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Elements of Rite: A Handbook of Liturgical Style by Aidan Kavanagh

October 27, 2014

EORThe author comes across as very opinionated, e.g.: Banners are decorative images, not ideological broad­sides or opportunities for tricky piety. Rather than a festal gesture for the assembly, banners often are a form of disposable ecclesiastical art bear­ing disposable thoughts which foster a disposable piety. Such banners should be disposed of.

Yet I am wondering what he thinks of children who may have worked on one and bring it up at the offertory.

This phrase sums up what this book is concerned with: ritual is a system of symbols rather than of mere signs. Symbols, being roomy, allow many different people to put them on, so to speak, in different ways. Signs do not. Signs are unambiguous because hey exist to give precise information. Symbols coax one into a swamp of meaning and require one to frolic in it.

It follows that: Fundamentalism of whatever sort is a mindless re­gression into fantasy undertaken out of an obsessive fear of risk and ambiguity. Fundamentalists produce not poetry but propaganda, not liturgy but self-serving bible study groups. The liturgy, on the other hand, like a language system, is shot through with the rich ambiguity of metaphor, symbol, sacrament, and it is always changing even when it appears not to be.

And: If a poet must explain the poem before it is recited, there is something wrong with the poem. If a liturgy must be explained before it is done, there is some­thing wrong with the liturgy. In such cases it is prob­able that there is something wrong with the poet and the liturgist as well. This is not to say that prepara­tion is never needed. It is only to say that lengthy explanations are always abnormal and should never occur as an immediate prelude to the act itself.

Against carpets in church: It is not a carpeted bedroom where faith may recline privately with the Sunday papers…. While rugs and runners may occasionally enhance liturgical place by adding festal color, carpeting in quantity wearies the eye and muffles sound. Even with a good electronic sound system, which is a rar­ity, a carpeted church often has all the acoustical vigor of an elevator. The ambience of a carpeted church, moreover, is too soft for the liturgy, which needs hardness, sonority, and a certain bracing dis­comfort much like the Gospel itself. Liturgical ambi­ence must challenge, for one comes to the liturgy to transact the public business of death and life rather than to be tucked in with fables and featherpuffs.

Against clutter: Neither altar nor font should be so close to the other as to compete for attention or to confuse each other’s purpose, dignity, and quite different kinds of liturgy. The altar is a table to dine upon. The font is a pool to bathe in, a womb to be born from, a tomb to be buried in. Bathing and dining areas are rarely found in the same room, except in churches. The presidential chair should be modest but not triv­ial. It is best located not primarily in reference to the altar but to the assembly, perhaps in an opened area in the nave of the church facing both lectern and altar….. As its name implies, the lectern is a reading stand rather than a shrine competing with font and altar. The shrine of the gospel book is the altar. The shrine of the Gospel itself is the life of the faithful assembly which celebrates the Word liturgically. The gospel book, which is “sacramental” of all this, is constantly in motion, being carried, held, opened, read from, closed and laid rather than left somewhere behind votive lights or under lock and key. The altar and the baptismal font are the primary spa­tial foci of the liturgy. The altar table is kept free of contraptions such as elaborate bookstands, pots, cruets, plastic things, electrical apparatus, aids to piety, and the efforts of floral decorators. The book of the Word and the sac­rament of the Word are adornment enough. The baptismal area is kept free of rumpled vestments, cotton wads, stacks of reading material, and folding chairs. The pool itself is kept clean. It contains what is called “living water” not because things grow in it but because it moves to give life to those who lie in death’s bonds. The church building houses the assembly. It is neither a museum for ecclesiastical art nor a pious attic. All it contains should possess a sober splendor congruent with the assembly and its sacred intent….The holy table is the physical focal point of every eucharistic place. It must never be overpowered by decorative architecture or suspended crosses; never compromised by the proximity of other major objects such as chair, tabernacle, or baptismal font; never trivialized by minor objects such as bookstands, mic­rophones, cruets, flower vases, devotional aids and such like being left on it. Roman tradition, despite lapses here and there, has always regarded the holy table as the main architectural symbol of Christ’s abiding presence among his people, recalling to them constantly their fundamental nature as a table fellow­ship in him. The table in this sense is a “blessed sac­rament” in its own way and should be treated with the same degree of reverence accorded the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood.

Moving pews creates arguments but: Pews, which entered liturgical place only recently, nail the assembly down, proclaiming that the liturgy is not a common action but a preachment perpetrated upon the seated, an ecclesiastical opera done by vir­tuosi for a paying audience. Pews distance the con­gregation, disenfranchise the faithful, and rend the assembly. Filling a church with immoveable pews is similar to placing bleachers directly on a basketball court: it not only interferes with movement but changes the event into something entirely different. Pews are never mentioned in Roman rubrics, nor is there any record that being without pews has ever killed Christians in significant numbers.

On the importance of the Church’s Year: Jews and Christians have shaped time into a thrust towards an end-time because they discovered this final meaning of time in the self-revelation of time’s Creator. The liturgy thus does not sanctify time. Time is a holy creature with which the liturgy puts one in meaning­ful touch. Once in touch with it as marking the im­placable unfolding of divine purpose, one is able to perceive its true nature to be not an endless succes­sion of bare moments but a purposeful thrust home toward its holy Source. Time’s sacredness is not im­posed by liturgical worship…. Liturgical ministers sometimes forget what retailers know well and wholesalers live from, namely, that times and seasons are both artifacts and shapers of the human psyche. Seasonal change changes people individually and in groups; they buy, think, and live differently. Christian liturgy, with its profound sac­ramentalism, has traditionally exploited this fact to the fullest. It is thus difficult to understand why some ministers think it a peculiar Christian relevance to compromise or wipe out liturgical times and sea­sons in favor of “theme masses” which concentrate on doctrinal or ideological exploitation of current is­sues. This reveals the didactic fallacy at work in the assembly; it reduces the eucharist to an occasion for doing something else, the Gospel to a teacher’s man­ual, the assembly to the passivity of the taught, the Church to a socio-educational movement, and the ministry to a group of ideologues.

On Sunday: the liturgy does not passively await an absent eschaton. It celebrates the eschaton’s unfolding presence every Sunday, the Lord’s resur­rection day. For this reason, there is no such thing as “ordinary time” in Christian worship. Nor is Sunday a little Easter; Easter is a Big Sunday, that one Sun­day of the fifty-two which follows the day of Christ’s work on the cross and his sabbath of rest in the tomb.

Against the disposable: Missalettes” are kept out of the sanctuary. The best way to do this is to keep them out of the church building altogether. The healthy assembly with alert ministers should not need the crutch of missalettes. They impede local planning of liturgy. Within the tradition as set forth in the liturgical books themselves, the liturgical worship of a local church must be its own business. Worship options ought not to be preselected in an editorial office re­moved from the local church and then set down in a printed form less impressive on the whole than a copy of a secular news magazine. Proclaiming the gospel or reciting the eucharistic prayer from such products is never done….The eucharist is no more a fast food operation than baptism proceeds from eye-droppers or aerosol cans.

Anglicans have a tendency to produce lots of different booklets according to the season but: m nor are they their playthings. The liturgical minister who cannot, for whatever reason, read the assembly’s bib­lical and liturgical texts as they stand in the assem­bly’s approved books should disqualify himself or herself from the assembly’s liturgical ministry. Other­wise, the minister runs a high risk of polarizing the assembly by focussing attention upon the minis­ter’s own personal views about what he or she thinks is best for the assembly to hear. Such matters should be threshed out in forums other than that of the as­sembly’s

Intercessions sometimes go on for a long time and lose their focus: In small, less formal liturgies it is sometimes well to have various members of the assembly offer informal extempore prayers of intercession. In larger liturgies, however, this practice is often counterproductive since the intercessions often cannot be heard by all. In such situations the intercessions should be done by deacon or cantor so that all may hear and respond, although nothing hinders members of the assembly from requesting that specific intentions be included. In either situation one should remember that general intercessions are normally just that, namely, general—for Church, the world, the society, peace, and categories of special need, such as the ill, be­reaved, travellers, the suffering, etc. As a rule, gen­eral intercessions do not become personal or name names: these names might be read out before the general intercessions begin. The general interces­sions must be expressed in such a manner that they do not alienate or “excommunicate” persons or groups in the assembly. Christians at worship do not pray against some things or persons but, like Christ, they always pray for all persons and things, leaving him who sees into hearts and motives to be their judge. The general intercessions summon the Church in unity to pray. They are not sermonettes meant to rend the assembly so that prayer is impossible for all but the ideologically pure, and the sacrament of unity unachievable.

I have lost touch with an idea that I formerly espoused: it is more fit­ting that they wear their own clothes as members of the assembly, which is no mean dignity in itself.

Lots of churches use overhead projectors and PowerPoint. I tend not to like these because I associate them with happy clappy style, but I think the author is being over-dogmatic when he says: The probability of human error or mechanical mal­function in connection with these devices is so high that this alone cautions against their use in liturgical worship. The wrong side of a record, an inverted slide, a broken film or tape all put the assembly’s worship at hazard. More fundamentally, however, re­sorting to electronic devices confuses vastly different types of communication. Ritual activity is a “cool” medium which seduces people into the celebrative freedom of common activity. By comparison, elec­tronic media are “hot” and tend to shove people into corners of passivity or isolation where they are ma­nipulable by unseen wills. For this reason it is difficult to visit or converse with others while a television set is on in the same room. Electronic media, in all their aggressiveness, are better used in unritual contexts for instruction, education, or therapy. To conflate the liturgy with such aids is similar to interrupting a play with recorded reflections, aural or visual, on how the performance is going….. Other media and contexts are available for education. Conflating liturgy and education produces poor edu­cation and dissimulated liturgy. The liturgy, like the feast, exists not to educate but to seduce people into participating in common activity of the highest order, where one is freed to learn things which cannot be ‘taught.

On silence: A liturgical event is not a series of separate tableaux but a symphony of sights, sounds, gestures, and movements whose whole is greater than its parts. The parts must therefore be intimately articulated and the whole well calibrated toward its main pur­pose. Barren silences, during which one must watch some minor ceremony such as the deacon being blessed before he reads the gospel, disrupt calibra­tion, squander rhythm, distract the assembly, and frustrate the relation of one liturgical part to the greater whole. A symphony is not performed as a se­ries of instrumental solos…. this is not the embarrassed, barren, uncon­trolled lack of sound which occurs when things break down and no one knows what to say or do. Liturgical silence is purpose­ful, pregnant, and controlled—the thunder­ous quiet of people communicating that which escapes being put into mere words. Such silences should be allowed for after lessons well read, after homilies well preached, during communion time and after it, and at any other unexpected time when silence seems to speak louder than words or music. Such silences should not seem to interrupt the rhythm of the service but to be an integral part of that rhythm.

And what is wrong with preaching on the Old Testament or Epistle?: The homily is always on the gospel of the day, and one never preaches unless one has something to say. The homily follows directly on the gospel of the day because the former is simply the continuance of the latter by the assembly’s president amid his peers in faith. He preaches because he presides in the assem­bly. What he preaches is the day’s gospel as it has assumed form in his own life of ministry in the assembly. It is Good News to which all have access and which all have lived, a painfully familiar given. The assembly’s president thus does not preach the un­known to the unknowing…. The homily must be sensitive to its being a part of the liturgy rather than time out from it. The homily must not separate Word and sacrament but unite them. It does this by speaking of the Word not academically but parabolically as the Lord did—in story, sign, symbol, image. These are models of discourse sympathetic with the liturgy, which enacts the Word in the same ways. The homily is not a religious, political, or devotional talk. It is an intrin­sic part of the liturgy and must be gov­erned by liturgical laws and principles.

For those who concelebrate at the drop of a hat (or biretta): The present usage of “verbal co-consecration” in the Roman Rite is, if not an abuse, an anomaly. Restored by the Second Vatican Council in order to “manifest the unity of the priesthood” rather than, as one might have hoped, the unity of the Church, its theory is flawed, its form verbally obsessive, its prac­tice clericalizing, its use too frequent, and its num­bers of concelebrants often gratuitously large. Many clergy seem to feel that they cannot participate in the eucharist unless they verbally consecrate the sacrament, even if they must do so in suits from the pews. What such clergy do is analagous to a married couple refusing to take part in any eucharist not a nuptial mass. Such people forget that their ordination or marriage does not nullify their baptism, which they share at all times with the rest of the liturgical assembly….. Concelebrations are added to emphasize the unity of the Church especially on days of particular signifi­cance to the liturgical assembly. The actual number of concelebrants is determined by the size of the as­sembly and space available in the altar area. Phalanxes of concelebrants whose numbers overflow the sanctuary into the nave of the church constitute a violation of proportion and scale appropriate to the eucharistic event, running the risk of warping the as­sembly’s perception of what it is and does. Concele­bration is not an opportunity for presbyters to get in “their mass”. It is not a clerical convenience, but an event to be used with appropriate discretion and in due scale so as to heighten the assembly’s festive ex­pression of its fundamental nature as the table fel­lowship with God in Christ. Liturgical ministry is not primarily an honor but a function of service in and to the Church assembled for divine worship. Loading sanctuaries with special ministers for ideological reasons, or to confer status and honor on special groups in the assembly, violates this fact and often has the effect of suggesting that the highest degree of Christian enfranchisement is to be found in clerical or quasiclerical status. The gen­eral principle is that ministers proliferate according to liturgical need, the need being determined by the assembly rather than by ideology. The assembly may indeed need a number of ministers beyond functional requirements at special times such as sol­emnities. In such a case, the need is real and should be met, but this is the exception rather than the rule, an abnormality rather than the norm. On such occa­sions in particular, it must be remembered that the fundamental principle is that every participant does those things, and only those things, appropriate to his or her liturgical role, ordained and unordained or special ministers included. Such special ministers do not take precedence over ordained ministers at liturgical events, but assist them as liturgical neces­sity dictates, in particular at communion time.

This applies more to Romans than to Anglicans: One such practice is that of having everyone help themselves to communion, as though the holy ban­quet were a buffet or a salad bar. The sacraments are ministries; they are served in assembly by its ser­vants, who in doing so engage the entire assembly in a central requirement of the Gospel, that of being corporate servant in him who came not to be served but to serve. The transaction of ministerially serving the holy people of God is iconic of Jesus’ own service at the Supper and to the world. It should not be omit­ted in favor of some egalitarian ideology. Servants presume the served. Another such practice is that of snatching the host. The host is placed in the palm of the right hand, which is supported by the left hand beneath it. It is then raised to the mouth and reverently consumed. The hands should be carried in this manner as one approaches the one giving the host as an indication that the communicant wishes to receive in the hand, thus reducing the chance of misunderstanding and distracting mix-ups. A final practice is that of grabbing the cup. Passing the cup back and forth between the minister and many communicants often results in spillage, and may even cause the cup to be dropped. One can re­duce the probability of this sort of disedifying gaffe if the cup is held at its narrowest part by the minister as the communicant tips it to the lips by lifting the base.

A bit harsh, though I tend to agree: The general expectation that liturgical ministers should be able to sing as one condition for their being ordained then lapsed. And there was a great unwholesome silence in the world which was not without evangeli­cal and theological significance. While one can bear a liturgical president who cannot preach since there is always the gospel to fall back on, and while a singing bishop is usually a cross that need be borne infrequently, a deacon who sings badly or a president who does not even bother are afflictions none can avoid. A deacon who cannot sing is like a reader who cannot read, a presbyter (which means elder) without age or wisdom, a bishop (which means overseer) who cannot see, a president who cannot preside.

Protestant worship centred on the word and on music. Modern Catholic worship sometimes tried to the same, yet: as litur­gical worship is not an educational endeavor it is also not an esthetic event. …. For then all mutates into something else; liturgy becomes a lecture, worship little more than a crutch for culture rather than critic of its de­fects or excesses.

I am all for rehabilitating the psalms, even if they are in hymn form, yet author doesn’t like these: With the exception of several metrical sequences of relatively recent date, the Roman eucharist has never contained metrical hymns. Although these are now frequently included in eucharistic liturgies, especially in northern European cultures which have rich tra­ditions of such hymns stemming from non-Roman sources, the older pattern of antiphon with psalmody remains the preeminent norm in standard Roman eucharistic books. Unfortunately, the current English translations of these books make it difficult to ob­serve this Roman tradition, except for the meditation chants between the lessons.

On the sacramentality of persons: A liturgical minister of whatever order thus performs the service which he or she has “become” as an en­fleshed sacrament of some aspect of the ministerial nature of the assembly itself.

For those embarrassed by liturgical dance: The liturgy itself is a complex and solemn form of communal dance, of formal motion the choreography of which is its ceremony. If one wishes to enhance the assembly’s appreciation of bodily motion as a means of expressing and communicating sacred val­ues, one might give attention to the liturgy’s ceremo­nial choreography and to freeing the assembly from the physical restraints pews force upon it. The intro­duction of soloists who dance “for” the assembly often has the effect of reinforcing the assembly’s pas­sivity by presenting it with a virtuosity of move­ment none but the soloist can attain.

When women began to be priested, the issue of jewellery came to the fore. In today’s world, it applies to some men too. The author says: The wearing of jewelry by liturgical ministers is sev­erly restricted in Roman canon law to bishops and few others. The ascetical reasons for this should be fairly obvious. So should the liturgical reasons, yet this seems not to be the case. Austerity in altar ap­pointments and vestments is made a mockery when the liturgical minister displays personal jewelry of apparent expense on hand, wrist, and chest. If the minister’s personal identity needs such supports, they should be worn apart from the liturgy. In the liturgy they should be taken off. This includes wrist watches, especially the complex electronic kind, which become distractingly visible at crucial moments, such as during elevations, hand layings, and blessings.

I broadly agree – but with people needing to catch buses to work, there is merit on keeping an eye on the time so I’d allow a simple wrist watch unless there is a clock which can be seen.

I hate notices but approve of: There seems to be no perfect place to make announce­ments in the liturgy, and making them at the begin­ning of the homily, since it breaks gospel and homily apart, is perhaps the least perfect of all. The sixth-century papal mass put announcements at the begin­ning of communion, when there was some delay while the considerable numbers of ministers were busy preparing the plates of broken breads and the wine cups for the people. Another place might be just prior to the final blessing and dismissal. There seems to be no good reason why announcements should be kept out of the liturgy altogether and rele­1 gated to the bulletin, if there is one. Notification of events which are important to the assembly is part of its public business. But announcements should not disrupt the rhythmic flow of the service, and they should be kept to a minimum rather than be allowed to swell into an extended, rambling monologue by the president or others.

The reason for which some presidents choose to greet the assembly with “Good morning, everybody” in­) stead of “The Lord be with you” is difficult to fathom. It cannot be that the former is more appro­priate to the assembly’s purpose than the latter. Nor can it be that the first is theologically more sophisti­cated than the second. And since one would prefer not to entertain the possibility that the secular greet­ing is a mark of clerical condescension to the simple and untutored laity, the only alternative is to attribute the secular greeting’s use to presidential thoughtlessness of a fairly low order.

For those who loathe the Sign of Peace: The sign of peace was originally a full kiss on the lips, men with men, women with women. The kiss was perhaps the liturgy’s most intimate gesture next to baptismal washing and anointing, so intimate indeed that the early church writers emphasize the need for it to be kept “pure”, but kept nonetheless. We today kiss everyone and on all occasions except the liturgy, where, typically, we shake hands. The practice of shaking hands does not trigger as many symbolic resonances as the “pure” liturgical kiss does. The latter, unlike the former, presupposes people who are serious about their faith, indeed so serious as to be able to overcome cultural prohibi­tions against public intimacy. Whatever form the sign of peace takes in a given assembly—a kiss, an embrace, or a handshake—there is no reason why the liturgical ministers must transmit it to everyone in the church. Christ’s peace is abroad among the faithful assembly itself. It is not mediated to all exclu­sively through the liturgical minister or the clergy…. The practice of ministers, sometimes including the president, taking the sign of peace into the congrega­tion not only delays the liturgy needlessly but suggests that the peace of Christ is mediated in the Church by its clergy. Neither scripture nor the liturgy itself supports such a view. In the Roman Liturgy the sign of peace, at least since the time of Gregory the Great (+604), has been associated with the communal recitation of the reconciling Lord’s Prayer. In most other Christian liturgical traditions it has been as, sociated with the communal recitation of the reconcil­ing Prayers of the Faithful, which conclude the serv­ice of the Word and begin the eucharistic preparation rite. In both cases, it is the common prayer of the whole assembly which prepares for exchange of the sign of peace. This suggests that the most appro­priate procedure is for ministers and people to ex­change the sign of peace among themselves where they stand and with their nearest neighbors. This is particularly appropriate at liturgies of some size and formality.

What about children: If it bores them, it probably bores everyone else as well, and for the same reasons. This counsels that children may well be early and forceful witness­es to liturgical atrophy in their assembly, and that their witness should be taken seriously by all. Chil­dren learn much by vigorous ritual engagement, as Eric Erikson has pointed out. They learn perhaps even more by observing what ritual and liturgy do or do not do to adults, especially their parents, and to their peers and siblings. In view of this, children should never regularly be relegated to activities apart from the assembly’s liturgy, and special liturgies for children should not so over-stimulate them on their own level as to make it hard for them to attend regu­lar Sunday worship, or retard them liturgically on a childish level.

I chuckled at: In proces­sions ministers “march” in clots as though clinging to each other for comfort or support rather than spac­ing themselves well so that their movement takes on a modest significance. A procession is a parade, not a bus queue.

The deacon, and here some low church Anglicans need to note, since they usually haven’t a clue how to use deacons liturgically: is butler in God’s house, major domo of its ban­quet, master of its ceremonies…Given the service (diakonia) emphasis of his office and ministry, the deacon (diakonos) is the most pro­nouncedly Christic of the three major ministries. This implies that it is not the bishop or presbyter who are liturgically “another Christ” (alter Christus), but the deacon.

Maybe the most important piece of advice is: To be consumed with worry over making a liturgical mistake is the greatest mistake of all. Reverence is a virtue, not a neurosis, and God can take care of himself.

And: Scurrying around the sanctuary in confusion suggests lack of clear purpose which even the most sensitive acts of presidency cannot smooth Mover. But stiff and rigid behavior is just as bad, suggesting that what one is watching is little more r than a drill being done by rote. The constrained art of the liturgical “composer” requires higher degrees of forethought and creativity than this.

And avoid: must then swamp the as­sembly with printed orders of service, printed collec­tions of music all must sing, printed rubrical changes, practice sessions which distract and weary, and constant commentaries for the confused on how the event is going. All this confounds people, re­duces many to passivity, and drives them away.

Good liturgy does none of this. It simplifies to the point that participation by the non-expert is facili­tated without recourse to printed sheets, books, and practice sessions…. Respon­sible people will choose among the array of options ‘contained in the reformed liturgical books so as to construct a basic public service which best serves the needs and abilities of the local assembly in context of its communion with the larger assembly of the Church universal and its traditions. This must be a work of high and creative responsibility. It must never be overwhelmed by fads, personal idiosyn­crasies, or lack of authentic pastoral insight. It must be prosecuted by people who have the courage to obey the rubrics and the strength to resist being overwhelmed by them.

There is a priest I know who really needs to heed this: Breaking the bread at the words of institution – The president of the assembly is not a mimic whose task is to reproduce the Last Supper. He is a servant who serves the assembly in its celebration of the eucharist by proclaiming in its midst the motives for which it gives thanks. That on the night before he died, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke and gave it to his friends is a central motive for the as­sembly’s giving thanks to God, but, as the eucharistic prayer itself makes clear, it is not the only one. The eucharist is not a mnemonic tableau of an historical ‘ event. It is a sweeping thanksgiving for the whole of the Father’s benevolence toward the world and his people in Christ and the Holy Spirit. … Mimicking the details of what Jesus did at only one of those meals thus historicizes a mystery which transcends time and place, saying in the process far too little rather than too much. Christian liturgy is not an historical pageant. Presidents who cannot be convinced of this should not preside.

The author died in 2006 at the age of 77. Though a renowned liturgical scholar himself, Kavanagh was not one to leave development of liturgical forms to the academic elite or to church leaders. For Kavanagh, it was the interaction of everyday Christians with the world that gives rise to liturgies that reflect and sustain a public order of life and meaning within the chaos of human existence. His influence was critical in the United States to the appropriation of the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.Opinionated? Yes, but I share most of his opinions.

The notion of “orthodoxy” as “correct doctrine,” Fr Kavanagh said, occurred amidst the anxieties of the mid-sixteenth and early seventeenth century, when Christians had to construct distinct and impregnable identities. And then, unfortunately, it became much easier to imagine religion as nothing more than a set of “static” and “already discovered” truths. As Norris, herself a poet, writes, “Theology moved from the mouth, ear, and breath onto the page. Words set in stone, as it were, that had the unintended effect of fossilizing doctrines that were meant to be lived and breathed.”

So, perhaps we should take care to remember Fr Kavanagh’s words that Todd quoted: For in Catholic tradition at its best, faith is not a creedal confession that gives rise to certain forms of life. Faith is, rather, a definite way of life in common that generates creedal confessions not as surrogates for but as symptoms of its vitality. In this sense, the Church is neither a religion nor a denomination. It is simply the way a re-created world coheres in constant praise and adoration of the one who is its source. http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2007/02/10/remembering-aidan-kavanagh/

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