This book argues that the liturgical reforms initiated by the second Vatican Council may have seriously undermined contemporary Roman Catholic worship. Drawing on important works by Durkheim, Bauman, Foucault, Turner, Duffy, Flanagan and Pickstock, David Torevell focuses on the most crucial element of Catholic worship - the experience of the sacred - and examines how it has been eroded since pre-modern times, largely due to the marginalization of ritual expression, and its consequences. A devastating critique of the loss of the sacred in worship, this striking interdisciplinary study is a call for revitalization of Roman Catholic liturgy through a “reform of the reform” and the reclamation of the importance of the body in ritual expression.
“After the Second Vatican Council, when the dividing line between the clergy and the laity began to be less marked, it is not surprising that a ‘crisis of identity’ (Jay, 1992: 119) began to occur within the priesthood.” (Page 7)
“Rites, therefore, are essentially bodily and collective ways of acting that come about in the midst of assembled groups and which evoke, maintain, or recreate the values and identity of those groups.” (Page 3)
“Durkheim insists that such rites are only effective if strict codes operate” (Page 3)
“These rites prevent unsanctioned mixture and contact, and prevent either domain from encroaching on the other’ (1995: 303). Such rites contain a taboo element which enables them to be ‘withdrawn from ordinary use’ (1995: 304). The sacred cannot emerge unless this withdrawal and distancing constantly takes place. As Frank Parkin contends, although Durkheim believed religion would survive because it was foundational to society, any decline in its influence would be associated with the extent to which the sacred became less awesome and contracted in relation to the profane (1992: 41–58).” (Page 2)
“she concludes that there has been a war waged against ritual by the Church itself” (Page 9)
David Torevell is Senior Lecturer in Theology, Liverpool Hope University College.