John Lilburne's list of the ten most important changes in the 2002 Roman Missal, compared to the 2000 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (which was published in 2000 as Institutio Generalis, but did not become Church law).


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Roman Missal


Top Ten Changes - 2000 to 2002

Some cautions to start with. Firstly, I do not know much Latin. Secondly, I am writing this on 11 April 2002, only having received the 2002 Roman Missal a week ago.

There are hundreds of differences between the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani of 2000 and 2002. Most of them are corrections to footnotes or expressing things better in Latin. But here are the differences that I think are most important.

1. Mass at which only one minister participates (255-258)

It is not just a new title, replacing "Mass at which only one minister assists". These instructions have been completely rewritten. In the 2000 GIRM there were unique rules for this Mass, as there were in the 1975 Roman Missal - for example making the Sign of the Cross before reaching the altar, the priest saying the general intercessions. Now there seems to be little to distinguish this form of Mass from a normal one with a congregation. Perhaps the only difference is that the priest may choose the calendar of his own, rather than the Church where he is (GIRM 354).

15 April 2002 update: There are other differences, for example at the "only one minister" Mass the priest does not say "Let us offer one another the sign of peace" (266). Another is that the Lamb of God is only said if the minister is to receive communion. But there are fewer differences compared to the 2000 GIRM.

2. Kneeling at Lamb of God (43)

If it is the custom, people are to kneel after the Lamb of God, for "This is the Lamb of God". In the 2000 GIRM it said to kneel for the whole Eucharistic Prayer, if it were the custom. But it did not mention what to do after the Lamb of God, but retained the instruction to stand. But the 2002 GIRM adds kneeling after the Lamb of God to this.

3. Purifications in the middle of the altar (163 and others)

Purifications of vessels after communion, if done at the altar, were to be done at the side, in the 1975 Roman Missal and 2000 GIRM. In many, if not all, cases references to the side of the altar, with the Latin word "latus" have been removed.

4. New colours for priest's vestments - 346(g)

Added to the list of vestment colours is:

"g) Diebus sollemnioribus adhiberi possunt sacrae vestes festivae seu nobiliores, etsi non sunt coloris diei."

I think this allows the use of special vestments, with non-standard colours, on Solemnities.

[Update 2 April 2003. The approved US translation for this is:

"g. On more solemn days, sacred vestments may be used that are festive, that is, more precious, even if not of the color of the day."]

5. Offertory hymn without a procession (74, 139)

There was only to be an offertory hymn if there was a Procession of the Gifts, according to the 2000 GIRM. This restriction has been removed in the 2002 GIRM.

6. Vestments for priests in orders (114) ?

Masses for religious communities are discussed here. The 2000 GIRM added a new sentence, for which the Study Translation was:

Further, it is fitting that priests who are present at a Eucharistic celebration, unless excused for a good reason, should as a rule exercise the function of their own order and hence participate as concelebrants, wearing sacred vestments.

The 2002 adds another new sentence after this:

Secus habitum choralem proprium aut superpelliceum super vestem talarem gestant.

I do not know what it means, but I think it may be about wearing habits and vestments.

[Update 2 April 2003. The approved U.S. translation for this is:

"Otherwise, they wear their proper choir dress or a surplice over a cassock."]

7. Optional to put the Book of the Gospels on the altar? (122, 173)

The 1975 GIRM 84 has "the Book of the Gospels is placed on the altar" as part of the entrance procession. The 2000 GIRM 122 also has this as compulsory. But the 2002 GIRM adds the word "laudabiliter" meaning "it is praiseworthy" and so optional to do this.

What alternatives are there? Perhaps it is not having a Book of the Gospels, but it does not seem to be the case from 173:

When he has arrived at the altar, if he is carrying the Book of the Gospels, he omits the reverence an goes up to the altar. After praiseworthily placing the Book of the Gospels on it, along with the priest he venerates the altar with a kiss.

Here I have added praiseworthily to the Study Translation, since laudabiliter has been added. So perhaps other options are being allowed - to take it to the ambo or continue carrying it?

8. Priests intincting to use purificator under chin, not plate (249)

For others receiving comunion (the Body and Blood of Christ) by intinction they are to "hold the communion plate below their chin" ("patinam sub ore tenens"), 2002 GIRM 287. Concelebrating priests were also to use the plate in the 2000 GIRM, but in the 2002 GIRM 249, it is changed from "patenam" to "purificatorium" from a plate to the purificator cloth.

9. Acolyte holds chalice for intinction (287)

1975 GIRM 246: Priest to hold consecrated hosts, acolyte the chalice.

2000 GIRM 287: Priest to hold chalice, acolyte the consecrated hosts (although 191 said he held the chalice).

2002 GIRM 287: Priest to hold consecrated hosts, acolyte the chalice.

10. Sequence back to before Alleluia

The 1975 GIRM 40 was not specific, but the Lectionary seems to have had the Sequence sung before the Alleluia. But the 2000 GIRM had it after the Alleluia. The 2002 GIRM returns it to before the Alleluia.

By J.R. Lilburne, 11 April 2002. Updated 16 April 2002, 2 April 2003.