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Jesuit conference considers inculturation Of liturgy

The need for greater community involvement and freedom to creatively bring about a people's inculturation in liturgy were issues discussed recently in Thailand by Jesuit liturgists from around the globe.

Organiser Fr Keith Pecklers said liturgical inculturation is "very important" for the Church today, because liturgy should not be "dead."

The congress brought together Jesuits and other experts in the liturgy field to share information and practice regarding inculturation to help make liturgy alive, he said.

During the press conference, Fr Mmichael Amaladoss from Chennai, India, noted that though Catholics celebrate the Eucharist every day, the liturgy is basically rooted in a foreign Roman culture.

"This is the reason why believers do not feel that they genuinely participate in religious practices," he said.

"Catholics, whether they are Indians or Thais, are accused of being believers of a religion of foreigners. For me, it is important to integrate liturgy into culture. Such integration should not only be in the pastoral and evangelizing fields, but also in the realm of the spiritual life," he said.

In his paper, Fr Amaladoss explored "sacramental action" at three levels.

"At the first level is a community meal: a group of people eating and drinking together," he said, calling this the ritual level. This meal "symbolises fellowship, togetherness and equality," he observed, noting that "sharing food is sharing life." There also is a social level of meaning.

"When this meal is taken in memory of Jesus by a community of his disciples obeying his command a third, mysteric level is added. Jesus' bodily presence in the food is encountered in faith and the community has living fellowship with Jesus. Jesus giving his life to us and for us is a sacrificial action. Sharing his life he shares God's life with us," he explained.

Fr Amaladoss called it a "tragedy" that in spite of openness that has made progress in inculturation possible, "the authorities in the Church have chosen to insist on the preservation of the Roman Rite for the Latin Church." In his view, the "central authority" in the Church is "not justified" in claiming "the exclusive right to control the process of inculturation."

Jesuits Consider People's Role In Inculturation Of Liturgy (UCA News 5/7/04 - requires registration)

6 Jul 2004