[EXCERPTS FROM SOME AUTHORITATIVE CHURCH DOCUMENTS
INNOVATIONS IN THE LITURGY:]
INSTRUCTION CONCERNING WORSHIP OF THE EUCHARISTIC MYSTERY...
Prepared by the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and
Divine Worship Approved and Confirmed by His Holiness Pope John
Paul II April 17, 1980
Following the letter that Pope John Paul II addressed on
February 24, 1980, to the bishops and, through them, to the
priests, and in which he again considered the priceless gift of
the Holy Eucharist, the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments
and Divine Worship is calling to the bishops' attention certain
norms concerning worship of this great mystery.
These indications are not a summary of everything already
stated by the Holy See in the documents concerning the
Eucharist promulgated since the Second Vatican Council and
still in force, particularly in the Missale Romanum, [ Ed.
Typica Altera, Rome, 1975. ] the Ritual De Sacra Communione et
de Cultu Mysterii Eucharistici Extra Missam,[Ed Typica,
Rome, 1973. ] and the Instructions Eucharisticum Mysterium,
[ Sacred Congregation of Rites, May 25, 1967: AAS 59 (19671,
pp. 539-573 ] Memoriale Domini, [ Sacred Congregation for
Divine Worship,May 29, 1969:AAS 61 (1969), pp. 541-545. ]
Immensae caritatis, [ Sacred Congregation for the Discipline
of the Sacraments, January 29, 1973: AAS 65 (1973), pp.
264-271.] and Liturgicae instaurationes. [Sacred
Congregation for Divine Worship, September 5, 1970: AAS 62
(1970), pp. 692-704. ]
. . . [W]e are face to face with a real falsification of the
Catholic Liturgy: "One who offers worship to God on the
Church's behalf in a way contrary to that which is laid down by
the Church with God-given authority and which is customary in
the Church is guilty of falsification." [ St. Thomas, Summa
Theologiae, 2-2, Q. 93, A. 1.]
None of these things can bring good results. The consequences
are--and cannot fail to be--the impairing of the unity of Faith
and worship in the Church, doctrinal uncertainty, scandal and
bewilderment among the People of God, and the near
inevitability of violent reactions.
The faithful have a right to a true Liturgy, which means the
Liturgy desired and laid down by the Church, which has in fact
indicated where adaptations may be made as called for by
pastoral requirements in different places or by different
groups of people. Undue experimentation, changes and
creativity bewilder the faithful. The use of unauthorized texts
means a loss of the necessary connection between the lex orandi
and the lex credendi. The Second Vatican Council's admonition
in this regard must be remembered: < "No person, even if he be
a priest, may add, remove or change anything in the Liturgy on
his own authority."> [emphasis added] [ Second Vatican
Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum
Concilium, nos. 22, 3.] And Paul VI of venerable memory stated
that: "Anyone who takes advantage of the reform to indulge in
arbitrary experiments is wasting energy and offending the
ecclesial sense." [ Paul VI, address of August 22, 1973:
L'Osservatore Romano, August 23, 1973.]
. . .
1. "The two parts which in a sense go to make up the Mass,
namely the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic Liturgy, are
so closely connected that they form but one single act of
worship." [Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the
Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 56. ] A person
should not approach the table of the Bread of the Lord without
having first been at the table of His Word. [Cf. ibid., 56;
cf. also Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on
Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, no. 21. ] Sacred Scripture is
therefore of the highest importance in the celebration of Mass.
Consequently there can be no disregarding what the Church has
laid down in order to insure that "in sacred celebrations there
should be a more ample, more varied and more suitable reading
from Sacred Scripture." [Second Vatican Council,
Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no.
35. ] The norms laid down in the Lectionary concerning the
number of readings, and the directives given for special
occasions are to be observed. < It would be a serious abuse to
replace the Word of God with the word of man, no matter who the
author may be.> [emphasis added] [Cf. Sacred Congregation
for Divine Worship, Instruction Liturgicae instaurationes, no.
. . .
5. Only the Eucharistic Prayers included in the Roman Missal or
those that the Apostolic See has by law admitted, in the manner
and within the limits laid down by the Holy See, are to be
6. It should be remembered that the Eucharistic Prayer must not
be overlaid with other prayers or songs. When proclaiming
the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest is to pronounce < the text >
[emphasis added] clearly, so as to make it easy for the
faithful to understand it, and so as to foster the formation of
a true assembly entirely intent upon the celebration of the
memorial of the Lord.
. . .
27. If anything has been introduced that is at variance with
these indications, it is to be corrected.
. . .
It seems fitting to recall a remark made by that Pope
concerning fidelity to the norms governing celebration: "It is
a very serious thing when division is introduced precisely
where congregavit nos in unum Christi amor, in the Liturgy and
the Eucharistic Sacrifice, by the refusing of obedience to the
norms laid down in the liturgical sphere. It is in the name of
tradition that we ask all our sons and daughters, all the
Catholic communities, to celebrate with dignity and fervor the
renewed Liturgy." [Second Vatican Council, Decree Christus
Dominus, no. 15. ] . . .
Rome, April 3, 1980, Holy Thursday.
This instruction, prepared by the Sacred Congregation for the
Sacraments and Divine Worship, was approved on April 17,1980,
by the Holy Father, John Paul ll, who confirmed it with his own
authority and ordered it to be published and to be observed by
James R. Cardinal Knox Prefect Virgilio Noe Assistant Secretary
THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY Sacrosanctum
Concilium, December 4, 1963
. . .
A. General Norms
22. (1) Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the
authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See, and, as
laws may determine, on the bishop.
(2) In virtue of power conceded by law, the regulation of the
liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various
kinds of bishops' conferences, legitimately established, with
competence in given territories.
(3) < Therefore no other person, not even a priest, may add,
remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own
authority. > [Emphasis added.]
CODE OF CANON LAW (Codex Iuris Canonici) (1983):
Can. 846 - 1. In sacramentis celebrandis fideliter serventur
libri liturgici a competenti auctoritas probati; quapropter
nemo in iisdem quidpiam proprio marte addat, demat aut mutet.
[ Can. 846 - 1. The liturgical books approved by competent
authority are to be faithfully observed in the celebration of
the sacraments; therefore no one on personal authority may add,
remove or change anything in them. ]
Provided courtesy of:
Eternal Word Television Network
5817 Old Leeds Road
Irondale, AL 35210