Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Form Following Function

A renewed emphasis on the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist could, among other things, facilitate a general return in the Latin Church to ad orientem worship. (After all, one offers sacrifice standing before the altar, not behind it.) This, it seems, is a frightening prospect to some, if not many, liturgists. Which explains, in part, the recent calls to redefine the doctrine of Christ’s redeeming Sacrifice (and thus of the Sacrifice of the Mass)—or, if not actually redefine it, then at least relocate its central meaning. I addressed this challenge here on NLM as well as in the journal Antiphon (Vol. 14 [2010], pp. 295-97), arguing that the rationale behind a common “turning towards the Lord” (priest and people alike) does not stand or fall with the traditional theology of eucharistic sacrifice. I bring this up by means of “piggybacking” on Shawn Tribe’s recent post about the Liturgical Movement's regrettable failure, in some cases, to preserve equilibrium when bringing aspects of the Tradition into fresh focus.

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