Sunday, February 16, 2014

Vatican officials pay tribute to Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy texts read at a Vatican press conference, two curial officials and the rector of the Pontifical Lateran University paid tribute to the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

The press conference came a week before the start of a February 18-20 symposium devoted to the fiftieth anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, which was issued in December 1963. 

In a text read by the undersecretary of his congregation, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said that “to know, read, explore and interpret faithfully this Council, in the unity and integrity of the whole, is an enormous task for the Church” in light of the needs of the new evangelization. 

Cardinal Cañizares said that Sacrosanctum Concilium outlined the purposes of the council, which ultimately are ordered to the Church’s vocation to holiness and the Church’s mission for the salvation of mankind. 

The Council, he added, called for a “more informed, participatory, and active celebration of the paschal mystery of Christ” for the sake of “holiness, communion, and mission.” 

Citing Venerable Paul VI and Pope Benedict XVI, the prelate said that by issuing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy before its other documents, the council fathers emphasized the primacy of God. 

This emphasis, manifest in divine worship, is “the most effective response and the supreme and fundamental priority of the Church” in the face of the loss of the sense of God. 

Archbishop Arthur Roche, the congregation’s secretary, then offered an overview of the content of Sacrosanctum Concilium and the upcoming symposium. Calling for the cultivation of “the authentic experience of ecclesial prayer,” he said that the fiftieth anniversary of the constitution offers an occasion for an examination of conscience: only a “praying Church,” following the example of the apostles at Pentecost, can give witness to the world. 

Finally, a professor at the Pontifical Lateran University read a text prepared by Bishop Enrico dal Covolo, the university’s rector. Citing Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, the prelate expressed gratitude for Sacrosanctum Concilium.
Stating that “the liturgy is the place for ecclesial communion,” he then lamented divisions related to the liturgy: some, he said, “tend to raise their voices too much, to wish that one’s ideas prevail over those of others,” and some “act independently of the mystery of Mother Church” -- a likely reference to the Society of St. Pius X. 

Bishop dal Covolo also highlighted the “intrinsic link between the liturgical celebration and the mission of evangelization and the testimony of the Church.”