by Lyle Dunne
[The 1960s generation] dismantled a high Catholic culture by removing its cornerstone and they left subsequent generations of Catholics in a state of cultural poverty, confusion and boredom.
– Professor Tracy Rowland
This is not a review, but an article promoting of an important book I haven’t read yet. That may seem rash, but read on and you’ll see my point.
Sacred Liturgy: The Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church, edited by Dom Alcuin Reid, is the proceedings of the Summer School Sacra Liturgica 2013, published in English by Ignatius Press.
Sacra Liturgia 2013 was an international conference on liturgical formation, celebration and the mission of the Church, convened by the bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, France, Bishop Dominique Rey, brought together over twenty leading liturgists, cardinals, bishops and other scholars from around the world to emphasise the centrality of liturgical formation and celebration in the life and mission of the Church. As his Lordship said in his opening remarks
The Sacred Liturgy is not a hobby for specialists. It is central to all our endeavors as disciples of Jesus Christ. This profound reality cannot be over emphasized. We must recognize the primacy of grace in our Christian life and work, and we must respect the reality that in this life the optimal encounter with Christ is in the Sacred Liturgy.
An interview with the principal organiser, Dom Alcuin Reid, can be found here.
A parochial but not trivial aside: Like Dom Alcuin, two of the principal speakers, Professor Tracy Rowland and Bishop Peter Elliott, are Australians. This is another example of Australians “punching above our weight” on the world stage; I may have to withdraw a recent remark about living in an out-of-the-way country in an unfashionable hemisphere. (Cardinal Burke, who is arriving in Australia as I write on a tour partially sponsored by Oriens, also spoke, along with his colleague Cardinal Ranjith.)
You may recall a controversy in the tradblogosphere about Professor Rowland’s comments, or more accurately some off-the-cuff remarks in the Q&A session after her talk, about the limited uptake of the Traditional Mass, which she attributed to human factors including some characteristics of traditionalists. I’ll return to the issue of relations between traditionalists and the rest of the Church in another article: there’s another good but provocative article I want to share with you. In the meantime though, while the controversy should have increased the profile of Professor Rowland’s talk and of the conference, it seems rather to have overshadowed it.
This is a pity, because Sacra Liturgia (and its published proceedings) constitute a really valuable exercise from what might be called the evangelical wing of traditionalism: those who believe it’s not sufficient to sit in our ghettoes and focus on our own access to the Traditional Liturgy, but that it’s incumbent on us to participate in the wider conversations in the Church on liturgy, and to speak the truth in and out of season.
(Astute readers will have detected my own view.)
I was actually looking for Professor Rowland’s talk when I came across the book. I don’t think the full text of her talk is available online, but you can see some notes of her talk here:
Here’s Fr Zuhlsdorf’s (contemporaneous) view:
Tracey Rowland is up now. She is talking about how the Usus Antiquior can aid the New Evangelization and can be an antidote to secularism…. Tracey Rowland, one of the best speakers so far….
and that of Fr Cipolla at Rorate Caeli:
Professor Tracey Rowland from Australia generated some of the loudest and sustained applause after her presentation on the Usus Antiquior and the New Evangelization, noting that the Traditional Mass is necessary for such evangelization to happen. [emphasis added.]
I have emphasised Professor Rowland’s contribution because of the controversy; we need all the friends we can get. If you had any doubt about this need, or Professor Rowland’s position, have a look at this intemperate criticism (a para or two in):
The book is available from Ignatius Press; media release with more information, including, details for ordering, can be found here.
Alternatively you can go to the Sacra Liturgia website, which has links to Amazon UK and US pages for the book; I gather some of the proceeds of sales of copies go to Sacra Liturgia, although I haven’t confirmed arrangements for delivery to Australia.
(A Kindle edition is promised, but I can’t find it.).
Meanwhile, I hope to bring you a proper review soon!