DSCAP 15: Active Participation and Renewal

The notion of active participation gets a prominent mention in paragraph 15 of the Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest. There are only two sentences, but a fair amount to unpack.

15. In the Sunday assembly, as also in the life of the Christian community, the faithful should find both active participation and a true spirit of community, as well as the opportunity to be renewed spiritually under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In this way, too, they will be protected against the attractions of sects that promise relief from the pain of loneliness and a more complete fulfillment of religious aspirations.

The years before and following the millennial jubilee I saw a lot of naysaying, if not outright fake news about the notion of liturgical participation. Straining at gnats about active, actual, and the like, parsing the Latin translations and all. In the English language “active” is the word of choice in many documents following Sacrosanctum Concilium, those originating in Rome as well as the bishops’ conferences of North America.

The link here with spiritual renewal satisfies my understanding of active participation. The aim has always been renewal. People singing more, serving more–these are just means to a greater end. Sunday, according to the Church, is a prime locus for the hoped-for renewal.

As for the “attractions of sects,” I think that the more dangerous influences are things such as the religion of sport, our bosses’ insistence on work 24/7/365, and the exaltation of leisure in the wealthier classes. If the DDWDS is concerned about other Christian religions, unfortunately, the ordination requirements are less stringent for most evangelicals. They don’t require a leader with training akin to a First World seminary. Alas, the institution has looked unfavorably to certain remedies in mission lands, such as an effort two decades ago in the Mexican diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas.

Ah, the institution is in a tough spot. If Sunday Mass is really so vital (and I would be one of the last to argue against it) it seems like a way to provide it more often could be found.

Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the absence of a priest English translation © 1988, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Rites, Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest. Bookmark the permalink.

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