Winter 2012

Introduction: Liturgy and Culture

Also in Retrieving the Tradition, we offer Virgil Michel’s article, “Christian Culture.” A Benedictine monk of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, Michel profoundly influenced the movement for liturgical renewal in English-speaking countries, founding in 1929 the theological journal Orate Fratres to help provide the theological basis and inspiration for this movement. For Michel, the theological ground of the liturgical movement is always first the Body of Christ. He argues that the “Christian is not . . . to turn his back on the entire culture of today. . . . What is needed is to imbue our civilization and culture with a renewed Christian spirit, and thus to give to it the vitality it is seeking.” Michel has a keen sense of the liturgy as pedagogy, and sees that only when Christians are educated into and ordered by the spirit of the liturgy will they be able to educate and order the world, and thus become the salt of the earth.

Finally, in Notes & Comments, Adrian J. Walker reflects on the work of translation in “The Art of the Second Virtue: On the Unity of Freedom and Obedience in Translation.” Walker maintains that “translation is an act of double obedience,” both to the original piece and to the language into which one is translating. Analogous to how man transforms the earth in order to offer it back to God in the liturgy, a translator must both be interpreter and render the original gift anew. This interpretation-of-the-already-given, however, does not constitute a lack of freedom on either the part of the one who participates in liturgy or the translator, for, as Walker writes, “the in-between he inhabits is one that opens up within the generous fecundity of the original itself.”

—The Editors