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We Believe! Statement of Purpose

We Believe in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

We believe and we reaffirm all that the bishops of the world, gathered at the Second Vatican Council thirty years ago, taught about the Church. United by baptism in the body of Christ, we know and love this Church, this assembly of saints and sinners alike. Here we find our pilgrim home; here we are called to live in God's reign and yet always to seek that reign, always to love the world as God loves the world.

We Believe that the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy remains a prophetic mandate for renewal.

We affirm and we acclaim the vision of the Church's liturgy that became the first work of the Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. This vision, later embodied in the reformed rites and postconciliar documents, inspired the reforms during the last three decades and it now can guide us toward a "full, conscious and active participation," the "right and duty" of all the baptized. Such participation in the liturgy is the "primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit" (#14, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy). Such a liturgy, celebrated Sunday by Sunday and in all the sacraments and rites of the Church, is our deep commitment and our need.

We Believe that leadership is essential to liturgical renewal.

We affirm and we acclaim the statements, especially those on music and on environment and art, in which the bishops of the United States, through their Committee on the Liturgy, gave local expression to the Council's mandate. Even with this guidance, we recognize that this renewal has had many difficult moments, that mistakes have been made, that there is yet much work to realize the vision of the Council. In particular, the Council's recognition that the renewal depends on a leadership imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy" (#14, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) remains a challenge in every diocese and assembly.

We Believe in the gift of the vernacular and support the work of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

With urgency we affirm the work of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). Entrusted by the bishops of all English-speaking countries with the task of translating and composing texts for the liturgy, ICEL has seen the reform through its early stages and now guides the fashioning of texts whose language is worthy of their purpose. We encourage bishops to play a greater role in the consultative process established by ICEL. We acknowledge the responsibility of the episcopal conference ultimately to approve and of the Holy See to confirm the texts prepared by ICEL.

We Believe in the continuing work of renewal.

Even though the work of renewal is long and often contentious, we give great thanks for the Spirit's work in our time through the Second Vatican Council and we commit ourselves to uphold and to further the tasks it set for the Church, for us.

We therefore commit ourselves, for the glory of God, to:

• full, conscious and active participation of the assembly; prayerful liturgical leadership; liturgy in which all God's people can give voice to their prayer
• music, art and environment whose beauty praises God
• excellence in preaching
• research and teaching at the service of the liturgy
• charitable dialogue when differences of opinion arise

We call upon others.

We call upon the Roman Catholic community of the United States—bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity—to join with us publicly in upholding this vision and working actively for a fully renewed liturgy.

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