Enough of liturgical chaos with baptisms and other celebrations. A new document called “Gestis verbisque” prepared by Argentine Cardinal Víctor Fernández, prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith and signed by the Pope, points out that the sacraments and their formulas do not allow changesmust be respected or the changes will be considered illegal.
The request for rigor comes from the cardinals and bishops of the same Vatican Dicastery of Doctrine, given the too many abuses pointed out.
The document states that the forms and elements established in the essence rite of the sacrament “They cannot be changed in the name of creativity because in those cases the sacrament itself is not valid and has never been performed.”
It is enough, therefore, with very widespread formulas of the type “Mom and Dad baptize you with so much joy”. Or marriages celebrated “to the limit of folklorism,” or the Eucharist according to the sensitivity of the priest, anointings to the sick offered to them “as if it were a magic potion.”
Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, in the Vatican. Photo EFE
The papal document recalls that the sacraments are provided with the seven vital gestures that since the Council of Trent constitute “the encounter with Christ the Lord who gives his grace and that with the words and ritual acts of the Church, nourishes and reinforces faith.”
Those “seven gestures” They cannot be modified because an underlying anarchy is created that risks undermining the foundations of faith. “With closely connected events and words, God reveals and acts out His own design of salvation for every man and woman.”
“But it must be noted that not always the liturgical celebration, particularly that of the sacraments, They take place in full fidelity to the rites prescribed by the Church”, explains Cardinal Fernandez.
The interventions of the Magisterium in sacramental matters “have always been motivated by the fundamental concerns of fidelity to the celebrated mystery.”
The papal document states that “the serious modifications made to the matter or form of the Sacraments render the celebrations null and void.” they force the people involved to be found to repeat the Baptism or Confirmation to a significant number of faithful who feel disturbed.”
The pontiff makes it clear that no one has “the possibility of modifying on his own initiative the celebratory form of a Sacrament: this does not only constitute a simple liturgical abuse as a transgression of a positive norm, but a “vulnus” (damage) to the ecclesial communion. and to the recognizability of the action of Christ, which in the most serious cases renders the Sacrament itself invalid, because the nature of ministerial action requires faithfully transmitting what has been received.”
“It is increasingly urgent to mature an art of celebrating that leads to a discipline that must be respected to be authentic disciples. It is not about following a liturgical galateo, It is more of a discipline.”the Pope states in the text.
When presenting the document, the prefect Cardinal Fernandez said that “also some priests, who had been baptized with these formulas, (like “I baptize you in the name of the Creator” or “We baptize you in the name of dad and mom”, they painfully discovered the invalidity of their ordination and the sacraments celebrated up to that moment.”
The Argentine cardinal explained that “while in other areas of the Church's pastoral action there is ample space for creativity, in the area of the celebrations of the sacraments, this is rather transformed into a manipulative will.”
The prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith concluded by recalling that “we ministers are asked for the strength to overcome the temptation of feeling like owners of the Church” and “the faithful have the right, in turn, to receive the sacraments as the Church provides.”