The Society for Catholic Liturgy

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General Philosophy  

The Society for Catholic Liturgy is founded on the following attitudes and convictions, which it seeks to advance in its various activities and deliberations:

An affirmation of the decisions and initiatives of the church in the area of liturgy during and since the Second Vatican Council, as well as a commitment to the approved revised rites as the basis for any further development;

A conviction of the crucial importance of the twentieth century liturgical movement and of the need for a renewed study and reappropriation of the insights of that movement;

A critical attitude regarding any liturgical "restorationism" which rejects or is fundamentally suspicious of the reforms set in place by the Second Vatican Council and which seeks to return to the preconciliar liturgical order;

A commitment to the church's trinitarian, christological, and ecclesiological faith, and particularly to its teaching in the area of sacramental doctrine; thus, a critical attitude towards a liturgical "progressivism" inadequately informed by Catholic doctrinal tradition;

A recognition of the necessity of a solid and comprehensive knowledge of liturgical science and sacramental theology, so that judgments unsupported by good scholarship are not espoused or advanced;

A conviction that liturgy must be studied and understood not only in its immediate theological and practical features, but in its broader theological, spiritual, historical, aesthetic, social-scientific, and pastoral dimensions;

A respect for the complete historical tradition of Catholic liturgy, including that of the biblical, patristic, medieval, and post-Tridentine eras, as well as an acknowledgement of strengths and values in the liturgical life of the church before the Second Vatican Council;

A belief that a new moment has arrived in ongoing liturgical renewal which requires a mature reconsideration both of what has been gained and what has been lost in the attempts to implement the reforms set in motion by the Second Vatican Council;

A conviction that the most pressing needs in the church's liturgical life at present are not new ritual forms, texts and translations (though genuine developments should be welcomed), but a more edifying, well-informed, and spiritually substantive celebration of the full spectrum of the existing rites;

An awareness of the intrinsically conservative nature both of liturgy and the dynamics of liturgical participation; and, consequently, of the necessity that liturgical change be organic and carefully implemented;

A commitment to the faithful celebration of the church's approved liturgical rites and to the observance of the liturgical discipline of the church; thus a cautious attitude toward liturgical experimentation;

A recognition of both the preeminence of episcopal authority in liturgical matters and the particular competence of the Holy See in the regulation of the liturgical life of the universal church;

A desire for a renewal of a Catholic ethos in liturgy, so that the elements of spiritual profundity, ceremonial dignity, and artistic beauty - especially in the areas of music, art, and architecture - are more adequately fostered;

A renewed attention to Catholic devotional life and its relationship to the liturgy, so that the worship of God finds expression not only in official rites, but in all areas of life, especially the domestic and the familial;

A recognition of the importance of systematic attention to the lay, congregational dimensions of Catholic worship; thus a vigilance about scholarly elitism and neoclericalism, which separate the liturgical life of the church from its popular base;

An awareness of the problems of the dilution of the liturgical practice and spirituality by cultural forces inimical to Catholic Christian tradition; thus, a critical assessment of the challenges involved in the cultural adaptation of liturgy;

A deeper appreciation of the spiritual riches of the Eastern liturgical tradition and of the inspiration it can provide for the ongoing renewal of the Roman liturgy.

A commitment to the virtues of prudence and charity in all deliberations and initiatives and an attitude of respect for the legitimate diversity of liturgical opinions and practices within the church.


2005 The Society for Catholic Liturgy