Friday, February 13, 2009

The Debate on the Schema


In the previous blog I discussed the background to the writing of the preparatory schema which was to be debated by the Council Fathers. The Commission on Liturgy was chaired by the Spanish Cardinal Arcadio Larraona, prefect of the Congregation for Rites (pictured here with Miles Jesu members). Larraona replace A. Bugnini with the Franciscan Ferdinando Antonelli. Apparently Bugnini was considered too progressive. Antonelli outlined five fundamental principles as the necessary guidelines for the renewal;

  1. Avoiding unclarity in the development of the rites
  2. Balancing respect for liturgical tradition with legitimate progress
  3. Adapting the liturgy to the needs of the time (especially in mission territories)
  4. Accommodating the structure of the rites to the intellectual capacity of the faithful (pastoral and catechetical concerns)
  5. Promoting active participation on the part of the faithful while respecting the hierarchical and communal nature of the liturgy (History of Vatican II, Vol. 2.110).


Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro of the commission pointed out that the schema was intended to give a summa of the spirit of the liturgy, that is the theological principles in a manner similar to Mediator Dei. The general norms in (# 16-31) were the logical outcome of these principles (HV II, 2.114). (Note: the numbering of the schema does not match the numbering of the Constitution) The adaptation of the liturgy to the national character and traditions of the peoples would flow out of this foundation.

A debate occurred concerning the changes between the official schema which was now being debated and the original text discussed at the Central Preparatory Commission. Mathijs Lamberigts notes, "It was pointed out, for example by Frings, that the passages relating to liturgical language, which had been approved by the Central Commission, the right had been reserved to the local episcopal conferences, in agreement with bishops from neighboring regions, to determine how and within what limits the vernacular would be introduced, with the Holy See simply reviewing the decisions already made" (HV II, 2.115). This language, which became part of the final document, was not in the official schema. This is also the point brought up by Patriarch Maximos IV.

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