Desiderio Desideravi 60a: The Education of the Priest, Preliminaries

Let’s split up section 60, because there’s a lot to digest here. Pope Francis, when he speaks of the education of the priest, seems to lean strongly to how the priest is formed by the liturgy itself. What are these lessons? 

Does God’s prime agency in the action of liturgy and grace ever give us permission to sit back, let God take over as we say, meh? Not according to the Holy Father. We still need to bring our all:

60. It is the celebration itself that educates the priest to this level and quality of presiding. It is not, I repeat, a mental adhesion, even if our whole mind as well as all our sensitivity must be engaged in it. So, the priest is formed by presiding over the words and by the gestures that the Liturgy places on his lips and in his hands.

Take care about where the priest sits and how he sits:

He is not seated on a throne [Cf. GIRM 310] because the Lord reigns with the humility of one who serves. He does not rob attention from the centrality of the altar, a sign of Christ, from whose pierced side flowed blood and water, by which were established the Sacraments of the Church and the center of our praise and thanksgiving. [Prex dedicationis in Ordo dedicationis ecclesiæ et altaris (1977) p. 102]

Because of this, I would also consider the old posture a concern–not everywhere, but just in case the motivation that the rite and its form robs attention from the centrality of Christ. It doesn’t always happen, and it doesn’t have to happen. But in some ways, our liturgical foibles of any era do steer the focus away from God and to the priest and his preferences.

The full document, copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione – Libreria Editrice Vaticana is here on the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

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