Pope Appeals to Priests to Respect Liturgy

Cardinal Comments on Holy Thursday Letter

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- In his annual letter to priests, John Paul II appealed for respect of liturgical norms in the celebration of the Eucharist.

When presenting the letter to the press today, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, commented that the use of more popular language in the celebration of the liturgy does not always help people understand what they are living.

Asked about the topic of obedience in the letter, to which the Holy Father said priests commit themselves “on the day of their ordination,” the cardinal replied: “From the press one learns that there is no lack of abuses in the sacred rite of the Eucharist.”

The cardinal said that his Vatican congregation receives complaints because “at times the rite is celebrated perhaps in a rather indelicate manner. It depends on people’s sensibility, but the Holy Father reminds us priests that it is the most sacred action we can carry out.”

That is why the Holy Father wrote the encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” which also speaks of the “rite’s form, of the holiness of the rite,” Cardinal Castrillón said.

Moreover, he added, “the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments wrote an instruction, ‘Redemptionis Sacramentum,’ approved in a special way by the Holy Father, as at times more popular gestures are made in the belief that people need a very simple language to understand the liturgy better.”

Cardinal Castrillón added: “The sacred rite, the holiness of the rite, the imperative to submerge oneself in the rite, is something we must do with all possible holiness, including external. The Holy Father speaks about this.

“Always with great respect for the local hierarchy, the bishops, who are the authority in their dioceses, the Holy Father requests priests to be obedient to the norms that are given to them by the bishops, especially, on the Eucharist.”

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