The National Catholic Review

This comes from CathNews, the Australian Catholic news website.  The text is from a link to the Broken Bay Institute-University of Newcastle's new program in liturgical studies.  Strong words, indeed.

World-renowned expert in liturgical inculturation, Fr. Anscar Chupungco OSB, challenged recent announcements on liturgical reform decrying their “absence of a historical and cultural approach to the liturgy, or, in a word, the inability to fuse together the two basic concepts of Vatican II’s liturgical renewal, namely sound tradition and legitimate progress.” He noted that recent statements coming from no less than the papal master of ceremonies, Msgr Guido Marini, which called for a reform of Vatican II’s reform were part of an agenda to turn the clock back 50 years, that “seems to conveniently forget that since Vatican II, the Church has been marching with the times, acknowledging the changes in social and religious culture, and adopting new pastoral strategies.”

Fr Chupungco received a standing ovation for his paper, “Liturgical Studies and Liturgical Renewal” that was delivered at the launch of The Broken Bay Institute-University of Newcastle’s programs of Liturgical Studies (Graduate Certificate in Theology – Liturgical Studies and Master of Theology – Liturgical Studies). Fr Chupungco, a scholar whose expertise in liturgical inculturation has placed him in a critical staging area for the Church, is the first Filipino on the Pontifical Institute’s faculty, serving as the Institute’s President for 12 of his 23 years in Rome.

Fr Chupungco noted that students of liturgy should be aware of recent developments, including recent Roman documents “that are becoming increasingly perplexing.” Fr Chupungco noted that the good “student of liturgy should know how to critique historical development in the light of Vatican II’s liturgical principles, like the central place of the paschal mystery, the place of God’s word, active participation with all that this implies (vernacular, congregational singing, lay ministry), and the ecclesial dimension of the sacrament and sacramentals. These constitute the guiding principles to decide whether things are liturgically acceptable or not.” Fr Chupungco urged students to become “equipped with a critical mind that allows them to weigh the value of new norms and directives, though always in the spirit of ecclesial obedience.”

Fr Chupungco concluded: “The long and short of it is that liturgical reform requires serious academic work, not mere romantic attachments to the past that close the eyes to the reality of the present time. The drive for legitimate progress makes us run towards the realisation of Vatican II’s liturgical reform, but we should not run as if we did not carry on our shoulders the weight, both heavy and precious, of sound tradition.”

The launch which was held on January 21 at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney, marked a significant step in the growth of The Broken Bay Institute. BBI’s Director, Dr Gerard Goldman, expressed the hope that current and new students wishing to embark on a journey of theological studies would find both courses of immeasurable value. Dr Goldman referred to Sacramentum Caritatis (#35) in which Pope Benedict XVI highlighted, “The liturgy is a radiant expression of the paschal mystery in which Christ draws us to himself and calls us to communion . . . [in a] concrete way in which the truth of God’s love in Christ encounters us, attracts us and delights us, enabling us to emerge from ourselves and drawing us towards our true vocation, which is love.”

Fr John Frauenfelder, BBI’s Academic Dean and Head of Liturgical Studies, noted the courses, “offer a unique opportunity within the Australian Church context for formal study in, and pastoral response to liturgy in its historical, theological, ecclesial, scriptural and pastoral sources.” “Liturgy is about searching out the mystery of God expressed in fragile human terms and actions, and attempting to give expression to the Real Presence. It is the life of the church from which the belief of the church arises – touch liturgy, and one touches all theology,” said Fr Frauenfelder. 

Fr David Orr OSB, commenting on behalf of the National Liturgical Commission, welcomed this new offering from BBI-University of Newcastle for the Church: “Without tertiary study of liturgy we run the risk of losing the guidance of the liturgical heritage which forms the celebration of the Liturgy of the Church.” 

The link to the BBI's press release is here.  The link to the original story on CathNews is here.