Tag Archives: liturgy

Anton Baumstark: On the Historical Development of the Liturgy

The decision to publish this book in English is exceptional. Anton Baumstark is a pivotal figure in 20th century liturgical studies and widely considered a genius. He set the world on fire for his keen understanding of the sacred Liturgy, both of the East and the West as he offers a lens –a method– for understanding historical (organic) development in the Tradition of the Church. Baumstark keeps the reader grounded in asking the questions which keep us close to the theologia prima, the sacred Liturgy. The serious student in liturgical studies will pay close attention to On the Historical Development of the Liturgy and Comparative Liturgy.

The Forward is written by Archimandrite Robert F. Taft, SJ, from whom I was first introduced to Anton Baumstark.

From the publisher, Liturgical Press:

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Anton Baumstark’s On the Historical Development of the Liturgy (1923) complements his classic work, Comparative Liturgy. Together they lay out his liturgical methodology. Comparative Liturgy presents his method; On the Historical Development of the Liturgy offers his model.

This book was written for one audience and valued by another. Written to lead adherents of the nascent German liturgical movement to a deeper religious appreciation of Catholic worship, its methodology and scope have won the appreciation of liturgical specialists for nearly a century. In describing the organic growth of the liturgy, its shaping and distortion, Baumstark’s reach extends from India to Ireland, Moscow to Axum, Carthage to Xi’an. He discusses the influences of language, literature, doctrine, piety, politics, and culture. While his audacity can be breathtaking and his hypotheses grandiose, his approach is nevertheless stimulating. In this annotated edition, Fritz West provides the first English translation of this work by Anton Baumstark.

Trained in classical and oriental philology, Anton Baumstark (1872-1948) was prodigious as a scholar studying the literature, art, and liturgy of the whole church–Oriental, Eastern, and Western. Comparative liturgy, his method for studying the historical development of the liturgy as an organism, has had a lasting influence, notably on the liturgical study of the Christian East. Fritz West, a liturgical scholar ordained in the United Church of Christ, has written numerous articles on liturgical methodology, the three-year lectionary, and worship in his Reformed tradition. He has published two books, The Comparative Liturgy of Anton Baumstark and Scripture and Memory: The Ecumenical Hermeneutic of the Three-Year Lectionaries.

Why is the Immaculate Conception important?

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What did we hear today from the sacred Liturgy about the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary? How close to did you pay attention to the priest praying the Mass prayers on your behalf? What’s the import of the feast? To know the answers we have to look at the texts of today’s Liturgy. Did you notice when the priest prayed:

1. God preserved Mary from every stain of sin by foreseeing the death of His Son Jesus, and so we pray too, that is, we hope to be cleansed of sin and admitted to communion with Him;

2. we profess belief in God’s prevenient grace given to Mary and we hope that He will deliver us from sin;

3. in the Preface, the priest prays that in Mary who was “endowed with the rich fullness of your [God’s] grace … [there is] a worthy Mother for your Son and [which] signify the beginning of the Church; As Pope Benedict said today, “Mary, on the other hand,” he continued, “is Immaculate, free from all stain of sin. The Church is holy, but at the same time marked by our sins.”

4. in her yes to God’s invitation to be the Mother of Jesus, we have the “Lamb would wipe away our offenses”;

5. we pray that the singular grace given to Mary may also be given to us.

This Liturgy is a mix of liturgical, dogmatic and systematic theology. BTW, this is fitting way to celebrate the graces given to our nation.

Benedict on music and Liturgy

Two central interests in the ministry of Pope Benedict are music and the sacred Liturgy; other interests you might say are evangelization, theology and culture. At recent gatherings with the Pope he spoke about music as a concert given by a group of Spanish musicians and then to the bishops of New York State making their pilgrimage to Rome to pray and speak with the Pope about their work. Below are two interesting sets of ideas worthy of reflection:

On music

“…the magic
worked by music, the universal language which can overcome all barriers and
allow us to enter the world of others, of a nation or a culture, at the same
time enabling us to turn our mind and hearts … to the world of God.”

Benedict XVI to musicians

November 26, 2011

On the sacred Liturgy

“A weakened sense of the meaning and importance of Christian
worship can only lead to a weakened sense of the specific and essential
vocation of the laity to imbue the temporal order with the spirit of the
Gospel. America has a proud tradition of respect for the Sabbath; this legacy
needs to be consolidated as a summons to the service of God’s Kingdom and the
renewal of the social fabric in accordance with its unchanging truth.”

Pope speaks to New York Bishops: we ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization,

As you know, the Pope is meeting for next several months with all the bishops of the United States. Two weeks ago I noted the Ad Limina Apostolorum of the New England bishops; this week the Pope meets with the New York bishops and next week he’ll be meeting with the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bishops. His reflections and leadership on key areas are crucial for all of us to pay attention to right now for the good of the Church. The text of his address to the bishops of these three regions is given below.

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I greet you all with affection in the Lord and, through you, the Bishops from the United States who in the course of the coming year will make their visits ad limina Apostolorum.

Our meetings are the first since my 2008 Pastoral Visit to your country, which was intended to encourage the Catholics of America in the wake of the scandal and disorientation caused by the sexual abuse crisis of recent decades. I wished to acknowledge personally the suffering inflicted on the victims and the honest efforts made both to ensure the safety of our children and to deal appropriately and transparently with allegations as they arise. It is my hope that the Church’s conscientious efforts to confront this reality will help the broader community to recognize the causes, true extent and devastating consequences of sexual abuse, and to respond effectively to this scourge which affects every level of society. By the same token, just as the Church is rightly held to exacting standards in this regard, all other institutions, without exception, should be held to the same standards.

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2 new Blesseds added US liturgical calendar

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At their annual
meeting, the US bishops voted to have add to the US liturgical calendar Blessed
John Paul II and Blessed Marianne Cope, both are optional liturgical memorials
in the proper of saints. October 22 is designated to honor Blessed John Paul and January 23
for Mother Marianne.

The Church sets dates for liturgical “memorials are typically set for the
date of the person’s death, which in Mother Marianne’s case was Aug. 9, 1918.
However, that date is the feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith
Stein), who died Aug. 9, 1942. Jan. 23 is the optional memorial in the United
States for St. Vincent de Paul. That date was transferred from Jan. 22 so that
the U.S. church can observe the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of
Unborn Children — which itself shifts to Jan. 23 when Jan. 22 falls on a
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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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