Monday, July 06, 2015

Second Report from Fota, and Photos of Pontifical Liturgies

Here is our second report from the Fotoa conference, which concluded today. The first six photos are of Pontifical Vespers celebrated on the evening of Saturday July 4th, and the second six are of Pontifical Mass celebrated the following morning. Below is the report of the activities of the third and forth session. The liturgies are celebrated in the church of Ss Peter and Paul, with music by the magnificent Lassus Scholars, conducted by Dr Ite O’Donovan. (Photos by Mr John Briody.)

His Eminence George Card. Pell attending Vespers in choir.

Pontifical Mass, preceded by Terce

Report of the Third and Fourth Sessions

The third session of the Conference was chaired by His Eminence George Cardinal Pell and moderated by Professor Dieter Boehler. Two papers were presented, one by Dr. Anne Orlando, of Brighton, Massachusetts (read on her behalf by Fr. Joseph Briody), the other, by Dr. Johannes Nebel, of the Scheffczyk Foundation, Bregenz, Austria.

In her paper, entitled The Faithful’s Sacrifice as Priestly Service in St. Peter Chrysologus, Dr. Orlando illustrated the manner in which St. Peter Chrysologus, fifth century bishop of Ravenna and Doctor of the Church, extended an earlier Patristic tradition which affirmed the laity’s participation in the priestly sacrifice and service of Christ. In the first part of her paper she briefly reviewed the earlier Patristic tradition, including (1) Baptism as the anointing into the common priesthood of Christ; (2) Old Testament priestly models for the lay faithful; and (3) the martyrs and suffering as sacrificial participation in the priesthood of Christ. Building on the truths found in Scripture, especially 1 Peter 2:5,9, the Church Fathers sought to explicate these aspects of the mystery of the common priesthood of all the baptized. In the second part of her paper, Dr. Orlando described the manner in which both Scripture and Tradition informed St. Peter Chrysologus’ understanding of these truths. It began with a brief background account of the fifth century bishop, especially focusing on St. Peter’s rhetorical style. The paper concluded with an analysis of Sermons 108 and 109, on Rom 12:1, in which St. Peter Chrysologus urges his congregation to mold their lives in priestly imitation of Christ.

In his paper The sacra potestas as a core issue of the participatio actuosa of the faithful, Fr. Johannes Nebel examined two central concepts: sacra potestas (sacred power) is significant for the traditional idea of liturgy; participatio is basic for the liturgical reform of the 20th century. It showed that the concept of participatio makes sense properly when distinguished from the liturgy as actio sacra praecellenter (SC 10) and therefore from the implied sacra potestas of the ordained ministers. The importance of authorized liturgical ministers (clerics) is also clearly set out in the liturgical will of the Second Vatican Council.

– On a principal level sacra potestas is also proper to all the faithful. That is mainly how liturgy comes into relation with the world. This leads to the question of cult-power. In this light the sacra potestas of clerics and the essence of the authorized liturgical act are theologically explained. The latter is principally based on the liturgical remembrance (anamnesis), whereby the liturgical word becomes relevant as the core issue of the cult-power. The structure of the hierarchical Ordo has the character of word as well. How explicitly this structure retraces the sacra potestas is therefore relevant for the cult-power. All this leads to explaining the term participatio in a nuanced light.

– After the Second Vatican Council, however, tendencies arose to amalgamate participatio and actio to celebratio as a novel synthesis. This is symptomatic of an attitude in which the two basic terms are no longer seen as complementary but as subliminally concurrent with each other. In the new synthesis their former significance is attenuated. This has consequences for the concept of the hierarchical Ordo and for the relation between liturgy and world.

Following a prolonged discussion, the session adjourned and Mass was celebrated at Sts. Peter and Paul’s by His Eminence George Cardinal Pell.

The fourth session of the Conference was devoted to launching the proceedings of the seventh Fota International Liturgy Conference, held in Cork in July 2014. The acta are published under the title Agere in Persona Christi: Aspects of the Ministerial Priesthood. The book was presented by its editor, Dr. Mariusz Biliniewicz. His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke replied with an appraisal of the book. Copies at discounted prices may be obtained through St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy at

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