Review of Liturgical Reform Proposed by Cardinal Sodano

40 Years After Vatican II’s “Sacrosanctum Concilium”

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 29, 2003 ( Four decades after the liturgical reform carried out by the Second Vatican Council, it is right to examine the way it has been implemented, in order to relaunch it, says Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

The Vatican secretary of state made that proposal in a letter to the participants in Italy’s National Liturgical Week, held in the town of Acireale. The event ended today.

In the letter, which expresses the Pope’s greetings to the participants, Cardinal Sodano reflected on the 1963 constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” approved by the council fathers.

“Forty years later, it is right to ask what the liturgical reform itself has represented for the renewal of Christian communities, to what degree the liturgy, reformed according to the indications of the council, is able to mediate between faith and life, so that it forms believers able to offer consistent evangelical testimony,” the cardinal said.

At the same time, “it is useful to ask oneself with clarity and sincerity if the reform has experienced some weak point and where, and, above all, how it can be relaunched for the good of the Christian people,” he added.

According to the cardinal, the challenge the Church faces today is “to translate the reform in the life of the believer, called to integrate himself in the communion that the Son desires to establish with each one, a communion that we celebrate constantly in the liturgy.”

Cardinal Sodano presented these questions to the participants in the Liturgical Week and asked them to give thoughtful answers. At the same time, he offered guidelines for their answers.

“Although it can rightly be said that the conciliar reform has been carried out, the liturgical pastoral program represents a permanent commitment which enables one to draw from the richness of the liturgy the vital force that is spread from Christ to the members of the Body, which is the Church,” he said.

In this connection, “perhaps some of the principles of the constitution have to be better understood and more faithfully applied,” the cardinal added.

In particular, he said, “it is useful to analyze some specific topics such as, for example, the relation between creativity and fidelity, between spiritual worship and life, between catechesis and celebration of the Mystery, between liturgical presidency and role of the assembly, between formation in the seminaries and the permanent formation of priests.”

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