WADE ST. ONGE

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Part 10: The Liturgy



X. The LITURGY


41. Liturgical Reform
- The liturgy should be reformed in such a way as to foster active participation, requiring rites to be simplified and clarified and other changes made, though the Church’s liturgical tradition must be maintained, especially in the areas of sacred music and sacred art.

A. Principles of Reform.

a. Active Participation. “In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active (and conscious) participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else” (SC14). This is because the liturgy is the “primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit” (SC14), and thus the liturgy “should lead to various works of charity and mutual help, as well as to missionary activity and to different forms of Christian witness” (PO6).
i. Rites. To this end, he rites should be drawn up in such a way that the faithful will be able “to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community” (SC21).

b. Clarity and Understandability of Rites.
i. Simplicity. Also, “rites [must] be distinguished by a noble simplicity, [being] short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions” (SC34). Though “rites are to be simplified” “their substance [must be preserved]” (SC50).
ii. Addition and Deletion. To this end, anything unsuited to “the inner nature of the liturgy” must be eliminated, (SC21), while elements that were dropped through “accidents of history” (SC50) should be “restored.
iii. Clarity and Meaning. Furthermore, “texts and rites [should be] drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify” (SC21), being “within the people’s powers of comprehension” (SC34), and thus “requiring little or no explanation” (SC34). The “nature and purpose of [the liturgy’s] several parts, as also the connection between them . . . be more clearly manifested” (SC 50). The faithful should be able to “understand them with ease” (SC21).

c. Research and Revision. Proper liturgical reform, however, must be based on solid “theological, historical, and pastoral” research and investigation (SC23) and involve revision of “laws governing the structure and meaning of the liturgy” (SC23).
i. Organic Growth. Changes, however, must always be “organic” (SC23).

B. Sacred Music.

a. Preserving Treasury of Sacred Music. The greatest of the Church’s artistic treasures – the “treasure of sacred music, is to be preserved and fostered with great care” (SC114).
i. Gregorian Chant. This includes “Gregorian chant [for it is] specially suited to the Roman liturgy [and thus] should be given pride of place in liturgical services (SC116).
ii. Teaching and Training. To preserve the Church’s musical tradition, “great importance is to be attached to the teaching and practice of music” in houses of formation and schools (SC115).  This includes “teachers [being] carefully trained” and “institutes of sacred music” founded (SC115).
iii. Composers. Composers must be “filled with the Christian spirit”, so they may “cultivate sacred music and increase its store of treasures” (SC121).
iv. Compositions. “Texts [must be] in conformity with Catholic doctrine [and] drawn chiefly from holy scripture and from liturgical sources” (SC121).
v. Choirs. “Choirs must be diligently promoted, especially in cathedral churches” (SC114).

b. Active Participation. “[At least some] compositions [must be designed] for the active participation of the [congregation]” (SC121), and “an edition [of the books of Gregorian chant should] be prepared containing simpler melodies, for use in small churches” (SC117) and for use by the faithful.

C. Sacred Art.

a. Training and Works of Artists. Artists should be “trained”, for “all things set apart for use in divine worship should be truly worthy, becoming, and beautiful, signs and symbols of the supernatural world” (SC122).

b. Role of the Church. It is the Church that decides “which of the works [are] fitted for sacred use” (SC122) in accord with “faith” and “piety”.

c. Artistic Quality. Churches should strive for “noble beauty” over “mere sumptuous display”, and remove whatever is “repugnant to faith, morals, or Christian piety” or which “lack[s] artistic worth”, or suffers from “mediocrity” or “pretense” (SC123-4), and taking care that the “sacred furnishings and works of value” are not “disposed or dispersed” (SC126).

D. Liturgical Commission. A “liturgical commission” composed of “experts in liturgical science, sacred music, art and pastoral practice” should be formed in each diocese (SC44), as well as “commissions for sacred music and sacred art” (SC46), to “regulate pastoral-liturgical action [and] promote studies and necessary experiments” (SC44).

E. The Local Christian Community.

a. The Diocese. “All should hold in great esteem the liturgical life of the diocese centered around the bishop, especially in his cathedral church; they must be convinced that the pre-eminent manifestation of the Church consists in the full active participation of all God's holy people in these liturgical celebrations” (SC41). Thus this sense of community should flow from and be manifested by these Cathedral celebrations, and the liturgy as celebrated at the Cathedral should be the “model” from which other parishes draw and which they imitate. Since the Mass is not only the heart of the congregation but also the entire diocese, “the liturgical life of the parish and its relationship to the bishop must be fostered theoretically and practically among the faithful and clergy” (SC42), for the bishop is the chief liturgist of the diocese, and is truly the center of the worshiping community.

b. The Parish. “[The Christian community] has its basis and center in the celebration of the most Holy Eucharist” (PO6). Once again, here is where a great sense of community must be fostered.

F. Liturgical Teaching and Training.

a. Professors. “Professors who are appointed to teach liturgy in seminaries, religious houses of study, and theological faculties must be properly trained for their work in institutes which specialize in this subject” (SC15).

b. Liturgical Ministers. Those with liturgical roles must “be deeply imbued with the spirit of the liturgy [and properly] trained” (SC29).

G. Christian Artists. Artists should seek “training” at “schools or academies of sacred art” (SC127) so they can design “works destined to be used in Catholic worship [that will] edify the faithful and . . . foster their piety and their religious formation” (SC127).

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