All posts tagged: England

Mission of Charity: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in Northeast England

In 1933, Maria Montessori published a little-known book entitled, simply, The Mass Explained to Children. This wonderful, slim volume argues that the Mass is perfect for children. Note well: Montessori is describing the Tridentine rite, which might seem utterly impenetrable to young minds. But, she argues, a child’s sensibilities tend toward awe and wonder, and the Mass could elicit these very responses, if the child was brought to an understanding of its meaning. “Our Lord,” Montessori wrote, “perceived in children something that the adult did not perceive two thousand years ago and does not perceive today. Yet the Gospel says plainly that many mysteries shall be revealed to these little ones…We must always keep this fact in mind, so that we may be prepared not only to offer children the noblest teaching, but to offer it in a worthy form”.[1] Twenty years later, Sofia Cavalletti began to discover the perception Montessori described, and eventually published her observations in The Religious Potential of the Child (1979). Together with Gianna Gobbi, an educator who trained and worked …

Globalized Secularity: An American-British Problem

Editor’s Note: This week, the director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy and the editor of Church Life is visiting the United Kingdom to give a series of talks on liturgy and secularization. He is also beginning an inter-disciplinary research project related to this topic. He will be blogging about his trip over the next seven days.  Grace Davie, the British sociologist of religion, has often noted the exceptional quality of Europe’s secularity. Because of her work, it is impossible today to speak about a single experience of the secular. In Britain, according to Davie, secularity is best understood as a vicarious religion. No matter how little belief that one might have, it is viewed positively that there is a vicar in town (along with a cathedral church), who can tend to the needs of people who require such things. It’s good that the Church exists to carry out the rites of passage necessary for maintaining social order. Secularity in the United States, of course, is different than this. Much of this has to do …

Westminster Cathedral and the Secular

Editor’s Note: This week, the director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy and the editor of Church Life is visiting the United Kingdom to give a series of talks on liturgy and secularization. He is also beginning an inter-disciplinary research project related to this topic. He will be blogging about his trip over the next seven days.  After a rather dreadful travel delay, I arrived in London early Sunday morning. When my cross-examination by British custom agents was complete (an inquiry in which I had to emphasize that I liked my job and was not trying to secure a rogue faculty position in the UK), I found my way to my hotel in central London. Checked in and no longer smelling like I had been on a plane for 10 hours, it was time to get to Mass at Westminster Cathedral for the 2nd Sunday of Lent. From my hotel, I wandered down toward Buckingham Palace. Since it was nearing noon, the streets were full of tourists longing to get a sight of the queen …