Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sacrsanctum Concilium, Pt. 4

Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.

Here we again see the emphasis on participation that has been the foundation for probably 100% of the liturgical abuses seen today, as well as the rationale for disregarding a large part of what the liturgy constitution actually says. Remember, participation has basically already been defined, and it isn't all about saying stuff, doing things, or speaking in the vernacular.

Yet it would be futile to entertain any hopes of realizing this unless the pastors themselves, in the first place, become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy, and undertake to give instruction about it. A prime need, therefore, is that attention be directed, first of all, to the liturgical instruction of the clergy. Wherefore the sacred Council has decided to enact as follows:

Pay attention, clergy. The Church is going to instruct you on something. The very fact that you are being instructed should indicate that making the Mass up as you go is not an option.

Professors who are appointed to teach liturgy in seminaries, religious houses of study, and theological faculties must be properly trained for their work in institutes which specialize in this subject.

The study of sacred liturgy is to be ranked among the compulsory and major courses in seminaries and religions houses of studies; in theological faculties it is to rank among the principal courses. It is to be taught under its theological, historical, spiritual, pastoral, and juridical aspects. Moreover, other professors, while striving to expound the mystery of Christ and the history of salvation from the angle proper to each of their own subjects, must nevertheless do so in a way which will clearly bring out the connection between their subjects and the liturgy, as also the unity which underlies all priestly training. This consideration is especially important for professors of dogmatic, spiritual, and pastoral theology and for those of holy scripture.

I think this is important, given some of the phenomenon we are seeing that orients the liturgy away from God and towards being some sort of social gathering. Vatican II says that all seminary topics are to illustrate their connections to the liturgy. The liturgy then directs us to God. You'd think something described as this significant would command more respect.

In seminaries and houses of religious, clerics shall be given a liturgical formation in their spiritual life. For this they will need proper direction, so that they may be able to understand the sacred rites and take part in them wholeheartedly; and they will also need personally to celebrate the sacred mysteries, as well as popular devotions which are imbued with the spirit of the liturgy. In addition they must learn how to observe the liturgical laws, so that life in seminaries and houses of religious may be thoroughly influenced by the spirit of the liturgy.

There are those pesky popular devotions again.

And laws? The liturgy has laws? Who knew?

Priests, both secular and religious, who are already working in the Lord's vineyard are to be helped by every suitable means to understand ever more fully what it is that they are doing when they perform sacred rites; they are to be aided to live the liturgical life and to share it with the faithful entrusted to their care.

With zeal and patience, pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful, and also their active participation in the liturgy both internally and externally, taking into account their age and condition, their way of life, and standard of religious culture. By so doing, pastors will be fulfilling one of the chief duties of a faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God; and in this matter they must lead their flock not only in word but also by example.

This is a sorely lacking area. The faithful are supposed to RECEIVE liturgical instruction. Instead, we've made this whole thing bass-ackwards. The laity are now giving the liturgical instruction to the priest. Parish committees are whipping out liturgical aberrations on a regular basis with many of them thinking that they have the right and/or authority to do so. And they'll probably say that it's Vatican II that lets them do it.

Transmissions of the sacred rites by radio and television shall be done with discretion and dignity, under the leadership and direction of a suitable person appointed for this office by the bishops. This is especially important when the service to be broadcast is the Mass.

An interesting tidbit, especially given the increased frequency of such instances with places like EWTN or the ND Mass that shows (used to show?) on the Hallmark Channel.

The rest of the constitution's first chapter deals with the norms laid down for the liturgical reform itself, so we'll work on that in our next entry.

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