DMC 12: The Formative Power of Liturgy

Some good insights into the mind of the church. I like to see liturgical principles outlined elsewhere get mentioned in these other documents. We see more than the modern revisionism claims to teach us about the real motives of the bishops. First a no-brainer:

12. Even in the case of children, the liturgy itself always exerts its own inherent power to instruct. [See Sacrosanctum Concilium 33.]

In other words, liturgy always teaches and forms without trying to do so. That said, liturgical catechesis outside of the Mass is vital:

Yet within religious-education programs in the schools and parishes the necessary importance should be given to catechesis on the Mass. [See Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instr. Eucharisticum Mysterium, 25 May 1967, no. 14.]

Participation gets a strong mention, with a new adjective, “authentic.”

This catechesis should be directed to the child’s active, conscious, and authentic participation. [See Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, General Catechetical Directory no. 25.] “Suited to children’s age and capabilities, it should by means of the main rites and prayers of the Mass, aim at conveying its meaning, including what relates to taking part in the Church’s life.” [See Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instr. Eucharisticum Mysterium no. 14. Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, General Catechetical Directory no. 57.]

Note what is of central importance:

This is especially true of the text of the eucharistic prayer and of the acclamations by which the children take part in this prayer.

A strong affirmation of the people’s acclamations being a means of taking part in the eucharistic prayer.

And a note on First Communion, emphasizing the meal aspect as well as the horizontal dimension:

The catechesis preparing children for first communion calls for special mention. In it they should learn not only the truths of faith regarding the eucharist but also how from first communion on – after being prepared according to their capacity for penance – they can as full members of Christ’s Body take part actively with the people of God in the eucharist, sharing in the Lord’s table and the community of their brothers and sisters.

Any thoughts?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Directory for Masses With Children, Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to DMC 12: The Formative Power of Liturgy

  1. Randolph Nichols says:

    Now this won’t generate the passion of “Run, Ralph, Run,” but what differentiates “authentic” from inauthentic participation? Is it the degree of attention or merely a distinction between going through the motions and an expression of genuine believe? And where is there any mention of wonderment, perhaps the most important component of any child’s religious experience?

  2. JPaul says:

    but what differentiates “authentic” from inauthentic participation? Is it the degree of attention or merely a distinction between going through the motions and an expression of genuine believe? And where is there any mention of wonderment, perhaps the most important component of any child’s religious experience?

    That would all be interpretation………no?

  3. Todd says:

    Randolph, I certainly think wonderment is part of the experience. I don’t think DMC was envisioned as being a complete treatise on it. I suspect that without reflection and further elaboration, especially on the parish level, this and all documents are rather cold.

    My brother is right to say there’s a place for interpretation: the needs of particular children in particular cultures, and in particular faith communities.

    That’s why the ideal place to reflect on these documents is not the internet with its vast resources and audience, but in parishes where experience, trial and error can be harnessed to add to the documents.

  4. woleary says:

    I enjoyed reading this post. God bless you!

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