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Much has been written over the years with regard to liturgical abuses, and we are all experts in what should or should not take place on the altar during Mass.
Various opinions have been aired such as, "It is only a Church discipline", but surely the problem is a little more serious than that. To quote from an article I read some years ago, "It is very important to bear in mind that a priest is bound in conscience under pain of mortal sin to obey the solemn decrees whereby the Pope governs the liturgical discipline of the Universal Church."
In the article titled, "How can differences over the Liturgy be resolved" (March AD2000), the writer seemingly acknowledges this when he writes, "It did not do for the priest to be afflicted with scrupulosity, or he would spend half his life going to confession!"
Perhaps, but where does it all end? There is certainly a perceived laxity in some of today's Masses that needs to be urgently (in my opinion) addressed.
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, when queried on this subject said, "In this, as in all matters concerning the celebration of the Holy Mass, the prescribed rubric is to be followed without alteration." The Congregation also directed attention to articles 48 and 49 from The Directory for the Life and Ministry of Priests, which reads in part:
(48) "If the priest lends to Christ, Most Eternal High Priest, his intelligence, will, voice, and hands so as to offer through his very ministry, the sacramental sacrifice of redemption to the Father, he should make his own the dispositions of the Master and, like him, live those gifts for his brothers in the faith. He must therefore learn to unite himself intimately to the offering, placing his entire life upon the altar of sacrifice as a revealing sign of the gratuitous and anticipatory love of God."
(49) "The priest ... must follow the rite established in the liturgical books approved by the competent authority, without adding, removing or changing anything. All Ordinaries, Superiors of Institutes of Consecrated Life, Moderators of societies of apostolic life and all other Prelates have the grave duty, besides that of being the first in example, of watching over the liturgical norms regarding the celebration of the Eucharist, so that they be faithfully observed in all places."
If only ...
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 4 (May 2006), p. 15
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