Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Fota XII Conference, Day 2: Summary of the Lectures and Card. Burke’s Homily

Our thanks once again to Prof. William A. Thomas for sharing with NLM his reports froms the Fota Liturgical Conference.

The second day of the Fota Liturgical Conference began at the church of Ss Peter and Paul, where His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke celebrated Pontifical High Mass for the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. The Mass was preceded by Terce; the Mass propers were taken from the Choralis Constantinus of Heinrich Isaacs, while the ordinary was Orlando de Lassus’ Missa Domine Dominus Noster, all beautifully sung by the Lassus Scholars under the direction of Doctor Ite O’Donovan.

The Introit of the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Dominus illuminatio mea.
The Gloria in excelsis

In the homily Cardinal Burke appealed to all of humanity to turn to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness, asking that “we give Him our hearts where they will be cleansed in Love.” Noting that we live in a world wrought about by the fall of our first parents whose Original Sin was disobedience, he said that likewise “today’s society rebels against Christ and shows hostility to His laws... We see in society today the attack on human life right from the moment of conception, we see the attack on the family. Society pretends to offer security without God, but this is folly. Satan seeks to destroy us, but Christ will never abandon us. Sometimes forces within us and outside of us will draw us away from Christ; to counter this we have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which we can learn about the beauty and love of God and about the beauty of ourselves. Sometimes we have to endure suffering as it may be necessary to overcome evil as we await His final coming in glory.”

His Eminence then went on to quote from the day’s Gospel, Luke 5, 1-11 saying that union with God is offered to the world and that we must pray at every moment of our lives, even when we encounter hardship. We must never give up, but “bring these sufferings to Mass and united these sufferings with the sufferings of Christ”, quoting from the writings of Dom Prosper Gueranger. Noting that in the Gospel, Jesus told Simon Peter “Do not be afraid”, His Eminence said that today many are tempted to give up the struggle, but Jesus, recognizing this moment of disappointment in His disciples, tells them to “launch out into the deep” and as the Gospel passage concludes, so likewise does the Cardinal: “do not be afraid, henceforth you will be fishers of men”

The afternoon session of the conference began with a paper presented by Fr Anthony Ward SM, titled “Aspects of the Psalm Prayers in the de Exorcismis of Pope St John Paul II”

Fr Ward made an exhaustive study of the Psalm Prayers used in exorcisms from earliest times, which was called the “Corpus Orationum”, quoting from Psalms 90, 2 (psalm prayers directed to God in tribulation, asking for protection from the devil) psalms 10, 34, and 53, which is still used in the new rite of exorcism. The paper made an exhaustive study of 10 Psalms that were used as prayers of deliverance.

Like its predecessor, the Rite of Exorcisms promulgated in 1999 by order of Pope St John Paul II, foresees that the priest will recite certain traditional Psalms. However, the research into ancient Latin liturgies conducted by scholars such as St Giuseppe Maria Tomasi (1649-1713) had highlighted the existence in ancient times of so-called “psalm prayers”, that is, prayers used in a liturgical celebration after the recitation of one or more Psalms, partly echoing some of their phrasing and themes, linking them to the mystery of Christ or to the struggles of the Christian life. The study examined prayers of this type which are now part of the Rite of Exorcisms, and traces their likely source.

The second paper of the afternoon was delivered by Fr Ryan Ruiz on “Mutual Enrichment and de Benedictionibus; Revisiting the Scriptural Euchologies of the Usus Antiquior and their possible application in the Ordinary Form-Rites of Blessings.”

The paper explored the importance of Biblical typology and themes in the Church’s rites of blessing from the standpoint of the euchological content of the orations themselves. While many of the ancient prayers of blessing found in Title IX (De benedictionibus) of the Rituale Romanum of 1952 contain Scriptural images that make a connection between divine revelation and sacramental realities, the new euchologies of the De Benedictionibus of 1984 generally lack such Biblical themes, arguably to the detriment of the communicative value of the blessing formulae.

The paper compared the euchological structures of a sample number of ordines from three extant liturgical books: Title IX (De benedictionibus) of the Rituale Romanum of 1952, the De Benedictionibus of 1984, and the edition thereof approved for use in the dioceses of the United States, the Book of Blessings.

The intent of the study is to propose a relatively simple means to bring greater clarity to the Church’s overall theology of blessing by a kind of euchological ressourcement, if not back to the earliest sources, then at least to the de Benedictionibus of 1952. This proposal is rooted in the principles of Sacrosanctum Concilium that sought to highlight the importance of the word of God in the liturgical life of the Church, not merely in terms of an expanded corpus of readings in the various liturgical offices of the Church year, but also by emphasizing the foundational role of Scripture in the euchological tradition of the Church. The goal of such analysis is to assist our appreciation of the euchological patterns found in the liturgical books of the Roman Rite, to assist our appreciation of the important role that the sacred text plays in the liturgical text, and to assist our appreciation of the possibilities that might present themselves in the future for further enrichment of the Ordinary Form’s rites of blessings, based on the retrieval of scriptural themes from the usus antiquior.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: