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Re: Part Three of the Course, Second Assignment, Question 2
by Marvin Fitchett - Monday, 6 August 2012, 5:54 PM

History has demonstrated that as times change, so do people, environments and situations. As these changes occur, a re-interpretation of those people, environments and situations have to be performed. The same principle is true in regards to the Catholic liturgy and Eucharist celebrations. The Second Vatican Council recognized there were certain aspects of the liturgy and Eucharis were mechanical, archaic or too complicated and required changing. The Council endorsed changes to both the liturgy and eucharis, and their vision was to update the liturgy and sacramental theology.

In the liturgy, the most notable need was for the mass to be updated to meet the requirements of the contemporary church. There were many responses to the appeal to update the mass, but the most significant was the translation of the mass from Latin into the language of the people. This one change to the liturgy had many effects to the Catholic Church and it people. It opened the participants’ eyes and understanding of the liturgy because they could understand it, and it encouraged active participation of the congregation. Furthermore, it reconnected the liturgy and congregation to the communal concept of the celebration, the sharing a sacred meal.

Next, the established sacramental theological doctrine was revised with the goal to increase mass participation. The Catholic Church hierarchy had to release their grip on their traditional theologies to make way for an advanced Eucharistic theology. The contemporary theologians renewed the theology of the Blessed Sacraments. A protestant theologian, Leehardt, posed a new theory of transfinalization, his idea explained how the consecrated elements reach their final reality. Leehardt’s theory was considered but not accepted by the council. Then, three catholic theologians, Schillebeeckx, Rahner, and Cook offered the theory of transignification, their theory showed the reality of the consecrated elements in a symbolic nature. This refreshing theory was introduced in the right atmosphere for the updating the old Eucharistic theology into the new Eucharistic theology. The change to the Eucharistic theology resulted in increased attendance in the mass. I would like to point out, that transignification sounds like the theory from the reformer, Ulrich Zwingli. In his theory, he eluded to Jesus “Christ’s words at the Last Supper as meaning that the bread and wine signified his body and blood” (250).

The Second Vatican Councils implementation of the change to the liturgy and sacramental theology are commendable, however more has to be considered in light of the cultural and ethnic plurality present in our global society.

Grade 2 (Shorter than required length. Little evaluation.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Monday, 30 July 2012, 08:00 AM)