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13 The Roman Catholic Liturgy in the Postconciliar Time of Transition

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Chapter Summary

Three basic categories can be distinguished in human discourse: time, space and actants. This is also true for rituals. This article describes the tensions that are occurring during the period of transition of the liturgy after Vatican II, focusing particularly on the categories of time and space. Due to limitations of space, this article will not thematise the actants as such, but it will address them in passing as it discusses the categories of time and space. By contrast with the period of the post-Tridentine liturgy, which was characterised by a uniform, clerical and ‘geschichtslose’ (Jungmann) liturgy, the period after Vatican II saw the aggiornamento of the liturgy. It is marked by several tensions. First, there are extreme traditionalists, such as in the Society of St. Pius X, who reject all change. Then there is the strand of the neo-traditionalists, who wish to change the new liturgy on the principle of an organic development of the liturgy, by implementing a reform of the reform in line with organic development of the previous tradition. A third group consists of the reformers on basis of specific periods of the tradition, and a fourth of those who argue for further inculturation. The ideas of this last group are clarified on the basis of the vertical, immanent, horizontal and ‘near’ dimensions of the liturgy.



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