RENQTC: Difficult, Complex Debates

This dropped earlier this month. Let’s look at a citation from Pope Paul VI that might be of interest:

At the solemn closing of the second session of the Council (4 December 1963), St Paul VI said (n. 11):

“The difficult, complex debates have had rich results. They have brought one topic to a conclusion, the sacred liturgy. Treated before all others, in a sense it has priority over all others for its intrinsic dignity and importance to the life of the Church and today we will solemnly promulgate the document on the liturgy. Our spirit, therefore, exults with true joy, for in the way things have gone we note respect for a right scale of values and duties. God must hold first place; prayer to him is our first duty. The liturgy is the first source of the divine communion in which God shares his own life with us. It is also the first school of the spiritual life. The liturgy is the first gift we must make to the Christian people united to us by faith and the fervor of their prayers. It is also a primary invitation to the human race, so that all may lift their now mute voices in blessed and genuine prayer and thus may experience that indescribable, regenerative power to be found when they join us in proclaiming the praises of God and the hopes of the human heart through Christ and the Holy Spirit”.


  • I think the attempt to rewrite the Council and thwart the desired reform is deeply disrespectful to the churning of the bishops over liturgy in 1962 and 1963. This was a difficult and productive beginning. Some Catholics may have preferred a slower go, and the retention of more. I would have wished for more competent lay voices, especially among artists and musicians. But we don’t get the ideals of our own sensibilities.
  • Pope Paul VI expressed that the bishops had their priorities in the right place: God, then prayer and the liturgy.
  • I also note the evangelical impulse of liturgy: not only a “first gift” to the baptized, but also a “primary invitation” to others.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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