A second perspective regarding the ‘liturgy wars’

In response to John L. Allen’s article “Tradition and transition” in the Dec. 3 issue: My theological schooling is at the baccalaureate level, with courses in the novitiate and self-study, but “liturgy wars” would not be a term I’d choose about the worship of God. But it surely gets attention!

The issue is about believers wanting to deepen their relationship with God by restoring the Tridentine Latin Mass. Pope Francis’ refusal to restore it has provoked clergy and laity alike. The pope saw its return in opposition to the Second Vatican Council’s intent to let nothing interfere with the Church’s community life, like the confusing use of another language here — Latin being one of them. 

I know of a good number of Roman Catholics in the Bay Area, where I live, who have deepened their relationship with God by celebrating the Byzantine liturgy. It teaches how well the early Church understood the mystery of the Incarnation — its liturgy expresses it in every detail. The vernacular, English, is used there. The Scriptures take on much more meaning with the knowledge that the apostles St. Andrew and St. Paul, among others, composed the structures of these liturgies we pray from. 

There is much to be said for the graces that come from making an effort to encounter an ancient liturgical experience — and the Tridentine Mass isn’t the only one. 

— Sister Joyce Turnbull, RSM, Burlingame, California

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