Liturgy should lead to unity, not division!

Pope Francis said that the liturgy should not be “a battleground” for “outdated issues.”

May 13, 2022

By Courtney Mares
Pope Francis said that the liturgy should not be “a battleground” for “outdated issues.”

“I emphasise again that the liturgical life, and the study of it, should lead to greater Church unity, not division. When the liturgical life is a bit like a banner of division, there is the stench of the devil in there, the deceiver,” said the Pope.

“It’s not possible to worship God while making the liturgy a battleground for issues that are not essential, indeed, outdated issues, and to take sides starting with the liturgy, with ideologies that divide the Church.”

Speaking at an audience with the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in the apostolic palace recently, the Pope said that he believes that “every reform creates resistance.”

Pope Francis recalled reforms made when he was a child by Pope Pius XII, particularly when Pius XII reduced the fasting requirement before receiving Holy Communion and reintroduced the Easter Vigil.

“All of these things scandalised closed-minded people. It happens also today,” he said.

“Indeed, such closed-minded people use liturgical framework to defend their views. Using the liturgy: this is the drama we are experiencing in ecclesial groups that are distancing themselves from the Church, questioning the Council, the authority of the bishops ... in order to preserve tradition. And the liturgy is used for that.”

The Pontifical Liturgical Institute’s school of liturgy has had increasing influence in liturgical norms coming from the Vatican.

The secretary and undersecretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship were both formed by the institute, which was established in 1961 by Pope John XXIII as part of the Pontificio Ateneo Sant’Anselmo.

Andrea Grillo, one of the most prominent theology professors at the Sant’Anselmo, has been a vigorous defender of Traditionis custodes, the motu proprio issued by Pope Francis in 2021 which restricted Masses celebrated in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.

Pope Francis further warned of “the temptation of liturgical formalism,” which he said can be seen today “in those movements that try to go back a little and deny the Second Vatican Council itself.”

Pope Francis delivered his speech from a wheelchair. The 85-year-old Pope has been making his public appearances in a wheelchair since May 5 due to a torn ligament in his right knee. --CNA

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