Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Press Release: Fota V International Liturgy Conference

Fota V International Liturgy Conference
Celebrating the Eucharist: Sacrifice and Communion
Clarion Hotel, Cork City, Ireland
7-9 July 2012

The theme of Fota V is “Celebrating the Eucharist: Sacrifice and Communion.” The subject continues liturgical and theological reflection on the Eucharist in the wake of the 50th. International Eucharist Congress held in Dublin under the title The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another. The importance of that reflection for ecclesial renewal was strongly emphasized by Pope Benedict XVI in his message to the Dublin Congress.

The key note address of the Fota V Conference will be given by His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.

The basis for this year’s reflection is a paper entitled The ‘Basic Structure’ (Grundgestalt) of the Eucharistic Celebration According to Joseph Ratzinger, delivered at last year’s Conference by Professor Dr. Manfred Hauke of Lugano who drew attention to the debate between Franz Seraph Renz (1884–1916) and his student Franz Sales Wieland (1877–1957) of Augsburg who insisted that the Eucharist was essentially and meal, and the counter challenge of the Innsbruck dogmatic theologian, Emil Dorsch SJ (1867–1934), who asserted the essentially sacrificial nature of the Eucharist. This debate forms the theological background to the discussion, in its stricter sense, on the topic of the Eucharist as sacrifice or meal, which began in 1939 with some reflections by Romano Guardini, and culminated in the 1980s with the contributions of Joseph Ratzinger and Walter Kasper.

The most important contribution of Joseph Ratzinger to this debate is an article, published in 1977, in the German edition of the journal Communio . This article, supplemented by two addenda, was subsequently published in his book The Feast of faith (1981), and now appears as part of the collected works of Joseph Ratzinger (in German), in volume eleven dedicated to the theology of the liturgy (2008). The importance of this contribution is evident in the remark of Ratzinger that:

“[with] the concept of form or structure [Gestalt], a hitherto unknown category entered the theological dialogue, clearly recognizable as a power for reform. Indeed, it can be said that it was this category that gave birth to liturgical scholarship in the modern sense.”

Professor Hauke points out that the core of the discussion revolves around Guardini’s idea that ‘structure’ (or ‘form/figure/shape’, in German Gestalt) and ‘content’ (Gehalt) are entirely different things: thus the Holy Mass in its ‘structure’ is a meal, but its ‘content’ is a sacrifice. This divergence between liturgical structure and dogmatic content, according to Ratzinger:

“must be regarded as the central problem of the liturgical reform. Failure to deal with it has resulted in a great many of the individual problems that have since preoccupied us.”

Fota V approaches this liturgico-theological problem by looking at the concepts of “sacrifice” and “meal” (or communion) as well as aspects of their ritual embodiment, as they occur in the New Testament, Tradition, the Magisterium and in some contemporary theologians and spiritual writers. Prof. Vincent Twomey, Chairman of the Conference, will outline the importance of the crucial significance of both concepts for an understanding of the Eucharist.

Professor Dr. Hauke will again address the conference on the question of the systematical discussion on the “essence” of Eucharistic Sacrifice. Dr. Mariusz Bilinewicz continues our exploration with a paper on Reasonable Worship: Joseph Ratzinger’s theology of sacrifice. Dr. Oliver Treanor will address the question of Eucharist and Church: One Communion in the Triune Body of Christ.

Turning to the Scriptural aspects of Fota V’s theme, Fr. Gerard Deighan will speak to the general topic of Continuity in Sacrifice: from Old Testament to New while Professor Dr. Klaus Berger will introduce us to some of the principles of Christian worship to be found in the Apocaplypse of St. John in his paper Divine Worship in the Revelation of St. John. Critical Questions for the Western understanding of Liturgy. Our Scriptural section will conclude with a communication sent by Fr. Robert Abeynaike, of the Cistercian General House in Rome, a native of Sri Lanka, which provides an exegesis of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Fr. Daniel Jones of Detroit will begin our reflections on the Patristic writers with a paper entitled The verum sacrificium of Christ and of Christians according to St. Augustine. Fr. Patrick Gorevan will speak on the thomistic approach to the Eucharist in his O Sacrum Convivium: St. Thomas on the Eucharist.

With regard to the most significant Magisterial statements on the Eucharist in recent times, Fr. Thomas McGovern will deliver a paper entitled The Eucharistic Magisterium of John Paul II: An Overview.

On more specific topics, Fr. Neil Xavier O’Donoghue will introduce the conference to the subject of Sacrifice and Communion in the Eucharistice Liturgy of Pre-Norman Ireland; while Professor Dr. Michael Stickelbroeck will deliver a paper entitled The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Systematic Theology of M. J. Scheeben, and Mons. Joseph Murphy will speak on the Eucharistic theology of the Florentine spiritual writer Divo Barsotti in his contribution entitled The Mystery of Faith: Divo Barssotti on the Eucharist.

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