Jesuit speaks on the role of the liturgy

Second Vatican Council lecture series continues with an address from J-Glenn Murray, S.J. | September 29, 2004

In the 40 years since the convening of the Second Vatican Council, one of the most impactful decrees on the Church and its people has been the Sacrosanctum concilium—the Constitution on the Liturgy. Has it lived up to the Council's intentions?

J-Glenn Murray, S.J, director of pastoral liturgy for the Diocese of Cleveland, is addressing the question on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Schiff Family Conference Center as part of the ongoing series of lectures hosted by the department of theology to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

“Not a few pundits of late have noted that both as a nation and a Church we have been suffering no little polarization," says Murray. "For many, the Eucharist—claimed to be the very heart of the Church and the source of our unity—has been experienced instead as a summit of pain and fracture.

“A careful examination of sacrosanctum concilium some 40 years after its promulgation is warranted. Far from being a divisive document, the principles and vision set forth therein are inclusive: source and summit, sacrifice and banquet, local and universal, sanctification and glorification, substantial unity and adaptation, etc. Once more and again, let us assay this magna carta that it may be for all disciples the tie that binds.”

Murray was the principal drafter of the United States Bishops’ document, “Plenty Good Room: the Spirit and Truth of African American Catholic Worship,” and teaches frequently at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., as well as Saint Mary's Seminary and the University of Cleveland. He lectures widely in the areas of liturgy and culture, as well as conducting parish missions and priests' retreats.

He was ordained in 1979 and received his master's degree in divinity with a concentration in liturgy from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., in 1983. He is currently writing his thesis for his doctor of ministry degree at the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago.


U.S. Catholic magazine interviewed Murray on what makes a good liturgy his views about what makes good liturgy in August 2002 and offers addition insight into Murray's views.

His views are being followed by a response by Emily Besl and Michael Marchal. Besl works as a pastoral associate at St. Mary Church in Cincinnati where she is the director of the catechumenate. She also serves as adjunct faculty at the Athenaeum of Ohio and Mount St. Mary Seminary, teaching courses in liturgy and sacraments. She has been a consultant and speaker on liturgical matters in parishes, schools and various archdiocesan programs for more than 20 years. Besl holds a master's degree in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor's degree in theology from Xavier.

Marchal earned his bachelor's degree in English from Xavier and is a doctoral candidacy in philosophy at Fordham University. He taught on the high school and collegiate level for 30 years, during which time he published two books, including, Parish Funerals and Adapting the Liturgy. He is a member of the Archdiocesan Worship Commission in Cincinnati.