jesus_childrenSome people interpret the myriads of laws governing the right celebration of liturgy too narrowly. They think that they restrict and constrain. While a mechanical approach to liturgical law may well seem like this, there is a different intention about why we have so many laws.


When liturgical law is kept to the letter but without its spirit, without any pastoral concern ? then the law does no service to the people. The ritual is reduced to mere rubrics with no life, and people have a right to complain about such application of the law. On the other hand, when liturgical law is almost completely disregarded, then we run a high risk of the liturgy becoming the captive of a few people in the community.



Liturgical law is not about putting our worship in a straightjacket. It is about drawing on the wisdom of the Tradition to best enact the paschal mystery. Fidelity to the spirit of liturgical law ensures that we celebrate the one liturgy of the whole church. It ensures that we are more than a local expression of the Body of Christ, but that we are, indeed, a visible presence of the church.


Finding a balance between respecting the law and implementing its spirit for the good of the community is not always easy. Ultimately, the criteria for good liturgy is not whether one keeps laws; the criteria is whether the community prays, grows, and decides together to be a community choosing fullness of life, goodness and justice.