Announcement of the publication of the document against liturgical abuses

Source: FSSPX News


The text, inspired by the conciliar constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium promulgated by pope Paul VI, is already translated from the Latin into various languages, declared Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the end of March.

A first version of the text insisted on the limitation of the role of laymen, prohibited liturgical dance, warned against the use of non-approved texts, decided against pseudo-liturgical rites celebrated by women, and declared that the practice of communion under both species was not always appropriate. The text also encouraged the laity to denounce liturgical abuses to their bishops and, if necessary, directly in Rome.

According to sources close to the Vatican, the document was modified, after being re-examined by members of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the office charged with publication of the text, which was prepared in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Father Silvano Maggiani, a Servite monk and President of the Association of Liturgy Professors, recently declared to the American news service CNS that members of his association had sent personal letters to John-Paul II and to other dignitaries, expressing "their astonishment, uneasiness, fear and concern" faced with the direction which the document seems to take on liturgical abuses.

This monk who is also a consultant for the Vatican office for the preparation of the papal liturgies, affirms that it "is not right to define as an abuse what is not one". Any real abuse should be corrected, not in a repressive spirit, but by a work of formation, he confided to CNS. He added that "that would go against Vatican II and would be like returning to the idea of separation between the lay faithful and ordained priests."

Sources close to the Vatican say that the document has been ready for some time, but that it was held back a few weeks by the Secretariat of State, which re-examined it. This is said to have led to significant changes. "Certain parts disappeared and the document as a whole was significantly simplified", according to CNS.

Part of the criticisms formulated against this document concentrate especially on the role of the laity during liturgical celebrations. Supposedly the laity are forbidden to preach, to pronounce the Eucharistic Prayer, to break the hosts, or to distribute communion, unless there is an "urgent" need.

Other abuses which are said to be denounced :

• The practice of inviting non-Catholics to share communion

• Permission given to priests who have been reduced to the lay state to administer the sacraments.

• Substitution of non-biblical texts for biblical readings, during Mass.

• Introduction of non-Christian elements into the Catholic liturgy and the celebration of Mass in places of non-Christian worship

• Permission for non-Catholic ministers to wear Catholic vestments

• Worship of the Eucharist under inappropriate conditions

• Giving first communion outside of Mass and before the first confession

• The use of common metals, glass and ceramics for sacred vessels, including the chalice

• The custom of breaking the host at the consecration rather than right before communion.