59. In the light of the foregoing, it would seem that the formation of both clergy and laity affords a means of resolving many of the reasons underlying the imbalances between the Liturgy and popular piety. Together with the necessary formation in Liturgy, which is a long-term process, provision should also be made to complement it by re-discovering and exploring formation in popular piety (Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus, 15.), especially in view of the latter’s importance for the enrichment of the spiritual life*
* John Paul II, Message to the Plenary meeting of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (21 September 2001), having reiterated the indispensable centrality of the Liturgy in the Church’s life, he said “popular piety, although not always concurring with it, has its natural climax in the celebration of the Liturgy, and should ideally be oriented towards it. This should be clearly shown by appropriate catechesis” in Notitiae 37 (2001) 403. Cf. also General Catechetical Directory 195-196
I recall recently reading a comment online that thinking doesn’t change our actions so much as new actions change our thinking. Does that apply here? I’m not sure people are educated into a better practice of liturgy or spirituality.
Since “the spiritual life…is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy”(SC 12), restricting the formation of those involved in assisting spiritual growth exclusively to the Liturgy seems inadequate. Moreover, liturgical action, often reduced to participation at the Eucharist, cannot permeate a life lacking in personal prayer or in those qualities communicated by the traditional devotional forms of the Christian people. Current interest in oriental “religious” practices, under various guises, clearly indicates a quest for a spirituality of life, suffering, and sharing. The post-conciliar generation – depending on the country – often has never experienced the devotional practices of previous generations. Clearly, catechesis and educational efforts cannot overlook the patrimony of popular piety when proposing models for the spiritual life, especially those pious exercises commended by the Church’s Magisterium.
What do you think?
The full document, the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, is online at the Vatican site.