Sacrosanctum Concilium 41

Chapter 1′s next section (yes, this is still chapter 1) treats “Promotion of Liturgical Life in Diocese and Parish” starting with the liturgical role of the bishop and the liturgical life of the cathedral.

The bishop is to be considered as the high priest of his flock, from whom the life in Christ of his faithful is in some way derived and dependent.

Therefore all should hold in great esteem the liturgical life of the diocese centered around the bishop, especially in his cathedral church; they must be convinced that the pre-eminent manifestation of the Church consists in the full active participation of all God’s holy people in these liturgical celebrations, especially in the same eucharist, in a single prayer, at one altar, at which there presides the bishop surrounded by his college of priests and by his ministers (Cf. St. Ignatius of Antioch, To the Smyrnians, 8; To the Magnesians, 7; To the Philadelphians, 4.).

This is our 8th mention of lay participation in the document do far. It is described as “the pre-eminent manifestation” of the faithful. Not art. Not fine music. Not clerical leadership. But lay people praying with their bishop and clergy at liturgy. This isn’t some modern invention; note the footnote from the granddaddy of all Patristics.

It’s hard for me to see the point of the exaggerated importance given to “organic development” given the constant references to the participation of the faithful. Isn’t it clear that the latter had the deep attention of the council bishops, not the former?

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to Sacrosanctum Concilium 41

  1. Anne says:

    I have been accused of bringing up the goal for full, conscious and active participation much too much. It seems that the council bishops often repeated this mandate in the documents. Must be pretty important… don’t you think?

  2. Gavin says:

    In contrast to this is the sorry liturgical life of many cathedrals. The cathedral in the city where I live had a chant schola until the bishop forced it to be disbanded. The cathedral should be the place where the other parishes are told “this is how you do things.” Instead, the cathedrals often simply mimic the parishes.

  3. I’m a parishioner in a cathedral parish, and the ethic there has been for at least the last 30 years or so, “This is the Cathedral, so we have to do it right.”

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