Varietates Legitimae 3:

Under the subheading “Nature of this Instruction,” the CDWDS explains it will take as a starting point the treatment of inculturation at Vatican II, to set out a more precise interpretation and plan for 1994 and beyond, to examine theological principles, to assess the current state of affairs, and, within the bounds of law, make necessary arrangements.

3. By order of the supreme pontiff, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has prepared this instruction: The norms for the adaptation of the liturgy to the temperament and conditions of different peoples, which were given in Articles 37-40 of the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, are here defined; certain principles expressed in general terms in those articles are explained more precisely, the directives are set out in a more appropriate way and the order to be followed is clearly set out, so that in future this will be considered the only correct procedure. Since the theological principles relating to questions of faith and inculturation have still to be examined in depth, this congregation wishes to help bishops and episcopal conferences to consider or put into effect, according to the law, such adaptations as are already foreseen in the liturgical books; to re-examine critically arrangements that have already been made; and if in certain cultures pastoral need requires that form of adaptation of the liturgy which the constitution calls “more profound” and at the same time considers “more difficult,” to make arrangements for putting it into effect in accordance with the law.

Curia watchers will note: “in future this will be considered the only correct procedure.” You have here the first evidence in a liturgical document that the CDWDS is interested in more than just implementation, but that they will determine what is “right” and “correct.” I don’t know how that takes place with competence and without consultation. I’m thinking of the people on the ground in mission lands primarily, but also bishops and pastors who struggle to re-evangelize the West.

I’d say there are a lot of questions about this. Can the curia do this? Should they? We should be talking about directives that are effective in spreading the gospel and respectful of the liturgy. As Liam pointed out yesterday, how these are defined: this is the challenge.

What do the readers see?

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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.
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