Vatican II and the Mass 

 

VATICAN II AND THE MASS

 

Part One

 

SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM

 

CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY

Solemnly Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI

December 4, 1963

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INTRODUCTION

 

1. This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church. The Council therefore sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy.

2.  For the liturgy, "through which the work of our redemption is accomplished," (1) most of all in the divine sacrifice of the eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek (2). While the liturgy daily builds up those who are within into a holy temple of the Lord, into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit (3), to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ (4), at the same time it marvelously strengthens their power to preach Christ, and thus shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations (5) under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together (6), until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd (7).

 

3. Wherefore the sacred Council judges that the following principles concerning the promotion and reform of the liturgy should be called to mind, and that practical norms should be established.

 

Among these principles and norms there are some of which can and should be applied both to the Roman rite and also to all the other rites. The practical norms which follow, however, should be taken as applying only to the Roman rite,  except for those which, in the very nature of things, affect other rites as well.

 

 

4. Lastly, in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way. The Council also desires that, where necessary, the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigor to meet the circumstances and needs of modern times.

 

 

Chapter I

 

General Principles for the Restoration and Promotion of Sacred Liturgy

 

 

1. The Nature of the Sacred Liturgy and Its Importance in the Church's Life

 

5. God who "wills that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4), "who in many and various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets" (Heb. 1:1), when the fullness of time had come sent His Son, the Word made flesh, anointed by the Holy Spirit, to preach the the gospel to the poor, to heal the contrite of heart (8), to be a "bodily and spiritual medicine" (9), the Mediator between God and man (10). For His humanity, united with the person of the Word, was the instrument of our salvation. Therefore in Christ "the perfect achievement of our reconciliation came forth, and the fullness of divine worship was given to us" (11).

 

The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He achieved His task principally by the paschal mystery of His blessed passions resurrection from the dead, and the glorious ascension, whereby "dying, he destroyed our death and, rising, he restored our life" (12). For it was from the side of Christ as He slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth "the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church" (13).

 

 

6. Just as Christ was sent by the Father, so also He sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. This He did that, by preaching the gospel to every creature (14), they might proclaim that the Son of God, by His death and resurrection, had freed us from the power of Satan (15) and from death, and brought us into the kingdom of His Father. His purpose also was that they might accomplish the work of salvation which they had proclaimed, by means of sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves. Thus by baptism men are plunged into the paschal mystery of Christ: they die with Him, are buried with Him, and rise with Him (16); they receive the spirit of adoption as sons "in which we cry: Abba, Father" ( Rom. 8:15), and thus become true adorers whom the Father seeks (17). In like manner, as often as they eat the supper of the Lord they proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes (18). For that reason, on the very day of Pentecost, when the Church appeared before the world, "those who received the word" of Peter "were baptized." And "they continued steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of bread and in prayers . . . praising God and being in favor with all the people" (Acts 2:41-47). From that time onwards the Church has never failed to come together to celebrate the paschal mystery: reading those things "which were in all the scriptures concerning him" (Luke 24:27), celebrating the eucharist in which "the victory and triumph of his death are again made present" (19), and at the same time giving thanks "to God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Cor. 9:15) in Christ Jesus, "in praise of his glory" (Eph. 1:12), through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

 

7. To accomplish so great a work, Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, "the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross" (20), but especially under the eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes (21). He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20) .

 

Christ indeed always associates the Church with Himself in this great work wherein God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified. The Church is His beloved Bride who calls to her Lord, and through Him offers worship to the Eternal Father.

 

Rightly, then, the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of the man is signified by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs; in the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members.

 

From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.

 

8. In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle (22); we sing a hymn to the Lord's glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory (23).

 

9. The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church. Before men can come to the liturgy they must be called to faith and to conversion: "How then are they to call upon him in whom they have not yet believed? But how are they to believe him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear if no one preaches?  And how are men to preach unless they be sent?" (Rom. 10:14-15).

 

Therefore the Church announces the good tidings of salvation to those who do not believe, so that all men may know the true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and may be converted from their ways, doing penance (24). To believers also the Church must ever preach faith and penance, she must prepare them for the sacraments, teach them to observe all that Christ has commanded (25), and invite them to all the works of charity, piety, and the apostolate. For all these works make it clear that Christ's faithful, though not of this world, are to be the light of the world and to glorify the Father before men.

 

10. Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's supper.

 

The liturgy in its turn moves the faithful, filled with "the paschal sacraments," to be "one in holiness" (26); it prays that "they may hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith" (27); the renewal in the eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way.

 

11. But in order that the liturgy may be able to produce its full effects, it is necessary that the faithful come to it with proper dispositions, that their minds should be attuned to their voices, and that they should cooperate with divine grace lest they receive it in vain (28). Pastors of souls must therefore realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects. 

 

12. The spiritual life, however, is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. The Christian is indeed called to pray with his brethren, but he must also enter into his chamber to pray to the Father, in secret (29); yet more, according to the teaching of the Apostle, he should pray without ceasing (30). We learn from the same Apostle that we must always bear about in our body the dying of Jesus, so that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodily frame (31). This is why we ask the Lord in the sacrifice of the Mass that, "receiving the offering of the spiritual victim," he may fashion us for himself "as an eternal gift" (32).

 

13. Popular devotions of the Christian people are to be highly commended, provided they accord with the laws and norms of the Church, above all when they are ordered by the Apostolic See. Devotions proper to individual Churches also have a special dignity if they are undertaken by mandate of the bishops according to customs or books lawfully approved.  But these devotions should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some fashion derived from it, and lead the people to it, since, in fact, the liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them.

 

2. The Promotion of Liturgical Instruction and Active Participation

 

 

14. Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

 

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.

 

Yet it would be futile to entertain any hopes of realizing this unless the pastors themselves, in the first place, become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy, and undertake to give instruction about it. A prime need, therefore, is that attention be directed, first of all, to the liturgical instruction of the clergy. Wherefore the sacred Council has decided to enact as follows:

 

15. Professors who are appointed to teach liturgy in seminaries, religious houses of study, and theological faculties must be properly trained for their work in institutes  which specialize in this subject.

 

16. The study of sacred liturgy is to be ranked among the compulsory and major courses in seminaries and religions houses of studies; in theological faculties it is to rank among the principal courses. It is to be taught under its theological, historical, spiritual, pastoral, and juridical aspects. Moreover, other professors, while striving to expound the mystery of Christ and the history of salvation from the angle proper to each of their own subjects, must nevertheless do so in a way which will clearly bring out the connection between their subjects and the liturgy, as also the unity which underlies all priestly training. This consideration is especially important for professors of dogmatic, spiritual, and pastoral theology and for those of holy scripture.

 

17. In seminaries and houses of religious, clerics shall be given a liturgical formation in their spiritual life. For this they will need proper direction, so that they may be able to understand the sacred rites and take part in them wholeheartedly; and they will also need personally to celebrate the sacred mysteries, as well as popular devotions which are imbued with the spirit of the liturgy. In addition they must learn how to observe the liturgical laws, so that life in seminaries and houses of religious may be thoroughly influenced by the spirit of the liturgy.

 

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.

 

19. With zeal  and patience, pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful, and also their active participation in the liturgy both internally and externally, taking into account their age and condition, their way of life, and standard of religious culture. By so doing, pastors will be fulfilling one of the chief duties of a faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God; and in this matter they must lead their flock not only in word but also by example.

 

20. Transmissions of the sacred rites by radio and television shall be done with discretion and dignity, under the leadership and direction of a suitable person appointed for this office by the bishops. This is especially important when the service to be broadcast is the Mass.

 

21.  In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.

 

In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.

           

 Wherefore the sacred Council establishes the following general norms:

 

 

3. The Reform of the Sacred Liturgy

 

 A) General Norms

 

22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.

 

      2. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.

 

      3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.

 

23. That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress, careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised. This investigation should be theological, historical, and pastoral. Also the general laws governing the structure and meaning of the liturgy must be studied in conjunction with the experience derived from recent liturgical reforms and from the indults conceded to various places. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.

 

As far as possible, notable differences between the rites used in adjacent regions must be carefully avoided.

 

24. Sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung; the prayers, collects, and liturgical songs are scriptural in their inspiration and their force, and it is from the scriptures that actions and signs derive their meaning. Thus to achieve the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy, it is essential to promote that warm and living love for scripture to which the venerable tradition of both eastern and western rites gives testimony.

 

25. The liturgical books are to be revised as soon as possible; experts are to be employed on the task, and bishops are to be consulted, from various parts of the world.

 

 

B) Norms Drawn From the Hierarchic and Communal Nature of the Liturgy

 

26. Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the "sacrament of unity," namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops (33)

 

Therefore liturgical services pertain to the whole body of the Church; they manifest it and have effects upon it; but they concern the individual members of the Church in different ways, according to their differing rank, office, and actual participation.

 

27. It is to be stressed that whenever rites, according to their specific nature, make provision for communal celebration  involving the presence and active participation of the faithful, this way of celebrating them is to be preferred,  so far as possible, to a celebration that is individual and quasi-private.  This applies with especial force to the celebration of Mass  and the administration of the sacraments, even though every Mass has  of itself a public and social nature.

 

28. In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy.

 

29. Servers, lectors, commentators, and members of the choir also exercise a genuine liturgical function. They ought, therefore, to discharge their office with the sincere piety and decorum demanded by so exalted a ministry and rightly expected of them by God's people.  Consequently they must all be deeply imbued with the spirit of the liturgy, each in his own measure, and they must be trained to perform their functions in a correct and orderly manner.

 

30. To promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes.  And at the proper times all should observe a reverent silence.

 

31. The revision of the liturgical books must carefully attend to the provision of rubrics also for the people's parts.

 

32. The liturgy makes distinctions between persons according to their liturgical function and sacred Orders, and there are liturgical laws providing for due honors to be given to civil authorities. Apart from these instances, no special honors are to be paid in the liturgy to any private persons or classes of persons, whether in the ceremonies or by external display.

 

C) Norms Based Upon the Didactic and Pastoral Nature of the Liturgy

 

33. Although the sacred liturgy is above all things the worship of the divine Majesty, it likewise contains much instruction for the faithful (34). For in the liturgy God speaks to His people and Christ is still proclaiming His gospel. And the people reply to God both by song and prayer.

 

Moreover, the prayers addressed to God by the priest who presides over the assembly in the person of Christ are said in the name of the entire holy people and of all present. And the visible signs used by the liturgy to signify invisible divine things have been chosen by Christ or the Church. Thus not only when things are read "which were written for our instruction" (Rom. 15:4), but also when the Church prays or sings or acts, the faith of those taking part is nourished and their minds are raised to God, so that they may offer Him their rational service and more abundantly receive His grace.  Wherefore, in the revision of the liturgy, the following general norms should be observed:

 

34. The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people's powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation.

 

35. That the intimate connection between words and rites may be apparent in the liturgy:

 

        1) In sacred celebrations there is to be more reading from holy scripture, and it is to be more varied and suitable. 

 

        2) Because the sermon is part of the liturgical service, the best place for it is to be indicated even in the rubrics, as far as the nature of the rite will allow; the ministry of preaching is to be

fulfilled with exactitude and fidelity. The sermon, moreover, should draw its content mainly from scriptural and liturgical sources, and its character should be that of a proclamation of God's wonderful works in the history of salvation, the mystery of Christ, ever made present and active within us, especially in the celebration of the liturgy.

 

        3) Instruction which is more explicitly liturgical should also be given in a variety of ways; if necessary, short directives to be spoken by the priest or proper minister should be provided within the rites themselves. But they should occur only at the more suitable moments, and be in prescribed or similar words.

 

        4) Bible services should be encouraged, especially on the vigils of the more solemn feasts, on some weekdays in Advent and Lent, and on Sundays and feast days. They are particularly to be commended in places where no priest is available; when this is so, a deacon or some other person authorized by the bishop should preside over the celebration.

 

36.  1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

 

       2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.

 

        3. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2,to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.

 

         4. Translations from the Latin text into the mother tongue intended for use in the liturgy must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned above.

 

D) Norms for Adapting the Liturgy to the Culture and Traditions of Peoples

 

37. Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not implicate the faith or the good of the whole community; rather does she respect and foster the genius and talents of the various races and peoples. Anything in these peoples' way of life which is not indissolubly bound up with superstition and error she studies with sympathy and, if possible, preserves intact. Sometimes in fact she admits such things into the liturgy itself so long as they harmonize with its true and authentic spirit.

 

38. Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved; and this should be borne in mind when drawing up the rites and devising rubrics.

 

39. Within the limits set by the typical editions of the liturgical books, it shall be for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to specify adaptations, especially in the case of the administration of the sacraments, the sacramentals, processions, liturgical language, sacred music, and the arts, but according to the fundamental norms laid down in this Constitution.

 

40. In some places and circumstances, however, an even more radical adaptation of the liturgy is needed, and this entails greater difficulties.

 

Wherefore:

 

1) The competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, must, in this matter, carefully and prudently consider which elements from the traditions and culture of individual peoples might appropriately be admitted into divine worship. Adaptations which are judged to be useful or necessary should when be submitted to the Apostolic See, by whose consent they may be introduced.

 

2) To ensure that adaptations may be made with all the circumspection which they demand, the Apostolic See will grant power to this same territorial ecclesiastical authority to permit and to direct, as the case requires, the necessary preliminary experiments over a determined period of time among certain groups suited for the purpose.

 

3) Because liturgical laws often involve special difficulties with respect to adaptation, particularly in mission lands, men who are experts in these matters must be employed to formulate them.

 

 

4. Promotion of Liturgical Life in Diocese and Parish

 

 

41. The bishop is to be considered as the high priest of his flock, from whom the life in Christ of his faithful is in some way derived and dependent.

 

Therefore all should hold in great esteem the liturgical life of the diocese centered around the bishop, especially in his cathedral church; they must be convinced that the pre-eminent manifestation of the Church consists in the full active participation of all God's holy people in these liturgical celebrations, especially in the same eucharist, in a single prayer, at one altar, at which there presides the bishop surrounded by his college of priests and by his ministers (35).

 

42. But because it is impossible for the bishop always and everywhere to preside over the whole flock in his Church, he cannot do other than establish lesser groupings of the faithful. Among these the parishes, set up locally under a pastor who takes the place of the bishop, are the most important: for in some manner they represent the visible Church constituted throughout the world.

 

And therefore the liturgical life of the parish and its relationship to the bishop must be fostered theoretically and practically among the faithful and clergy; efforts also must be made to encourage a sense of community within the parish, above all in the common celebration of the Sunday Mass.

 

5. The Promotion of Pastoral-Liturgical Action

 

43. Zeal for the promotion and restoration of the liturgy is rightly held to be a sign of the providential dispositions of God in our time, as a movement of the Holy Spirit  in His Church. It is today a distinguishing mark of the Church's life, indeed of the whole tenor of contemporary religious thought and action. 

 

So that this pastoral-liturgical action may become even more vigorous in the Church, the sacred Council decrees:

 

44. It is desirable that the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, set up a liturgical commission, to be assisted by experts in liturgical science, sacred music, art and pastoral practice. So far as possible the commission should be aided by some kind of Institute for Pastoral Liturgy, consisting of persons who are eminent in these matters, and including laymen as circumstances suggest. Under the direction of the above-mentioned territorial ecclesiastical authority the commission is to regulate pastoral-liturgical action throughout the territory, and to promote studies and necessary experiments whenever there is question of adaptations to be proposed to the Apostolic See.

 

45. For the same reason every diocese is to have a commission on the sacred liturgy under the direction of the bishop, for promoting the liturgical apostolate.  Sometimes it may be expedient that several dioceses should form between them one single commission which will be able to promote the liturgy by common consultation.

 

46. Besides the commission on the sacred liturgy, every diocese, as far as possible, should have commissions for sacred music and sacred art.  These three commissions must work in closest collaboration; indeed it will often be best to fuse the three of them into one single commission.

 

 

CHAPTER  II

 

THE MOST SACRED MYSTERY OF THE EUCHARIST

 

47. At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity (36), a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us (37).

 

48. The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ's faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration. They should be instructed by God's word and be nourished at the table of the Lord's body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator (38), they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all.

 

49. For this reason the sacred Council, having in mind those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the faithful, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation, has made the following decrees in order that the sacrifice of the Mass, even in the ritual forms of its celebration, may become pastorally efficacious  to the fullest degree.

 

50. The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved.

 

For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary. 

 

51. The treasures of the bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's word. In this way a more representative portion of the holy scriptures will be read to the people in the course of a prescribed number of years.

 

52. By means of the homily the mysteries of the faith and the guiding principles of the Christian life are expounded from the sacred text, during the course of the liturgical year; the homily, therefore, is to be highly esteemed as part of the liturgy itself; in fact, at those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the people on Sundays and feasts of obligation, it should not be omitted except for a serious reason.

 

53. Especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation there is to be restored, after the Gospel and the homily, "the common prayer" or "the prayer of the faithful." By this prayer, in which the people are to take part, intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world (39).

 

54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the common prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to the norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.

 

Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.   And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.

 

55. That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's body from the same sacrifice, is strongly commended.

 

The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remaining intact (40), communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to clerics and religious, but also to the laity, in cases to be determined by the Apostolic See, as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptized in the Mass which follows their baptism.

 

56. The two parts which, in a certain sense, go to make up the Mass, namely, the liturgy of the word and the eucharistic liturgy, are so closely connected with each other that they form but one single act of worship. Accordingly this sacred Synod strongly urges pastors of souls that, when instructing the faithful, they insistently teach them to take their part in the entire Mass, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation.

 

57.  1. Concelebration, whereby the unity of the priesthood is appropriately manifested, has remained in use to this day in the Church both in the east and in the west. For this reason it has seemed good to the Council to extend permission for concelebration to the following cases:

 

1. a) on the Thursday of the Lord's Supper, not only at the Mass of the

       Chrism, but also at the evening Mass.

                b) at Masses during councils, bishops' conferences, and synods;

                c) at the Mass for the blessing of an abbot.

            2. Also, with permission of the ordinary, to whom it belongs to decide

                whether concelebration is opportune:

                a) at conventual Mass, and at the principle Mass in churches when the

                    needs of the faithful do not require that all priests available should

                    celebrate individually;

                b) at Masses celebrated at any kind of priests' meetings, whether th

                    priests be secular clergy or religious.

            3. The regulation, however, of the discipline of con-celebration in the

                diocese pertains to the bishop.

            4. Nevertheless, each priest shall always retain his right to celebrate Mass

                individually, though not at the same time in the same church as a

                concelebrated Mass, nor on Thursday of the Lord's Supper.

 

58. A new rite for concelebration is to be drawn up and inserted into the Pontifical and into the Roman Missal.

 

 

Chapter III: Other Sacraments and Sacramentals

Chapter IV: The Divine Office

Chapter V: The Liturgical Year

Chapter VI: Sacred Music

Chapter VII: Sacred Art and Sacred Furnishings

Appendix

 

[Editorial note: This concludes the presentation of the unabridged chapters of the Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy).  More Novus Ordo Documents follow.]

 

 

Part Two

 

THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE VATICAN II CONSTITUTION

SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM

 

 

 

APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION

 

PROMULGATION OF THE ROMAN MISSAL REVISED

BY DECREE OF THE SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL

 

PAUL, BISHOP

 

Servant of the Servants of God

For an Everlasting Memorial

 

 

      The Missale Romanum was promulgated in 1570 by our predecessor St. Pius V, in execution of the decree of the Council of Trent1. It has been recognized by all as one of the many admirable results that the Council achieved for the benefit of the entire Church of Christ. For four centuries it provided Latin-rite priests with norms for the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice; moreover messengers of the Gospel brought this Missal to almost the entire world. Innumerable holy men and women nurtured their spiritual life on its readings from Scripture and on its prayer texts. In large part these prayer texts owed their arrangement to St. Gregory the Great.

 

     A deep interest in fostering the liturgy has become widespread and strong among the Christian people and our predecessor Pius XII has viewed this both as a sign of God's caring will, regarding today's people and as a saving movement of the Holy Spirit through his Church2. Since the beginning of this liturgical renewal, it has become clear that the formularies of the Roman Missal had to be revised and enriched. A beginning was made by Pius XII in the restoration of the Easter Vigil and Holy Week services3; he thus took the first step toward adapting the Roman Missal to the contemporary mentality.

    

     The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, in the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, laid down the basis for the general revision of the Roman Missal: "Both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things they signify"4; therefore, "the Order of Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly brought out, and devout, active participation by the faithful more easily achieved.5" The Council also decreed that "the treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that a richer share in God's word may be provided for the faithful";6 and finally that "a new rite for concelebration is to be drawn up and incorporated into the Roman Pontifical and Roman Missal.7"

 

    No one should think, however, that this revision of the Roman Missal has come out of nowhere. The progress in liturgical studies during the last four centuries has certainly prepared the way. Just after the Council of Trent, the study "of ancient manuscripts in the Vatican library and elsewhere," as St. Pius V attests in the Apostolic Constitution Quo primum, helped greatly in the correction of the Roman Missal.

 

Since then, however, other ancient sources have been discovered and published and liturgical formularies of the Eastern Church have been studied. Accordingly many have had the desire for these doctrinal and spiritual riches not to be stored away in the dark, but to be put into use for the enlightenment of the mind of Christians and for the nurture of their spirit.

 

    Now, however, our purpose is to set out, at least in broad terms, the new plan of the Roman Missal. We therefore point out, first, that a General Instruction, for use as a preface to the book, gives the new regulations for the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice. These regulations cover the rites to be carried out and the functions of each minister or participant as well as the furnishings and the places needed for divine worship. 

 

     It must be acknowledged that the chief innovation in the reform concerns the eucharistic prayer. Although the Roman Rite over the centuries allowed for a multiplicity of different texts in the first part of the prayer (the preface), the second part, called the Canon actionis, took on a fixed form during the period of the fourth and fifth centuries. The Eastern liturgies, on the other hand, allowed a degree of variety into the anaphoras themselves. On this point, first of all, the eucharistic prayer has been enriched with a great number of prefaces—drawn from the early tradition of the Roman Church or recently composed—in order that the different facets of the mystery of salvation will stand out more clearly and that there will be more and richer themes of thanksgiving. But besides this, we have decided to add three new canons to the eucharistic prayer. Both for pastoral reasons, however, and for the facilitation of concelebration, we have ordered that the words of the Lord be identical in each form of the canon. Thus in each eucharistic prayer we wish those words to be as follows: over the bread: Accipite et manducate ex hoc omnes: Hoc est enim Corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur; over  the chalice: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes: Hie est enim calix Sanguinis mei novi et aetemi testamenti, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. Hoc facite in meam commemorationem. The words Mysterium fidei have been removed from the context of Christ's own words and are spoken by the priest as an introduction to the faithful's acclamation.

 

     In the Order of Mass the rites have been "simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance."8 "Elements that, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated or were added with but little advantage"9 have been eliminated, especially in the rites for the presentation of the bread and wine, the breaking of the bread, and communion.  

 

    Also, "other elements that have suffered injury through accident of history" are restored "to the tradition of the Fathers,"10 for example, the homily.11" the general intercessions or prayer of the faithful,12 and the penitential rite or act of reconciliation with God and the community at the beginning of the Mass, which thus, as is right, regains its proper importance.

 

     According to the decree of the Second Vatican Council, that "a more representative portion of the holy Scriptures be read to the people over the course of a prescribed number of years,"13 the Sunday readings are arranged in a cycle of three years. In addition, on Sundays and all the major feasts the epistle and gospel are preceded by an Old Testament reading or, at Easter, by readings from Acts. This is meant to provide a fuller exposition of the continuing process of the mystery of salvation, as shown in the words of divine revelation.  These broadly selected biblical readings, which set be-

fore the faithful on Sundays and holydays the most important part of sacred Scripture, are complemented by other parts of the Bible read on other days.

 

     All this has been planned to arouse among the faithful a greater hunger for the word of God.14 Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, this hunger will seem, so to speak, to impel the people of the New Covenant toward the perfect unity of the Church. We are fully confident that under this arrangement both priest and faithful will prepare their minds and hearts more devoutly for the Lord's Supper and that, meditating on the Scriptures, they will be nourished more each day by the words of the Lord. In accord with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, all will thus regard sacred Scripture as the abiding source of spiritual life. the foundation for Christian instruction, and the core of all theological study.

 

     This reform of the Roman Missal, in addition to the three changes already mentioned (the eucharistic prayer, the Order of Mass, and the readings), has also corrected and considerably modified other of its components: the Proper of Seasons, the Proper of Saints, the Common of Saints, ritual Masses, and votive Masses. In all of these changes, particular care has been taken with the prayers. Their number has been increased, so that the new forms might better correspond to new needs, and the text of older prayers has been restored on the basis of the ancient sources. As a result, each weekday of the principal liturgical seasons. Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, now has its own, distinct prayer.

 

     The text of the Graduate Romanum has not been changed as far as the music is concerned. In the interest of their being more readily understood, however, the responsorial psalm (which St. Augustine and St. Leo the Great often mention) as well as the entrance and communion antiphons has been revised for use in Masses that are not sung. 

 

     After what we have presented concerning the new Roman Missal, we wish in conclusion to insist on one point in particular and to make it have its effect. When he promulgated the editio princeps of the Roman Missal, our predecessor St. Pius V offered it to the people of Christ as the instrument of liturgical unity and the expression of a pure and reverent worship in the Church.  Even though, in virtue of the decree of the Second Vatican Council, we have accepted into the new Roman Missal lawful variations and adaptations,15 our own expectation in no way differs from that of our predecessor.  It is that the faithful will receive the new Missal as a help toward witnessing and strengthening their unity with one another; that through the new Missal one and the same prayer in a great diversity of languages will ascend, more fragrant than any incense, to our heavenly Father, through our High Priest, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.

 

     The effective date for what we have prescribed in this Constitution shall be the First Sunday of Advent of this year, 30 November. We decree that these laws and prescriptions be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances issued by our predecessors and other prescriptions, even those deserving particular mention and amendment.

 

Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's, on Holy Thursday, 3 April 1969, the sixth year of our pontificate.

 

Paul Pp. VI

 

________________

 

  1 See apostolic const. Quo primum, July 14, 1570.

  2 See Pius XII, Discourse to the participants in the First International Congress of

     Pastoral Liturgy at Assisi, September 22, 1956: AAS 48 (1956) 712.

  3 See Sacred Congregation of Rites: general decree Domini'coe Resurrectionis,

     February 9, 1951: AAS 43 (1951) 128ff.; general decree Maxima Redemptionis

     nostrae mysteria, November 16, 1955: AAS 47 (1955) 838ff.

  4 Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Consilium 

     art. 21: AAS 56 (1964) 106.

  5 Ibid., art. 50.

  6 Ibid., art. 51.

  7 Ibid., art. 58.

  8 SC, art. 50..

  9 Ibid., art. 50.

10 Ibid., art. 50..

11 See SC, art. 52.

12 see ibid., art. 53

13 SC.art.51.

14 See Amos 8:11

15 See SC, art. 38-40  

 

 

 

 

 

CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP

 

Prot. n. 166/70

DECREE

 

 

      The Order of Mass has been established and the texts for the  Roman Missal have been approved by Pope Paul VI in the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, 3 April 1969. This Congregation for Divine Worship, at the mandate of the Pope now promulgates and declares to be the editio typica this new edition of the Roman Missal prepared in accord with the decrees of Vatican Council II.

 

     As to use of the new Missal, the Latin edition may be put into use as soon as it is published, with the necessary adjustments of saints' days until the revised calendar is put into definitive effect. As to vernacular editions, the conferences of bishops are given the responsibility for their preparation and for setting the effective date for their use, after due confirmation by the Apostolic See.

 

     All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

 

     From the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, 26 March

1970, Holy Thursday.

 

 

  Benno Cardinal Gut

    Prefect

 

Annibale Bugnini

   Secretary

 

 

 

CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP

 

DECREE

Prot. n. 1970/74

 

THE SECOND EDITIO TYPICA

 

    Since the Roman Missal must be reprinted, variations and additions have been included in order that this new edition might be in accord with the documents published after the appearance of the first edition in 1970.

 

    In the General Instruction, the marginal numbers are unchanged, but a description of the liturgical functions of acolyte and reader is inserted in place of the paragraphs that formerly dealt with the subdeacon (nos. 142-152).

 

    There is another change of some importance in the section of the Roman Missal that contains the ritual Masses and the Masses for various needs and occasions. Certain formularies have been completed by supplying entrance and communion antiphons.

 

     Texts not found in the first edition have also been added, namely, among the ritual Masses, texts for the Mass of Dedication of a Church and an Altar and for the Mass of Reconciliation; among votive Masses, texts for Masses of Mary, Mother of the Church and of the Most Holy Name of Mary.

 

     Some other, less important changes have been introduced in headings and rubrics so that they may better correspond to the words or expressions occurring in the new liturgical books.

 

Pope Paul VI has approved this second edition of the Roman Missal by his authority and the Congregation for Divine Worship now issues it and declares it to be the editio typico.

 

It will be the responsibility of the conferences of bishops to introduce into the respective vernacular editions the changes contained in this second edition of the Roman Missal.

 

All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

 

From the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, 27 March 1975, Holy Thursday.

 

James Robert Cardinal Knox

    Prefect

 

Annibale Bugnini

  Titular Archbishop of Diocletiana

   Secretary

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