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You are here: Documents > General Principles > Apostolic Letter: On the 25th Anniversary of the Liturgical Constitution  Back one page.

Table of Contents
Table of ContentsPart III: Guidelines for the Renewal of Liturgical LifePart V: The Future of the RenewalEndnotes

Part IV: The Practical Application of the Reform

A. Difficulties

11. It must be recognized that the application of the liturgical reform has met with difficulties due especially to an unfavorable environment marked by a tendency to see religious practice as something of a private affair, by a certain rejection of institutions, by a decrease in the visibility of the Church in society and by a calling into question of personal faith. It can also be supposed that the transition from simply being present, very often in a rather passive and silent way, to a fuller and more active participation has been for some people too demanding. Different and even contradictory reactions to the reform have resulted from this. Some have received the new books with a certain indifference or without trying to understand or help others to understand the reasons for the changes; others, unfortunately, have turned back in a one-sided and exclusive way to the previous liturgical forms, which some of them consider to be the sole guarantee of certainty of faith. Others have promoted outlandish innovations, departing from the norms issued by the authority of the Apostolic See or the bishops, thus disrupting the unity of the Church and the piety of the faithful, and even on occasion contradicting matters of faith.

B. Positive Results

12. This should not lead anyone to forget that the vast majority of the pastors and the Christian people have accepted the liturgical reform in a spirit of obedience and indeed joyful fervor.

For this we should give thanks to God for that movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church which the liturgical renewal represents; [58] for the fact that the table of the word of God is now abundantly furnished for all; [59] for the immense effort undertaken throughout the world to provide the Christian people with translations of the Bible, the missal and other liturgical books; for the increased participation of the faithful by prayer and song, gesture and silence, in the Eucharist and the other sacraments; for the ministries exercised by lay people and the responsibilities that they have assumed in virtue of the common priesthood into which they have been initiated through baptism and confirmation; for the radiant vitality of so many Christian communities, a vitality drawn from the wellspring of the liturgy.

These are all reasons for holding fast to the teaching of the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium and to the reforms which it has made possible: "The liturgical renewal is the most visible fruit of the whole work of the council." [60] For many people the message of the Second Vatican Council has been experienced principally through the liturgical reform.

C. Erroneous Applications

13. Side by side with these benefits of the liturgical reform, one has to acknowledge with regret deviations of greater or lesser seriousness in its application.

On occasion there have been noted illicit omissions or additions, rites invented outside the framework of established norms; postures or songs which are not conducive to faith or to a sense of the sacred; abuses in the practice of general absolution; confusion between the ministerial priesthood, linked with ordination, and common priesthood of the faithful, which has its foundation in baptism.

It cannot be tolerated that certain priests should take upon themselves the right to compose eucharistic prayers or to substitute profane readings for texts from Sacred Scripture. Initiatives of this sort, far from being linked with the liturgical reform as such or with the books which have issued from it, are direct contradiction to it, disfigure it and deprive the Christian people of the genuine treasures of the liturgy of the Church.

It is for the bishops to root out such abuses, because the regulation of the liturgy depends on the bishop within the limits of the law [61] and because "the life in Christ of His faithful people in some sense is derived from and depends upon Him." [62]

Table of ContentsPart III: Guidelines for the Renewal of Liturgical LifePart V: The Future of the RenewalEndnotes

You are here: Documents > General Principles > Apostolic Letter: On the 25th Anniversary of the Liturgical Constitution  Back one page.

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You are here: Documents > General Principles > Apostolic Letter: On the 25th Anniversary of the Liturgical Constitution  Back one page.

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All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com