DPPL 50: Vatican II

STA altar at night smallVatican II defined the modern relationship between liturgy and popular piety. We reference the constitution on liturgy, in which harmony is the goal:

50. The relationship between the Liturgy and popular piety, in our times, must be approached primarily from the perspective of the directives contained in the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, which seek to establish an harmonious relationship between both of these expressions of piety, in which popular piety is objectively subordinated to, and directed towards, the Liturgy(Cf. SC 13).

Not either/or, or one over the other, but both/and:

Thus, it is important that the question of the relationship between popular piety and the Liturgy not be posed in terms of contradiction, equality or, indeed, of substitution. A realization of the primordial importance of the Liturgy, and the quest for its most authentic expressions, should never lead to neglect of the reality of popular piety, or to a lack of appreciation for it, nor any position that would regard it as superfluous to the Church’s worship or even injurious to it.

Four attitudes critical of popular piety are described:

Lack of consideration for popular piety, or disrespect for it, often betrays an inadequate understanding of certain ecclesial realities and is not infrequently the product not so much of the doctrine of the faith, but of some ideologically inspired prejudice. These give rise to attitudes which:
• refuse to accept that popular piety itself is an ecclesial reality prompted and guided by the Holy Spirit(Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Homily at the Celebration of the Word in La Serena (Chile), 2, in Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, X/1 (1987), cit., p. 1078);
• do not take sufficient account of the fruits of grace and sanctity which popular piety has produced, and continues to produce, within the ecclesial body;
• not infrequently reflect a quest for an illusory “pure Liturgy”, which, while not considering the subjective criteria used to determine purity, belongs more to the realm of ideal aspiration than to historical reality;
• and confound, “sense”, that noble component of the soul that legitimately permeates many expressions of liturgical and popular piety, and its degenerate form which is “sentimentality”.

In essence, the Church reiterates that God inspires piety, its good fruit is obvious, official red-n-black ritual is not enough. What are your thoughts on this?

The full document, the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, is online at the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to DPPL 50: Vatican II

  1. John McGrath says:

    The loss of young Catholics in the USA is largely a failure of popular piety. Attending Mass is not enough, and older forms of piety ring no bells for the young. In contrast Mormonism, however one might want to criticize its dostrines, largely succeeds and wins loyalty base on the behaviors it inculcates, not its doctrine.s Its main success is the practice of religion in the home, the prescribed family nights and activities. Its main place of pilgrimage, the Hill Camorah reenactment, focuses ona human story rather than doctrine.

    Unlike Mormonism, Catholicism lacks universal, practical, action oriented prescriptive practices in the home for building, at the same time, family solidarity and adherence to the religion. Where Catholicism tries to inculcate pious practices, as on EWTN, the practices are largely silly and and an attempt to administer CPR to dead expressions.

    Fr. Peyton had great success on the practice of the family rosary because he surrounded the practice with a profound emphasis on love and charity and tolerance for all, not simply on being “Catholic,” never mind truculently Catholic, which seems to be the preferred style of those who control the pulpits.

    • John McGrath says:

      The Catholic emphasis on miracles can have the effect of alienating those who were denied any miracles in their hour of need. Mormon practices do not focus on the expectation of miracles, but on improving one’s behavior in solidarity with a loving family and then a loving community. Fun is part of Mormon family practice. Is there any fun in catholic practices?

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