"The Liturgy Changes Us...": A Review of Worship as a Revelation: The Past, Present and Future of Catholic Liturgy, by Laurence Paul Hemming | Rev. Brian Van Hove, S.J., Ph.D. | July 29, 2009
Worship as a Revelation: The Past, Present and Future of Catholic Liturgy
by Laurence Paul Hemming
Continuum, 2008 (paperback)
192 pages, including glossary, bibliography and index
Liturgy has shifted with the appearance of younger scholars and critics who write about the reform of forty years ago. Generally, they see defects of the reform to be pronounced and the benefits of it to be dubious. Hemming calls the present state of Catholic liturgy "chaos".
Defenders of the official liturgical reform in the days of their euphoria were once able to dismiss negative assessment. Unable now to ignore this rising tide, they are at last compelled to address it. Examples of still-serious defenders are John Baldovin and Piero Marini.
Of course the same official reform (with special reference to the Missal of 1970) is also criticized by those of another extreme who maintain that it did not go far enough. Ironically these, so opposed to authority, do not remember that it was authority itself which launched and supported liturgical reform.
Living with a failed reform is uncomfortable. Pastors who would set things right are afraid to disquiet the ordinary faithful who have already been so disturbed during the previous generation. One is reminded of a work proposing "national repentance" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, From Under the Rubble. Where do we go from here? Can the Church correct what has gone awry?