The Missale Romanum and Ecclesia Dei
On July 3, l999, Cardinal Jorge A Medina Estevez, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, issued an official response to three questions concerning the celebration of the current Missale Romanum by those in possession of an indult for the use of the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum. While the originals of the response were issued in Latin and Italian, the following English language translation is offered for the benefit of our readers.
and The Discipline of the Sacraments
After the liturgical renewal mandated by the Second Vatican Council, a certain group of the Catholic faithful identified itself, adhering strongly to previous forms of the Roman liturgical tradition. Furthermore, such groups that is, those who remained in full communion with the Catholic Church and her Magisterium demonstrated their desire to use the so-called "Missale Romanum of Saint Pius V." The Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a paternal love to support the liturgical and religious sensitivities of these same groups, permitted them to use the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum, with the consent of the local Ordinary. At the same time, the Supreme Pontiff himself asked the Bishops to be freely and generously welcoming to the faithful deeply attached to the preconciliar rite and demonstrating a sincere assent to the Magisterium of the Church as also obedience to her legitimate Pastors. The wish of the Roman Pontiff was declared in the Motu Proprio, Ecclesia Dei (2 July l988: AAS 80  1495-1498).
After questions regarding the possibility for and impediments connected with the indult for the use of the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum granted by legitimate authority were received at this Congregation, with the due advice and consent of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, we hereby communicate the following in the form of responses to the questions posed.
- Is any priest who is a member of an Institute that enjoys the faculty of celebrating Mass in the rite in force before the liturgical renewal of Vatican Council II freely able to use the Missale Romanum promulgated by the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, when he celebrates the Eucharistic Sacrifice, even if only on a specific occasion for the good of a community in which the Mass is celebrated according to that Missal ?
Response: Affirmative and ad mentem. The mens consists in the following: Since the use of the preconciliar Missal was granted by way of indult it did not, in fact, take away the liturgical right common to the Roman Rite according to which the Missal now in force is that promulgated by order of the Second Vatican Council. For rather, the above-mentioned priest must celebrate with the post-conciliar Missal if by chance a celebration takes place in a community which uses today's Roman Rite, lest any astonishment or uneasiness be occasioned for the faithful and, so that the celebrant himself may be helpful to his brother priests who sought this service of pastoral charity. In communities accustomed to today's Missal, the use of the previous Missal produces not a few difficulties, e.g., differences in the liturgical Calendar, dissimilarity in the liturgical texts for the Liturgy of the Word, variations in liturgical gestures, in the way of receiving Holy Communion, in the duties of ministers, etc.
- May superiors, no matter what their rank, of Institutes enjoying by indult the use of the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum for celebrating the Eucharistic Sacrifice, prohibit the priests of their Institute from using the postconciliar Missale Romanum, when such priests celebrate, even if only on a specific occasion, for the good of a specific community in which the Missale Romanum now in force is used ?
Response: Negative, since the use of the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum rests on an indult for the benefit of the faithful who are joined by a particular bond to the preconciliar Roman Rite and the use of such may not be imposed upon communities celebrating the most Holy Eucharist according to the Missal renewed by order of the Second Vatican Council, over which communities, regarding these points, the Superiors of such Institutes have no authority.
- Is any priest who is a member of an Institute that enjoys such an indult able to concelebrate Mass with no impediments according to today's Ordo of the Roman Rite ?
Response: Affirmative, since the indult does not take away from priests the common liturgical right of celebrating the Roman Rite according to the Missale Romanum in force, and therefore, neither is such a priest able nor ought he to be prohibited from concelebration by a Superior or by the local Ordinary. For it is laudable that the above-mentioned priests concelebrate freely, especially for the Mass of the Thursday of Holy Week, with the diocesan Bishop presiding. Although "each priest has the faculty of celebrating a private Mass, though not at the same time nor in the same church (as a concelebrated Mass) nor on Holy Thursday of the Lord's Supper" (cf. Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 57 2§2), the sign of communion inherent in concelebration is so particular that it ought not to be omitted in the Chrism Mass, except for grave reasons (Cf. Idibem, n.57.1.1a).
+ Jorge A. Card. Medina Estevez
+ Franciscus Pius Tamburrino
Archbishop Hanus' Address to the National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions
On October 12, 1999, Archbishop Jerome G. Hanus, O.S.B., gave the following address to representatives of one hundred and fifteen dioceses gathered in Cleveland for the annual National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions.
I am grateful for this opportunity and thank the officers and planning committee for the time given in the program.
I would like to begin by expressing gratitude to you for your continuing work, then make a few comments about the important but often nearly overwhelming work of the BCL staff, and then, in a rather longer section, give a progress report on the various projects being worked on by the BCL and its staff.
Gratitude for your continuing work.
Offices of Worship are vital in each local church, to continue the progress of implementing the Second Vatican Council, to challenge the local church in its formation programs, and to enhance the likelihood that the liturgical life of the local church will truly reach its goals. In some dioceses, financial constraints have had an adverse effect on worship offices. In others, it has been difficult to find qualified personnel. The overwhelming majority of bishops appreciate and support the worship offices. This indicates to you, I hope, how esteemed and appreciated you are in the Church.
Liturgical Commissions are similarly critically important, to broaden the involvement of the wider community in the support of the liturgical life of a particular church. These liturgical commissions must continue to be open to continuing developments in theology and ecclesiology as well as keeping abreast of new editions of liturgical books and new ecclesial documents. I think, for example, of the richness of theology found in the section of the Catechism on the sacraments, and in the Holy Father's document, Dies Domini.
The BCL Secretariat
The BCL is a very hard working group of dedicated individuals who serve the Church well, are appreciated by the bishops, and deserve our gratitude. My personal indebtedness to Father James Moroney, Sister Ann Rehrauer, OSF, and Mr. Dennis McManus is huge.
The Secretariat for the Liturgy has received approval for an additional professional staff position under the title Staff Advisor. The Staff Advisor will be responsible for general liturgical areas, multicultural liturgical concerns and the development of Spanish language vernacular editions of the liturgical books. The Secretariat continues to search for a suitable candidate for this position which was approved beginning in FY99 for a five year period. Until the appropriately qualified person is found, we should all be grateful to persons like Sister Doris Turek and Father Juan Sosa, for their willingness to step on board, not to mention the long time contribution of Father Ron Krisman, which is always so valuable and appreciated.
At the same time, I must share with you a concern. The staff is in danger of being overwhelmed by phone calls, emails, and other requests for its services. These requests come from bishops, diocesan directors, and the public at large. Last year the staff received over 10,000 such inquiries. The BCL has considered this and is working at some practical attempts at a solution.
It is our preference that local offices handle most of the requests for information of a less complicated nature. Responses will be given to bishops and diocesan directors but not always on the same day the request is received. The Committee also discussed offering a separate e-mail address given only to diocesan directors. The staff members need solid blocks of time undisturbed, to get their technical, professional work done. I ask your understanding if in the future you do not get answers as quickly and comprehensively as in the past. We will try to do our best.
On a happy related note, we congratulate Father Moroney on being appointed a consultant to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
A Progress report
It is well known among the bishops and the conference staff that the BCL has the most work of any committee of the Bishops' Conference. Consequently, it receives much appreciation and at times sympathy from many. It also receives its hefty share of criticism, barbs, and anger. One needs a thick skin and a sense of humor to survive. I am sure that Archbishop Lipscomb will do just fine, bringing his pastoral experience and southern charm to the position.
Let me report on some of the projects being worked on by BCL and its staff. These are matters which will affect you and your work in the future.
Spanish Language Liturgical Texts
The Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee has some new members. On July 1, 1999, I appointed Bishop Carlos Sevilla, S.J., as chairman of the Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee to succeed Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez, OFM. Bishop James Tamayo also agreed to serve on the committee. I am grateful to Archbishop Gonzales and Bishop Ramirez for their extraordinary contribution over many years.
The subcommittee is responsible for all matters related to the celebration of the liturgy in the Spanish language in the United States. At its most recent (July 19-21) meeting, the Subcommittee considered the results of a survey conducted over the past several months on Spanish language scriptural translations for use in the liturgy. The survey consisted of twenty sample texts, each cited from the Peruvian, Argentinean and Mexican Lectionaries in random order. Respondents were solicited from three hundred and eighty seven bishops, a random sampling of 200 parishes where the liturgy is celebrated in Spanish, the leadership of eleven Hispanic Liturgy organizations, [IHL, ANSH, ACHTUS, NCCHM, ANDH, and NOCH ] and the presidents of the regional Hispanic Pastoral Institutes. Respondents favored the Mexican translation 67% of the time, the Peruvian translation 13% of the time and the Argentinean translation 7% of the time. Based upon this survey, the Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee will make a recommendations to the Committee on the Liturgy at the November 1999 meeting to use the Mexican translation in most future liturgical publications.
Those who celebrate the liturgy in the Hispanic community will be happy to hear that we are at the final stages in the approval of the translation of the USA texts in the Spanish language edition of De Benedictionibus. The Book of Blessings contains texts from the Roman Ritual as well as forty-eight additional texts proper to the United States. The Hispanic Subcommittee incorporated the translation approved by the Mexican episcopal conference for the texts from the Ritual. The translation of the additional USA texts was prepared by members of the Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee. This liturgical book has been approved by the Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee, the full BCL, and the Administrative Committee for debate and vote by the NCCB in November.
The Ritual de Exequias Cristianas was approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 20, 1994. In the process of confirming the text, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments suggested that the Lectionary of an already approved translation of the scriptures be used in this book. On November 18, 1998, the de iure Latin Rite members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops unanimously approved the use of the Mexican Lectionary for Mass in the Ritual de Exequias Cristianas for the United States. On March 9, 1999, Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, received confirmation of the Spanish language edition of the Ordo Exsequiarum from Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estιvez, Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. So, this project is in its very final stages.
The Cremation Appendix, already approved and confirmed in English, was included in these votes and confirmation from Rome. The Hispanic Liturgy Subcommittee is also working on a bilingual edition of the Rite of Baptism for Children and a Spanish language edition of the Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium. Again, thank you to all those individuals who give many hours to this work.
The Book of the Gospels
With the confirmation and use of Volume I of the new Lectionary for Mass, parishes and publishers have requested a new edition of the Book of the Gospels. The previous edition contained the Gospel texts for Sundays and major solemnities, but it did not have its own introduction. An introduction has been prepared based on the Praenotanda to the Lectionary for Mass and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. The BCL discussed this at its June and August meetings. It was approved for the agenda by the Administrative Committee in September and will be presented to the de iure Latin Rite bishops of the Conference for vote in November. Following approval by the NCCB, the Introduction would require the confirmation of the Apostolic See. So we have the blessed prospect of this new addition in the near future.
The Environment and Art Task Group
All are aware of the extended effort of this group which was named in the mid nineties by Bishop Trautman. The Task Group met in February and in April 1999 to complete the seventh draft of the document. This draft was on the agenda of the June meeting of the BCL. At that time, the Liturgy Committee offered suggestions on the sections of the draft treating the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, the sacrament of Baptism and the placement of the baptismal font, the authority of the new document and its relationship to the prior committee statement on Environment and Art in Catholic Worship, the role of the liturgical consultant, and the position of choir and musicians.
Over the summer months, staff and some members of the Task Group incorporated the suggestions and prepared the initial printing for wider circulation. The Administrative Committee approved an open discussion of the document for the November meeting. We had planned to send electronic copies to each Office of Worship, but NCCB policy does not permit that. So I will send a letter to all bishops reminding them again of their freedom to share it with you and to consult everyone they wish. It will also be included in the press release materials for the November meeting and the discussion will be in open session. It has been a real desire of the committee to urge the involvement of the bishops in the first stages of the public debate, so that they can develop ownership. We hope this comes true, and again, I will urge the bishops to turn to you, to benefit from your experience and your conviction.
Pastoral Introduction to the Order of Mass
At its June meeting, the BCL discussed catechesis on the liturgy in preparation for the new Sacramentary. This has been a concern of BCL, FDLC, and others who work in support of the liturgy. The USA edition of the Pastoral Introduction to the Order of Mass was approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops as a helpful summary drawn from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and a variety of other documents of the Holy See. The document was originally approved for inclusion in the revised Sacramentary. At its June meeting, the BCL unanimously recommended that the NCCB seek the consent of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the publication of the Pastoral Introduction as a separate fascicle for catechetical purposes. This request does not prejudice the question of the eventual inclusion of the pastoral introduction in the revised Sacramentary.
If there is no objection from Rome to this proposed procedure, this may be a way for us to go in the months that transpire before we have printed editions of the approved and confirmed translation of the Missale Romanum. We must recognize, however, that timetables and strategies are somewhat complicated by the likelihood that the Congregation for Divine Worship may release the third edition of the Roman Missal in the near future.
Weekday Communion Services
Likewise, at its meetings earlier this year, the Bishops' Liturgy Committee considered several pastoral questions surrounding the growing practice of weekday communion services in the absence of a priest. Specific consideration began with a review of the position statement on the question passed by you at your October 1998 National Meeting in Memphis, Tennessee. After a discussion, the Committee directed the Secretariat to conduct a consultation with diocesan directors and NCCB Secretariats toward the formulation of draft "Guidelines on Weekday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest."
Transfer of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
Recall that this issue was pressed especially by the western provinces. After considerable discussion, the proposal was developed which called for the modification of particular legislation for the United States in accord with the provisions of canon 1246 § 2. The action, which was subsequently approved on November 16, 1998 by two thirds of the de iure Latin Rite members of the NCCB, read: "That the diocesan bishops of each ecclesiastical province be permitted to determine by majority vote whether to transfer the observance of the Solemnity of the Ascension to the Seventh Sunday of Easter for the particular churches of that province." The decision was subsequently submitted to the Congregation for Bishops. The NCCB, within a few months, received a decree from His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect of that same congregation allowing that "the Ecclesiastical Provinces of the United States may transfer the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter."
Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a decree implementing the decision on August 6, 1999. I have not heard that any province has taken advantage of this decree so far. I do anticipate that several will, since that has been their desire for some years.
Task Group on the Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium
The Task Group is completing its work and hopes to propose ritual adaptations for the USA typical edition during the November 1999 meeting of the BCL. My gratitude to the members of this Task Group, including Carolyn Lassek from FDLC, for their considerable work on this project.
The rites of Ordination
The BCL has continued work on this project -- rather intensely in this calendar year. You will recall that this deals with the translation of the revised section of the Pontificale Romanum, the section now named, De Ordinatione Episcopi, Presbyterorum et Diaconorum.
In response to the observations from the Holy See received in November 1997, ICEL prepared a revised translation of the ordination rites. The Liturgy Secretariat received the final version of the ICEL translation on June 8, 1999. Those texts had been discussed, amended, and approved by the ICEL Episcopal Board at their meeting on May 27-30, 1999. Since the Secretariat and the Liturgy Committee members lacked sufficient time to study the translation or the modifications made by ICEL, the Committee held a special meeting of the members and consultants on August 16, 1999 in Chicago. At that meeting, the BCL spent several hours in discussion. It expressed gratitude for the Secretariat's work, and for ICEL's responses to questions posed in the Congregation's observations. The Committee was also grateful to the staff of ICEL for its response to the Secretariat's critique.
At the end of its meeting, the BCL arrived at two important resolutions, both by unanimous consent. First, that the current ICEL translation is considered an acceptable basis for the eventual version which can be presented to the full body of the NCCB. Second, that our secretariat is instructed to continue to work with ICEL so that a text can be developed which has the likelihood of being confirmed by the Holy See. Since the August meeting, it is my understanding that ICEL has made further changes in its translation and these are in the hands of the Episcopal Board and will be voted on by that board after some weeks of study by the members.
Blessed Damien of Molokai
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Honolulu presented a petition and supporting documentation to the Liturgy Committee requesting that the NCCB include the optional memorial of Blessed Damien (DeVeuster) of Moloka'i on the proper calendar for dioceses of the United States. In preparation for the Committee's discussion, the Liturgy Secretariat, through representatives of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC), surveyed the various regions concerning devotion to Blessed Damien.
The Committee voted in June to recommend the inclusion of Blessed Damien of Moloka'i on the proper calendar for the United States. If the NCCB votes to approve this request in November, the decision will be forwarded to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments for confirmation.
Implementation of the R.C.I.A.
In 1989 when the text and statutes for the RCIA were approved for the United States, a plan for implementation was also approved, with the request from the NCCB that an evaluation take place after five years. At the present time the Secretariat for the Liturgy is part of an interdepartmental Task Group, headed by the office for Evangelization, to study the implementation of the RCIA in this country.
The evaluation process, which took place from 1997-1999, had six major components: (1) a survey of recent participants in the RCIA process who have been initiated or received into full communion within the last three to four years; (2) a survey of parish initiation teams and diocesan directors responsible for the implementation of the RCIA; (3) compilation of statistical information from the annual reports of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate; (4) gathering and analysis of the information from a survey of bishops in the United States; (5) telephone interviews with recent participants in the RCIA process who did not continue with the process through initiation; (6) data gathering from parishes who have chosen a means other than the RCIA as the process for preparing people for the sacraments of initiation.
The data which has been collected is being compiled and analyzed in five categories: catechesis, ecumenical and interreligious issues, evangelization, liturgy, and pastoral practice. This analysis should be completed by the end of this year. Each of the five NCCB Committees will then write a pastoral response to the analysis with possible recommendations.
The Importance of Reverence for All Liturgy
A final, more general comment, to you as staff and professionals in the particular churches. There is an old expression in Latin, Quotidiana vilescunt. Daily things get old, or more poetically, done daily, done dully. We must strive to maintain a vital and positive mind and spirit, even if we have to deal with liturgical matters on a daily basis.
As the third typical edition of the Roman Missal apparently approaches completion and our own retranslation of the Sacramentary struggles to see the light of day, we have the opportunity to return to this most foundational of liturgical books and mine its treasures, especially its rich theological reflections found on what the liturgy is all about.
It is interesting to note that a simple search of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal finds that one word is used repeatedly to describe what it is we do at sacred worship. The word is "reverence," and it is addressed in nothing less than twenty one separate paragraphs.
This is not surprising. Each of us can recall Rudolph Otto's classic description of reverence and worship as the only possible and appropriate reaction to the presence of the Holy. Before the Holy we can only bow; we reverence the presence of the numinious. Perhaps, one might add, true reverence is to bow as well as we can.
In the liturgy we meet God, the all holy One, present and acting in our midst. Thus the very purpose of the liturgy is to reverence this numinious presence, to worship the Father, joined to the prefect sacrifice of praise of Christ Jesus his Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The General Instruction describes the reverence we show to Christ when we bow to or kiss the altar, or when we clothe the altar with a cloth (GIRM 268) and adorn it with candles (GIRM 269). The General Instruction describes the ways in which we reverence Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, especially in the reception of Holy Communion (244, 245 §2, 246 §2, 247 §2,). Likewise, Christ present in his word is reverenced by the way we listen attentively to the word proclaimed (GIRM 9, 35) and the marks of particular reverence we show to the Gospels (GIRM 27, 84, 125, 129, 141, 149, 163, 208, 213, 232).
All of these forms of reverence are essential to the celebration of a liturgy. They help it to accomplish its most important work: the worship of Christ present and acting in our midst. But may I suggest that a closer reading of two less quoted paragraphs of the General Instruction call us to an even fuller understanding of what reverence at the liturgy is all about.
The first is the description found in the General Instruction of how we should show reverence in the prayer which lies at the heart of our worship, the eucharistic prayer. As always, outward participation by posture, acclamation and song is indispensable. But so is what the General Instruction calls "a silence which characterizes true reverence" (GIRM 3, 55.8, 241). Silence is not a particularly popular American ritual form. We sometimes seem obsessed by doing, saying and performing some role. Yet as the Holy Father reflected just last year, active participation in the liturgy demands something more than what we do on the outside. In addressing a group of bishops from the northwestern part of our country, he said, "Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshipers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural."
A second significant insight into the nature of reverence, especially in regard to people, is described by the General Instruction in paragraph 62, in the section entitled, the Office and Function of the People of God. It reads: "In the celebration of Mass the faithful are a holy people, a chosen people, a royal priesthood: they give thanks to God and offer the Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with him and learn to offer themselves. They should endeavor to make this clear by their deep sense of reverence for God and their charity toward brothers and sisters who share with them in the celebration."
The ways in which this reverence and caritas are expressed are then described: "They therefore are to shun any appearance of individualism or division, keeping before their eyes that they have the one Father in heaven and therefore are all brothers and sisters to each other. They should become one body, whether by hearing the word of God, or joining in prayers and song, or above all by offering the sacrifice together and sharing together in the Lord's table. There is a beautiful expression of this unity when the faithful maintain uniformity in their gestures and postures. The faithful should serve the people of God joyfully when asked to perform some particular ministry in the celebration."
Shunning individualism, fostering unity, seeking not so much to express myself as to express the one Lord through whom we live one faith in one baptism. This is true reverence: to die to myself and my needs and to live according to the will of Christ and his body, the Church.
It is my prayer that the work of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy and the work which each of you carries out in the name of your bishop will foster a reverence in the liturgy which begins from deep within and seeks only the glory of God. May God bless us in this good work to the glory of his holy name.
New Chairman of FDLC Board of Directors
At the October 10, 1999 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, Father Kenneth J. Martin, Director of the Office for Worship in Wilmington, Delaware, was elected chairman of the Board, succeeding outgoing chair, Father Edward Hislop. Father Martin holds doctorate in Spanish from the Universidad de Valencia and the Catholic University of America. He is currently completing his STD dissertation on the writings of Luis Maldonado and popular religiosity. He is a past member of the faculties of LaSalle University, the cluster of independent theological schools in Washington D.C., Saint John's Seminary College in Camarillo, California and the Catholic University of America. The Committee on the Liturgy welcomes Father Martin as an advisor and wishes him well in his important work on behalf of the liturgical reform.