Having considered the liturgical formation of seminarians and their equivalents in articles 15-17, the Constitution now turns to the on-going liturgical formation of priests.

Vatican Website Translation:

18. Priests, both secular and religious, who are already working in the Lord’s vineyard are to be helped by every suitable means to understand ever more fully what it is that they are doing when they perform sacred rites; they are to be aided to live the liturgical life and to share it with the faithful entrusted to their care.

Latin text:

18. Sacerdotes, sive saeculares sive religiosi, in vinea Domini iam operantes, omnibus mediis opportunis iuventur ut plenius semper quae in functionibus sacris agunt intellegant, vitam liturgicam vivant, eamque cum fidelibus sibi commissis communicent.

Slavishly literal translation:

18. Priests, whether secular or religious, already working in the vineyard of the Lord, are to be assisted by all opportune means so that they might always more fully understand the things that they do in sacred functions, live the liturgical life, and live it in communion with the faithful entrusted to them.

The Council Fathers note that liturgical formation for priests should not be limited to their seminary years, but should be an element of their on-going “professional” education. One assumes that “sacerdotes” here means both presbyters (priests of second rank) and bishops. I suggest that, had the restoration of the permanent diaconate been operative at the time Sacrosanctum Concilium was written, on-going professional liturgical formation for deacons would also have been recommended in this article.

Readers of Pray Tell might want to address: 1) How have the Council Fathers’ intentions for on-going liturgical formation for the clergy been carried out in practice over the last fifty years? 2) What concrete “means” have been or could be developed that would successfully achieve the goals of this on-going formation in the present? 3) To what extent should this on-going professional liturgical education be expected of other servant-leaders of community worship?

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