Discussion of a report about the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments proposing a new approach on the Roman Missal.


2002 Roman Missal




Roman Missal "a new approach"

14 November 2001

According to a report on Catholic News Service, the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments "proposed a new approach" to the Roman Missal.

This suggests to me that there are significant changes being made to the General Instruction to the Roman Missal (Institutio Generalis) from that published in August 2000.

Hopefully this will lead to a clearer set of liturgical laws on the Mass. My Ministers in Masses document, written last year, had a detailed discussion of what the changes would have entailed and the complications they involved.

The report says the US Bishops have been asked to revisit the adaptions they put forward regarding the new edition of the Roman Missal.

This "new approach" helps explain the delays in the publication of the new Roman Missal, which was expected earlier this year.

Update of 11 December 2001

Perhaps the "new approach" is less significant than I suggested above on 14 November 2001. A letter from Cardinal Medina Estevez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, president of the USCCB indicates minor changes in approach. This was published on www.adoremus.org in the December newsletter. Click here to read the letter.

Update of 16 February 2002

Last night I read report of the US bishops meeting on the American Adaptations on www.adoremus.org. There is a lot of discussion of what Cardinal Medina Estevez's letter means. It seems to me he is saying

... That is, those parts of the Institutio Generalis that mention in a general way the possibility of adaptation or closer specification by the Conference of Bishops would simply be replaced in the new translation of the Institutio by a newly formulated statement of the actual provisions approved by the Conference, perhaps prefaced by a phrased such as "In the United States of America...." [...]

In this way it will be possible to provide for those adaptations approved by the Bishops and the Holy See without the confusion that arises from the existence of parallel documents covering the same material within the Missal.

If this could be done then it seems to me that it would be of great benefit in simplifying liturgical laws, having all the current laws for Mass in the Roman Missal. But in the same letter he seems to be promoting the existence of parallel documents:

Regarding n. 283, on the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds, the Congregation approves in principle the procedure of making reference to a separate document for the regulation of this matter. It would suggest, however, that the document not be given the same name as a previously existing one, so as to avoid any confusion.

So he seems to be saying that should have a new document similar to "This Holy and Living Sacrifice". So the problem of parallel documents seems likely to continue. Instead of just asking "What does the Roman Missal say?" one will also have to ask "What does the Ceremonial of Bishops say? What does the Lectionary for Mass say? What does the Directory for Masses with Children say? What does This Holy and Living Sacrifice say? What does Notitiae say? Unfortunately confusion will arise from these parallel documents.

An example of this confusion seems to be at the end of the bishops meeting, discussing purifications after communion. Adaptations were voted on which (I gather) did not change the role of the instituted acolyte doing the purifications and other Extraordinary Eucharistic ministers not doing them. But in "This Holy and Living Sacrifice" it seems changes were made.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 14 November 2001. Last updated 11 April 2002.


Links to other sites:

Report on US Bishops being asked to revisit adaptions to Roman Missal from www.archive.org