CLARIFICATION LETTER REGARDING THE PROMOTION OF DEVOTION TO GOD THE FATHER

October 6, 2009 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Formation | Leave a comment

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
EPISCOPAL COMMISSION ON LITURGY
(Paul VI Institute of Liturgy, Malaybalay City, 8700)

October 21, 2008

REV. FR. LUIS P. SUPAN
Secretary Episcopal Commission on the Dotrine of the Faith
470 Gen. Luna Street, Intramuros 1002 Manila

Dear Fr. Luis,

Greetings of peace!

On two occasions the Episcopal Commission in Liturgy discussed the movement to promote devotion to God the Father. The Commission is unanimous in commending the promoters for their zeal.

However, the Commission does not agree that there should be a liturgical feast in honor of God the Father. Needless to say the day chosen by the group, which is the group, which is the Feast of the Transfiguration, is not consonant with the Liturgical norms.

The reason why the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy opposes the institution of a liturgical feast is as follows. The Commission recognizes that the clamor for a liturgical feast in honor of God the Father is not new. In the early part of the 18th century Saint Cardinal Giuseppe Tomasi (+1713) whom liturgists remember fir compiling and editing several medieval missals dismissed the idea as something quite superfluous and not in keeping with the meaning of the liturgical year.

Everyday at Mass in the liturgy of the hours prayers are addressed to God the father. This is a continuing act of the Church to honor and praise him for his marvelous works in Christ. The Commission does not see the sense of instituting a day in the year to honor God the Father when the whole year belongs to him.

Furthermore, as the Constitution on the Liturgy (SC 102, 103, and 104) teaches, all liturgical feasts are the Christological: they are the anamnesis of Christ’s mystery, an anamnesis that the Church directs to God the Father. In the liturgy God the Father is the addressee of the Church’s prayer. As the Synod of Hippo in 393: “When we stand at the altar, let our prayers be always addressed to the Father.” In the Roman liturgy the Eucharistic Prayers and most of the collects, prayers over the gifts, and prayers after the communion are directed to the Father. Constantly we pray to the Father in the words Jesus taught us. Liturgical prayers speak to God the Father about his Son Jesus Christ.

The promoters of the movement argue that while there is a feast of the Holy Spirit, there is none to celebrate the Father. As a matter of fact however there is no feast of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost commemorates the day when Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. It is a Christological feast. The Paschal Mystery culminates in the mystery of Pentecost. The so-called “Mass of the Holy Spirit” is about the work of Christ accomplished in the Holy Spirit. The Latin title of the Mass allows no equivocation: Misa de Spiritu Sancto, not Misa Spiritus Sancti. Analogously we note that the Lain for Masses in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary carry the title Missa de Beata Virgine Maria, not Missa BeataeVirginis Mariae.

The Episcopal Commission on Liturgy does not see any convincing reason, theologically and liturgically, why a liturgical feast should now make God the Father the object of its anamnesis. However, the Commission supports the movement’s pastoral efforts to make God the father better known and loved by the faithful.

With every good wish, I am

Yours truly,
Anscar J. Chupungco, OSB

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