Monday, September 12, 2011

Cologne Liturgical Conference

As mentioned, the 14th Cologne Liturgical Conference took place from 24 to 27 August. Here is a report sent in to the NLM:

By Christoph Hahn

The Cologne Liturgical Conference is not quite what it seems - because it does not take place (anymore) in Cologne, but - after Bad Münstereifel and other places - in Herzogenrath [near Aachen, Germany]. And the joint event of Una Voce Germany, the initiative groups of Catholic laity and priests in the dioceses of Hamburg, Cologne and Aachen as well as the network of Catholic priests is not just a convention either: not only does it bring the participants up to date in the debate(s) in the traditional camp of the Catholic Church - it also creates a space for encounters between people, priests as well as laity, who often fight on isolated stations for the concerns of Tradition. What unites and sustains them is expressed by the theme of the meeting: "True – real – essential: The presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and the need for an adequate liturgical form".

Organizer Egmont Schulze Pellengahr, a science journalist from Tremsbüttel near Hamburg, was pleased in any case together with the local parish priest, Rev. Dr. Guido Rodheudt, by the participation of around 100 persons mainly from Germany, but also from the Netherlands. The programme of the meeting in Herzogenrath's Nell-Breuning-Haus did not disappoint the audience, who for the most part is enganged in parish pastoral care, in any way. Internationally renowned speakers contributed to the high level, like Rev. Dr. Alcuin Reid, who explained to his audience the way - that was the title of his lecture - "from rubrics to ars celebrandi", and Martin Reinecke, a student of Klaus Gamber, who in his lecture "Did Jesus create a rite? From the Last Supper to the Missa Romensis" formally described the time the Passion and the first early missals, but nevertheless actually surveyed the wide space between antiquity and modern times. At the beginning of the whole meeting, however, was the conveniat for the priests. Its heart: the recollectio of the Munich pastoral theologian Rev. Professor Dr. Andreas Wollbold on "Priestly life from the liturgy".

But it was not just the scientific highlights which adorned the conference. There also was time and space for the art of words, literature. Matthias Matussek, cultural editor of Der Spiegel, who presented his latest book "The Catholic Adventure" turned out to be a veritable magnet for the public and caused an influx of external interested parties, whose numbers eceeded by far the meeting room. Subtle, sophisticated accents were provided for by the matinee "The Cathedral in a nutshell - the Missal of Trent" by and with the writer Martin Mosebach. There was certainly no lack of literary wit at this convention. But its real strength is manifested in the spiritual depth of the presentations and those who gave them.

Among the most striking impressions of the participants were therefore the lectures of the two university theologians among the speakers: Rev. Professor Dr. Peter Hofmann (University of Augsburg) talked about the "Liturgical gesture – Its demands on theology and celebration" and thus, like the parish priest Rev. Dr. Rodheudt with his catechetical talk, turned to practical implementation. Hofmann's colleague, Rev. Professor Dr. Helmut Hoping, a Permanent Deacon, presented the Eucharist as "The gift of the Holy Presence". Father Bernward Deneke, vice rector of the Wigratzbad Seminary of the Fraternity of St. Peter, also stayed close to the reality of the church in his treatment of "liturgical witnesses to the Real Presence".

One of the great highlights of the conference was finally the almost private visit late in the evening to Aachen Cathedral - a spiritual pleasure with performances of the Schola Carolina, led by Dr. Michael Tunger, who had previously introduced the participants to the proprium. Cordiality in dealing with each other also contributed to the fact that many have already firmly marked down the next, the 15th Cologne Liturgical Conference from 16 to 19 August 2012 (, in their calendars.

Some impressions. Pontifical Mass of H.E. Czeslaw Kozon, Bishop of Copenhagen/Denmark:

Pontifical Mass of Dom Josef Vollberg OCSO, Abbot of the Trappist Monastery of Mariawald:

Dom Josef at the conference with writer Martin Mosebach:

Photos: Christoph Hahn/Dominus-Verlag

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