Wednesday, almost a year after publication the motu proprio Traditionis custodes prohibiting the celebration of the traditional Mass in Latin, Pope Francis has published a letter on the liturgy.
The pope urged “the whole Church to rediscover, defend and live the truth and power of Christian celebration” in the 15-page apostolic letter Desiderio Desideavi.
In the document, released on June 29, Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, he states: “I do not want the beauty of the Christian celebration and its necessary consequences for the life of the Church to be marred by superficial and shortcut. understanding of its value or, even worse, by exploiting it in the service of an ideological vision, whatever its color.
The title of the letter is “Desiderio desideravi hoc Pascha manducare vobiscum, antequam patiar”, which is taken from the Latin translation of Luke 22:15.
“I sincerely desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffered,” the verse says in English.
Pope Francis said he wanted to approach all Catholics with some insights on liturgical formation, the theological significance of the Mass and acceptance of the liturgical teachings of the Second Vatican Council after drafting a letter to bishops to accompany Traditionis custodes.
Francis added: “We owe the recovery of a theological knowledge of the liturgy and its relevance in the life of the Church to the Council – and to the liturgical movement that preceded it.
“Let us put aside our disagreements and listen collectively to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Let’s preserve our unity. Continue to be amazed by the beauty of the liturgy, he pleaded.
He claimed that the fundamental ideas outlined in Sacrosanctum Concilium, Vatican II’s constitution on the holy liturgy, were essential to its reform and are still essential to its “full, conscious, active and fruitful celebration.”
“Refusal to accept liturgical reform and a superficial understanding of it distracts us from the duty of answering the question to which I keep coming back: how can we improve our ability to participate fully in the liturgical action? ?
How can we continue to be amazed by what is happening in the celebration before our eyes? He asked.
It would be simplistic to see the tensions, unfortunately present around the celebration, as a simple divergence between different tastes regarding a certain ritual form, he underlined, adding that “we need a serious and dynamic liturgical formation”. .
The pope declared that the question is above all ecclesiological: “I do not see how one can say that one recognizes the validity of the Council and at the same time does not accept the liturgical reform born from the Sacrosanctum Concilium”, even if that wonder that a Catholic could claim to do otherwise.
Reinforce the liturgical books published by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II following the Second Vatican Council as “the unique incarnation of the lex orandi [the law of prayer] of the Roman Rite,” he added, he saw the need to issue Traditionis custodians.
In the letter, Pope Francis urged all Catholics to have access to liturgical education outside the classroom to rekindle admiration for the sacrificial mystical nature of the Mass.
“Our conformity to Christ is the full extent of our training,” he said. I repeat: becoming Him is what it is all about, not an abstract mental process.
It is the function of the Spirit, whose actions are constantly and uniquely directed towards the formation of the Body of Christ.
The “art of celebrating” the Mass, or ars celebrandi, was another topic addressed by the pope.
Let’s be sure of one thing: each part of the celebration must be neat (place, time,
Every rule must be followed, including those governing gestures, words, things, clothes, songs and music, he said.
Such attention would suffice to prevent anyone from taking from the assembly what rightfully belongs to him, namely the paschal mystery celebrated according to the rite prescribed by the Church.
But even if the quality and proper action of the celebration were guaranteed, he said, “it would not be enough for our participation to be complete.”
He cited the writings of Romano Guardini, a German Catholic priest and philosopher who lived in the 20th century, to argue that liturgical training should teach individuals how to read and understand symbols.
Because modern man has lost his ability to understand symbols and is now illiterate, François added, “the work is not easy; it’s almost as if their existence is not even suspected.
How a pastor celebrates Mass affects how a Catholic community experiences the celebration, according to Francis.
When the manner of celebrating is inadequate, the “common root” is “an exacerbated personalism in the style of celebration that sometimes expresses a poorly concealed mania for being the center of attention”, he said.
He added that “sometimes this becomes more apparent when our festivities are transmitted over the air or online, which is not always appropriate and requires further study.”
“Make sure you understand me: although these are not the most common behaviors, assemblies sometimes suffer from being treated like this.”
He explained that the “celebration activity” of the Mass is the setting where the paschal mystery is made present through remembrance so that the baptized, through their participation, can experience it in their own lives.
Without this understanding, the celebration is likely to be too preoccupied with the outside (more or less refined) or the rules themselves (more or less rigorous), depending on the speaker.
He said: “The Christian religion is either an encounter with Him alive or it is not.
“The prospect of such a meeting is guaranteed to us by the liturgy. We have a vague memory of the
The Last Supper wouldn’t help. To hear him speak, eat his body and drink his blood at this supper, we must be present. We demand it.