New Liturgical Movement: “Catholicism or Post-Catholicisms?” — Part 1: The Value of an Anthropological Analysis of Liturgical Reform

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

We thank Dr. Dekert for allowing NLM to publish in parts the original version of a very fine study on the fallout of the liturgical reform. For definitive academic reference, we recommend consulting the published version of it in the journal Religion and Theology 29, no. 3–4 (2022).—PAK

The Effects of Catholic Liturgical Reform Considered in the Light of Roy A. Rappaport’s Theory of Ritual

by Tomasz Dekert

But if a house becomes a mere place of residence, and the temple an oratory or meeting-place, then the “positions” gradually lose their cosmic sacred character. They become merely places to stay in and talk, and it is no longer believed that anything really happens there. —Gerardus van der Leeuw, Religion in Essence and Manifestations

While there are immense differences between pagan and Christian ritual and between “primitive” and sophisticated cultures, ritual, like art, music, and other things incorporated into worship, retains certain common characteristics across those boundaries. While the Catholic liturgy obviously transcends all other rituals, it is assumed here that on one level it can be understood as an example of such ritual and that many of the most serious errors of liturgical reform stemmed from a failure to understand the nature of ritual even on the purely human level. [1]

The foregoing words from James Hitchcock, whose text has served as one of the inspirations for the considerations to be presented here, express something obvious, at least in a sense, to every anthropologist and religious scholar. Simply put, history does not know of a culture without a religious dimension, or a religion without a ritual dimension—and regarding this basic point Christianity is no exception. Therefore, there can be no convincing reason for rejecting the possibility of a comparative analysis of Catholic ritual and the rituals of other religious traditions, or, when it comes to anthropological reflection on ritual, for excluding the former from one’s area of interest in favor of exclusively historical and theological perspectives. [2]

READ ON BELOW…

New Liturgical Movement: “Catholicism or Post-Catholicisms?” — Part 1: The Value of an Anthropological Analysis of Liturgical Reform

Leave a Reply