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
It was published in April, but only in Italian.
Its a big document. If I printed it there would be 168 A4
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
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
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.