Can the Pope Overrule a Vatican II Document?

May 2004

We’d venture that when it comes to liturgy, Gabe Huck would get the Most Despised Man in America Award from traditional Catholics. Huck was head of Liturgy Training Publication (LTP), one of the most far-out of liturgical renewal outfits. Huck is a big proponent of so-called inclusive language, and his publications disdained using B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, in the Year of the Lord) in favor of the secularist, Messiah-omitting B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era).

If you’ve ever seen a picture of Huck, he looks like an old bummed-out hippie roaming Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue. The photo of him in the National Catholic Reporter (Aug. 10, 2001) shows him with pouffy, shoulder-length hair thinning a bit at the top, rimless glasses, a bushy moustache, and a flower adorning his jacket. Even without the love beads, he’s a walking stereotype.

Still, appearances can be deceiving. Huck was head of LTP from 1997 to 2001. He grew its yearly sales from $100,000 to $7,000,000, and increased its staff from two to more than 50. Like hippie-capitalist Jerry Rubin, he did very well.

LTP is owned by the Archdiocese of Chicago, and Huck was protected by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. But then along came Francis Cardinal George, and in spite of Huck’s managerial skills, he was fired.

If you thought you’d heard the last of Gabe Huck, you’re wrong. He has a lengthy essay in the National Catholic Reporter (Jan. 16, 2004) on the state of liturgical renewal. What he says is revealing about his understanding of what liturgical renewal is all about. But he also says some provocative things about Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC), the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

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New Oxford Notes: May 2004

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