Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: December 2011 Archives

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:

Baumstark Cover.png

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.

Mary, Immaculate Conception.jpgWhat 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.
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From a little known text by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger published in 1998

The pastoral approach to marriage should be founded on truth

Concerning some objections to the Church's teaching on the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried members of the faithful

In 1998 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, introduced the volume entitled "On the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried," published by the Libreria in the CDF's series ("Documenti e Studi", 17). Because of its current interest and breadth of perspective, we reproduce below the third part along with the addition of three notes. The text was published today by L'Osservatore Romano.

The Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of 14 September 1994 concerning the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried members of the faithful was met with a very lively response across wide sections of the Church. Along with many positive reactions, more than a few critical voices were also heard. The fundamental objections against the teaching and practice of the Church are outlined below in simplified form.

Several of the more significant objections - principally, the reference to the supposedly more flexible practice of the Church Fathers which would be the inspiration for the practice of the Eastern Churches separated from Rome, as well as the allusion to the traditional principles of epicheia and of aequitas canonica - were studied in-depth by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Articles by Professors Pelland, Marcuzzi and Rodriguez Luño 2, among others, were developed in the course of this study. The main conclusions of the research, which suggest the direction of an answer to the objections, will be briefly summarized here.

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]



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This page is a archive of entries in the Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments category from December 2011.

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