That They May Be One: Liturgical Reconciliation
University of Notre Dame
September 24-26, 2020
In his Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man, Henri de Lubac, S.J. describes the unifying function of liturgical prayer. In offering the Eucharistic sacrifice, the Church participates in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. It is through this sacrifice that men and women in the Church are restored to the original communion that was the destiny of the human family. The unity made possible by Christ’s sacrifice is ritually celebrated each Holy Thursday during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper as the Church sings, “Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur:/Ne nos mente dividamur, caveamus./Cessent iurgia maligna, cessent lites./Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus” (So when we as one are gathered all together,/let us strive to keep our minds free of division;/may there be an end to malice, strife and quarrels,/and let Christ our God be dwelling here among us).
The irony is that much liturgical scholarship and practice in the last fifty years has led to disunity rather than unity within the Church. Catholics who worship according to the reformed rites of the Second Vatican Council may be viewed as participating in a liturgically deficient presentation of Christ’s sacrifice. Many liturgical scholars, pastoral liturgists, and even clergy of the post-conciliar era cast a suspicious eye toward Catholics who celebrate the Extraordinary Form or who desire a retrieval of liturgical and devotional practices from pre-conciliar Catholicism. The liturgical arts, especially sacred music and architecture, have become a space of contestation within Catholicism.
Liturgical renewal within both scholarship and pastoral practice must move beyond a mutual suspicion that does harm to Christ’s Body. The task of reconciliation within liturgical scholarship and practice cannot proceed as benign tolerance or a naïve relativism. Instead, it must include a deeper reflection on a liturgical theology of unity, grounded in what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called the sacramental mysticism central to Catholicism.
The 2020 conference of the Society for Catholic Liturgy invites submissions for papers and pastoral presentations that treat the theme of liturgy and unity in the Catholic Church. Proposals may address eastern Catholic liturgies, the reformed rites of the Second Vatican Council, the Extraordinary Form, and the Personal Ordinariate for former Anglicans. Potential topics and questions which arise from the conference theme are:
- The role of liturgical history in contributing to both unity and disunity in the Church. How might a liturgical historian narrate the history of the liturgy in a way that does not succumb to prejudices against a specific liturgical era or series of practices?
- A liturgical theology of unity grounded in the rites of the Church.
- Sociological and cultural examinations of liturgical practice in parishes and seminaries. Are parishes and seminaries marked by discord or harmony around liturgical practice? What is the source of this discord or harmony in parishes and seminaries?
- Constructive proposals attending to how the Novus Ordo, the Extraordinary Form, and eastern Catholic liturgies may contribute to a fuller understanding of actuosa participatio. What theological, ritual, aesthetic, pastoral, and principles should form the basis of this robust account of active participation?
- The role of the liturgical arts and sacred music in fostering the unity of the Church within the liturgy.
- The Personal Ordinariate of former Anglicans and its contributions to the Catholic Church.
- The function of liturgical language (the vernacular or a sacred language) as fostering ecclesial unity.
- The role of liturgical prayer as fostering unity within the human family in a global context.
Paper proposals of approximately 250 words should be emailed to:
firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, February 24, 2020.
Presentations are expected to be 45 minutes in length, followed by 15 minutes of discussion. Papers presented will be considered for publication in the Society for Catholic Liturgy’s journal Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal.
Registration, Housing, and Travel
Registration information will be available by March 1, 2020.
A block of rooms has been reserved at the Embassy Suites and Fairfield Inn at the University of Notre Dame. Information about reserving these rooms will be available by March 1, 2020.
The University of Notre Dame is accessible via air, rail, and car.