father Benedict XVI on the hermeneutic of continuity, it would be helpful if the Holy Eucharist be occasionally celebrated in Latin in cathedral churches, bigger parishes, seminaries, shrines and so forth."

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