Book Review: Vocātiō: Imaging a Visible Church

Vocātiō: Imaging a Visible Church
By C. Andrew Doyle

We do not ordinarily expect fresh, even provocative and challenging books from bishops. Here and there, of course there are exceptions. Pope Francis of course, comes quickly to mind, Archbishop Rowan Williams is continually impressive in his scholarship. I also recall Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s writings not just as he courageously lived to his death but when he sought a “common ground” for divided Catholics some years ago.

Andrew Doyle has put forward a provocative set of images of not only the parish moving forward but, in particular, for clergy. He is a bishop in the Episcopal Church in Texas, has written before of keeping the tradition of the church while allowing it to be living, changing, both returning to roots and moving across boundaries. What is Doyle’s basis for reimagining church is to return church to a missional status rather than a more institutionalized form, the one in which the model comes from the temple or imperial organizations, with their codes, laws, hierarchies and stratified layers of officials and members. He calls for more non-stipendiary clergy, that is, pastors not dependent upon a parish for their income, neither career and professional employees of the local church of the parish, nor of the diocese or national church body. At least one critic wonders whether Doyle’s liberationist view of the clergy may be shaped by the substantial wealth and endowment of his diocese. Be that as it may, Doyle is courageous and free enough to think boldly and share his vision here.

In addition to wanting clergy freed from financial ties to parishes, he calls for a de-professionalizing of their training and identity, a moving away from the clerical establishment that grew after the first three-four centuries, as Nicholas Afanasiev documents in his writings, especially The Church of the Holy Spirit. Drawing on Roman and Byzantine imperial models, clergy became virtually a stratum or caste separate from and above the non-ordained. There is nothing sacred about this later shape, imperially derived, a shape not found in the New Testament among the diversity of ministries and communities.

Bishop Doyle is not at all an iconoclast, rather a lover of the tradition and not wed to any specific historical period which often is the plague of try to assess where the church should be. He also strives to look at the whole of the church, hence the book’s title, since all baptized Christians are called to put the Gospel into practice. One cannot just focus on the clergy and reform and renewal without considering the whole of the people of God.

Hearkening back to the beginnings, he sees bishops as area ambassadors or consuls, presbyters the ones embedded in local communities to witness to the Gospel and social justice, deacons more connected with practical concerns such as food, housing, education and more. All are working not as heads but fellow servants with the rest of the community. Doyle’s point is that clergy need to be allowed out of the parish structure as we have known it for over a thousand years, also out of a two-tiered, that is clergy-lay institutional church structure. All the ordained have ministries particular to both their ordination and their specific local setting. What would be the real change is that the ordained retake their place among the whole baptized people of God. They would equip and support the mission work of the community, whether as a body or through the individual activities of members. And all of the community would take upon themselves the call to give thanks, hear the Word, feed each other and those around them with the bread of life. This would be a splendid book for retreats, adult classes not to mention seminary and undergraduate courses. It is clear, accessible and strong.

Doyle, C. Andrew. Vocātiō: Imaging a Visible Church. New York: Church Publishing, 2018. xxix +177 pages. $19.95. ISBN: 9781640651173.

REVIEWER: Michael Plekon
Michael Plekon is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Religion,
The City University of New York, Baruch College,
and has been a priest in the Western and Eastern Churches.
Community as Church, Church as Community
 (Cascade, 2021)
is his most recent book.

In the image of God he created them …

Albani Psalter (12th century), Mary Magdalene announces the resurrection of Christ to the disciples.

In the context of the annual celebration of Easter, we encounter some women who can be called “witnesses from the beginning”: Mary of Magdala – as in the Albani Psalter (12th century) pictured here – is the first to recognize the Risen Christ and deliver his message to the disciples (who, admittedly, do not believe her); the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well proclaims the Messiah in her village (some villagers believe her, others only after they have convinced themselves). And Martha – not unlike Peter (Mt 16:16) – confesses her friend Jesus “the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.” (Jn 11:27). The historical impact of these women is short or non-existent, even today.

Not to diminish our Easter joy, but woman’s life in the church does not feel “redeemed” in every respect. There is too much hierarchical male dominance in the name of “divine right” and too little faithfulness to the biblical image of man, starting with the creation narratives up to Galatians 3:28.

The adoption of the respective current anthropologies has led to different ecclesiastical images of women that have one thing in common: What “being a woman” is has always been and still is decided by men in the Catholic Church – to the disadvantage of women.

From fluid transitions …

The ancient concept of gender thought of woman (including her sexual organs) as an unfinished “imperfect man.” Masculine and feminine did not denote biological differences, but rather characteristics and attitudes on a continuum between the poles of masculine-intellectual-strong and feminine-material/physical-weak. Women could find recognition by “masculinization,” while men could be “shamefully feminized.” Christian theologians from Origen to Thomas Aquinas have received and reflected on this image of women for over a millennium — perhaps one reason why, from ancient times, it was not necessary to argue specifically for the exclusion of women from the priesthood? The fact that women nevertheless served at the altars for centuries is shown by the repeatedly inculcated restrictions and prohibitions imposed by church authorities, which were often not enforced until much later.[1]

…to Cult purity

The Pauline “insignificance” of the sexes in Christ (Gal 3:28) turned into disdain, even contempt, especially for female sexuality. The late antique ideal of spiritualization in connection with cultic ideas of purity and sexual taboos was detrimental to women. As a periodically defiled and libidinous temptress, woman was incapable of liturgy. Only the “pure hands” of the supposedly asexual priest were allowed to touch the holy of holies.[2] Other effects of the menstrual taboo included: baptisms being postponed, church attendance being restricted, and the reception of communion being forbidden – even for women who had recently given birth. Even nuns were denied a view of the sanctuary during their menses.

The “essentially” different woman

The discovery of the “natural” biological otherness of women in the early modern period did not improve their situation. The new binary image of man merely transformed her previous deficits – feeling instead of understanding, devotion instead of leadership, etc. – into virtues and established them as female “essential characteristics.” The ecclesiastical ideal of the humble, pure, servant-obedient handmaiden of the Lord (or: of the lords?) was born from a male perspective: Mary-likeness instead of Christ-likeness is a topos that is still popular today.[3] How practical that such a strictly conceived complementarity also provides the (theologically untenable) “argument” that women cannot embody Christ in the ordained ministry for lack of “natural likeness” (!).

… and their “special” dignity

The social emancipation of women in the 20th century did not remain without effect on ecclesiastical thinking: John XXIII recognized that women “are demanding both in domestic and in public life the rights and duties which belong to them as human persons.“[4]

John Paul II, however, in his 1988 Apostolic Exhortation Mulieres dignitatem – which he characteristically understands as a “Marian Year meditation” – conferred special dignities on women. The pope attaches importance to their otherness: “The personal resources of femininity are certainly no less than the resources of masculinity: they are merely different” (MD 10). By defining “virginity and motherhood as two particular dimensions of the fulfillment of the female personality” he declares that “these two paths in the vocation of women as persons, explain and complete each other” (MD 17).  With the help of the Holy Spirit, women could realize that and “thus be disposed to making a ‘sincere gift of self’ to others thereby finding themselves” (MD 31). Male fantasies; once again, women’s rights are not general rights, but special rights! Most recently, Pope Francis, in his post-synodal letter Querida Amazonia (2020), hit the same narrow notch, dashing the hopes of Amazonian women. “Profoundly moved” by the testimony “of strong and generous women” he sums up: “Women make their contribution to the Church in a way that is properly theirs, by making present the tender strength of Mary, the Mother.”[5] The request for ordination of women deacons in a distressing pastoral situation went unheard.

One last Witness from the “Silent Church”

But there are Catholic ordained women priests. Following his motto, “Leadership is the granting of freedom” Bishop Felix M. Davidek ordained married men as bishops and women as priests in the Czech underground church during Communist rule, including his vicar general Ludmila Javorova. Attempts to positively involve the Vatican in advance had previously failed. Even before the fall of Communist states beginning in 1989, Davidek was defamed as mentally ill, then in 1996 ordained women were forbidden to exercise their ministry and were imposed the strictest silence. When the pressure from Rome on her sisters in priestly ministry became too great, Ludmila Javorova broke her silence and told her story.[6]

The conclusion? Whether “unworthy,” “equal in dignity,” “with special dignity,” or idealized into a devoted lover and bearer of a mission “of capital importance” … for the rediscovery by believers of the true face of the Church,”[7] women remain “unequal” in the Catholic Church to this day. Could it be that this very injustice distorts the “true face” of the Church?

O Lord—how long?

[1] In fact, the sources are largely silent about the ordination of women to priestly ministry in the greater church; as things stand today, it seems unlikely.

[2] Comprehensive studies on this subject are fundamental works by Arnold Angenendt, Geschichte der Religiosität im Mittelalter, Darmstadt 22000; and most recently Ders. Ehe, Liebe und Sexualität im Christentum. Von den Anfängen bis heute, Munich 2015; Church historian Hubertus Lutterbach sums up: “Ab dem vierten Jahrhundert setzte sich das Ideal der kultischen Reinheit massiv durch und umfasste alle Bereiche des Alltags.” From this, he says, a “leistungsorientierte Verzichtsspiritualität” developed among clerics: ” Je höher der Verzicht, umso höher das Maß an kultischen Reinheit.” See: (accessed Nov. 08, 2017); in Ders, Fatale Sakralität, in: HK 4/2020, 43-47 (here 43), he argues for “diese Entwicklung zurückzudrehen.“

[3] In an interview with AMERICA magazine (Nov. 28, 2022), Pope Francis has reaffirmed the traditional patrine principle (of ministry and therefore male) and the Marian (female) principle.

[4] John XXIII, Enzyklika Pacem in Terris (1963) 41.

[5] Francis, Postsynodales Schreiben Querida Amazonia (2020) 101.

[6] She received the Herbert Haag Award for Freedom and Humanity in the Church in 2011.

[7] John Paul II, Apostolisches Schreiben Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994) zitiert in Nr. 3 aus der Erklärung der Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre Inter Insigniores (1976) 6.

Baptized in the Ecclesial Faith

Baptized in the Ecclesial Faith:
Notes on the Practice of Initiation in Catholic Austria

In the forty-day period before Easter, Christians are required to remember their Baptism and renew their lives. Thus they are heirs of baptismal candidates and penitents, who in early church times were accompanied by congregations in solidarity on the way to their reception or (having been excommunicated or otherwise separated) to their readmission into the church. After the normalization of the baptism of infants and later the Sacrament of Confession, the experience of ancient candidates and penitents was largely lost in the Western church.

New (Restored) Ways to Baptism
Almost 50 years ago, however, the liturgical reform initiated by the Second Vatican Council restored the catechumenate for adult baptismal candidates and school-age children. The renewed liturgical books thereafter offer a number of celebrations that structure, accompany, and support an independent person becoming a Christian. Like the Council Fathers, it seemed to the German-speaking bishops to be a “sign of the times” to at least supplement the dwindling family transmission of the faith with an initiation into the Christian faith appropriate for adults. Moreover, a considerable need for evangelization was recognized in the formerly communist eastern part of Germany. In traditionally Catholic Austria, there seemed to be no need for this (for the time being), but the numbers of (formal and legal) church resignations indicate more and more clearly the end of the popular church. Does this also mean the end of the baptism of infants and young children, which had been a matter of course since the fourth century? Only the Augustinian doctrine of the peccatum originale had made its triumphant advance possible and at the same time inscribed the fear of possibly unbaptized deceased children into the Catholic DNA. Have we followed these new (restored) paths to Baptism in this conciliar age?

A survey of pastors responsible for Baptism conducted throughout Austria in the summer of 2021 inquired whether the preparation of adults (and schoolchildren) for their incorporation has found its way into parish practice. This is not least in order to be prepared for church life in a changed social form. The memory of one’s own Baptism could be an important source for this, because Christian self-confidence is based on it; nowhere else can the transformation of humans into “new creation” be experienced in the flesh with comparable intensity and symbolic density.

It is not without reason that Baptism and the Eucharist are regarded as those sacramental celebrations without which there is no church. And yet many (in my homeland, the vast majority of) baptized people have no memory of their becoming Christian – so how are they to “commemorate” this event without any reference to experience?

Sobering Results
The results of the survey are sobering: in many places, due to lack of interest and opportunity, the question of the use of the renewed liturgical books and catechumenal celebrations does not even arise. In addition, there are deficits in the liturgical education of parish clergy and laity, as well as a need for improvement in the (structural) cooperation of those responsible. Only rarely do those responsible express regret about this; what someone doesn’t know won’t hurt – or even affect – them.

Despite declining numbers of Baptisms, infant Baptism is still a natural practice – whether for the sake of older relatives or “because it’s what we do” – without distinction as to whether parents are believers or agnostic believing or agnostic or whether parents who are less rather than more interested in church life bring their child to be baptized. To refuse or postpone a sacramental celebration with at least a minimal disposition is problematic under church law and frowned upon for pastoral reasons. After an obligatory baptismal interview with the pastor, the date of Baptism is arranged – preferably on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays – according to the wishes of many parents and pastors, and almost always outside of parish services. This is seen as an opportunity to respond to individual parental wishes and to show a family-friendly face of the church. Most church leaders also see a greater pastoral opportunity in the family celebration than in families being forced into a worshipping assembly unfamiliar to them on a random Sunday.

The Easter Vigil is the first choice for Baptism only in connection with the initiation of adolescents or adults; for younger unbaptized children of school age, the preparation time for the First Eucharist (usually at the age of 8) or its celebration is increasingly offered to mirror the baptismal preparation of older candidates.

In the rare case of an impending adolescent or adult Baptism, by far the most common celebration with parish participation is the admission to the catechumenate through the Rite of Election, followed by presentations, anointings, blessings, scrutinies, and the Ephphetha rite. However, local congregations only participate in the Rite of Election with the bishop in the case of asylum seekers or those entitled to asylum. The opportunity for mystagogical deepening of the experience with the newly baptized is almost never taken.

Celebrations that (can) take place within the framework of the usual parish Mass are much more frequent than those that would have to be scheduled separately in the parish calendar in terms of time or place. On the whole, interest is concentrated on the intensive period of preparation at its beginning and diminishes in the course of time. The initiation itself is then the climax and almost always the conclusion of the joint activity of the neophytes and their companions.

The focus of content during the catechumenate is mostly on knowledge of the Bible, the Ten Commandments, the most important church dogmas, and the church year. The liturgy, on the other hand, as the primary place of learning the faith, was mentioned only once in the survey responses, “so that the preparation of the (mostly foreign-language) catechumen can take place not only theoretically, but with all the senses.” Unfortunately, this fits in with the fact that in some places the various liturgical books are so little known (or unavailable) even to clergy that even a school child is baptized using the infant baptismal rite without this being noticed.

Lastly, pastors were asked for their assessment of whether and how the participation of baptized believers in the process of forming other Christian might affect their own baptismal awareness. Where this experience is lacking, a possible effect is judged skeptically and is also not missed; where, on the other hand, adult Baptisms can be witnessed, a positive influence that spiritually enriches all involved is evident.

Despite dedicated efforts at the diocesan level, the incorporation of adults is not an issue for Austria’s Catholics: it is considered a minority program, “for others,” meaning primarily migrants and asylum seekers. Even for those responsible (mostly lay people) who enthusiastically accompany people to Baptism, it is hardly considered in these circles to delay the baptism of a child. Do Christian parents see no added value in their children’s personal “yes” to the faith? Precisely because they consciously want to introduce them to Christian church life? Shouldn’t they have a special interest in allowing their children to remember and internalize their own, mature decision for the faith and its celebration?

One Baptism – Two Sacraments?
Admittedly, the incorporation of adolescents and adults into the church achieves no differing results in terms of church law and dogma than the baptism of young children: namely, the officially established membership in the church. This alone, however, does not make the newness of life visible.

Some differences between the two baptismal rites, on the other hand, are so serious as if they were two completely different sacraments: For whom is which path to Baptism open? On what terms does someone become a “new creation” (2 Cor 51:7; Gal 6:15)? Ontologically-essentially or existentially? Is the candidate for Baptism the subject or object of the celebration? Both models of incorporation into the church stand abruptly side by side and are applied in completely different life situations. Their partly common ritual repertoire is based on their own anthropological and theological premises, which are difficult to reconcile. Can personal faith be indispensable in one case and completely irrelevant in another? Can the same rites and symbols be meaningful and at the same time be applied to affected people who cannot grasp them? In particular, those sacramental observances that (should) constitute and give rise to Christian existence and church life?

The paradigmatic reception of a sacrament without constitutive participation of one’s own may have been plausible at one time, but “an ecclesial practice that attends only to validity damages the sacramental organism of the Church, because it reduces it to one of its essential aspects.”[1] The culture of sacramental celebration is still suffering from this today. But if “as an essential constituent, sacramental logic includes the free response, the acceptance of God’s gift, in a word: faith – however incipient that faith may be, especially in the case of Baptism,”[2] why is there no mention of this in the later statements of the International Theological Commission on (infant) Baptism? Rather, “it is emphasized that the faith in which we are baptized is the ecclesial faith” because “on this occasion, the parents act as representatives of the Church, which welcomes these children into her bosom.”[3]

Toward the Annual Celebration of Easter
“Lent is a preparation for the celebration of Easter. For the Lenten liturgy disposes both catechumens and the faithful to celebrate the paschal mystery: catechumens, through the several stages of Christian initiation; the faithful, through reminders of their own baptism and through penitential practices.”[4]

The most intense baptismal memory remains connected with participation in the baptism of others. Every baptismal celebration therefore requires special care in dealing with the symbolic acts of language and signs and a corresponding not only catechetical but also mystagogical attention to the salvation events celebrated. In fact, the latter does not take place in the German-speaking world. There is some willingness to experience ‘foreign’ baptisms in the Catholic milieu there, but without any interest in consequences for the ‘domestic’ practice. The sensus fidei fidelium remains traditional and clearly states: children of Catholic parents should be baptized immediately. The possible inclusion of even newborn children in the catechumenate is not an attractive (because it’s too strenuous?) alternative. The argument often put forward in favor of early baptism, that unbaptized children do not come into contact with the Christian faith, is in any case not valid. By no means are all baptized children are brought up in the faith of the church or even learn about it. Conversely, Christian parents will exemplify their faith to their children and introduce them to it. Moreover, after their admission to the catechumenate, the Church has a special obligation to them, because they are joined “in a special way to it [cf. the Church …] which already cherishes them as its own” and “already grants them various prerogatives which are proper to Christians.”[5]

Instructive History?
The pronounced dichotomy of baptismal practice is admittedly not unprecedented. Already in late antiquity, the church in Palestine of the fourth and fifth centuries knew the demanding and elaborate cathedral baptismal ritual (which required an orderly ecclesiastical administration) and a strongly simplified baptismal ritual without detailed catechesis, which suited the rural, often nomadic majority population.[6] Situational variants are also found in the early medieval Roman sacramentaries: the full form integrated into the church year as an introduction to church and society under episcopal direction, as well as other shortened forms – for the sick and dying, for example – with a ritual reduced to what was necessary for salvation.[7]  For the baptism of infants, which were performed as a matter of course in parish churches throughout the year, the rites of catechumenate and incorporation had already grown together into a “monster of liturgy”[8] with no connection to life. Who experienced which ceremony depended on life circumstances or social position.

Contemporary baptismal practice fits easily into this historical finding: It, too, can be celebrated rite et recte in more than one way, validly and permissibly, according to the situation. Wouldn’t it therefore also make sense to have a more adequate rituality for the respective setting? In the case of infants and young children, it could be limited to the marking with the sign of the cross and the core action with the water (infusion or immersion), which vouches for the promise of salvation according to Rom 6:5. Symbols strung together additively, whose theological, Christological, pneumatological, anthropological, soteriological, and ecclesiological implications that cannot even be approximated at this stage of life are wasted in the child’s experience. These richer symbols and rituals might follow later at one or more occasions, according to the individual’s journey of faith. Don’t the promises associated with initiation of participation in the threefold office of Christ as king, priest, and prophet, in spiritual anointing and enlightenment, in being clothed with the paschal existence of the Risen One, deserve to be heard and accepted in the flesh? How else should baptism be “remembered”?

Important decisions in life require also otherwise in life more than the agreement of two dates. Taking time for this and granting time to each other shows the greatest possible respect for the freedom of faith and decision of others and recognizes their serious efforts to find their own vocation.

[1] International Theological Commission, The reciprocity between faith and sacraments in the sacramental economy, Nr. 66.

[2] Ibid., 67.

[3] Ibid., 91.

[4] General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, Nr. 27.

[5] Codex iuris canonici 1983, can. 206 §1+§ 2.

[6] See the Study by Juliette Day, Baptism in Early Byzantine Palestine 325–451, Cambridge 1999.

[7] Cf. Bruno Kleinheyer, “Die Feier der Taufe seit dem Frühmittelalter,” in: GDK 7,1 Sakramentliche Feiern I: Die Feiern der Eingliederung in die Kirche, Regensburg 1989, S. 96 –135.

[8] August Jilek, Eintauchen, Handauflegen, Brotbrechen: Eine Einführung in die Feiern von Taufe, Firmung und Erstkommunion, Regensburg 1996, S. 107.

In This Issue: Ex Fonte 1 (2022)

Ex Fonte: Journal of Ecumenical Studies in Liturgy

As a new journal for liturgical studies, Ex Fonte is an international and ecumenically oriented platform for a dialogue between liturgical history and liturgical theology. The multifaceted historical dimensions of Christian worship enrich a present-day liturgical-theological discussion. In this way, the journal accentuates and affirms the contribution of liturgical studies to a renewal of ecumenical efforts. For more information, or to read the latest, visit

Welcome to Ex Fonte!
Florian Wegscheider, Elias Haslwanter

“All you have created rightly gives you praise”:
Re-thinking Liturgical Studies, Re-rooting Worship in Creation

Teresa Berger
This essay challenges interpretations of Christian worship that have constricted the understanding of who worships in starkly anthropocentric ways. In conversation with some hitherto largely ignored early Christian ritual texts, the essay seeks to return liturgical studies to an earlier, arguably more foundational and primordial interpretation of worship, one that re-roots worship in principio, i.e., in God’s primordial activity in creation. Recovering this understanding of worship is driven by contemporary realities, namely life (and worship) on a planet now clearly in peril, a peril that is anthropogenic no less.

From Mosul to Turfan:
The ḥūḏrā in the Liturgy of the Assyrian Church of the East

A Survey of its Historical Development
and its Liturgical Anomalies at Turfan

Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Awa Royel III
The “Upper Monastery” at Mosul was an important centre of liturgical development and reform of the Assyrian Church of the East. There, the liturgical book called ḥūḏrā received its form as it is presently known. After a discussion of the genesis of the ḥūḏrā in general, this paper examines fragments found in Turfan, China, which provide valuable insights into the spiritual and liturgical richness that shaped the Rite of the Assyrian Church of East. These fragments are particularly noteworthy in light of Anton Baumstark’s assumption that mission stations far from the place of origin (such as Turfan) tend to preserve older customs. Therefore, an exploration of these fragments will allow for a fuller understanding and appreciation of this rite and its development.

Der liturgische Vorsteherdienst im monastischen Kontext:
Gleichzeitig ein Beitrag zum Verständnis des Abtsamtes
Stefan Geiger
The monastic liturgy of the Regula Benedicti was realized within two poles: the Divine Office and the Eucharist. The former grows out of the community itself and is constitutive of it, while the Eucharist is externally related to it. The understanding of the role of the abbot is not sacramental, but charismatic. The role of the abbot finds its value in a horizontal hierarchy, as first among equals. The liturgical-sacramental substratum realised in the Divine Office is that of baptism, which aims at the unity of liturgy and life in the sense of a “liturgical” lex vivendi or form of life in and from the liturgy.

Theology and Liturgy as Life in Community and Shared Spirituality
Ioan Sauca
Theology and Liturgy are two important dimensions of the Christian faith. Since faith can only be thought of in a holistic way, both Theology and Liturgy must have a place in the lives of the faithful. Theology as a reflection on faith is not a science that uses only methods of empirical sciences, but is first and foremost the experience of communication with God. The fundamental form of communication with God, however, is Liturgy. Therefore, Theology as well as Liturgy must always be practised in community as “church”. The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey aims at such a holistic approach of Theology, Liturgy and life in communion. This per-spective has implications for the upcoming 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The Barcelona Papyrus and the Opening Dialogue of the Christian Anaphora: Resituating Egyptian Scribal Practices Amid Scholarly Anaphoral Re-constructions
Arsany Paul
Inscribed within the liturgical portions of the manuscript commonly known as the “Barcelona Papyrus” (MS P.Monts.Roca Inv. 128–178, 292, and 338) are various acclamations consisting of Εἷς Θεός, among others. Previous scholars studying these phrases have argued that they represent a part of the liturgical formulary, generally replacing the staple opening of the anaphoral dialogue of the celebrant’s “The Lord be with you”, and the congregational response, “And with your spirit”. In this paper, I demonstrate, through a detailed paleographical analysis of the phrase Εἷς Θεός with its various appendages in the liturgical portions of the said manuscript, and in comparison to other literary and material, visual cultural sources within Egyptian Christian customs, that these invocations are scribal practices rather than part of the pronounced prayers and thus are “marginalia” that function externally to the liturgical formulary.

Warum Kartäuserinnen Stola tragen:
Zur Übergabe der Stola an Kartäusernonnen bei der Jungfrauenweihe nach der Pratique de la bénédiction et consécration des Vierges von 1699 und dem Rituel Cartusien de Consécration des Vierges von 1986
Daniel Tibi
Nuns of the Carthusian Order receive a stole at their consecration as virgins. Initially, this rite was practiced only in individual houses, but in 1699 it was extended to the entire Order, and this remains the case even today. Since the liturgical reform following the Second Vatican Council, Carthusian nuns even wear the stole at certain liturgical functions. This article presents the rite of reception of the stole at the consecration of virgins according to the Pratique de la bénédiction et consécration des Vierges of 1699, which was used in the Carthusian Order until the liturgical reform, as well as the Rituel Cartusien de Consécration des Vierges of 1986, which is used today. It attempts to interpret the rite in light of the way of life of the Carthusian nuns, and to propose a model of diaconal service for women.

A Tradition of Invention:
Rites and rituals surrounding the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II
Daniel Lloyd
Queen Elizabeth II died on 8 September 2022. Her death, after a reign of over 70 years, set in motion a series of events, political and constitutional, religious and ceremonial, which both conformed to a long-established pattern while also introducing new elements. The death of the monarch, the proclamation of the successor, and the mourning and funeral rites are, as they always have been, vehicles for more than the bare protocol itself contains. Choices are made, even – and perhaps especially – when the desired impression is one of continuity; the very presentation of these events requires decisions to be taken and plans to be made which project a certain aura, and attempt to direct the ways in which they are received. This article places those rites in their liturgical and historical context, and asks what meaning can be discerned in the liturgical and other choices made.

Propettive ecumeniche nella Sacrosanctum Concilium
Pietro Ventura
The present contribution provides some reflections on the path marked out by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council towards the visible unity of the Church of Christ, starting from the main outlines indicated in the very first document that was promulgated: Sacrosanctum Concilium. The intimate connection between Liturgy and Ecumenism is evident from the very beginning of this document: “to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call all mankind into the Church’s fold. Accordingly, it [the Council] sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy” (SC 1). For this reason, the article sets out the principles out-lined in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy that could favor this reform and argues that it is necessary to maintain a lively dialogue with those principles, so that the Liturgy can manifest itself as a place of encounter, culmen et fons (SC 10), for all Christian Churches.

For the Season of the Word: A Biography of the Lectionary

I have mentioned a number of times in posts for the Pray Tell blog that I was privileged for a number of years to work with Lucien Deiss, CSSp (1921–2007), who was part of the group appointed after the Second Vatican Council to assemble the Lectionary for Mass. Fascinated to be with someone who was (to use a phrase that emerged years later) in “the room where it happened,” I would often ask him questions about the Lectionary and its creation—the psalter in particular. A man of genuine humility (who also had as one of his greatest fears speaking uncharitably about others), I was not successful in prying loose many stories or much information from him.

So nothing Lectionary-related could have delighted me more than to learn that Paul Turner had written a “biography” of the Lectionary. Within the hour, I had secured permission to do a review for the blog. (Full disclosure: the prospect of receiving a free copy of this book was no small incentive!)

The introductory section gives a thorough background of the project beginning with the Council itself, and then progressing through the personnel and more than three hundred schemata that eventually were approved by Paul VI in 1969. The overarching criteria used were encountering Christ in the liturgical year (especially through a larger offering of Old Testament passages), the influence of early twentieth-century advances in scripture scholarship, and a concern for catechetical effectiveness. The organization was around the principles of harmonization (especially Old and New Testaments), semi-continuous reading/proclamation, and giving certain pericopes “pride of place,” retaining them for special Sundays and feast days.

As you might imagine, the bulk of the book consists of a presentation (and bit of analysis) of the readings as they are presented through the course of the liturgical year. Where an original proposal or plan was later altered, it is noted—and only rarely with any sort of speculation as to why the change may have occurred. This restraint contributes to the sense of solid research and scholarship that permeates this book. A section on weekdays follows, with much helpful correlation made between weekday liturgies and the conciliar revisions to the liturgical calendar. Though not as in-depth a presentation (which would have likely doubled the book’s size), the same care is taken as in the “Sundays and Solemnities” section.

In eight pages of “concluding observations” there is a treasure trove of insights which flow from the author’s work on this book, as well as from his years of ministry as a preacher and musician. Included are some honest presentations of ways in which the Lectionary has been critiqued over the years. A “dossier” of the studies on lectionaries from the members of the original working group concludes the book.

For a work in this genre, the absence of indexes seemed, at first, a curious omission. Upon further reflection, it occurred to me that aside from the enormity of the task, it would have again increased the size of the book substantially. The price for a softcover book may seem high, but for a resource like this that can be turned to again it is, in this reviewer’s opinion, a fair price to ask.

Fortunately, this book arrived near the beginning of the new liturgical year, and so I have already had three weeks to discover that it makes an excellent Sunday-by-Sunday spiritual companion, and would be well worth offering to parish lectors. Though the scholarship is—as one would expect—important and exemplary, it may be as a partner in formation with the Lectionary and the liturgical year that its greatest contribution might be made.

Turner, Paul. Words without Alloy: A Biography of the Lectionary for MassCollegeville: Liturgical Press Academic, 2022. $34.95. 296 pages. ISBN: 9780814667637, 6763.

REVIEWER: Alan Hommerding