SOMETIMES it seems that everyone is an expert on liturgy and that personal preference carries more weight than the considered judgement of someone with years of study and experience in the field.
The self-proclaimed liturgy “experts” will often quote liturgical law to prove their point.
Thus starts an article dripping with arrogance and a "I have a degree and so you all should just please shut up" attitude. The article was written by Elizabeth Harrington the education officer with the Brisbane archdiocesan Liturgical Commission.
Creative Minority Report has thoroughly fisked the article so I would suggest you go there first.
Elizabeth Harrington does make some valid points in writing about not reading documents in isolation and that training in theology, liturgy, and canon law are quite helpful. The problem is that often these experts require that we accept their interpretation and not the plain text. "Who are you going to believe me or your lying eyes." For example the term active participation has a history not at all keeping with its modern interpretation and was first used by Saint Pius X and was as Fr. Fessio S.J. notes to be consistent with "holiness," "dignity," "sacred mysteries," and "solemn prayer." So knowing context and history is truly important and yet the "experts" have totally ripped this term and many others from their moorings.
Besides you can read much of Redemptionis Sacramentum and know exactly what is proscribed without having a degree or intensive liturgical knowledge. Yet this document had to be interpreted by so many liturgists before it could be handed down to the parish level. Plus one of the smokescreens within recent years is that Vatican documents must first be implemented by a diocese before they can take effect. In recent history we can look at the indult that was revoked by Pope Benedict for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to assist the priest in the purification of the vessels at Mass. Compliance required nobody to have a degree in liturgy and yet this had to be slowly implemented or in case of some diocese totally ignored.
She ends her attack on the "liturgical police" by reminding us "“Love one another as I have loved you”… if we’re not prepared to act by this commandment, what good will all the liturgical laws in the world do us?"
While there is much to commend in this in regards to the liturgy wars, much of the problem was because the authority of the Church was ignored and substituted by the liturgist’s own agenda. Love is willing the good for another and you have to wonder how much love some liturgists have had for others when liturgical creativity becomes the norm and when people are upset that the liturgy is treated like a lab rat it is their own fault for not listening to the experts. No doubt they intended good, but the liturgy wars have been the result and to blame those who are the victims of liturgical attack is rather misplaced.