Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Pope Pius XI on the Importance of the Liturgy

Pope Pius XI
People are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year -- in fact, forever. The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life.  
-- Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Quas Primas, on the Kingship of Christ, paragraph 21
Pope Pius XI certainly recognized the superior experiential and mystical approach of the liturgy over a merely doctrinal approach. This squares nicely with the patristic, Thomistic, and all-around traditional Catholic understanding of the relationship between liturgy and doctrine: liturgy is indeed at the center of the Christian life, more so than doctrine, inasmuch as it allows the faithful to participate actually in the realities themselves which are the subject of doctrinal teaching. Liturgy enables a real encounter with the God that doctrine merely talks about.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot, Maestro. I just read your comment at The Rad Trad.