okt 152009

Jeg leser nå Ole Martin Stamnestrøs doktoravhandling om liturgien for annen gang, og leser her på s 151-153 om pave Pius XIIs synspunkter i Mediator Dei om lekfolkets bønner om fromhetsøvelser som kommer i tillegg til messen og tidebønnene. Paven kritiserer dem som er motstandere av denne parksisen: The first abuse to be rebuked is the tendency amongst some liturgical scholars to frown upon extra-liturgical acts of devotion and to draw a clear-cut line between subjective and objective piety.

Pius admits that an attack on acts of personal piety would be justified if they “were to neglect the august Sacrifice of the altar and the Sacraments.” But, according to Pius, far from having this effect they serve to rouse people “to repentance and holy fear of God. Thus he praises firstly the widespread extra-liturgical forms of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

He also acknowledges the value of other extra-liturgical devotions. In this respect he singles out May devotions to Our Lady, devotio to the Sacred Heart in June, novenas, triduums, and Stations of the Cross: “These devotions make us partakers in a salutary manner of the liturgical cult because they urge the faithful to go frequently to the Sacrament of Penance, attend Mass and receive Communion with devotion.”

Pius rejects the presumed conflict between subjective and objective piety: “No conflict exists between public prayer and prayers in private, between morality and contemplation, between the ascetical life and devotion to the Liturgy.”

Perhaps Pius is unable or unwilling to recognise the importance of teaching the faithful clearly the distinction between the liturgy of the Church and extra-liturgical acts of devotion. His teaching must, however, be viewed against the background of those liturgists who did not engage with the questions of determining a proper relationship between the two, but who thought that the Mass and the Divine Office would best be served by the suppression and elimination of the various popular devotions.

Pius comes closer to achieving a balance when he states that “unquestionably liturgical prayer, being the public supplication of the illustrious Spouse of Jesus Christ, is superior in excellence to private prayers. But this superior worth does not at all imply contrast or incompatibility between these two kinds of prayer.”

Individual parish priests should not take it upon themselves to alter deeply rooted expressions of devotion. “Hence he would do something very wrong and dangerous, who would dare to take on himself to reform all these exercises of piety.”

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