Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments…

…judges Francis’ idea on zeal for the liturgy, doctrine and prestige of the Church

  • Popular piety is distorted with the attenuation of values essential to the Liturgy

History principally shows that the correct relationship between Liturgy and popular piety begins to be distorted with the attenuation among the faithful of certain values essential to the Liturgy itself. (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: Directory on popular piety and the liturgy, no. 48, May 13, 2002)

  • Contempt for the Liturgy inevitably leads to a clouding of the Christian understanding of the mystery of God

Theoretical or practical contempt for the Liturgy inevitably leads to a clouding of the Christian understanding of the mystery of God, Who has mercifully deigned to look down on fallen man and bring him to Himself through the incarnation of His Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Such fails to perceive the significance of salvation history and the relationship between Old and New Testaments. It underestimates the saving Word of God which sustains the Liturgy, and to which the Liturgy always refers. Such a disposition attenuates in the faithful any realization of the importance of the work of Christ our only Saviour who is the Son of God and the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Eventually, it leads to a loss of the sensus Ecclesiae. (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: Directory on popular piety and the liturgy, no. 56, May 13, 2002)

  • The liturgy can serve as a touchstone for a correct scale of values in popular piety

The Word of God, as transmitted by Sacred Scripture, as conserved and proposed by the Magisterium of the Church, and as celebrated in the Sacred Liturgy, is the privileged and indispensable instrument of the Holy Spirit in the faithfuls’ worship. […] Prayer should ‘accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that a dialogue takes place between God and man’. Thus, it is highly recommended that the various forms of popular piety normally include biblical texts, opportunely chosen and duly provided with a commentary. In this respect, the models used in liturgical celebrations can be most useful, since they always contain a text taken from Sacred Scripture, variously chosen for different types of celebration. However, since the different expressions of popular piety already exhibit a legitimate structural and expressional diversity, the disposition of the various biblical pericopes need not necessarily be followed in the same ritual structure with which the Word of God is proclaimed in the Sacred Liturgy. In any event, the liturgical model can serve as a touch stone for popular piety, against which a correct scale of values can be developed. (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: Directory on popular piety and the liturgy, no. 87-89, May 13, 2002)

…judges Francis’ idea on obtaining spiritual fruits in other religions

  • Popular piety has its source in the constant presence of the Spirit of God and its reference point in Christ

Popular piety, according to the Magisterium, is a living reality in and of the Church. Its source is the constant presence of the Spirit of God in the ecclesial community; the mystery of Christ Our Saviour is its reference point, the glory of God and the salvation of man its object, its historical moment ‘the joyous encounter of the work of evangelisation and culture’ (John Paul II, Homily given at the shrine of the Virgin Mary of ‘Zapopang’, 2). On several occasions, the Magisterium has expressed its esteem for popular piety and its various manifestations, admonishing those who ignore it, or overlook it, or even distain it, to adopt a more positive attitude towards it, taking due note of its many values. Indeed, the Magisterium sees popular piety as ‘a true treasure of the People of God’ (Homily given at the Celebration of the Word in La Serena, Chile). (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Directory on popular piety and the liturgy, no. 61, May 13, 2002)

  • Manifestation of a genuine desire to please the Lord and to do reparation and penance

Popular piety has an innate sense of the sacred and the transcendent […] The documents of the Magisterium highlight certain interior dispositions and virtues particularly consonant with popular piety and which, in turn, are prompted and nourished by it: patience and ‘Christian resignation in the face of irremediable situations’; trusting abandonment to God; the capacity to bear sufferings and to perceive ‘the cross in every-day life’; a genuine desire to please the Lord and to do reparation and penance for the offences offered to Him; detachment from material things; solidarity with, and openness to, others; “a sense of friendliness, charity and family unity (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Directory on popular piety and the liturgy, no. 61, May 13, 2002)

  • Authentic forms of popular piety are also fruits of the Holy Spirit – for those who are in communion with the Church, docile to her discipline of worship

Authentic forms of popular piety are also fruits of the Holy Spirit and must always be regarded as expressions of the Church’s piety. They are used by the faithful who are in communion with the Church, accept her faith and who are docile to her discipline of worship. Indeed, many forms popular piety have been approved and recommended by the Church herself. (Congregation for Divine Worship and the discipline of the Sacraments, no. 83, May 13, 2002)

…judges Francis’ idea on the words of Jesus Christ upon the Cross

  • Prayer should be humble and in conformity with God’s nature

Jesus has commanded us to do as he did. On many occasions he said: ‘Pray,’ ‘ask,’ ‘seek’ ‘in my name.’ He taught us how to pray in what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. He taught us that prayer is necessary, that it should be humble, watchful, persevering, confident in the Father’s goodness, single-minded, and in conformity with God’s nature (Mt 6:5-8, 23:14; Lk 20:47; Jn 4:23). (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. General instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, Chapter I – II)

…judges Francis’ prayer in the ecumenical and interreligious Meeting in Sarajevo

  • The essential reference point for the prayer life of the people of God is Christ

Hence, the person and works of Christ are the essential reference point for the faith and prayer life of the people of God. In him we find the Teacher of truth (cf. Mt 22: 16), the faithful Witness (Ap 1:5), the High Priest (cf. Heb 4: 14), the Pastor of our souls (cf. 1 Pet 2: 25), and the one, perfect Mediator (cf. 1 Tim 2: 5; Heb 8: 6; 9:15; 12:24). Through him, man comes to God (cf. Jn 14: 6), the Church’s praise and supplication rise up to God, and all of divine gifts are given to man. (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Directory on popular piety and the liturgy, no. 77, December 2001)

  • The excellence of Christian prayer lies in Christ

Prayer directed to God must be linked with Christ, the Lord of all, the one Mediator through whom alone we have access to God He unites to himself the whole human community in such a way that there is an intimate bond between the prayer of Christ and the prayer of all humanity. In Christ and in Christ alone human worship of God receives its redemptive value and attains its goal. […] The excellence of Christian prayer lies in its sharing in the reverent love of the only-begotten Son for the Father and in the prayer that the Son put into words in his earthly life and that still continues without ceasing in the name of the whole human race and for its salvation, throughout the universal Church and in all its members. (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office, no. 6-7, November 1, 1970)

…judges Francis’ idea on asking prayers from non-catholics and atheists

  • Christian prayer draws its dignity from the filial relationship of Christ

Prayer directed to God should be united with Christ, the Lord of all men, the one mediator, through whom alone we have access to God. Christ so unites the whole human family to himself that there is an intimate and necessary relationship between the prayer of Christ and the prayer of the whole human race. For in Christ alone human religion achieves its redemptive value and purpose. A close and special bond exists between Christ and those whom, through the sacrament of regeneration, he makes members of his body, the Church. All the riches belonging to the Son flow from him as from the head into the whole body: the pouring out of the Spirit, truth, life and a share in his divine sonship, which he revealed to us in all his prayer on earth.

The whole body of the Church shares in the priesthood of Christ. The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated into a spiritual house and a holy priesthood. They become capable of taking part in the worship of the New Testament, not thanks to themselves, but to the gift and merits of Christ. […] Christian prayer draws its dignity from its sharing in the filial relationship of the Only-begotten Son to the Father. The prayer he expressed in his earthly life with his own words in the name of and for the salvation of the entire human race, he continues to address to his Father in the whole Church and in all her members. (Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. General Introduction on the Liturgy of the Hours, The Importance of the Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office in the Life of the Church, ch. 1, no. 6-7, February 2, 1971, English translation 1974)

  • There can be no Christian prayer without the action of the Holy Spirit

The unity of the praying Church is brought about by the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit who is in Christ, in the whole Church, and in each baptized person. ‘This Spirit comes to help us in our weakness’ and ‘expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words’ (Rom 8:26). As the Spirit of the Son, he breathes into us ‘the spirit of adopted sons, and makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’’ (Rom 8:15; cf Gal 4:6; 1Cor 12:3; Eph 5:18; Jude 20). There can be no Christian prayer without the action of the Holy Spirit. He unites the whole Church and leads us through the Son to the Father. (Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. General Introduction on the Liturgy of the Hours, The Importance of the Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office in the Life of the Church, Ch.1, no. 6-7, February 2, 1971, English translation 1974)

…judges Francis’ words in his first appearance

  • There exists a hierarchy in the ministry of blessings: in the presence of an ordained minister, the laity should concede the presidency

The ministry of the blessing is united to a particular exercise of the priesthood of Christ, and, according to the place and the office proper to each of those within the people of God, is exercised in the following manner:
a) It corresponds principally to the Bishop to preside over those celebrations concerning the entire diocesan community, undertaken with particular solemnity and large attendance of the people […]
b) It corresponds to the priests, as requires the nature of their service to the people of God, to preside over the blessings […]; therefore, they may celebrate all of the blessings contained in this book, as long as a presiding Bishop is not present.
c) It corresponds to the deacons […] in their quality as ministers of the word, of the altar and of charity, to preside over some celebrations, as is indicated by their corresponding place. But always, when a priest is present, it is better that he concede to the priest the presiding. […]
d) The laity, men and women, through the efficacy of their common priesthood, of which they were made participants through baptism and confirmation, in virtue of their own position (such as parents with respect to their children), or in virtue of an extraordinary ministry, or due to the fulfilling of a function particular to the Church […] may celebrate some blessings, with the rite and the formulas predetermined for them, according to the indication for each one of the blessings. But in the presence of the priest or deacon, they should concede the presidency to them. (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Book of Blessings, General Indications, no. 18. Spanish Episcopal Liturgical Commission (Spain) and Episcopal Conference of Latin America (CELAM), Bendicional, Ripollet, (Barcelona), Coeditores Litúrgicos, 1986, p. 19-20)

…judges Francis’ idea on the origin of the Psalms

  • Christ is present when the Church supplicates and sings the Psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours

The work of the redemption of mankind and the perfect glorification of God is undertaken by Christ in the Holy Spirit through his Church, not only in the celebration of the Eucharist and administration of the Sacraments, but also with preference to other manners, when the Liturgy of the Hours unfolds. In it Christ is present within the congregated assembly, in the Word of God that is proclaimed and ‘when the Church supplicates and sings Psalms.’ (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office, ch. III, no. 13, November 1, 1970)

  • The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of Christ, with his Body to the Father

In the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church, fulfilling the priestly function of Christ, her Head, offers to God, ‘without interruption’, the sacrifice of praise, that is to say, the first fruits of the lips that sing his name. This prayer is ‘the voice of the Spouse that speaks to the Spouse; moreover, it is the prayer of Christ, with his Body to the Father.’ ‘Therefore, all of those who exercise this function, on one hand fulfill the obligation of the Church and on the other, participate in the most high honor of the Spouse of Christ; since while God is praised, they are before his throne in the name of Mother Church.’ (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office, ch. III, no. 15. November 1, 1979)

  • The Liturgy of the Hours: a prayer that belongs to the entire body of the Church

The Liturgy of the Hours, just as other liturgical acts, is not a private action, but rather it belongs to the entire body of the Church, manifests it and influences it. Its ecclesial celebration reaches the greatest splendor – and for the same reason is recommendable to a high degree – when with the bishop, surrounded by priests and ministers, it is carried out within a particular Church, in which the Church of Christ – which is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic – is truly present and labors. (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office, ch. III, no. 21. November 1, 1979)

  • The faith of all of those who participate is nourished, and minds are directed toward God

Not only when we read that it ‘was written for our instruction’ (Rom 15:4), but also when the Church prays and sings, the faith of all of those who participate in it is nourished, and minds are directed toward God, presenting him the spiritual offering and receiving from him his grace with greater abundance. (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office. ch. III, no. 14. November 1, 1979)

  • In the Hours, the Church sings uniting with the hymn of praise that perpetually resounds in the celestial dwellings

With the praise that God is offered in the Hours, the Church sings uniting with the hymn of praise that perpetually resounds in the celestial dwellings; already feeling the taste of that celestial praise that resounds continually before the throne of God and the Lamb, as John described in the Apocalypse. For the close union that occurs among us and the celestial Church, is accomplished when ‘we celebrate together, with fraternal happiness, the praise of the Divine Majesty, and all of the redeemed by the blood of Christ of every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Rev 5: 9), congregated in the same Church, we glorify with the same song of praise, the Triune God.’ (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. ch. III, no. 16, November 1, 1970)

…judges Francis’ idea on doing good

  • Salvation is not brought about without one’s own willing or participation – one must accept supernatural life

The expression ‘for many,’ while remaining open to the inclusion of each human person, is reflective also of the fact that this salvation is not brought about in some mechanistic way, without one’s own willing or participation; rather, the believer is invited to accept in faith the gift that is being offered and to receive the supernatural life that is given to those who participate in this mystery, living it out in their lives as well so as to be numbered among the ‘many’ to whom the text refers. (Letter from Cardinal Francis Arinze on the translation of Pro Multis, October 17, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on all being saved

  • Salvation is not brought in a mechanistic way without one’s participation

The expression ‘for many’, while remaining open to the inclusion of each human person, is reflective also of the fact that this salvation is not brought about in some mechanistic way, without one’s own willing or participation; rather, the believer is invited to accept in faith the gift that is being offered and to receive the supernatural life that is given to those who participate in this mystery, living it out in their lives as well so as to be numbered among the ‘many’ to whom the text refers. (Letter from Cardinal Francis Arinze on the translation of ‘pro multis’, October 17, 2006)

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