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The Spirit in Worship and
in the Spirit Presenter
Professor Teresa Berger
Teresa Berger is Professor of Liturgical Studies at Yale. She is a Roman Catholic (with experience in the charismatic movement), and holds doctorates in both dogmatic theology and in liturgical studies. Her scholarly interests lie at the intersection of liturgical studies, theology, gender theory, and cultural studies. Berger has written extensively on liturgy and women's lives. Her recent publications include Women's Ways of Worship: Gender Analysis and Liturgical History (1999), Dissident Daughters: Feminist Liturgies in Global Context (2001), and Fragments of Real Presence (2005). In 2007, she co-produced, with FireStream Media, a documentary video of “liturgies in women’s hands” as they have been celebrated in her parish. Berger’s current scholarly work focuses on an editorial project designed to bring to light the many ways in which gender has shaped what comes to be known as the Liturgical Tradition.
Veni Creator Spiritus -- The Elusive Real Presence of the Spirit in the Catholic Tradition
I begin my presentation with a tension, namely between the witness to the workings of the Holy Spirit in, for example, the ninth-century Veni Creator Spiritus, and the commonly held notion of the Western tradition as forgetful of the third person of the Holy Trinity. This tension will provide the guiding question I explore in my presentation. I will suggest that, in answering the question about the Spirit’s real presence and/or perceived absence in the Catholic tradition, much depends on what one allows to count as evidence. If, for example, the evidence comes to be narrowly confined to the question of a consecratory Spirit-epiclesis in the Eucharistic Prayer, then the Catholic tradition does seem forgetful of the Holy Spirit. [Such a focus is encouraged of course by comparison with the Eastern tradition, which makes the Latin counterpart look deficient on that point]. Likewise, if the crucial marker for the Spirit’s presence is located in the charism of speaking in tongues, most catholic liturgies will also seem lacking. If, however, one started with the Veni Creator Spiritus, or the Blessing over Baptismal Waters, or the twelfth-century liturgical exposition of Rupert von Deutz in order to chart the Spirit’s presence, then a quite different picture of the Catholic tradition emerges. This, in fact, is what I propose to develop in my presentation.