Liturgical abuses

Liturgical abuses

Michael Apthorp

Paul MacLeod, in his welcome review of Fr Nicola Bux's important book on the blight of liturgical abuses (June AD2000), writes, "The people ... have a right to complain, first to their parish priest, and if nothing is done, to the local bishop."

However, this wording suggests that the laity have no right to raise such issues with their bishop without first confronting their parish priest. As far as I am aware there is no such limitation. The 2004 Vatican instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (section 184) simply states, "Any Catholic ... has the right to make a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan bishop."

That is certainly not to say that a parishioner's direct appeal to the local priest will never be fruitful, only that the complainant is not obliged to take this particular path and is free to contact the bishop without further ado. Besides, the bishop needs to be told what liturgical abuses are taking place in his diocese, since it is predominantly his role rather than the laity's to keep his clergy in check – as is stressed in sections 19-24 and 176-180 of Redemptionis Sacramentum.

MICHAEL APTHORP
Brisbane, Qld

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