Vierteljahresschrift für das Gesamtgebiet der katholischen Theologie
Begründet von Kardinal Leo Scheffczyk • ISSN 0178-1626


Johannes Nebel:
The participatio plena et actuosa in the Light of sacra potestas
An Attempt to explain the Meaning of Christian Liturgy
(FKTh 2016-1, p. 1–22)

This study intends to confront two central concepts: sacra potestas is significant for the traditional idea of liturgy; participatio is basic for the liturgical reform of the 20th century. The study shows that the concept of participatio makes sense properly in its distinction from the liturgy as actio sacra praecellenter (SC 10) and therefore implies the sacra potestas of the ordained ministers. The importance of authorized liturgical ministers (clerics) results from the liturgical will of the Second Vatican Council as well. – On a principal level sacra potestas is also proper to all the faithful. That is mainly how liturgy comes into relation with the world. This leads to the question of cult-power. In this light the sacra potestas of the clerics and the essence of the authorized liturgical act are theologically explained. The latter is principally based on the liturgical remembrance (anamnesis), whereby the liturgical word becomes relevant as the core issue of the cult-power. The structure of the hierarchical Ordo has the character of word as well. How explicitly this structure retraces the sacra potestas is therefore relevant for the cult-power. All this leads to explaining the term participatio in a nuanced light. – After the Second Vatican Council, however, tendencies arose to amalgamate participatio and actio to celebratio as a novel synthesis. This is symptomatic of a mental attitude by which the two basic terms are no longer seen as complementary but as subliminally concurrent with each other. In the new synthesis their former significance is attenuated. This has consequences for the concept of the hierarchical Ordo and for the relation between liturgy and world.

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