CDWDS Decree on Magnum Principium 1

Today starts the meat of the CDWDS’s Decree on Magnum Principium. We’ll spend some posts this week looking at their views on Norms and Procedures. 

If you readers were my liturgy students, I would urge a complete reading of the document. Just as I would the general instructions and the praenotanda of individual rites–as we have done through the years here. I find these to be woefully neglected by both clergy and lay liturgists. Why is that a bad thing? I’ll let the Roman dicastery for liturgy explain it:

1. The liturgical books intended for the celebration of the liturgy were reformed by the authority of the Supreme Pontiffs Pope Saint Paul VI and Pope Saint John Paul II, who decreed their publication and their obligatory nature for the Roman Rite. They contain the biblical readings, the prayers of the Church, the chants to be performed and other texts. They also include the Institutiones generales and the Praenotanda [Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 63b; Consilium: Notitiae 5 (1969) 68; Ceremonial of Bishops #3], which set out the theology, spirituality, offices and principles of pastoral care, structure and discipline of each celebration.

Liturgy is far more than the slogan, “say the black, do the red.” That is a gross oversimplification of the action of worship. It’s basically liturgy for five-year-olds. We are better than that. We need to be.

A change in canon law, such as Pope Francis’ action in 2017 gives any person interested in liturgy the opportunity and challenge to go deeply into something more than the how of worship. We need to be interested in the why.

Why is Rome so concerned about liturgy in every single Catholic parish in the world, even to the point of seeming to be micromanagers and usurping the role of bishops and pastors?

These books, composed in Latin [Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 36 § 1; canon law 838 § 2], convey the tradition which, per ritus et preces, expresses the faith of the Church [Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 48 & 59; Dei Verbum 8; Inter Oecumenici 6]. Therefore, their content is not the patrimony of an individual or a particular group of the faithful, since it manifests the prayer and life of the whole Church.

Rome sees itself as the guardian and teacher of this “prayer and life.” The introductory “passages” in the liturgical books are the structure the universal Church places on local acts of worship. This is the main reason why Rome and its offices have such an interest in overseeing, moderating, correcting, and nudging liturgical goings-on across the world. Translation is part of this effort. It’s not just about being bossy busybodies. At its best, it maintains a unity across the world. It ensures we all stay on the same page, as it were, even if that page reads in different languages from country to country, parish to parish.

Any thoughts?

The link of the English translation is here

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in CDWDS Decree on Magnum Principium, Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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