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Catholic Culture Overview

Bill of Rights?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 04, 2004

The faithful have a right to a true liturgy, which means the liturgy desired and laid down by the Church. ...The Second Vatican Council's admonition in this regard must be remembered: "No person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." [Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Inaestimabile Donum (1980), citing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium 22]

The Mystery of the Eucharist "is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured." On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free reign to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved ... Nor do such actions serve authentic pastoral care or proper liturgical renewal; instead, they deprive Christ's faithful of their patrimony and their heritage. For arbitrary actions are not conducive to true renewal, but are detrimental to the right of Christ's faithful to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church's life in accordance with her tradition and discipline. [Instruction of the Congregation for Divine Worship Redemptionis Sacramentum, March 25 2004, 11]

It is the right of all of Christ's faithful 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. Likewise, the Catholic people have 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. [RS 12]

Christ's faithful have 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." [RS 18]

It is the right of the Christian people themselves 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. [RS 24]

Priests ought not to detract from the profound meaning of their own ministry by corrupting the liturgical celebration either through alteration or omission, or through arbitrary additions. [RS 32]

In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in his power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism. [RS 183]

Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ's faithful, has 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. [RS 184]

I have determined that there is no need to make any significant changes in our liturgical practice at this time. ... Most of the abuses mentioned in Redemptionis Sacramentum do not pertain to the celebration of the Eucharist in our Archdiocese. [Pastoral Letter of Cardinal Mahony, Sept 10, 2004]

Moral: You lose.

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