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Vatican document sets limits for popular piety

The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments has encouraged practices of popular piety such as the veneration relics, as long as they avoid supersition.

Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez and Archbishop Pio Tamburrino, prefect and secretary of the Congregation, this week presented a 300 page document in Italian titled Directory of Popular Devotions and Liturgy. Principles and Guidance.

Launching the document, Cardinal Medina recalled the Vatican II norm that culture expressions "are in accordance with the sacred liturgy, and derive from it in some way, and lead the people toward it".

Medina said that in some instances, popular devotions need to be "purified".

"If the passage of time and the change in mentality and of society have been able to obscure its Christian character and emphasise the exterior to the detriment of the interior," he said, "it is up to the shepherds of the Church to help rediscover in these cultural expressions the vital link of believing and living in Christ."

Archbishop Tamburrino said it is the duty of local bishops "to establish norms and practical guides, keeping in mind the local traditions and the particular expressions of religiosity and popular piety existing in their dioceses."

Tamburrino stressed that there is nothing new in the Directory, but that it seeks to underline theological and liturgical principles in order to maximise the value of popular piety in the spiritual and liturgical life of the Church.



11 Apr 2002