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Pope Francis on Liturgical Abuse

Image by Etienne Girardet

Pope Francis’ letter of July 16, 2021 accompanying his Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes

“[…] I am saddened by abuses in the celebration of the liturgy on all sides. In common with Benedict XVI, I deplore the fact that “in many places the prescriptions of the new Missal are not observed in celebration, but indeed come to be interpreted as an authorization for or even a requirement of creativity, which leads to almost unbearable distortions”.

 

"[…] I ask you to be vigilant in ensuring that every liturgy be celebrated with decorum and fidelity to the liturgical books promulgated after Vatican Council II, without the eccentricities that can easily degenerate into abuses. Seminarians and new priests should be formed in the faithful observance of the prescriptions of the Missal and liturgical books, in which is reflected the liturgical reform willed by Vatican Council II.” 

Image by Josh Applegate

Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter Desiderio Desideravi:
On the Liturgical Formation of the People of God

"23. Let us be clear here: every aspect of the celebration must be carefully tended to (space, time, gestures, words, objects, vestments, song, music...) and every rubric must be observed. Such attention would be enough to prevent robbing from the assembly what is owed to it; namely, the paschal mystery celebrated according to the ritual that the Church sets down."

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Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter Desiderio Desideravi:
On the Liturgical Formation of the People of God

"54. If it is true that the ars celebrandi is required of the entire assembly that celebrates, it is likewise true that ordained ministers must have a very particular concern for it. In visiting Christian communities, I have noticed that their way of living the liturgical celebration is conditioned — for better or, unfortunately, for worse — by the way in which their pastor presides in the assembly. We could say that there are different “models” of presiding. [....] [...]I think that the inadequacy of these models of presiding have a common root: a heightened personalism of the celebrating style which at times expresses a poorly concealed mania to be the centre of attention. Often this becomes more evident when our celebrations are transmitted over the air or online, something not always opportune and that needs further reflection. Be sure you understand me: these are not the most widespread behaviours, but still, not infrequently assemblies suffer from being thus abused."

Ceiling of a church with round image of Christ.

Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter Desiderio Desideravi:
On the Liturgical Formation of the People of God

"57. For this service to be well done — indeed, with art! — it is of fundamental importance that the priest have a keen awareness of being, through God’s mercy, a particular presence of the risen Lord. The ordained minister is himself one of the types of presence of the Lord which render the Christian assembly unique, different from any other assembly. (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 7) This fact gives “sacramental” weight (in the broad sense) to all the gestures and words of the one presiding. The assembly has the right to be able to feel in those gestures and words the desire that the Lord has, today as at the Last Supper, to eat the Passover with us. So, the risen Lord is in the leading role, and not our own immaturities, assuming roles and behaviours which are simply not appropriate. [....]"

Image by Stephanie LeBlanc

Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter Desiderio Desideravi:
On the Liturgical Formation of the People of God

"60. [....] 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. He is not seated on a throne [...] 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 [....]."

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