Tuesday 16 July 2019

Synod 2020. Number 18. Liturgical reform - I did it my way.

Our Liverpool Archdiocese Synod "listening period" is now over. From all the talk and opinions that have been recorded, themes are now to be distilled and from those themes that have emerged, the proposals - about five, I think - will be put forward at the Synod and voted on.

I've said several times that the liturgy should be among the concerns that garner the Synod's attention, if for no other reason than the vast majority of practicing Catholics experience the Church for only an hour a week and that Mass is likely to be the most formative - and perhaps only - gathering and expression of Faith they experience on any regular basis. Yes, hopefully many of them are doing all sorts of other things in prayer and charity to live out that Faith that also contribute to and form their Christian lives but that hour remains the source and summit. 

Hence, what they experience and learn, what comfort and challenge they receive there is of the first importance. Thus, I hope the Synod will not ignore it. Particularly because it has become so varied, so encrusted with add-ons you will not find in the Missal or its instructions. All of which distort or even change completely what is the possession of the Church, the gift that no Catholic should be denied when they come to Mass. I love the music of old blue-eyes above but the second Vatican Council nowhere suggests my penchant for stylish crooning should be fulfilled during the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (any more than someone else's love of balloons, campfire songs, modern dance, indulging the children's drama group or relating the football scores).

We have a series of talks to give some further food for thought (which I hope might be rich, nourishing meals and not McDonald's nougats). I don't know many of the speakers but Bishop Philip Egan should provide at least one good meal.

On the subject of the liturgy, some musings with great merit about not doing it "my way" but the Church's way can be found at Fr Hugh's blog: Dominus Mihi Adjutor. And another post HERE. As Fr Hugh is now local to the Archdiocese, perhaps his excellent insights could be drawn on for the Synod in some way. Completely unrelated, I had been discussing one of the things he mentions just recently - the issue of the quality of training for the various lay ministries in the liturgy routinely seen in most of our parishes (the legitimate ones, rather than those expanded on merely ideological grounds! - which is another subject of concern altogether!)

For some further food for thought, you might also be interested in Alcuin Reid's recent paper for the Association of Church Music of America: Reflections on authority in the liturgy today.