May 15, 2000

Liturgy Update: New Instructions, Guidelines planned; progress report on ICEL reform

Online Edition – Vol. VI, No. 3: May 2000

Liturgy Update:

New Instructions, Guidelines planned; progress report on ICEL reform

A plan to issue a "study translation" of the forthcoming third typical edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) was among the items approved at the March 13 meeting of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, as reported the March 2000 issue of the BCL Newsletter.

The March meeting was the first held under the new BCL chairman, Mobile Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb.

The "study translation" of the GIRM would be published in a revised edition of the Liturgy Documentary Series 2.

According to the Newsletter, this book would also include other documents: "Plans also call for the inclusion of the US edition of the Pastoral Introduction to the Order of Mass and several recent documents of the Committee on the Liturgy, including the recently revised Guidelines for Concelebration approved by the NCCB in November 1999."

This book "is envisioned as the first in a series of resources encouraging widespread liturgical formation of priests, deacons, liturgical ministers and indeed all members of the assembly in the form and practice of the Order of Mass" (p. 9).

The Committee also approved a revision of its Guidelines for the Publication of Participation Aids.

While the present Guidelines require the exclusive use of prayers drawn from the approved English language edition of the Enchiridion of Indulgences, the Committee decided also to allow for the use of more traditional translations, provided that they have received the requisite ecclesiastical approbation (p. 9).

There was a report from Cardinal Francis George on the progress of the revision of the ICEL Constitution. It is expected that the revised constitution will be presented for the bishops’ vote at the the June 2000 meeting of the NCCB. A new version of Domus Dei is also expected to be presented to the Committee at that meeting.

In response to a 1998 resolution of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions [FDLC], the Committee discussed weekday celebrations in the absence of a priest. They decided that a recommendation of national guidelines would be premature. Instead they published reflections on the matter, recommending that dioceses use these to establish their own local guidelines.

The reflections include the observation that a parish unable to have a Mass on a given day should consider encouraging its parishioners to attend a Mass at a nearby parish if one is available, rather than having a Word and Communion service. The Committee also said that such a service "should never be scheduled for the purpose of ‘providing a role’ for the deacons or lay ministers".

– Susan Benofy



The Editors