Ecclesia orans

Periodica de Scientiis Liturgicis



ANNO XXX - 2013


Editorial     

    4th December 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Our review does not want to pass the celebration of this important birthday by, and it feels the need to dress for the celebration in a new set of clothes, a fact that is already clear from the new cover. But what has changed is not just the outer wrapping. The workers have also changed. They have come at the eleventh hour to replace those of the first, who by their wisdom and great dedication over the years have been able to let this 'little baby' grow – as Father Adrian Nocent called the review after his appointment as its first editor – so that it has now grown up and, in April 2014, will be able to complete its own 30 years of life.
    At this historical moment both for the liturgy, on the jubilee of the Sacred Constitution on the Liturgy, and for this review, on its 30th birthday, I am pleased, as the new academic editor of EcclesiaOrans, to recall the foundational principles that have given it life in putting it at the service of scientia liturgica in the wake of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. They are principles that can be summarised under the general title of 'formation'. Articles 15 and 16 of Sacrosanctum Concilium speak of the liturgical formation, both of teachers as well as of future priests, of a liturgy that inter disciplinas necessarias et potiores, in facultatibus autem theologicis inter disciplinas principales est habenda. We could define the liturgy, as a result, as the 'principal discipline' that draws all other subjects into itself. Paragraph 16 continues: et sub aspectu cum theologico et historico, tum spirituali, pastorali et iuridico tradenda. Curent insuper aliarum disciplinarum magistri, imprimis theologiae dogmaticae, sacrae Scripturae, theologiae spiritualis et pastoralis ita, ex intrinsecis exigentiis proprii uniuscuiusque obiecti, mysterium Christi et historiam salutis excolere, ut exinde earum connexio cum Liturgia et unitas sacerdotalis institutionis aperte clarescant. So, while we are conscious of the fact that the 'the sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church (SC 9),' it becomes their 'summit and the source' in as much as it is fides in actu: the mystery that other disciplines study and whose understanding they deepen in a speculative sense with the help of reason, the liturgy makes alive and active in its celebration as the event of our salvation. This is 'formation' understood in a very precise sense, not simply or exclusively as making demands on the mind or speculative reason to understand what has been handed on by Tradition of by the faith of the Church at an intellectual level, but as letting oneself be 'forged', or 'take the shape' of the Mystery celebrated. As a result, the human being does not become a container in which the findings of theological or liturgical science can be put, but a person who is to be involved and shaped both by knowledge and a conscious, active and fruitful celebration.
    Our review has sought to make a contribution to this process over the last 30 years; by welcoming various contributions to its pages of a properly scholarly nature, based on the research of their various authors, it has offered itself as a means to promote the theological learning needed to underpin a ritual celebration that is more engaged and more aware of what it is doing. Among the objectives of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and, before that, of the liturgical movement, was the intention of supplying the means needed for scholarly research of the celebration of the liturgy that might lead to heightened awareness of the reality being celebrated. That is why, in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, various series and editions of sources have come into existence, above all of patristic and liturgical sources, that over the years have become indispensable tools for the construction of a liturgical science and the development of liturgical theology. That is spelled out by paragraph 23 of the Constitution on the Liturgy: Ut sana traditio retineatur et tamen via legitimae progressioni aperiatur, de singulis Liturgiae partibus recognoscendis accurata investigatio theologica, historica, pastoralis semper praecedat.
    The policy of a review with a strictly scholarly character is determined by this principle: to offer a place for scholarship, discussion and reflection needed to provide a serious theological ground on which to base liturgical celebration. In this sense, Ecclesia Oranshas become an authoritative voice, the echo of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, which over more than 50 years of its life has promoted its research on what the Church's Tradition, in its most authoritative forms, has committed to us. And it is in line with this that the most important contribution of this first issue of 2013 has been included, the letter received by the editor of the review, from the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. On 14th October I had the opportunity of sending both to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and to the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI the special edition of Ecclesia Orans 2012, which included the Acta of the Ninth International Liturgical Congress of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant'Anselmo, Rome, under the title of The Pontifical Liturgical Institute: between memory and prophecy, which was held in Rome on the 4th – 6th May 2011. The first reply was that of Pope Francis, from the Secretariat of State; shortly followed by the surprise of a reply under the clearly written signature of Pope Benedict XVI, who in affirming his profound interest in the subject of the liturgy, sent his best wishes to the Pontifical Liturgical Institute and to the review. This is the letter we have chosen to publish right at the start of this issue.
    Our gratitude for the replies both from Pope Francis and from Benedict XVI allow us the opportunity to underline the profound commitment of the review to being the servant of the Church before being the servant of the Liturgy, or rather to being the servant of the Church in being the servant of the Liturgy. To continue in this service, the collaboration is as precious as ever, of all those who would like, from their engagement in scholarly research in the field of liturgical studies, to offer the fruit of their labours to the attention of the new editorial committee for publication. To this end it will be a help to consult the review's website, which was recently launched, www.ecclesiaorans.com. It is still in the process of being set up, but it already provides various kinds of informations and tools for acquaintance with the review itself.
    In giving a new impetus to the start of this 'new spring' for the review, I would first of all like to thank all our subscribers who, especially in these last years, have shown the patience of a farmer awaiting the birth of each issue in their different seasons; a patience that demonstrates a feeling and a love for the review, because of its scholarly seriousness and its uniqueness in the academic field. It is also shown by the growth of subscriptions over the last few months. If there have certainly been delays, this is because of the zeal and the editorial precision with which the various numbers have been prepared so as to provide a reliable and serious instrument of study. Finally, thanks to all who are already at work as well as to those who will work in the service of Ecclesia Orans, in the certainty that this valuable service to the Church and to the academic world will bear new and more abundant fruit in opening minds and hearts to the treasures of the Mystery of Christ, that is celebrated in the rites of the Christian Church and unfolded too in the learned and luminous pages of our review.


PIETRO ANGELO MURONI
Editor