Liturgical Tips

Popular Devotional Practices:

Basic Questions and Answers, Part 3

2. What is the relationship between popular devotions and the liturgy?

As Pope Paul VT recognized, maintaining the proper balance [between liturgy and devo­tions] may not always be easy and may require patient and persistent effort. He indicated that there are two extreme attitudes to be avoided. On the one hand, he rejected the position of those "who scorn, a priori, devotions of piety which, in their correct forms, have been recommend­ed by the Magisterium, who leave them aside and in this way create a vacuum which they do not fill. They forget that the Council has said that devotions of piety should harmonize with the liturgy, not be suppressed." On the other hand, he likewise did not accept the position of those who, without wholesome liturgical and pastoral criteria, mix practices of piety and liturgical acts in hybrid celebrations. It sometimes happens that novenas or similar practices are inserted into the very celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. This creates the danger that the Lord's Memorial Rite, instead of being the culmination of the meeting of the Christian community, becomes the oc­casion, as it were, for devotional practices. Here Pope Paul VI admonished us that "exercises of piety should be harmonized with the liturgy, not merged into it."