There is now an English translation of the Directory for Popular Piety and the Liturgy on the Vatican's website.


About John Lilburne



1554 K Mon 1 Jul 2002

Today I noticed that there is an English translation of the Directory for Popular Piety and the Liturgy on the Vatican's web site.

It was published in April, but only in Italian.

Its a big document. If I printed it there would be 168 A4 size pages.

It includes an address by Pope John Paul II, dated 21 September 2001. The decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is dated 17 December 2001. It concludes:

Having received the approval of the Supreme Pontiff JOHN PAUL II to publish this "Directory on Popular Piety. Principles and Guidelines" (Letter of the Secretariat of State, Prot. N. 497.514 of 14 December 2001), the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is pleased to publish it in the hope that both Pastors and faithful may draw from this instrument, encouragement to grow in Christ, through him and with him, in the Holy Spirit to the praise of God the Father in heaven.

Anything contrary not withstanding.

Here is an overview from the introduction:

Nature and Structure

4. This Directory contains two parts. The first, entitled Emerging trends, provides the elements necessary for the harmonization of Liturgy and popular piety. It draws on the experience which has matured during the long history and emergence of the contemporary problematic (Chapter 1). The teachings of the Magisterium are systematically restated since they are indispensable for ecclesial communion and fruitful action (Chapter 2). Finally, the theological principles, according to which difficulties concerning the relationship between Liturgy and popular piety are approached and resolved, are stated (Chapter 3). The possibility of realizing a true and fruitful harmonization of Liturgy and popular piety can only be achieved by a wise and committed respect for these presuppositions. Conversely, overlooking them leads to nothing but reciprocal and futile ignorance, damaging confusion and contradictory polemics.

The second part, entitled Guidelines , offers a series of practical proposals. It does not claim to be able to include every usage or practice of popular piety to be found in particular locations throughout the world. Mention of particular practices or expressions of popular piety is not to be regarded as an invitation to adopt them where they are not already practised. This section is elaborated in reference to the Liturgical Year (Chapter 4); to the special veneration given by the Church to the Mother of our Saviour (Chapter 5); to devotion to the Holy Angels, the Saints and the Beatified (Chapter 6); to suffrage for the dead (Chapter 7) and to pilgrimage and examples of popular piety connected with shrines (Chapter 8).

The object of this Directory is to offer guidelines and, where necessary, to prevent abuses or deviations. Its tone is positive and constructive. In the same context, it provides short historical notes on several popular devotions in its Guidelines. It records the various pious exercises attached to these devotions while signalling their theological underpinning, and making practical suggesting in relation to time, place, language and other factors, so as to harmonize them with the Liturgy.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 1 July 2002.

Other sites:

Directory for Popular Piety and the Liturgy (

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