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Good news on the liturgy

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 Contents - Apr 2003AD2000 April 2003 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Good news on the liturgy - Peter Westmore
Dr Claudio Betti's inspiring visit to Australia - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Documents: Church must be outspoken on moral issues: Australian Senator - Senator John Hogg
Documents: Archbishop Hickey on Catholics in politics - Archbishop Barry Hickey
Archbishop Hickey's pastoral letter on marriage - Archbishop Barry Hickey
Ecumenism: Christian unity: major obstacles still remain - David Schutz
Film Review: Why 'Gangs of New York' misses the boat as history - William J. Stern
Education: Chavagnes International Catholic college update - Br John Moylan
Our Lady of Peace: one American parish's successful formula - Arthur J. Brew
Letters: Authentic teaching (letter) - Aaron Wright
Letters: Vatican II (letter) - Denis O'Leary
Letters: Shooting the messenger - Alan Gill
Letters: Experiential catechesis (letter) - Fr. G.H. Duggan SM
Priestly Fraternity of St Peter - Holy Week 2003
Letters: Infallible? (letter) - Fr John Crothers PP
Letters: Life Walk (letter) - Brian Harris
Letters: Priorities (letter) - Jeanette Joseph
Letters: Stem cell research (letter) - W. Kline
Letters: Catholic hospitals? (letter) - Tom King
Letters: TV report (letter) - Kevin J. Kerr
Letters: Novena (letter) - Robert Anderson
Books: Newman, by Avery Dulles SJ - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: The First Grace, by Russell Hittinger - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: Marian Apparitions, The Bible, And The Modern World - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: A Seat At The Supper, by Frank Colyer - Mark Posa (reviewer)
Books: A Long Way From Rome, edited by Chris McGillion - John Barich (reviewer)
Books: Our books are the cheapest!
Reflection: The road to Emmaus: coming to terms with the hard reality of loss - Fr Dennis Byrnes PP

On Holy Thursday, Pope John Paul II will release a new encyclical, his first since 1998, which will deal with the centrality of the Mass and Holy Communion in the life of the Church.

The encyclical will bring together issues on which he has spoken recently to bishops conferences and in his weekly audiences. In an address to the Brazilian Bishops last January, he called the Eucharist the "supreme spiritual good of the Church" and its "spiritual strength", but said that "it must always be marked by the worthy and genuine celebration of the mystery according to the doctrine and directives of the Church."

Later, in a weekly audience, he said, "It is necessary to purify worship of deformations, of careless forms of expression, of ill-prepared music and texts, which are not very suited to the grandeur of the act being celebrated."

These problems have been particularly acute in the English-speaking world, despite the intrinsic beauty of the Mass as it is intended to be celebrated.

In some places, the liturgy has suffered from an explosion of experimentation and spontaneity, becoming man-centred rather than God-centred. The resultant alienation has contributed to the emptying of churches, with some people abandoning the practice of the faith altogether, while others have turned to pre-Vatican II ritual.

To address current liturgical concerns, Rome has reformed the leadership of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, and bishops conferences in many parts of the English-speaking world have begun to address these issues.

The new encyclical, together with the revised English translation of the Roman Missal, will help ensure that the vision of Vatican II might at last be achieved.

  • Peter Westmore is Publisher of AD2000

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 3 (April 2003), p. 2

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