The Liturgy as Battlefield

What Do 'Restorationists' Want?

Complaining about the liturgy is a favorite—and probably healthy—pastime of Catholics, lay and clerical alike. Few dispute the fact that the liturgical reforms of Vatican II have been implemented with mixed results. There is a widespread sense that the liturgy can be improved and that the quality of liturgical practice is crucial to the life of the church as a whole. What many lay Catholics may not realize is that the welcome desire for better liturgy has, in some quarters, taken a highly polemical and potentially divisive turn. Some proponents of this new wave of criticism like to describe their plan as a "reform of the reform," or more accurately, a restoration, a return to the Vatican II documents and a new start at implementation. I fear, however, that the liturgical restoration envisioned by these proponents threatens the unity of the church as well as the coherence of our common worship. Some of their thinking, however, is now pervading Roman liturgical documents.

Recent documents and decisions of the Congregation for Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments call for a new reflection on the restorationist movement in liturgy. Many of the current controversies concerning the translation of liturgical texts center around the instruction Liturgiam authenticam...

To read the rest of this article please login or become a subscriber.

About the Author

Rembert G. Weakland, OSB, was archbishop of Milwaukee from 1977 until 2002.