Monday, August 30, 2010

The Monastic Aspect of the Liturgical Movement and of the New Liturgical Movement: A Call For Articles

It is often interesting to consider the historical Liturgical Movement through the lens of its monastic versus non-monastic aspects -- with a concentration on the former and a view to how the former might be understood to have varied from the latter. This sort of distinction is something which was not entirely unknown within the historical Liturgical Movement itself. For example, in volume 115 of "The Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism", which was dedicated to the subject of the Liturgical Movement and written by "The Sacerdotal Communities of Saint-Severin in Paris and Saint-Joseph of Nice" in 1964, we find a chapter which was dedicated to and tellingly titled, "The Merits and Limitations of the Monastic Liturgical Movement."

While points are raised about monasticism bringing "a guarantee of religious authenticity that many of the so called pastoral improvisations are far from possessing", the very first words of that chapter are, I believe, revealing: "The great merit of the monastic liturgical movement is that it made a start." This rather reserved praise is characteristic of the general tone of the chapter which spends a great deal of time focusing on what it saw as the limitations of the monastic manifestations of the Liturgical Movement. The author(s), while giving some praise, essentially critique it for being too conservative (in a variety of senses) and, as it says in the concluding words of the chapter, too limited from a pastoral perspective. (Evidently this critique begs to be subject to some critical analysis itself.)

In the light of the evident need to sift the trends and influences the 20th century Liturgical Movement -- for we saw some manifestations and principles which were very good indeed, while others were much less so -- this sort of distinction is a reminder that the monastic aspect of the Liturgical Movement -- particularly in the earlier decades of the Liturgical Movement -- is something which we should perhaps be paying closer, more conscientious attention to today, particularly as we move forward with the new liturgical movement of Pope Benedict XVI -- who I believe could be rightly called the "Father of the New Liturgical Movement."

In essence then, I am speaking about a kind of "ressourcement", but as it specifically relates to the Liturgical Movement. This should be considered both historically and, further, as it might relate to our present day and circumstances, forming a part of the foundation for the new liturgical movement.

To that end, I believe it is important for us to set out to consider the following types of questions:

1. What were some of the monastic aspects, incarnations and principles to be found in the historical Liturgical Movement?

2. How might these sorts of principles apply in our own time and circumstances, helping to guide the new liturgical movement?

3. More generally, what role can (and should) monasticism play today within the context of the new liturgical movement given its particularly liturgical form of life?

As part of this discussion, I believe it would be important for monastics themselves to contribute toward the answers to these questions.

To that end, I wish to make a call for article proposals and submissions on such topics, first from monastics themselves, and second, from any and all.

Submissions and proposals should be sent to, preferably with a brief abstract of what you intend to research and write upon.

I do hope many will consider taking up this proposal, for I believe it could be a very pertinent point of consideration as we both look back on the Liturgical Movement, and look to the now that is the New Liturgical Movement.

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