Friday, January 20, 2012

A Liturgical Bill of Rights

This Liturgical Bill of Rights is exerpted from Redemptionis Sacramentum ("On Certain Matters To Be Observed or To Be Avoided Regarding the Most Holy Eucharist," by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, March 25, 2004)...sort of a Reader's Digest Condensed Version, if you will. I'm not the author, but I present this Bill of Rights here as a reminder of what we are entitled to expect with regard to the liturgy...and even what we are in some instances required to insist upon with regard to proper respect for the Most Holy  Eucharist.

Liturgical Bill of Rights
Excerpted from the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum[1]

BY VIRTUE OF THEIR HOLY BAPTISM AND INCORPORATION INTO THE CHURCH, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, each of Christ’s Faithful possesses the following rights with respect to the Sacred Liturgy:
1.   the right…to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church’s life in accordance with her tradition and discipline [11]
2.   the right…that the Liturgy, and in particular the celebration of Holy Mass, should truly be as the Church wishes, according to her stipulations as prescribed in the liturgical books and in the other laws and norms [12]
3.   the right that the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass should be celebrated for them in an integral manner, according to the entire doctrine of the Church’s Magisterium [12]
4.   the…right that the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist should be carried out for it in such a manner that it truly stands out as a sacrament of unity, to the exclusion of all blemishes and actions that might engender divisions and factions in the Church [12][2]
5.   the right that ecclesiastical authority should fully and efficaciously regulate the Sacred Liturgy lest it should ever seem to be “anyone’s private property, whether of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated” [18][3]
6.   the right…that their diocesan Bishop should take care to prevent the occurrence of abuses in ecclesiastical discipline, especially as regards the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and devotion to the Saints [24][4]
7.   the right…that especially in the Sunday celebration there should customarily be true and suitable sacred music, and that there should always be an altar, vestments and sacred linens that are dignified, proper, and clean, in accordance with the norms [57]
8.   the right to a celebration of the Eucharist that has been so carefully prepared in all its parts that:
• the word of God is properly and efficaciously proclaimed and explained in it
• the faculty for selecting the liturgical texts and rites is carried out with care according to the norms
• their faith is duly safeguarded and nourished by the words that are sung in the celebration of the Liturgy [58]
9.    [the right] to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing [91]
10. the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice[5]…[or] to receive the Sacrament in the hand[6] [92]
11.   a right[7] to visit the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist frequently for adoration, and to take part in adoration before the Most Holy Eucharist exposed at least at some time in the course of any given year [139]
12.   [the right] to form guilds or associations for the carrying out of adoration, even almost continuous adoration [141][8]
13.   the right…to have the Eucharist celebrated for them on Sunday, and whenever holydays of obligation or other major feasts occur, and even daily insofar as this is possible [162][9]
14.   the right, barring a case of real impossibility, that no Priest should ever refuse either to celebrate Mass for the people or to have it celebrated by another Priest if the people otherwise would not be able to satisfy the obligation of participating at Mass on Sunday or the other days of precept [163]
15.   the…right that the diocesan Bishop should provide as far as he is able for some celebration to be held on Sundays for that community under his authority and according to the Church’s norms…“[i]f participation at the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible on account of the absence of a sacred minister or for some other grave cause” [164][10]
16.   the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff [184][11]
17. [the right to expect that the sacred ministers] fulfill for the faithful those sacred functions that the Church intends to carry out in celebrating the sacred Liturgy at Christ’s command [186][12].

[1] “On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist” by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, 25 March 2004.
[2] Cf. 1 Cor 11,17-34; Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 52: AAS 95 (2003) pp. 467-468.
[3] Cf. Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 52: AAS 95 (2003) p. 468.
[4] Cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 392.
[5] Cf. Missale Romanum, Institutio Generalis, n. 161.
[6] But only in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, such as in the United States of America. Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Dubium: Notitiæ 35 (1999) pp. 160-161.
[7] But only where the diocesan Bishop has sacred ministers or others whom he can assign to this purpose.
[8] Cf. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution, Pastor Bonus, art. 65: AAS 80 (1988) p. 877.
[9] “When it is difficult to have the celebration of Mass on a Sunday in a parish church or in another community of Christ’s faithful, the diocesan Bishop together with his Priests should consider appropriate remedies. Among such solutions will be that other Priests be called upon for this purpose, or that the faithful transfer to a church in a nearby place so as to participate in the Eucharistic mystery there.” [162] Cf. S. Congregation of Rites, Instruction, Eucharisticum mysterium, n. 26: AAS 59 (1967) pp. 555-556; Congregation for Divine Worship, Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest, Christi Ecclesia, 2 June 1988, nn. 5 and 25: Notitiæ 24 (1988) pp. 366-378, here pp. 367, 372; n. 18: Notitiæ 24 (1988) p. 370.
[10] Cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 1248 § 2; Congregation for Divine Worship, Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest, Christi Ecclesia, nn. 1-2: Notitiæ 24 (1988) p. 366.
[11] “It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.” [184]. Cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 1417 § 1: “Because of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, any of the faithful may either refer their case to, or introduce it before, the Holy See, whether the case be contentious or penal. They may do so at any grade of trial or at any stage of the suit.”
[12] Cf. S. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., III, q. 64, a. 9 ad 1. Page 2 of 2.

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