Pope Francis says Liturgy "...with a funeral tone does not work. It is always joyful, because it sings praise to the Lord." FULL TEXT to Liturgists at Vatican

Clementina room.
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
I am pleased to meet you in these days in which you are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Association of Liturgy Professors and Lecturers. I join you in giving thanks to the Lord. First of all, we thank those who, fifty years ago, had the courage to take the initiative and give life to this reality; then we thank all and those who have taken part in this half century, offering their contribution of reflection on the liturgical life of the Church; and we thank for the contribution that the Association has given to the reception in Italy of the liturgical reform inspired by Vatican II.
This period of life and commitment corresponds, in fact, to the ecclesial season of this liturgical reform: a process that has undergone various phases, from the initial one, characterized by the edition of the new liturgical books, to the articulated ones of its reception in the following decades. . This welcoming work is still in progress and sees us all engaged in in-depth study that requires time and care, passionate and patient care; it requires spiritual intelligence and pastoral intelligence; it requires formation, for a celebratory wisdom that cannot be improvised and must be continually refined.
Your study and research activity has also placed itself at the service of this task, and I hope it will continue to be placed with renewed enthusiasm. I therefore encourage you to carry it forward in the dialogue between yourselves and with others, because theology too can and must have a synodal style, involving the various theological disciplines and the human sciences, "networking" with institutions that, even outside the of Italy, cultivate and promote liturgical studies.
In this sense we understand - and it is indispensable - your resolve to listen to the Christian communities, so that your work is never separated from the expectations and needs of the people of God. This people - of which we are a part! - he always needs to be formed, to grow, yet in himself he possesses that sense of faith - the sensus fidei - which helps him to discern what comes from God and which really leads to him (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 119 ), also in the liturgical context.
The liturgy is the work of Christ and the Church, and as such it is a living organism, like a plant, it cannot be neglected or mistreated. It is not a marble or bronze monument, it is not a museum thing. The liturgy is as alive as a plant, and must be cultivated with care. And besides, the liturgy is joyful, with the joy of the Spirit, not of a worldly feast, with the joy of the Spirit. For this reason it is not clear, for example, that a liturgy with a funeral tone does not work. It is always joyful, because it sings praise to the Lord.
For this reason, your discernment and research work cannot separate the academic dimension from the pastoral and spiritual one. "One of the main contributions of the Second Vatican Council was precisely that of trying to overcome the divorce between theology and pastoral care, between faith and life" (Apostolic Constitution Veritatis gaudium, 2). We need, today more than ever, a lofty vision of the liturgy, such as not to be reduced to rubric details: a liturgy that is not worldly, but that makes you raise your eyes to heaven, to feel that the world and life are inhabited by Mystery of Christ; and at the same time a "down to earth" liturgy, propter homines, not far from life. Not with that worldly exclusivity, no, this doesn't matter. Serious, close to the people. The two things together: turning our gaze to the Lord without turning our backs on the world.
Recently, in the Letter Desiderio desideravi on liturgical formation, I stressed the need to find adequate channels for a study of the liturgy that goes beyond the academic sphere and reaches the people of God. Starting with the liturgical movement, much has been done in this sense, with valuable contributions from many scholars and various academic institutions. I like to remember with you the figure of Romano Guardini, who distinguished himself for his ability to spread the acquisitions of the liturgical movement outside the academic sphere, in an accessible, easy-going way, because every faithful - starting with the young - could grow in the living and experiential knowledge of the theological and spiritual sense of the liturgy. May his figure and his approach to liturgical education, both modern and classic, be a point of reference for you, so that your study combines critical intelligence and spiritual wisdom, biblical foundation and ecclesial roots, openness to interdisciplinarity and pedagogical attitude.
Progress in understanding and also in liturgical celebration must always be rooted in tradition, which always carries you forward in that sense that the Lord wants. There is a spirit that is not that of true tradition: the worldly spirit of "backwardness", which is fashionable today: thinking that going to the roots means going back. No, they are different things. If you go to the roots, the roots take you up, always. Like the tree, which grows from what comes from its roots. And tradition is really going to the roots, because it is the guarantee of the future, as Mahler said. Instead, backtracking means going back two steps because "it has always been done like this" is better. It is a temptation in the life of the Church that leads you to a worldly restorationism, disguised as liturgy and theology, but it is worldly. And backwardness is always worldliness: this is why the author of the Letter to the Hebrews says: "We are not people who go backwards". No, you go on, according to the line that tradition gives you. To go back is to go against the truth and also against the Spirit. Make this distinction well. Because in the liturgy there are many who say they are "according to tradition", but this is not the case: at most they will be traditionalists. Another said that tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of some living. They kill that root contact by going back. Be careful: today the temptation is backtracking disguised as tradition.
And, finally, perhaps the most important thing: that your study of the liturgy be impregnated with prayer and with the living experience of the Church that celebrates, so that the liturgy "conceived" always gushes, as if from a lifeblood, from the lived liturgy. Theology is done with an open mind and at the same time “on our knees” (cf. Veritatis gaudium, 3). This is true for all theological disciplines, but even more so for yours, which has as its object the act of celebrating the beauty and grandeur of the mystery of God who gives himself to us.
With this wish, I cordially bless you all and your journey. And I ask you to please pray for me. Thank you.
Source: Vatican.va