In a letter to the leaders of the world’s episcopal conferences, the head of the Vatican’s office for worship and sacraments said Catholic communities should return to Mass as soon as it can be done safely. Source: CNA.
Cardinal Robert Sarah’s letter said Christian life cannot be sustained without the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Christian community of the Church.
The letter, which was sent to bishops last week, said while the Church should cooperate with civic authorities and be attentive to safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic, “liturgical norms are not matters on which civil authorities can legislate, but only the competent ecclesiastical authorities”.
It also emphasised that bishops can make provisional changes to liturgical rubrics in order to accommodate public health concerns, and urged obedience to those temporary changes.
Cardinal Sarah letter, Let us return to the Eucharist with joy, was approved by Pope Francis.
“As soon as circumstances permit, however, it is necessary and urgent to return to the normality of Christian life, which has the church building as its home and the celebration of the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, as ‘the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; and at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows’.
The cardinal explained that while streamed or televised Masses “have performed a great service ... at a time when there was no possibility of community celebration, no broadcast is comparable to personal communication or can replace it. On the contrary, these broadcasts alone risk distancing us from a personal and intimate encounter with the incarnate God who gave himself to us not in a virtual way,” but in the Eucharist.