Recent Revisions of Liturgical Books
The past decade has witnessed the publication of several new liturgical books. Among the revised Latin typical editions issued have been the Ordo Lectionum Missae and the Missale Romanum. Vernacular editions of these and other Roman rite liturgical books have occupied a significant part of the work of the liturgical reform in the United States of America.
The following brief review is offered to our readers as a synthesis of the preparation, approbation and publication of liturgical books for use in the dioceses of the United States of America.
- The Lectionary for Mass (second edition)
- The Book of the Gospels
- The Roman Missal
- De Ordinatione Episcopi, Presbyterorum et Diaconorum
- Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium
- De Exorcismis
- Ritual de Exequias Cristianas:
On January 21, 1981, the Holy See published an editio typica altera of the Ordo Lectionum Missae. A vernacular edition of the Sunday section of the revised Lectionary for Mass for the dioceses of the United States of America was approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on June 20, 1992 and confirmed by the Holy See on October 6, 1997.
On June 19, 1998, the remainder of the Lectionary (for weekdays and ritual Masses) was approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The second volume of the Lectionary for Mass was subsequently confirmed by decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on June 6, 2001 (Prot. 492/00/L).
On June 29, 2001 Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, USCCB President, published a decree by which the second volume of the Lectionary for Mass may be used in the liturgy, beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2002.
From Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2002, the use of the entire revised Lectionary for Mass is mandatory in the dioceses of the United States of America. The Lectionary is being published by Catholic Book Publishing Company, the Liturgical Press and Liturgy Training Publications.
In a decree dated May 23, 2000, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, confirmed the November, 1999 ..
approval of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of a vernacular edition of The Book of the Gospels for use in the dioceses of the United States of America.
The Book of the Gospels includes an original introduction along with all the Gospels contained in Volume I of the Lectionary for Mass and selected Gospels for Ritual Masses. The Book of the Gospels has now been published in editions by the Midwest Theological Forum, the Liturgical Press and Liturgy Training Publications.
In June 1997 the NCCB approved a revised translation and adaptation of the 1975 edition of the Missale Romanum. The manuscript with rationale was submitted to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for confirmation in October of 1998.
On Holy Thursday, 2000, Pope John Paul II approved the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, editio typica tertia, popularly known as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. This revision replaces the 1975 edition of the Institutio Generalis.
On June 14, 2001, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved adaptations to the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani which were subsequently submitted to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the requisite confirmation.
On October 31, 2001, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, responded to Bishop Fiorenza's request for confirmation of the USCCB action (Prot. N. 1381/01/L). Subsequently, the USCCB approved final revisions to their adaptations to the Missale Romanum for use in the dioceses of the United States of America on November 14, 2001. These finalized adaptations now await confirmation by the Holy See.
On June 29, 1989, the Holy See published an editio typica altera of De Ordinatione Episcopi, Presbyterorum et Diaconorum. The ICEL translation of De Ordinatione was considered at the November, 1998, March, 1999, and June, 1999 meetings of the NCCB Committee on the Liturgy and at a special meeting of the Committee on August 16, 1999. In the Spring of 2000, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy provided a revised text to its member Conferences. The Committee on the Liturgy will review the revised text in March, 2002.
On March 19, 1990, the Holy See issued an editio typica altera of the Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium. The Task Group on American Adaptations of the Order for Celebrating Marriage completed its work in 1998. The Committee on the Liturgy awaits the final ICEL translation of this rite.
On January 26, 1999, Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, announced that on November 22, 1998, the Solemnity of Christ the King, he had signed a decree by which a revised editio typica latina of De Exorcismis (Rite of Exorcism) was to be published. The new rite may be used by priests who have been given a specific faculty to do so by the diocesan bishop. The Committee on the Liturgy awaits the ICEL translation of this rite.
The Ritual de Exequias Cristianas was approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 20, 1994 as the USA Spanish vernacular edition of the Ordo Exsequiarum. On November 18, 1998 it was modified by the NCCB and subsequently confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on March 9, 1999. This Spanish language edition of the Funeral rites for the dioceses of the United States will be published by the Liturgical Press in the coming months.
Following NCCB approval of the use of the biblical translation employed by the Mexican Leccionario in all future lectionaries for Spanish language liturgical texts for use in the dioceses of the United States of America, the Subcommittee on Hispanic Liturgy has begun work on a revised edition of the Leccionario for use in the United States. Texts from the Mexican Lectionary will likewise be incorporated into the Bendicional, approved by the NCCB in November 1999.
In the course of its work, the task group for the final revisions of Built of Living Stones: Art, Architecture, and Worship, Guidelines of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, produced several papers for the benefit of those charged with drafting various sections of this document. The following brief summary of the variety of architectural styles employed in different Christian ages and cultures is provided for the information of our readers.
The first Jewish followers of Jesus combined sacrifice in the temple in Jerusalem and local synagogue services with their weekly celebration of the Breaking of the Bread. The Roman destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (circa AD 70) and the separation of Christians from the Jewish community challenged Jewish Christians to change their habits of prayer and to find new ways to worship. In the cities of the ancient world, Jews who followed Christ linked together the patterns of synagogue services and the Paschal meal with their Sunday worship. Hymns, readings from the Jewish Scriptures, homily and petitions were combined with the memoirs and letters of the Apostles, the Gospels, the Great Thanksgiving over the Bread and Wine, and communion with the Lord. The New Testament speaks of the borrowed or rented upper room for prayer, larger homes of members used for the Breaking of the Bread, and open public spaces utilized for preaching.1 These "buildings" became the first houses for the liturgical actions of the Church. Ordinary homes were quickly adapted to the needs of Sunday worship and the annual rites of initiation.2
New forms of Christian art and architecture developed in the Byzantine and Roman world to match the evolution of liturgy, preaching, doctrine, and church governance.3 In the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine offered the basilica, formerly a marketplace or lawcourt, for the use of the Church. With its long nave and an apse for the bishop and clergy, it quickly became a standard architectural form for churches.4 In the construction of new buildings to enshrine particular holy places, such as the tombs of martyrs and baptismal fonts, builders also chose circular or octagonal shapes, where the altar could be in the center. Raising a canopy, a symbolic dome of heaven, over the space also demonstrated that it was a hallowed place. About 320-330 AD, Emperor Constantine dedicated a basilica in Rome to honor the tomb of the martyred Saint Peter.
In the Eastern Empire at Constantinople, the Emperor Justinian commissioned a basilical form wedded to a vaulted superstructure that hovered in light 165 feet above the floor. Later Hagia Sophia, dedicated to Christ as Holy Wisdom (AD 532-37), was constructed as a heavenly city within the imperial capitol, where Church and state could both be celebrated.
In these large sponsored buildings, incense and processions were introduced, partially as a result of imperial court rituals.5 Mosaics of Christ in glory and painted frescoes of martyrs' lives adorned the baptistries and apses of basilicas. By the sixth century, icons of Christ, the Mother of God, and the saints proliferated and were venerated.6 Christians discovered that images expressed the same Gospel message that Scripture communicated in words.7
Over the next six hundred years, Christians in northern Europe established monasteries, towns, cathedrals, and universities in a primarily rural countryside. In monastic churches, monks and nuns elongated the sanctuary for the daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, sometimes separating themselves from the nave by a large screen surmounted by a crucifix and elaborately decorated with sculpture. Romanesque and Gothic churches, polychromed statues of Christ and the saints, striking wall and ceiling frescoes, art glazed windows illustrating Old and New Testament story cycles, elaborate Eucharistic vessels and vestments all date from this period.
With the rise of Renaissance and Baroque artistic styles, western Catholicism developed highly decorated church buildings that paralleled non-religious structures such as castles, theaters, and opera houses. Catholics today continue to be familiar with these religious expressions in art and architecture, since European forms of religious art and their revivals accompanied Christianity to Latin America, North and South America, Asia and Africa during the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Recently, forms of architecture derived from modern designs and fashioned of contemporary materials have been used with considerable effect to embody the Gospel in industrialized societies.
The Church has not canonized any particular style of architecture but in every century and country has promoted and encouraged the development of religious art and architecture so that God's presence could be appropriated in different cultures.8 Various styles of buildings resulting from different cultural perspectives have expressed Christian identity according to the needs of the various rites, aesthetic fashion, the natural talents of artists and architects, and the circumstances of peoples. By utilizing and furthering artistic and architectural styles that enfleshed the Christian assembly's prayer, the Church found ways to express God's love and at the same time shaped the history of art and architecture.9
When Europeans evangelized the continents of Asia and the Americas, they brought with them national expressions of Christian culture and piety. The symbols of their devotion, the styles of their worship, the artworks before which they prayed, the materials from which they made their vestments and Eucharistic vessels were products of European cultures and the piety that shaped and was shaped by those cultures. In the newly evangelized continents, architecture and religious art were modeled on the churches of cities and villages in Europe so the Gospels arrived in European clothing. While settlers and missionaries brought crafts, levels of literacy and forms of music that permitted newly baptized believers to appreciate the Eucharistic worship from Europe, they often dismissed native artworks as inferior, supplanted native languages, and erased local music.
Architectural revivals have regularly responded to challenging cultural situations and new engineering opportunities. After the large immigrations of Catholics in the second half of the nineteenth century and before World War I, revivals of Gothic, Romanesque, and Byzantine architecture became common in the United States. Benjamin Latrobe, the architect of the United States Capitol Building, designed Baltimore's Cathedral (1804 -1818) using a neo-Classical architectural style. Churches like St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City (1858-1889) reflected the symbolic power of rising Catholic communities by utilizing neo-Gothic structures. Neo-Byzantine elements are reflected in the post World War II design of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. These larger churches, as well as many parish buildings in smaller towns, conversed with cultures in the United States, announcing the presence of the Gospel in diverse styles.
1 Cf. Mark 14:15; Acts 2:42, 17:16-34.
2 SOCA, 11-25, 102-110.
3 Cf. History of Architecture (HA), 245-67.
4 Part of the value of basilicas was their difference from Roman and Greek temple forms. The adaptation of a secular building was preferable to using spaces associated with pre-Christian religious cults. Christians marked their differences with the culture by their use of secular buildings for liturgical purposes.
5 MRR, 39, 42, 68 fn. 7.
6 L&P, esp. 30-183.
7 Cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 1160: "Christian iconography expresses in images the same Gospel message that Scripture communicates in words. Images and word illuminate each other."
8 Cf. GIRM, 287-88.
9 Cf. Sacrosanctum concilium (SC), 123 and CCC, 814.