During this Year of Grace, we have been invited to revisit the constitutions of the Second Vatican Council, which began fifty years ago this year. The first of these constitutions was on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium.
The constitution spoke strongly about the importance of participation. Participation in the liturgy was described not as something desirable or preferred, but as the right and duty of every baptised Christian. The constitution called for everyone to be led to this “full, conscious and active participation”. Participation in the liturgy was the goal to be “the aim to be considered before all else” when reforming and promoting the liturgy.
The constitution also strongly called for people to be provided proper formation and study in liturgy, so that they could participate in celebrations as fully, consciously and actively as possible.
This was a significant change in thought for many in the Church at the time, who often believed that the liturgy was the almost exclusive duty of the priest. In fact, the liturgy belongs to the entire Church, with each member of the Church participating in their own way. It unites us together as the Body of Christ. Every liturgical celebration is a public act of Christ and his Church, and is never to be considered a private function.
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