Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Will the New Rubricism be the death of us? I sure hope not. Remember this? "Pastors of souls must therefore realize that, when the Liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is their duty also to insure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects." (Sacrosanctum Concilium 11) Conservative Catholics seem assured that all we need are more strict laws and rules, and everything will be fine. Hello. Check out this three-fold challenge: 1. Insure full awareness of what goes on at liturgy 2. Engage all the laity actively in the rite 3. Use liturgy to shepherd all people on the way to holiness My opinion is that the reverse of the pendulum in Catholic liturgy is quite often unfaithful in spirit and in letter to this core principle of Vatican II. Full awareness is admittedly a toughie. The best we might be able to do (other than revise the pitiful curriculum on liturgy in Catholic schools) is to ensure nothing major happens at liturgy that isn't prepared, and prepared well. Teamwork in planning and/or preparation is essential. An active laity in the pews, as well as providing service to others is essential. People also need to be trained and encouraged to do well as musicians, lectors, singers. Most of all, the parish liturgist and pastor must guide people in forming good worship habits: use of silence, good acoustics for singing, good sound reinforcement, etc. that call less attention to themselves and point more to Christ. Parish liturgy needs to be one of the means by which people transform their lives. Liturgy should lead to more prayer and deeper prayer. A parish with good liturgy should see the fruits of that liturgy in the various apostolates it embraces, especially toward the poor. At the risk of disqualifying myself for my own ministry, I think the prime quality of a parish liturgist (or pastor acting as such) needs to be that of a spiritual director, not a musician. The modern encouragement given to rubricists is badly misplaced faith. Faith in a god who is bound by human control -- that's not Jesus Christ. Thoughts?

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