Redemptionis Sacramentum 9

Ignorance: an undeniable influence.

[9.] Finally, abuses are often based on ignorance, in that they involve a rejection of those elements whose deeper meaning is not understood and whose antiquity is not recognized. For “the liturgical prayers, orations and songs are pervaded by the inspiration and impulse” of the Sacred Scriptures themselves, “and it is from these that the actions and signs receive their meaning”. As for the visible signs “which the Sacred Liturgy uses in order to signify the invisible divine realities, they have been chosen by Christ or by the Church”. Finally, the structures and forms of the sacred celebrations according to each of the Rites of both East and West are in harmony with the practice of the universal Church also as regards practices received universally from apostolic and unbroken tradition, which it is the Church’s task to transmit faithfully and carefully to future generations. All these things are wisely safeguarded and protected by the liturgical norms.

This is an interesting accusation, with which I find myself in agreement.

The reduction of liturgy to a formula can happen in two ways. First, with leadership that cares little enough for liturgy and so doesn’t comprehend the artistry in those “deeper meanings.” Second, with hyper-rubricists, the application of correct form also misses the point that liturgy is an art form, and something far deeper is present, and something far more attentive is needed that just the fulfillment of responsibilities outlined in red ink.

Liturgists draw a lot of blame on these points, but the reality is that many people, including clergy, play at being liturgists in the sense that they really don’t know much about what they are doing. Some think they do. Some don’t care. Many pastors are sharp enough to find someone who does.


About catholicsensibility

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