Redemptionis Sacramentum 3-4

The CDWDS instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum does contain norms to be received and followed:

[3.] The norms contained in the present Instruction are to be understood as pertaining to liturgical matters in the Roman Rite, and, mutatis mutandis, in the other Rites of the Latin Church that are duly acknowledged by law.

Also acknowledged yet again is the importance of participation. This participation is the springboard for the CDWDS and CDF’s concern about liturgical abuse:

[4.] “Certainly the liturgical reform inaugurated by the Council has greatly contributed to a more conscious, active and fruitful participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar on the part of the faithful.”[Ecclesia de Eucharistia 10] Even so, “shadows are not lacking”.[Ibidem; Vicesimus quintus annus  12-13; cf. also Sacrosanctum Concilium 48] In this regard it is not possible to be silent about the abuses, even quite grave ones, against the nature of the Liturgy and the Sacraments as well as the tradition and the authority of the Church, which in our day not infrequently plague liturgical celebrations in one ecclesial environment or another. In some places the perpetration of liturgical abuses has become almost habitual, a fact which obviously cannot be allowed and must cease.

“Not infrequently” and “almost habitual” are serious charges. The culture of complaint encouraged by the curia in the later years of the John Paul II papacy almost invite a dour outlook on the state of the Church.

It is undeniable that for many Catholics, “liturgical abuse” is synonymous with “Liturgical stuff I don’t like.” RS will get specific. But for now, my sense is that liturgical abuse (conceding the term for authentic abuse) is less an issue now than it was in previous generations. Although questionable practices, like Communion from the tabernacle, have become part of the habit in many faith communities.

It is one thing to suggest abuses cannot be allowed. It is another to ensure their eradication. Is it enough to subtract? Do clergy and people need something better to put into place?

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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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5 Responses to Redemptionis Sacramentum 3-4

  1. Liam says:

    There is a canonical foundation for this rhetorical choice in the instruction: it acts to deprive any legitimacy (in the legal sense) to assertions of local “custom” to protect certain practices. It was not only the denouncers and their enablers who triggered this: it is also those who cherry-picked their interpretations and played the role of erstwhile canonists when defending their choices. Our side has to own its own role in this, even if not all of us did this. It’s this very reason I’ve been harder on my own, as it were.

    • Liam says:

      For an example of this, there is one particular progressive comboxer at the PT blog (not the likes of Mr Grady, a different kind of aggression) who demonstrates his skill at cherry picking and wiedling of selective authority. I’ve seen this type a number of times before, and it typically serves to boomerang in the longer term.

  2. Todd says:

    Thanks, Liam. I would certainly agree. As we move a bit further through the preamble, the CDWDS makes some important distinctions on this point. It acknowledges some people acted in ignorance–they simply didn’t know any better. It also points out good intentions, such as ecumenism, led to poor choices.

    The CDWDS seems to support continuing lay participation in the Mass, and sees it as one of the prime reasons behind this instruction. I think there are or were well-intentioned people in the curia who had a sincere belief that retrenchment was a personal duty, and an occasion of spiritual benefit for Catholics.

    In contrast, I don’t always see the Culture of Complaint as generous to their opponents. From what I’ve seen of “our side,” about the worst things said were to call opponents ignorant. (Which is bad enough.) People from John XXIII to Annibale Bugnini to Rita Ferrone have been labeled as demonic. That is a serious spiritual malady, an “abuse” that may well be as important to address as any other illness in the Church. Stupid people are still part of the Church. But demons, pretty clearly, are not.

    • Liam says:

      Well, not in a tit for tat vein, but I’ve certainly personally witnessed the demonization of people who were not Right-Thinking(TM) from an ultra-progressive perspective. I’ve seen the shunning (including marching up to the insufficiently Right-Thinking to appear to receive communion from them, only to have the line of shunners turn sharply away to receive from another) and the shouting during homilies, and the imputation of all sorts of nefarious designs. It was not very edifying. It was, sad to say, very human. And it knows no ideological ghetto.

      Hence my persistent question that lurks underneath so much of my criticial commentary: how are we unintentionally replicating the very thing we imagine we are seeking to overcome? Because there’s always something in our blindspot that can serve to do that.

  3. FrMichael says:

    “‘Not infrequently’ and ‘almost habitual’ are serious charges.” The unspoken question is whether they are accurate. As we near the end of the summer supply season and have helped out at numerous parishes over the past two months, my anecdotal take is that these charges are accurate in my neck of the woods.

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