Free Eucharistic liturgy from ideology urges pope

Eucharistic liturgy

Priests celebrating Mass should not be rigidly austere, mystical, overly slow, impassible and excessively finicky says Pope Francis in a new letter promoting the “rediscovery” of the Eucharistic liturgy.

Neither should priests be exasperatingly creative, merely functional, rushed, sloppy, careless or superabundantly friendly.

Francis letter is designed to protect the celebration of Mass from ideological influences.

“With this letter I simply want to invite the whole Church to rediscover, to safeguard and to live the truth and power of the Christian celebration,” Francis wrote.

He does not want it “spoiled by a superficial and foreshortened understanding of its value or, worse yet,” he added, “exploited in service of some ideological vision, no matter what the hue”.

The beauty of the Eucharistic liturgy is not about “the search for a ritual aesthetic” that focuses on “a careful exterior observance of a rite” or “a scrupulous observance of the rubrics”.

Nor does Francis wish for the Catholic Mass to be reduced to “a careless banality” or “ignorant superficiality”.

Communities’ living out of the mass “is conditioned — for better or, unfortunately, for worse — by the way in which their pastor presides in the assembly,” Francis says.

He lists “models” of inadequate presiding, such as “rigid austerity or an exasperating creativity, a spiritualising mysticism or a practical functionalism, a rushed briskness or an overemphasised slowness, a sloppy carelessness or an excessive finickiness, a superabundant friendliness or priestly impassibility”.

The liturgy must be rehearsed and carefully prepared so the faithful may participate in wonder at the sacrament when the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus.

“But even if the quality and the proper action of the celebration were guaranteed, that would not be enough to make our participation full,” Francis’s document states.

“The theological understanding of the Liturgy does not in any way permit that these words be understood to mean to reduce everything to the aspect of worship.

“If the reform has eliminated that vague ‘sense of mystery,’ then more than a cause for accusations it is to its credit,” Francis wrote.

“Beauty, just like truth, always engenders wonder, and when these are referred to the mystery of God, they lead to adoration.”

The Pope is critical of the use of the term “sense of mystery”.

“When I speak of astonishment at the paschal mystery, I do not at all intend to refer to what at times seems to me to be meant by the vague expression ‘sense of mystery’.

Sometimes this is among the presumed chief accusations against the liturgical reform. It is said that the sense of mystery has been removed from the celebration.

Francis voices dismay in “Desiderio Desideravi” at the pushback Vatican II still meets today.

The pope has opened the church and the Eucharist to divorced and remarried couples, people who have had abortions and, most recently, politicians who support abortion rights.

“The world still does not know it, but everyone is invited to the supper of the wedding of the Lamb,” Francis says.


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News category: Palmerston, World.

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