‘Ephemerides Liturgicae’ Report on the Liturgical Movement in Ireland (1968)

The Liturgical Movement in Ireland is vigorous and growing year by year. A good deal of credit for this must be given to the courageous and enlightened policies conceived and put into action by the monks of Glenstal Abbey, and the Editor of The Furrow. Diocesan liturgical conferences are frequent, and many enlightened directions are being issued by the competent authorities. Of great interest is the Pastoral Directory on Baptism for the Archdiocese of Tuam, printed in full in The Furrow (September, 1967). This Directory legislates for the celebration of Baptism within the Mass. The existing law (Canon 770) should be so interpreted that the mother can be present as a participant when her child is baptised. The Christian community is invited to take an active interest in the baptism by presenting two sponsors to have a special care on its behalf, along with the parents, of the child that is introduced into the People of God. Detailed instructions are given concerning the construction of the baptistery and its reorganization, all in the spirit of the Constitution on the Liturgy Par. 70. This is an example which should be followed by the Hierarchies as a whole.

The above article is from a report in Ephemerides Liturgicae in 1968 on ‘The Liturgical Movement in Ireland’. It was republished in The Furrow, March, 1968. The mention of the work of Glenstal Abbey refers to the Irish Liturgical Congresses. Founded in 1953, they were addressed by (among many distinguished Irish speakers) most of the leading figures in the post-war Liturgical Movement on continental Europe, including Jungmann.

The history of the Liturgical Movement in Ireland and its legacy is truly fascinating, both in the 19th and 20th centuries, though it is much misrepresented and misunderstood on the Anglophone Catholic blogosphere. Fr Séan Finnegan of Valle Adurni wrote a series on the topic that I strongly disagree with but which serves as a useful summary of the prevailing view. The harsher and more common treatments usually involve recirculation of the claim (maintained by Thomas Day in Why Catholics Can’t Sing) that there existed a dearth of hymnody in Irish Catholicism and that this owes its origins to the Penal Laws. (The musical scholar Helen Phelan soundly debunked this nonsense in an excellent article [‘Hymns and Irish Catholicism: A New Perspective’] in The Furrow of February, 2002.) I posted recently about the developments at diocesan level but it’s important to remember the role of the Irish Liturgical Congresses and The Furrow (see here) as a force for change in the pre-conciliar Irish Church on a national level. The Furrow declined drastically in quality after the death of its founding editor in the 70s, and has transformed since then into more of a theological review (now published bimonthly), but back then it was a serious journal of the Liturgical Movement and was widely read abroad.

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Posted on December 7, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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