Sacrosanctum Concilium 13

What did Vatican II say about devotions? Read it:

Popular devotions of the Christian people are to be highly commended, provided they accord with the laws and norms of the Church, above all when they are ordered by the Apostolic See.

Devotions proper to individual Churches also have a special dignity if they are undertaken by mandate of the bishops according to customs or books lawfully approved.

But these devotions should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some fashion derived from it, and lead the people to it, since, in fact, the liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them.

It seems clear. Popular devotions are good if in harmony with the Church. If a bishop backs it, so much the better. But Mass and the liturgical year provide the framework.

I think about the Divine Mercy observance at Eastertime. It’s a prayer I’ve found fruitful for my collaboration with good friends at my parish. My friends are far from possessing an unbalanced focus on this devotion, on the contrary, they are deeply devoted to the Mass and the liturgical prayer of the Church.

Does SC 13 get used too much as a club? Or are devotions a problem in some places?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Sacrosanctum Concilium 13

  1. Pingback: DPPL 70-71: Pious Exercises | Catholic Sensibility

  2. Dan says:

    That part of SC refers to private devotions celebrated publicly, I think, not devotions done by oneself or with a few friends or family members. That is, if the rosary is prayed communally (a sizeable group of christians headed by the priest) at a church before Easter Mass, the glorious mysteries should be prayed as opposed to the sorrowful or joyful. Or if a church recites or performs the stations of the cross communally, this should be done during lent or on fridays outside of lent, instead of during, say, the octave of Christmas. When it comes to devotions done not communally, I think there are no regulations coming from the Vatican. We can do whatever devotion we feel like even in it may be incongruous to the liturgical season (like praying the sorrowful mysteries on Easter Sunday with your family at home)

    • Dan, your assessment is correct. The Church takes little notice of what people do on their own or in small groups. The post-Vatican II document that covers all that is the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy.

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