Pope issues apostolic letter to mark 40th anniversary of Sacrosantum Concilium
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Pope John Paul II signed his latest Apostolic Letter yesterday, December 4, marking the 40th anniversary of the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosantum Concilium.

In the 16-paragraph letter, the Holy Father says that the anniversary of Sacrosantum Concilium provides an opportunity to “rediscover the underlying themes of the liturgical renewal sought by the Council Fathers, verify in some way their acceptance and set our eyes on the future.”

In the first chapter entitled, “A look at the Conciliar Constitution,” the Pope says, “the liturgical life of the Church, in the perspective of Sacrosantum Concilium, assumes a cosmic and universal spirit, profoundly marking man’s time and space.”

The Pope later recalls the importance the Council gives to sacred music, “whose end is ‘the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful’,” and to sacred art, which allows “worship to shine forth through the decorum and beauty of liturgical art.”

The Pope also points out in the document that “40 years later, a review of progress thus far has become opportune” and therefore he raises important questions for the Church:

  • “Is the Liturgy lived out as the ‘source and summit’ of ecclesial life?”
  • “Has the rediscovery of the value of the Word of God, brought about by the liturgical reforms, brought forth positive results in our celebrations?”
  • “To what extent has the liturgy entered into the life of the faithful and set the pace for each community?”
  • “Is the liturgy understood as a path to sanctity, as the interior strength behind apostolic zeal and the Church’s missionary spirit?

The Pope also calls for a review of liturgical books, emphasizing that it should be based on “a principle of complete fidelity to Sacred Scripture and Tradition, authoritatively interpreted in particular by the Second Vatican Council.”  This fidelity, he adds, “demands commitment first of all” from the bishops.

Later the Pope recalls that Sacrosantum Concilium motivates the Christian community  “to intensify its prayer life not only through the Liturgy but also through “pious exercises” done in harmony with it and which in a sense flow from and lead to the Liturgy.

Challenges for the future

In the chapter entitled, “Perspectives,” the Pope says that “looking towards the future, the Liturgy must respond to various challenges.  In the course of these 40 years, in fact, society has undergone profound changes, some of which have sorely tried the Church’s work.  “Before us is a world in which, even in places of ancient Christian tradition, the signs of the Gospel are diminishing.  It’s time for a new evangelization.  The Liturgy is directly involved in a such a challenge.”

In the “renewed necessity for spirituality” which today’s world seeks, the Pope sees “proof of the fact that in the deepest recesses of man it is impossible to erase God.”  Therefore, adds the Pope, “the Liturgy offers the most profound and effective answer to this desire to encounter God, especially through the Eucharist.”

Therefore, “one aspect that needs to be cultivated with greater commitment in our communities is the experience of silence,” the Pope says.  “In a society where life has become increasing frantic, deafened by noise and caught up in the moment, the rediscovery of silence is vital,” he added.  For this reason, liturgical ministry, by introducing people to the different liturgical celebrations, should inspire a fondness for prayer.”  

In the letter’s conclusion, the Holy Father emphasizes that the promulgation of Sacrosantum Concilium “has marked an important period for the Church in the promotion and development of the Liturgy,” and he encourages the fostering, “at the dawn of this millennium, of a ‘liturgical spirituality’ which recognizes Christ as the first ‘liturgist’, who never ceases to work in the Church for the glory of God and the unity of the Holy Spirit.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 26, 2015

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30