Mar 15, 2012

US Bishops’ Committee for Divine Worship gives guidelines for use of new Missal texts, Vox Clara produces interim version of the Roman Pontifical

March 2012, Vol. XVIII, No. 1

Since the new English translation of the Roman Missal has come into use, questions have arisen about how and whether the new Missal texts can or should be incorporated into existing liturgical books that have not yet been translated.

An initial response to such questions was given by the US bishops’ Committee for Divine Worship (BCDW) in its November-December 2011 Newsletter. The matter was discussed at the November meeting of the committee, held just before the plenary session of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Following are excerpts from the Newsletter:


In conversation with the CDWDS [Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments], the Committee understands that the following adaptations are to be made to other liturgical rites in light of the Roman Missal:

• Every occurrence of “And with your spirit,” including, for example, the dialogue between the confirmand and the bishop in the Rite of Confirmation

• The Confiteor

• The prayer of the priest and the assembly at the invitation to Holy Communion (“Behold the Lamb of God” and “Lord, I am not worthy”)

• The dismissal at other rites

• The prayers of the deacon/priest in preparation to proclaim the Gospel

Suggested Adaptations

The Committee suggests that the following adaptations can be made to other liturgical rites in light of the Roman Missal, though these do not constitute obligations:

• The Blessing of Water and the renewal of Baptismal Promises at the celebration of Baptism can be taken from the Roman Missal.

• The Nuptial Blessing at the celebration of Marriage outside Mass can be taken from the Roman Missal. (Note that the Latin texts of the Nuptial Blessings have been modified, so the texts of the Nuptial Blessings in the Roman Missal are not merely re-translations.)

• In the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass, one can make use of the various collects found in the collection of Masses of the Dead

• In the Liturgy of the Hours (individually or communally), one can make use of the proper collects from the Roman Missal

Other Developments in Liturgical Rituals

Permission has been granted to republish Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest, substituting texts from the Missal where needed; no new recognitio is required. Until this text is available, the above-mentioned texts should be modified in light of the Missal.

The BCDW Newsletter also said that it is “currently exploring options” for updating the Liturgy of the Hours.

When to use the Gloria?

The BCDW also responded to questions about when the Gloria is to be used at Masses for Marriage, Confirmation, Ordination, and other ritual Masses that have not yet been translated.

This response appeared in the January 2012 Newsletter:

3. What are the new rubrics in the Missal regarding the Gloria?

In the Roman Missal, Third Edition, the rubrics call for the Gloria more frequently than before. Nine out of the ten Ritual Masses prescribe the Gloria, the only exception being the Mass for the Institution of Lectors and Acolytes. These Masses are all treated as if they were Feasts, and the Gloria is used for them even when celebrated during Advent or Lent. Thus for example, Masses for Confirmation, Holy Orders, or Marriage would include the Gloria, even when they occur during Advent or Lent. (It should be noted, though, that Ritual Masses are prohibited on Sundays of Advent and Lent.)

Posture during Communion

The same issue of the BCDW Newsletter also responded to a question about whether one may receive Communion while kneeling. The response noted that the newly revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2010) has been amended. Though the “norm” in the United States is to receive while standing, “the exception to the norm of standing is left to the discretion of the faithful: “unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling”, and Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 91, is cited.

Vox Clara: Interim Edition of Roman Pontifical

The Roman Pontifical is a book containing other liturgical rituals that are not in the Missal, prayers and rites usually reserved to bishops. These include the following rites: 1) Ordination, 2) Institution of Readers and Acolytes, 3) Consecration to a Life of Virginity, 4) Blessing of Abbots and Abbesses, 5) Confirmation, and 6) Blessing of Oils and Consecrating the Chrism. (The Blessing of Oils and Chrism were formerly in the Sacramentary, but do not appear in the new Roman Missal).

Last summer, the Vox Clara Committee of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments announced that it would publish an interim edition of the Roman Pontifical for use in English-speaking countries and territories. This updated edition uses the existing translations of various rites, with adaptations and updates according to the new Roman Missal.

The 1978 version of the Roman Pontifical, long out of print, did not contain several of the rituals, which had been updated in subsequent years and published separately.

Vox Clara’s interim Roman Pontifical features artwork by artist Daniel Mitsui (an example was featured on the cover of the February 2012 AB.)

The new book will be available in time for Holy Week, and may be purchased from Catholic Book Publishing Company:


The Editors