Toward a Trinitarian Theology of Liturgical Participation

By Martos, Joseph | Theological Studies, December 2013 | Go to article overview

Toward a Trinitarian Theology of Liturgical Participation


Martos, Joseph, Theological Studies


TOWARD A TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY OF LITURGICAL PARTICIPATION. By R. Gabriel Pivarnik, O.P. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2012. Pp. xxiii + 259. $39.95.

When I was a graduate student, David Tracy advised me to think of a doctoral dissertation as something that has to be done in order to get one's union card in the shop called the academy. Pivarnik certainly has proven that he can research and write like a professional, and the dissertation on which this book is based justifiably earned him a doctoral degree.

The book opens by asking about the meaning of liturgical participation, which, unsurprisingly, turns out to mean more than attending Mass and singing hymns. Even before Vatican II, liturgists and popes called for increased participation in the liturgy. Indeed, since Pius X, the phrase "active participation" (actuosa participatio) has meant something like spiritually taking part in what is objectively taking place during the Sacrifice of the Mass. The theology of the Mass as a sacrificial offering of Christ to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit clearly has theological implications. But how does one work out those implications?

A good part of the book is devoted to an analysis and exposition of the writings of Cyprian Vagaggini and Edward Kilmartin, both of whom attempted to "unfold the trinitarian narrative" in the concept of liturgical participation. …

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