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Online Edition: November 2007

Vol. XIII, No. 8

News and Views

Pope Benedict Writes Encyclical on Hope | Former Benedictine Abbot to Head New Liturgical Institute in Tulsa | Two New US Cardinals Named

Pope Benedict Writes Encyclical on Hope

Pope Benedict XVI has completed his second encyclical, Vatican sources revealed October 16. It is tentatively titled Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope), and is expected to explore the Christian understanding of hope in the light of modern philosophy and the problem of unbelief.

The pope reportedly wrote the encyclical this summer, and at the same time worked on a third encyclical on social teaching.

No date was given for the release of the new encyclical.

Source: Catholic News Service

Former Benedictine Abbot to Head New Liturgical Institute in Tulsa

Abbot Marcel Rooney, OSB, former Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Order and noted liturgical expert, was recently named president of a new Institute of Sacred Liturgy established by Bishop Edward Slattery in the Diocese of Tulsa.

Bishop Slattery spoke of the reasons for establishing the Institute in his September 2 column in the diocesan newspaper, the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic.

As an example of the need for greater understanding of the liturgy, Bishop Slattery noted that strong preferences for one style of music over the other in the singing at Mass has often “reduced us to factions”, and observed that hymns and songs are not really part of the liturgy itself, but are additions.

“Hymns were introduced after the Reformation as a way of reformulating in vernacular terms the doctrines in dispute”, Bishop Slattery wrote. “Protestant hymns formulated the doctrines in such a way that the reformers’ followers could easily grasp their new interpretation of the Scripture, while Catholic hymns were formulated to help Catholics maintain their faith against the attacks of the reformers.

“As a polemic, the technique reaches back to the early fourth century and the rollicking verses composed by the followers of the heretic Arius”, he continued. “The difference is that such hymns were never introduced at Mass. They were never sung at Mass because the liturgical action was understood as being complete in itself, a perfect whole which needed nothing external to itself. That hymns are extrinsic to the liturgy, perhaps even superfluous, can be seen in the fact that many — perhaps most parishes — will celebrate any number of Masses during the week with no sung hymns.

“I know that this [comment on music] has been a serious digression, but I am willing to go to this length to illustrate the point that if we are to have a liturgical institute, then it must have as well as a strong academic focus, engaging scholars from around the country, who are willing to tackle — in a spirit of profound humility — the most [vexing] issues in the study of the Liturgy”.

Bishop Slattery then described the three aims of the institute:

“The first is to change our attitudes about the liturgy, so that our participation in the Mass will transform us. That’s the key — we must be disposed to the Mass and open to its spiritual power.

“The second aim is to reconnect the prayed liturgy with the lived experience of the faithful, so that it is clearly understood that what we do as a priestly and kingly people each Sunday, indeed each day of the year, is to live out the full paschal mystery of Christ as the source and summit of our redemption.

“And the third is this: to foster the intellectual study of the liturgy and to allow the faithful of the diocese to benefit from those studies, either by participating in classes leading to a degree in liturgy or through the improved celebration in each of our parish communities”.

Abbot Rooney, born in 1937 in Nebraska, was a monk and former abbot at Conception Abbey, Missouri. He received a Master’s Degree from the Eastman School of Music, and holds a doctorate in sacred theology. He taught at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute for seven years, and has been advisor to the US Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy.

From 1996-2000 he was Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Order. For the past several years he has been pastor of two parishes in Arkansas, St. John the Baptist in Brinkley and St. Francis Church in Forrest City.

In his work with the new Liturgical Institute Abbot Rooney plans to meet with lectors and other lay people and offer “formation programs” in the parishes, perhaps with people from several other parishes joining in the sessions, or “three Monday nights on theology for readers and then two nights for practice.

“It will be my job to set the theological tone and curriculum”, he said. The institute will teach very orthodox theology, Abbot Rooney stressed. “We want to teach people what real liturgy is, that is, how do we meet God?”

Spirituality will be emphasized: “How do we really pray with the liturgy when we go to Church? How do you pray while you’re singing the song, doing the liturgy, leading the people to holiness?”

The third component is pastoral, said Abbot Rooney. “How do we help the people in the parish to do their ministry better?”

Source: Eastern Oklahoma Catholic

Two New US Cardinals Named

Pope Benedict appointed twenty-three cardinals in October, two of whom were from the United States: Archbishop John Foley, 72, who headed the Pontifical Council for Social Communication from 1984 until this past June, when he was made Grand-Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; and Archbishop Daniel DiNardo, 58, who became archbishop of Galveston-Houston in February 2006.

Cardinal-elect DiNardo was appointed co-adjutor bishop of Galveston-Houston in 2004, when the diocese was elevated to an archdiocese. He will be the first cardinal from Texas. (Houston is the fourth largest city in the US.)

The cardinal-elect is a member of the US bishops’ Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism; he is also episcopal advisor to the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM).

The new cardinals will be elevated at a consistory in Rome on November 24.

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