Pope Francis emphasizes importance of liturgical reform

In an apostolic exhortation on liturgical formation, Pope Francis once again emphasized the importance of the post-conciliar liturgy. That Document “Desiderio Desideravi” (“I longed for it with great longing”) was published on Wednesday by the press office of the Holy See. The Pope wanted to share “some reflections on the liturgy, a fundamental dimension of the life of the Church,” as the introduction says. This is not an exhaustive presentation, but food for thought. The writing has according to the Liturgy Dicastery no legal nature. It is rather “a text of meditation, with a lively biblical, patristic and liturgical imprint, which offers many suggestions to understand the beauty of the truth of the liturgical celebration”.

In the letter, Pope Francis once again emphasizes the importance of the liturgical reform after the Second Vatican Council. The Church is called to share the richness of the principles of Council document on the liturgy rediscovering and understanding the close connection between the liturgical reform and the other conciliar documents: “Therefore we cannot return to that ritual form which the Council Fathers cum Petro and sub Petro considered in need of reform, working under the guidance of the Spirit and according to their consciences as pastors approved the principles that gave rise to the reform,” said the Pope. The approval of the revised liturgical books by Pope Paul VI. and John Paul II guarantees the reform’s fidelity to the Council. Therefore have Franziskus mit Seinem Proper Movement “Guardians of Tradition” last year the celebration of the pre-conciliar form was significantly restricted so that the Church “exalts in the diversity of languages ​​one and the same prayer that expresses its unity”. This is a central concern for the Pope: “As I have already written, I would like to see this unity restored in the entire Church of the Roman Rite,” Francis continued.

The form of the liturgy is not merely an aesthetic question, but primarily of an ecclesiological nature: “I do not understand how one can say that one recognizes the validity of the Council – although I am a little surprised that a Catholic can presume to do so not to do – and cannot accept the liturgical reform born of Sacrosanctum Concilium, which expresses the reality of the liturgy in close connection with the vision of the Church, admirably described in Lumen Gentium,” stresses the Pope.

Liturgy as an antidote to the poison of spiritual worldliness

The letter that has now been published clarifies the importance of the liturgy as a place of encounter with Christ and is intended to open up the theological meaning of the liturgy. Liturgy is “the antidote to the poison of spiritual worldliness”. There is a need to regain the ability “to live the liturgical act to the full”. Therefore liturgical formation is needed, since man has lost the ability “to engage in the symbolic act, which is an essential feature of the liturgical act”. , said the Pope.

The title of the document refers to the Gospel of the Last Supper and refers to the Eucharist. According to Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says to his apostles: “With great longing I longed to eat this Passover meal with you before my passion”, in Latin “desiderio desideravi hoc pascha manducare vobiscum antequam patiar” (Lk 22, 15).

Concern about acceptance of the Second Vatican Council

The Prefect of the Liturgy Dicastery, Archbishop Arthur Roche, had already announced a document on liturgical formation in the spring. In an interview, the prefect said that Pope Francis is concerned about the training of candidates for the priesthood. It is not uncommon for newly ordained priests to begin celebrating the pre-conciliar liturgy “almost immediately”. At the seminars, his authority is working towards teaching “the richness of liturgical reform,” as the Second Vatican Council had demanded. Roche did not provide any further details on the planned document at the time. This was preceded by a two-year consultation in the then liturgical congregation. “Everyone felt that the formation in the seminaries in general and in the life of the Church was quite inadequate,” Roche said.

“I have longed for the desire” ist nach dem Properly speaking, “Guardians of Tradition” the second important document on the liturgy in the pontificate of Francis. Last summer, the Pope clearly restricted the celebration of Mass in its pre-conciliar form with “Traditionis custodes” and emphasized that Pope Benedict XVI. introduced formula of a Roman rite in two forms, an ordinary one of the liturgical reform and an extraordinary one according to the pre-conciliar liturgical books, no longer find application. The post-conciliar liturgy is “the only form of expression of the lex orandi of the Roman rite,” said the Pope.

last had Francis emphasized in an interviewthat he is concerned about restorative tendencies that want to roll back Vatican II: “The restoration has come to gag the council,” said the pope. The problem is that the council is not yet accepted in some areas: “It is also true that it takes a century for a council to take root. So we still have forty years to establish it!” Pope further. (fxn)