Pope calls for liturgical formation

In his Apostolic Exhortation Desiderio Desideravi (I have longed for this, Lk 22:15), published today, on the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Paul, Pope Francis calls for leaving behind polemical arguments about the liturgy and the beauty of the rediscovery of the liturgy. The Christian faith is either an encounter with Jesus Christ – or there is no faith. And the liturgy offers the possibility of this encounter with the Son of God, it is far more than a reminder of the Last Supper.

Instead, at this sacrament, the baptized “need to be present, able to hear his voice, eat his body, and drink his blood: we need him. In the Eucharist and in all the sacraments we are guaranteed the opportunity to encounter the Lord Jesus and to be reached by the power of his Passover.”

Bezug auf das’ own Movement “Guardians of Tradition”

The apostolic letter expressly refers to the motu proprio “Traditionis custodes”. It does not represent an instruction or a new Directory with rules. In its 65 paragraphs it wants to invite people to overcome both the aestheticism that only pays attention to the external form of the liturgy and all negligence and sloppiness in the celebration of the sacraments. The letter is based on the results of the work of the Plenary Assembly of the Liturgy Congregation in February 2019.

Again the Pope opposes Gnosticism and Neo-Pelagianism in the Church, this time in the field of liturgy. Gnosticism reduces the Christian faith “to a subjectivism that includes the individual in the immanence of his own reason or his feelings”. Neo-Pelagianism removes the value of grace “to rely only on one’s own power, leading to narcissistic and authoritarian elitism where, instead of evangelizing others, one analyzes and evaluates them and, instead, seeks access to grace to ease the energies consumed in controlling.”

“Poison of Subjectivism”

When Gnosticism intoxicates us with the “poison of subjectivism”, says Francis, it frees the liturgical celebration from the prison of self-referentiality. And if neo-Pelagianism “intoxicates us with the presumption of a salvation deserved by our own effort, the liturgical celebration purifies us by proclaiming the undeservingness of the gift of salvation accepted in faith”. The constant rediscovery of the beauty of the liturgy is not the striving for a ritual aestheticism “that only delights in the cultivation of the external formality of a rite or is satisfied with a scrupulous observance of the rubrics.”

He cannot understand, says Francis, that “one recognizes the validity of the Council” and cannot accept the liturgical reform that emerged from the Council. “For this reason, as I explained in the letter to all the bishops, I felt obliged to affirm that the and John Paul II, in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council, promulgated liturgical books… which are the only expressions of the Lex orandi of the Roman Rite’”. Ultimately, however, the liturgy is not about “knowledge” but about assimilation to Jesus Christ, that is, about becoming a member of the body of Christ.

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