Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Trained Liturgist



The spiteful Robert Mickens, of The Tablet (seen last week's bit of snideness?) said of the Pope that he was not a "trained liturgist". It really does strike me that we actually need such people, trained liturgists, I mean, not Mickens.

He are some of things I would expect from such a person:

  • a person of profound prayer & deep humility
  • be at ease with the Church's rites and devotional practices

  • be familiar with & love both forms of the Roman Rite

  • have a deep grounding in & understanding of dogmatic, sacramental and liturgical theology
  • know well and love the Scriptures, the Fathers and the Magisterium

  • know the Church's Laws

  • should know well Latin & Greek, and be familiar with the other liturgical languages of the Catholic Church

  • should know the Church's musical tradition

  • should rooted in the tradition and anxious to pass it on

  • understand the psychology & socilogy of worship

  • be a Pastor, preferrably a priest
  • understand religious and secular culture, and history
  • know that he is the servant not the master of the liturgy, which belongs not to him but the Church

add your own ideas in the comments

22 comments:

Volpius Leonius said...

Its strikes me as absurd to claim that a member of the clergy is not a trained liturgist, what on earth do they do every day of the week then?

Mac McLernon said...

How about...

Loyal to the Holy Father

Obedient to the Church's teachings

Not into PC language just for the sake of being PC...

Fr Ray Blake said...

I have deleted some of you by mistake, so sorry.

Moretben said...

Of course, "trained liturgist" is code, that's all. These people don't understand liturgy at all, apart from its sociological function. It's therefore meaningless to point out that none of the great figures in the liturgical Movement - Gueranger, Guardini, Casel, Parsch, Jungman, Bouyer etc - were "trained liturgists" (liturgical science did not exist in their generations) because the phrase merely means "formed in approved sociological ideology".

Pope Benedict is a wonderful writer on the liturgy - a great teacher and profound theologian, marked by an essential humility before the objective Apostolic Tradtion.

Anonymous said...

I attended a SVP meeting in our parish and one of the members insulted the Pope at the start of the meeting. Strange thing is that the SVP prayers include a prayer for the Pope in its format.

My point is that we can't complain about athiests, aggressive secularists, non-Catholics, "The Tablet" or anybody else insulting the Pope if ordinary Catholics are doing it also - in a SVP meeting of all places! Or, indeed, if Bishops also disobey him publicly or interpret his words to suit themselves.

GOR said...

I equate the term “trained liturgist’ with the term “feminist theologian”. Both bespeak someone who has had some courses in the discipline and possibly even a dubious degree from a liberal ‘Catholic’ university. Both cast themselves as ‘experts’ or ‘specialists’ in their field and a cut above everyone else as they pronounce dogmatically upon their subject. Humility is not in their lexicon, as they “know more” than the rest of us.

I recall our Holy Father some time back - in an address to theologians - admonishing them to humility. In the post-Vatican II era we have seen little of this humility from either ‘theologians’ or ‘liturgists’. They present themselves as ‘knowing more than God’ – or at least God’s representative on earth. One of the hallmarks of Pope Benedict is that, despite his erudition and his undoubted theological credentials, he is at heart a humble man.

The liturgical and theological ‘specialists’ would do well to learn from him, as they should learn from Him who is “meek and humble of heart”.

After all, a ‘specialist’ is defined as: “One who knows more and more, about less and less…”

Anonymous said...

A trained liturgist is the sort of idiot who refuses to read the Passion Gospel on Palm Sunday because it is inappropriate! I kid you not. ffn

Volpius Leonius said...

I pray that people who insult the Pope are not ordinary Catholics, now anonymous what did you do to protect the good name of H.H. did you at least point out that the committing the sin of detraction against the Holy Pontiff is a great sin, personally I would have struck the fool.

We are pretty powerless against rebellious clerics but not against other members of the laity.

Henry said...

As a server, I would appreciate some training in the liturgy and in any case it would not come amiss. Probably this is widely true.

Can we invite a good MC down to give an afternoon's training, to show us what to do, and when, and how, to do it? And what to wear (black shoes, not trainers). There is also now a need to teach servers assisting in the Extraordinary Rite. And procedures should be written down in a book, with diagrams showing where people should stand, which depends on the layout of the church. Servers are not telepathic and need to know beforehand what they are supposed to be doing, to avoid whispering, gesturing and other means of communication during the mass itself, and all prone to misunderstanding.

If an invitation was sent out to other parishes, this would make for a better attendance. Perhaps something for the Deanery. Or pie in the sky?

James M said...

Three disasters come upon the Church, and four upon the planet, when in the things of God men insist on 'creating' instead of receiving.

So I completely concur with your list Fr B and with the additions made by Mac.

(Meanwhile, apologies for this weird comment...reading too many Proverbs)

Emitte said...

GOR is quite right about this, as such a discipline/position could unfortunately lend itself to the nasty service of pride.

I pretty much agree with the comments said here, but personally am of the opinion that what we need most urgently are some good faithful Catholic Bishops, priests, and 'lay faithful' to teach and practise the Faith.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Anon.,
No-one in our SVP, would suggest such a thing, if you are in Brighton move here!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Emitte, it's not an issue of "trained liturgists" but of a need for faithful Catholics.

I don't really know what a trained liturgist does exactly or is supposed to do. However, I don't quite see according to your definition why one of these trained liturgists must be a priest? Is that perhaps reactionary against all the lay "trained liturgists" who are running to a liberal agenda?

I won't put my name here as I'll probably get munched to pieces in the combox and labelled a liberal for writing the above!!!

Francis said...

Fr. Ray,

We had a certain trained liturgist at our church on Good Friday who deliberately omitted the prayer for the Jewish people.

Who is training the "trained liturgists"?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Francis,
There is a difference between "trained" and "badly trained".
"Trained" implies obedient.

gemoftheocean said...

Well, to an extent, in *real life terms* Feh, and double feh.

IN THEORY, virtually all the things you say are good, but in PRACTICE the so-called trained liturgist is worse than a terrorist. You can sometimes negotiate with a terrorist.

In my experience far too damned many of these "Trained liturgists" are put to bad use as point men (and it's usually liberal men at that) of wreckovation "committees" sent by misbegotten dioceses.

I've seen many a beautiful church ruined by these expletive deleteds.

May God bless and keep them -- FAR AWAY FROM US. One of those creeps tried to ruin our church and we sent him packing with his tail between his legs.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Mgr Guido Marini is a trained liturgist, the new breed is good!

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts: 1. Alexander Pope was right when he wrote "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" and 2. It is a very narrow version and vision of liturgy that idealizes the late Medieval and High Baroque versions of the Roman liturgy.

One wonders why 'liturgy' a la mode now after the 'motu proprio' prefers 'fiddlebacks' and lots of lace to the simple and more original forms of the Roman vestments -- eg. fully linen albs and conical vestments. The Divine Liturgy is far more profound than polyphony and other decorative elements. To think otherwise is just 'passive agressive' in attitude.

Fr Ray Blake said...

"... prefers 'fiddlebacks' and lots of lace to the simple and more original forms of the Roman vestments..."

I think Mickens said something like that of the Pope.
If you are speaking of the Pope, well he have to remember the building he is celebrating Mass in, it is of that period.

I have a great fondness for the conical form of vestment, I used to own several, but they are impractical without assistants. One needs a server to hold them back if hands drop below your elbow, eg at the incensation or lavabo, if they have heavily decorated, or weighted orphreys, as they used to, to make the hang properly, they need to be lifted, as in EF, at the elevation. They are not practical without assistants.
The introduction of the elevation, and single server, seems have spread the cut away form, or "fiddle back", as you call it, for simple practical purposes. It wasn't Roman Imperialism, but Roman pragmatism.
I choose to wear the cut away form especially in the summer. Those folds of the conical form are not just restrictive of movement but very hot in summer. A bishop wore 5 layers of cloth, plus linings and orphreys, at Mass normally, the Pope wore more. I suspect lace and fine linen came in for coolness and lightness, again pragmatism.

The John Paul or Marini style chasuble is also very uncomfortable, it is normally a full circle of fabric, the conical form a semi-circle, sewn up the side.

Henry said...

After his murder, St Thomas of Canterbury was found to be wearing a hair shirt under his finery.

And still on the subject of liturgy, I have been trying to email a PDF of Mass IX but it keeps bouncing back as I do not have the correct email address.

job said...

A truly trained liturgist knows about the history and theology not only of the Roman Rite but also those of "the other Lung" as Pope John Paul II called it. This person also speaks with modesty and humility about what is known and unknown -- and also how to best allow God's Presence to be manifest in worship.

Moretben said...

The "false liturgist" thinks everything depends on his colleagues "getting it right". A true liturgist knows everything depends on discerning the Tradition and getting out of the way.