386. The renewal of the Roman Missal, carried out in our time in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, has taken great care that all the faithful may engage in the celebration of the Eucharist with that full, conscious, and active participation that is required by the nature of the Liturgy itself and to which the faithful, in virtue of their status as such, have a right and duty.147
In order, however, to enable such a celebration to correspond all the more fully to the norms and the spirit of the Sacred Liturgy, certain further adaptations are set forth in this Instruction and in the Order of Mass and entrusted to the judgment either of the Diocesan Bishop or of the Bishops' Conferences.
387. The Diocesan Bishop, who is to be regarded as the high priest of his flock, and from whom the life in Christ of the faithful under his care in a certain sense derives and upon whom it depends,148 must promote, regulate, and be vigilant over the liturgical life in his diocese. It is to him that in this Instruction is entrusted the regulating of the discipline of concelebration (cf. above, nos. 202, 374) and the establishing of norms regarding the function of serving the priest at the altar (cf. above, no. 107), the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds (cf. above, no. 283), and the construction and ordering of churches (cf. above, no. 291). With him lies responsibility above all for fostering the spirit of the Sacred Liturgy in the priests, deacons, and faithful.
388. The adaptations spoken of below that call for a wider degree of coordination are to be decided, in accord with the norm of law, by the Conference of Bishops.
389. It is the competence of the Conferences of Bishops in the first place to prepare and approve an edition of this Roman Missal in the authorized vernacular languages, for use in the regions under their care, once their decisions have been accorded the recognitio of the Apostolic See.149
The Roman Missal, whether in Latin or in lawfully approved vernacular translations, is to be published in its entirety.
390. It is up to the Conferences of Bishops to decide on the adaptations indicated in this General Instruction and in the Order of Mass and, once their decisions have been accorded the recognitio of the Apostolic See, to introduce them into the Missal itself. These adaptations include
- The gestures and posture of the faithful (cf. no. 43 above);
- The gestures of veneration toward the altar and the Book of the Gospels (cf. no. 273 above);
- The texts of the chants at the entrance, at the presentation of the gifts, and at Communion (cf. nos. 48, 74, 87 above);
- The readings from Sacred Scripture to be used in special circumstances (cf. no. 362 above);
- The form of the gesture of peace (cf. no. 82 above);
- The manner of receiving Holy Communion (cf. nos. 160, 283 above);
- The materials for the altar and sacred furnishings, especially the sacred vessels, and also the materials, form, and color of the liturgical vestments (cf. nos. 301, 326, 329, 339, 342-346 above).
391. It is up to the Conferences of Bishops to provide for the translations of the biblical texts used in the celebration of Mass, exercising special care in this. For it is out of the Sacred Scripture that the readings are read and explained in the homily and that psalms are sung, and it is drawing upon the inspiration and spirit of Sacred Scripture that prayers, orations, and liturgical songs are fashioned in such a way that from them actions and signs derive their meaning.150
Language should be used that can be grasped by the faithful and that is suitable for public proclamation, while maintaining those characteristics that are proper to the different ways of speaking used in the biblical books.
392. It will also be up to the Conferences of Bishops to prepare, by means of careful study, a translation of the other texts, so that, even though the character of each language is respected, the meaning of the original Latin text is fully and faithfully rendered. In accomplishing this task, it is expedient to take account of the different literary genres used at Mass, such as the presidential prayers, the antiphons, the acclamations, the responses, the litanies of supplication, and so on.
It should be borne in mind that the primary purpose of the translation of the texts is not with a view to meditation, but rather that they be proclaimed or sung during an actual celebration.
Language should be used that is accommodated to the faithful of the region, but is noble and marked by literary quality, and there will always remain the need for some catechesis on the biblical and Christian meaning of certain words and expressions.
It is, indeed, of advantage that in regions using the same language, the same translation be used whenever possible for liturgical texts, especially for biblical texts and for the Order of Mass.151
393. Bearing in mind the important place that singing has in a celebration as a necessary or integral part of the Liturgy,152 all musical settings of the texts for the people's responses and acclamations in the Order of Mass and for special rites that occur in the course of the liturgical year must be submitted to the Secretariat for the Liturgy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for review and approval prior to publication.
While the organ is to be accorded pride of place, other wind, stringed, or percussion instruments may be used in liturgical services in the dioceses of the United States of America, according to longstanding local usage, provided they are truly apt for sacred use or can be rendered apt.
394. Each diocese should have its own Calendar and Proper of Masses. For its part, the of Bishops' Conference should draw up a proper calendar for the nation or, together with other Conferences, a calendar for a wider territory, to be approved by the Apostolic See.153
In carrying this out, to the greatest extent possible the Lord's Day is to be preserved and safeguarded, as the primordial holy day, and hence other celebrations, unless they be truly of the greatest importance, should not have precedence over it.154 Care should likewise be taken that the liturgical year as revised by decree of the Second Vatican Council not be obscured by secondary elements.
In the drawing up of the calendar of a nation, the Rogation and Ember Days should be indicated (cf. above, no. 373), as well as the forms and texts for their celebration,155 and other special measures should also be taken into consideration.
It is appropriate that in publishing the Missal, celebrations proper to an entire nation or territory be inserted at the correct place among the celebrations of the General Calendar, while those proper to a region or diocese be placed in a special appendix.
395. Finally, if the participation of the faithful and their spiritual welfare requires variations and more thoroughgoing adaptations in order that the sacred celebration respond to the culture and traditions of the different peoples, then Bishops' Conferences may propose such to the Apostolic See in accordance with article 40 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy for introduction with the latter's consent, especially in the case of peoples to whom the Gospel has been more recently proclaimed.156 The special norms given in the Instruction On the Roman Liturgy and Inculturation157 should be carefully observed.
Regarding procedures to be followed in this matter, the following should be followed:
In the first place, a detailed preliminary proposal should be set before the Apostolic See, so that, after the necessary faculty has been granted, the detailed working out of the individual points of adaptation may proceed.
Once these proposals have been duly approved by the Apostolic See, experiments should be carried out for specified periods and at specified places. If need be, once the period of experimentation is concluded, the Bishops' Conference shall decide upon pursuing the adaptations and shall propose a mature formulation of the matter to the Apostolic See for its decision.158
396. Before, however, proceeding to new adaptations, especially those more thoroughgoing, great care should be taken to promote the proper instruction of clergy and faithful in a wise and orderly fashion, so as to take advantage of the faculties already foreseen and to implement fully the pastoral norms concerning the spirit of a celebration.
397. Furthermore, the principle shall be respected according to which each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally handed down by apostolic and unbroken tradition. These are to be maintained not only so that errors may be avoided, but also so that the faith may be passed on in its integrity, since the Church's rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of belief (lex credendi).159
The Roman Rite constitutes a notable and precious part of the liturgical treasure and patrimony of the Catholic Church. Its riches are of benefit to the universal Church, so that were they to be lost, the Church would be seriously harmed.
Throughout the ages, the Roman Rite has not only preserved the liturgical usages that arose in the city of Rome but has also in a deep, organic, and harmonious way incorporated into itself certain other usages derived from the customs and culture of different peoples and of various particular Churches of both West and East, so that in this way, the Roman Rite has acquired a certain supraregional character. In our own times, on the other hand, the identity and unitary expression of this Rite is found in the typical editions of the liturgical books promulgated by authority of the Supreme Pontiff, and in those liturgical books corresponding to them approved by the Bishops' Conferences for their territories with the recognitio of the Apostolic See.160
398. The norm established by the Second Vatican Councilthat in the liturgical reform there should be no innovations unless required in order to bring a genuine and certain benefit to the Church, and taking care that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing161 must also be applied to efforts at the inculturation of the same Roman Rite.162 Inculturation, moreover, requires a necessary length of time, lest the authentic liturgical tradition suffer contamination due to haste and a lack of caution.
Finally, the purpose of pursuing inculturation is not in any way the creation of new families of rites, but aims rather at meeting the needs of a particular culture in such a way that adaptations introduced either in the Missal or in combination with other liturgical books are not at variance with the distinctive character of the Roman Rite.163
399. And so, the Roman Missal, even if in different languages and with some variety of customs,164 must be preserved in the future as an instrument and an outstanding sign of the integrity and unity of the Roman Rite.164
147. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 14.
148. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 41.
149. Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 838 § 3.
150. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 24.
151. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 36 § 3.
152. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 112.
153. Cf. General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar , nos. 48-51, below, p. 99; Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruction Calendaria particularia, 24 June 1970, nos. 4, 8: AAS 62 (1970), pp. 652-653.
154. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 106.
155. Cf. General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, no. 46, below, p. 98; cf. also Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruction Calendaria particularia, 24 June 1970, no. 38: AAS 62 (1970), p. 660.
156. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, nos. 37-40.
157. Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Varietates legitimae, 25 January 1994, nos. 54, 62-69: AAS 87 (1995), pp. 308-309, 311-313.
158. Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Varietates legitimae, 25 January 1994, nos. 66-68: AAS 87 (1995), p. 313.
159. Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Varietates legitimae, 25 January 1994, nos. 26-27: AAS 87 (1995), pp. 298-299.
160. Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus, 4 December 1988, no. 16: AAS 81 (1989), p. 912; Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Varietates legitimae, 25 January 1994, nos. 2, 36: AAS 87 (1995), pp. 288, 302.
161. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 23.
162. Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Varietates legitimae, 25 January 1994, no. 46: AAS 87 (1995), p. 306.
163. Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Varietates legitimae, 25 January 1994, no. 36: AAS 87 (1995), p. 302.
164. Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Varietates legitimae, 25 January 1994, no. 54: AAS 87 (1995), pp. 308-309.
165. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 38; Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, above, p. 14.