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Archbishop warns against liturgy nostalgia

Hobart's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has spoken of the folly of looking back at the pre-Vatican II liturgy with rose-tinted glasses and forgetting the enrichment the Council's reforms have added to the life of the Church.

Addressing a gathering of Tasmanian liturgists in Hobart on Tuesday, he said the liturgy was more uplifting in the "good old days", just as "tomatoes tasted better and the bread was fresher and crustier".

He said memories of the past don't always fit reality, but that there are "some Catholics who have the same attitude to their religion and in particular to the liturgy".

Archbishop Doyle was speaking ahead of today's 40th anniversary of the Council Document on liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium.

"Anyone taking the time to read the Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, promulgated 40 years ago this week, would soon realise what the good old days were really like," he said. "Before the Second Vatican Council the liturgy was, in many ways, the private preserve of the clergy. It was conducted in a language very few of the laity understood."

The archbishop payed tribute to the leadership role a previous Archbishop of Hobart - Guildford Young - played in promoting liturgical reform in Tasmania, but also nationally and internationally. Archbishop Young was one of four English-speaking bishops at Vatican II to propose a joint commission of English-speaking bishops conferences to do translations, which has predominated until recently as the International Commission for English in the Liturgy.

Speech of Archbishop Adrian Doyle at Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy 40th Anniversary Forum 2/12/03 (not available online)

Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy - Second Vatican Council, Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI On December 4, 1963
Some Highlights of the Liturgical Renewal Initiated by Sacrosanctum Concilium (Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments)
Archdiocese of Hobart | Liturgy Commission

4 Dec 2003