Redemptionis Sacramentum 6-7

Sections 6 through 10 present the chief inspiration for this document: liturgical abuses, or the perception of the curia that they are a major concern.

[6.] For abuses “contribute to the obscuring of the Catholic faith and doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament”. Thus, they also hinder the faithful from “re-living in a certain way the experience of the two disciples of Emmaus: ‘and their eyes were opened, and they recognized him’”. For in the presence of God’s power and divinity and the splendour of his goodness, made manifest especially in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, it is fitting that all the faithful should have and put into practice that power of acknowledging God’s majesty that they have received through the saving Passion of the Only-Begotten Son.

A strong statement. Is it accurate? Or perhaps the causality is reversed some times and in some ways, and that when faith is obscured at liturgy, it is an abuse. In other words, only when faith is damaged is liturgy abused. Later in RS, we will explore the initiative to pour chalices before consecration. But one might well ask: does one bread and several cups obscure doctrine but give us a measure of alleviated concern?

[7.] Not infrequently, abuses are rooted in a false understanding of liberty. Yet God has not granted us in Christ an illusory liberty by which we may do what we wish, but a liberty by which we may do that which is fitting and right. This is true not only of precepts coming directly from God, but also of laws promulgated by the Church, with appropriate regard for the nature of each norm. For this reason, all should conform to the ordinances set forth by legitimate ecclesiastical authority.

Liberty isn’t always sought for the sake of the self, but sometimes on behalf of the good of others.

I accept the basic notion of the need for liturgical structure. But there are times when legitimacy isn’t enough. One hopes for competence.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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