Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The New Liturgical Movement After the Pontificate of Benedict XVI - Dom Alcuin Reid

The CMAA has just concluded an excellent conference in Saint Paul, Minnesota, hosted at the Church of Saint Agnes and the Cathedral of Saint Paul.

Readers of the NLM can look forward to posts here of some of the addresses. Others are forthcoming in future issues of Sacred Music.

This important keynote address by Dom Alcuin Reid offers valuable insights into a topic which is surely in the forefront of many minds.


The April 2005 election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the Throne of Peter gave significant impetus to the “new liturgical movement” for which he had called some years earlier and which he had already done much personally to promote. His example, teaching and acts of governance as pope gave the movement further momentum.

The unexpected resignation of Benedict XVI in February 2013 and the election of a new pope with a seemingly different approach to the Sacred Liturgy raised questions, including whether the initiatives of Benedict XVI are now to be set aside and replaced with what are presumed to be the liturgical principles behind the style of the current pope. In some circles anxiety has arisen that genuine progress made in recent years will now be lost. In others these events are regarded as a welcome opportunity to relegate ‘Benedict XVI-style liturgy’ and return to liturgical practices widespread in the 1960’s–1990’s.

This paper recalls pertinent aspects of Catholic belief about the papal office, including its limitations, and reflects on its liturgical impact in the contemporary world, particularly in the light of the reality of instantaneous media.

The paper revisits the foundations of the new liturgical movement and reflects on the nature of the liturgical reform of Benedict XVI with reference to the principles of the 20th century liturgical movement and of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium.

In the light of these considerations, the paper seeks to articulate principles and future pathways for a new liturgical movement that will serve this movement now that its “father,” Benedict XVI, is no longer the reigning pontiff.

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