Inter Oecumenici - Instruction on Implementing the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy

Author: CDW (Rites)


Sacred Congregation of Rites


Chapter I. General Norms
Chapter II. Mystery of the Eucharist
Chapter III. The Other Sacraments and Sacramentals
Chapter IV. Divine Office
Chapter V. Designing Churches and Altars to Facilitate Active Participation of the Faithful



1. Among the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council's primary achievements must be counted the Constitution on the Liturgy, since it regulates the most exalted sphere of the Church's activity. The document will have ever richer effects as pastors and faithful alike deepen their understanding of its genuine spirit and with good will put it into practice.

2. The Consilium, which Pope Paul VI established by the Motu Proprio Sacram Liturgiam, has promptly taken up its two appointed tasks: to carry out the directives of the Constitution and of Sacram Liturgiam and to provide the means for interpreting these documents and putting them into practice.

3. That these documents should immediately be properly carried out everywhere and any possible doubts on interpretation removed are matters of the utmost importance. Therefore, by papal mandate, the Consilium has prepared the present Instruction. It sets out more sharply the functions of conferences of bishops in liturgical matters, explains more fully those principles stated in general terms in the aforementioned documents, and authorizes or mandates that those measures that are practicable before revision of the liturgical books go into effect immediately.


4. The reason for deciding to put these things into practice now is that the liturgy may ever more fully satisfy the conciliar intent on promoting active participation of the faithful. R1
The faithful will more readily respond to the overall reform of the liturgy if this proceeds step by step in stages and if pastors present and explain it to them by means of the needed catechesis.

5. Necessary before all else, however, is the shared conviction that the Constitution on the Liturgy has as its objective not simply to change liturgical forms and texts but rather to bring to life the kind of formation of the faithful and ministry of pastors that will have their summit and source in the liturgy (see SC art. 10). That is the purpose of the changes made up to now and of those yet to come.

6. Pastoral activity guided toward the liturgy has its power in being a living experience of the paschal mystery, in which the Son of God, incarnate and made obedient even to the death of the cross, has in his resurrection and ascension been raised up in such a way that he communicates his divine life to the world. Through this life those who are dead to sin and conformed to Christ "may live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised" (2 Cor 5:15).
Faith and the sacraments of faith accomplish this, especially baptism (see SC art. 6) and the mystery of the Eucharist (see SC art. 47), the center of the other sacraments and sacramentals (see SC art. 61), and of the cycle of celebrations that in the course of the year unfold Christ's paschal mystery (see SC art. 102-107).

7. The liturgy, it is true, does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church (see SC art. 9); nevertheless the greatest care must be taken about rightly linking pastoral activity with the liturgy and carrying out a pastoral liturgy not as if it were set apart and existing in isolation but as it is closely joined to other pastoral works.
Especially necessary is a close, living union between liturgy, catechesis, religious formation, and preaching.


8. Bishops and their assistants in the priesthood should, therefore, attach ever greater importance to their whole pastoral ministry as it is focused toward the liturgy. Then the faithful themselves will richly partake of the divine life through sharing in the sacred celebrations and, changed into the leaven of Christ and the salt of the earth, will proclaim that divine life and pass it on to others.

Chapter I. General Norms


9. The practical norms, in the Constitution and in this Instruction, as well as practices this Instruction allows or mandates even before revision of the liturgical books, even if they are part of the Roman Rite, may be applied in other Latin rites, due regard being given to the provisions of law.

10. Matters that this Instruction commits to the power of the competent, territorial ecclesiastical authority can and should be put into effect only by such authority through lawful decrees.
In every case the time and circumstances in which such decrees begin to take effect are to be stipulated, with a reasonable preceding interval (vacatio) provided for instruction and preparation of the faithful regarding their observance.


11. Regarding the liturgical formation of the clergy:

a. In theological faculties there shall be a chair of liturgy so that all students may receive the requisite liturgical instruction; in seminaries and religious houses of studies local Ordinaries and major superiors shall see to it that as soon as possible there is a properly trained specialist in liturgy.
b. Professors appointed to teach liturgy shall be trained as soon as possible, in keeping with the norms of the Constitution art. 15.
c. For the continuing liturgical education of clerics, especially those already working in the Lord's vineyard, institutes in pastoral liturgy shall be set up wherever possible.

12. The course in liturgy shall be of appropriate duration, to be fixed in the curriculum of studies by competent authority, and shall follow a method patterned on the norm of the Constitution art. 16.

13. Liturgical celebrations shall be carried out as perfectly as possible. Therefore:

a. Rubrics shall be observed exactly and ceremonies carried out with dignity, under the careful supervision of superiors and with the required preparation beforehand.
b. Clerics shall frequently exercise the liturgical functions proper to their order, i.e., of deacon, subdeacon, acolyte, reader, as well as those of commentator and cantor.
c. Churches and chapels, all sacred furnishings and vestments shall bear the mark of genuine Christian art, including the contemporary.


14. In order that clerics may be trained for a full participation in liturgical celebrations and for a spiritual life deriving from them and to be shared later with others, the Constitution on the Liturgy shall be put into full effect in seminaries and religious houses of studies in keeping with the norms of the documents of the Holy See, the superiors and faculty all working together in harmony to achieve this goal. In order to guide clerics properly toward the liturgy: books are to be recommended on liturgy, especially in its theological and spiritual dimensions, and made available in the library in sufficient numbers; there are to be meditations and conferences, drawn above all from the fonts of sacred Scripture and liturgy (see Const. art. 35, 2); and those communal devotions are to be observed that are in keeping with Christian customs and practice and are suited to the various seasons of the liturgical year.

15. The Eucharist, center of the whole spiritual life, is to be celebrated daily and with the use of different forms of celebration best suited to the condition of the participants.
On Sundays and on the other greater holydays a sung Mass shall be celebrated, with all who live in the house participating; there is to be a homily and, as far as possible, all who are not priests shall receive communion. Once the new rite has been published, concelebration is permitted for priests, especially on more solemn feasts, if pastoral needs do not require individual celebration.
At least on the great festivals it would be well for seminarians to participate in the Eucharist gathered round the bishop in the cathedral church.

16. Even if not yet bound by obligation to divine office, clerics should each day recite or sing in common lauds in the morning as morning prayer and vespers in the evening as evening prayer or compline at the end of the day. Superiors should, as far as possible, themselves take part in this common recitation. Sufficient time shall be provided in the daily schedule for clerics in sacred orders to pray the divine office.
At least on major festivals it would be well, when possible, for seminarians to sing evening prayer in the cathedral church.

17. Religious devotions, arranged according to the laws or customs of each place or institute, shall be held in due esteem. Nevertheless, care should be taken that, especially if they are held in common, they harmonize with the liturgy, in keeping with the Constitution art. 13, and that they take into account the seasons of the liturgical year.


18. The foregoing articles on the liturgical formation of clerics' spiritual life are to be applied, with the required modifications, to both men and women members of religious institutes.


19. Pastors shall strive diligently and patiently to carry out the mandate of the Constitution on the liturgical formation of the faithful and on their active participation, both inward and outward, "in keeping with their age and condition, their way of life, and stage of religious development" (SC art. 19). They should be especially concerned about the liturgical formation and active participation of those involved in lay religious associations; such people have the responsibility of sharing more fully in the Church's life and of assisting their pastors in the effective promotion of parish liturgical life (see SC art. 42).


20. Regulation of the liturgy belongs to the authority of the Church; no one, therefore, is to act on individual initiative in this matter, thereby, as might well happen, doing harm to the liturgy and to its reform under competent authority.

21. The Holy See has the authority to reform and approve the general liturgical books; to regulate the liturgy in matters affecting the universal Church; to approve or confirm the acta and decisions of territorial authorities; and to accede to their proposals and requests.

22. The bishop has the authority to regulate the liturgy within his own diocese, in keeping with the norms and spirit of the Constitution on the Liturgy, the decrees of the Holy See, and competent territorial authority.

23. The various territorial assemblies of bishops that have responsibility for the liturgy by virtue of the Constitution art. 22 should for the time being be taken to mean one of the following:

a. an assembly of all the bishops of a nation, in accordance with the norm of the Motu Proprio Sacram Liturgiam X;
b. an assembly already lawfully constituted and consisting of the bishops - or of the bishops and other local Ordinaries - of several nations;
c. an assembly yet to be constituted, with the permission of the Holy See, and consisting of the bishops - or of the bishops and local Ordinaries - of several nations, especially if the bishops in the individual nations are so few that it would be more advantageous for a group to be formed of those from various nations sharing the same language and culture.

If particular local conditions suggest another course, the matter should be referred to the Holy See.

24. The following must be included in the call to any of the above mentioned assemblies:

a. residential bishops;
b. abbots and prelates nullius;
c. vicars and prefects apostolic;
d. permanently appointed apostolic administrators of dioceses;
e. all other local Ordinaries, except vicars general.

Coadjutor and auxiliary bishops may be called by the president, with the consent of the majority of the voting members of the assembly.

25. Unless there is some other lawful provision for certain places and in view of special circumstances, the assembly must be convened:

a. by the one who is the president, in the case of assemblies already lawfully constituted;
b. in other cases, by the archbishop or bishop having right of precedence under the norm of law.

26. The president, with the consent of the fathers, establishes the rules of order for dealing with issues and opens, transfers, extends, and adjourns the sessions of the assembly.

27. A deliberative vote belongs to all those named in no. 24, including coadjutor and auxiliary bishops, unless the convening instrument expressly provides otherwise.

28. Lawful enactment of decrees requires a two-thirds vote by secret ballot.

29. The acta of the competent territorial authority, to be transmitted to the Holy See for approval, that is, confirmation, should include the following:

a. the names of participants in the assembly;
b. a report on matters dealt with;
c. the outcome of the vote on each decree.

These acta, signed by the president and secretary of the assembly and stamped with a seal, shall be sent in duplicate to the Consilium.

30. With regard to acta containing decrees on use of the vernacular and the mariner of its introduction into the liturgy, the acta, following the Constitution on the Liturgy art. 36, § 3 and the Motu Proprio Sacram Liturgiam no. IX, should also contain:

a. a list of the individual parts of the liturgy for which use of the vernacular has been decided;
b. two copies of the liturgical texts prepared in the vernacular, one of which will be returned to the assembly of bishops;
c. a brief report on the criteria used for the work of translation.

31. The decrees of the territorial authority needing the approval, that is, confirmation, of the Holy See shall be promulgated and implemented only when they have received such approval, that is, confirmation.


32. Parts belonging to the choir or to the people and sung or recited by them are not said privately by the celebrant.

33. Nor are readings that are read or sung by the appropriate minister said privately by the celebrant.


34. Individual bishops, or, if it seems advisable, regional or national conferences of bishops shall see to it that the Council's prohibition against preferential treatment of individuals or a social class either in the ceremonies or by outward display is respected in their territories.

35. In addition, pastors shall not neglect to ensure prudently and charitably that in the liturgical services and more especially in the celebration of Mass and the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals the equality of the faithful is clearly apparent and that any suggestion of moneymaking is avoided.


36. In order that liturgical services may manifest a noble simplicity more attuned to the spirit of the times:

a. the celebrant and ministers shall bow to the choir only at the beginning and end of a service;
b. incensation of the clergy, apart from those who are bishops, shall take place toward each side of the choir, with three swings of the censer;
c. incensation shall be limited to the one altar where the liturgical rite is being celebrated;
d. kissing of the hand and of objects presented or received shall be omitted.


37. In places without a priest and where none is available for celebration of Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation, a sacred celebration of the word of God with a deacon or even a properly appointed layperson presiding, shall be arranged, at the discretion of the local Ordinary.
The plan of such a celebration shall be almost the same as that of the liturgy of the word at Mass. Normally the epistle and gospel from the Mass of the day shall be read in the vernacular, with chants, especially from the psalms, before and between the readings. If the one presiding is a deacon, he shall give a homily; a nondeacon shall read a homily chosen by the bishop or the pastor. The whole celebration is to end with the universal prayer or prayer of the faithful and the Lord's Prayer.

38. Celebrations of the word of God, to be promoted on the vigils of more solemn feast days, should also follow the structure of the liturgy of the word at Mass, although it is quite permissible to have but one reading.
Where there are several readings, their arrangement, for a clear perception of the progression of salvation history, should place the Old Testament reading before the one from the New Testament and should show the reading of the gospel to be the culmination of all.

39. The diocesan liturgical commissions shall be responsible for suggesting and making available such resources as will ensure dignity and devotion in these celebrations of the word.


40. Vernacular translations of liturgical texts to be prepared in conformity with the norms of art. 36, § 3 will benefit from observing the following criteria.

a. The basis of the translations is the Latin liturgical text. The version of the biblical passages should conform to the same Latin liturgical text. This does not, however, take away the right to revise that version, should it seem advisable, on the basis of the original text or of some clearer version.
b. The liturgical commission mentioned in the Constitution art. 44 and in the present Instruction art. 44 is to have special responsibility for the preparation of translations of liturgical texts, with the institute of pastoral liturgy providing as much assistance as possible. But where there is no such commission, two or three bishops are to share responsibility for the translating; they are to choose experts, including the laity, in Scripture, liturgy, the biblical languages, Latin, the vernacular, and music. Sound translation of a liturgical text into the language of a people has to answer many requirements simultaneously.
c. Where applicable, there should be consultation on translations with bishops of neighboring regions using the same language.
d. In nations of several languages there should be a translation for each language, to be submitted to the bishops involved for careful examination.
e. Special attention should be given to the high quality of books used for reading the liturgical text to the people in the vernacular, so that even the book's appearance may prompt greater reverence for the word of God and for sacred objects.

41. Liturgical services held anywhere for people of a foreign language, especially for immigrants, members of a personal parish, or other like groups, may, with the consent of the local Ordinary, lawfully be celebrated in the native tongue of these faithful. Such celebrations are to conform to the limits for use of the vernacular and to the translation approved by the competent, territorial ecclesiastical authority for the language in question.

42. Melodies for parts to be sung in the vernacular by celebrant and ministers must have the approval of the competent, territorial ecclesiastical authority.

43. Particular liturgical books lawfully approved before the promulgation of the Constitution on the Liturgy and indults granted up to then, unless they conflict with the Constitution, remain in force until other dispositions are made as the reform of the liturgy is completed, in whole or in part.


44 . The liturgical commission, which should be expeditiously established by the territorial authority, shall as far as possible be chosen from among the bishops themselves or at least include one of them, along with priests expert in liturgical and pastoral matters and designated by name for this office.
The members and consultants of the commission should ideally meet several times a year to deal with issues as a group.

45. The territorial authority may properly entrust the following to the commission:

a. to carry out studies and experiments in keeping with the norms of the Constitution art. 40, §§ 1 and 2;
b. to further practical initiatives for the whole region that will foster liturgical life and the application of the Constitution on the Liturgy;
c. to prepare studies and the resources required as a result of decrees of the plenary assembly of bishops;
d. to control pastoral liturgy in the whole nation, to see to the application of decrees of the plenary assembly, and to report on these matters to the assembly;
e. to further frequent consultation and promote collaboration with regional associations involved with Scripture, catechetics, pastoral care, music, and art, as well as with every kind of lay religious association.

46. Members of the institute of pastoral liturgy, as well as experts called to assist the liturgical commission, shall be generous in aiding individual bishops to promote pastoral? liturgical activity more effectively in their territory.


47. The diocesan liturgical commission, under the direction of the bishop, has these responsibilities:

a. to be fully informed on the state of pastoral - liturgical activity in the diocese;
b. to carry out faithfully those proposals in liturgical matters made by the competent authority and to keep informed on the studies and programs taking place elsewhere in this field;
c. to suggest and promote practical programs of every kind that may contribute to the advancement of liturgical life, especially in the interest of aiding priests laboring in the Lord's vineyard;
d. to suggest, in individual cases or even for the whole diocese, timely, step-by-step measures for the work of pastoral liturgy, to appoint and to call upon people capable of helping priests in this matter as occasion arises, to propose suitable means and resources;
e. to see to it that programs in the diocese designed to promote liturgy go forward with the cooperation and mutual help of other groups along the lines mentioned above (no. 45 e) regarding the liturgical commission of the assembly of bishops.

Chapter II. Mystery of the Eucharist

I. ORDO MISSAE (SC art. 50)

48. Until reform of the entire Ordo Missae, the points that follow are to be observed:

a. The celebrant is not to say privately those parts of the Proper sung or recited by the choir or the congregation.
b. The celebrant may sing or recite the parts of the Ordinary together with the congregation or choir.
c. In the prayers at the foot of the altar at the beginning of Mass Psalm 42 is omitted. All the prayers at the foot of the altar are omitted whenever there is another liturgical rite immediately preceding.
d. In solemn Mass the subdeacon does not hold the paten but leaves it on the altar.
e. In sung Masses the secret prayer or prayer over the gifts is sung and in other Masses recited aloud.
f. The doxology at the end of the canon, from Per ipsum through Per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen, is to be sung or recited aloud. Throughout the whole doxology the celebrant slightly elevates the chalice with the host, omitting the signs of the cross, and genuflects at the end after the Amen response by the people.
g. In recited Masses the congregation may recite the Lord's Prayer in the vernacular along with the celebrant; in sung Masses the people may sing it in Latin along with the celebrant and, should the territorial ecclesiastical authority have so decreed, also in the vernacular, using melodies approved by the same authority.
h. The embolism after the Lord's Prayer shall be sung or recited aloud.
i. The formulary for distributing holy communion is to be, Corpus Christi. As he says these words, the celebrant holds the host slightly above the ciborium and shows it to the communicant, who responds: Amen, then receives communion from the celebrant, the sign of the cross with the host being omitted.
j. The last gospel is omitted; the Leonine Prayers are suppressed.
k. It is lawful to celebrate a sung Mass with only a deacon assisting.
l. It is lawful, when necessary, for bishops to celebrate a sung Mass following the form used by priests.


49. In Masses celebrated with a congregation, the lessons, epistle, and gospel are to be read or sung facing the people:

a. at the lectern or at the edge of the sanctuary in solemn Masses;
b. at the altar, lectern, or the edge of the sanctuary�whichever is more convenient�in sung or recited Masses if sung or read by the celebrant; at the lectern or at the edge of the sanctuary if sung or read by someone else.

50. In nonsolemn Masses celebrated with the faithful participating a qualified reader or the server reads the lessons and epistles with the intervening chants; the celebrant sits and listens. A deacon or a second priest may read the gospel and he says the Munda cor meum, asks for the blessing, and, at the end, presents the Book of the Gospels for the celebrant to kiss.

51. In sung Masses, the lessons, epistle, and gospel, if in the vernacular, may simply be read.

52. For the reading or singing of the lessons, epistle, intervening chants, and gospel, the following is the procedure.

a. In solemn Masses the celebrant sits and listens to the lessons, the epistle, and chants. After singing or reading the epistle, the subdeacon goes to the celebrant for the blessing. At this point the celebrant, remaining seated, puts incense into the thurible and blesses it. During the singing of the Alleluia and verse or toward the end of other chants after the epistle, the celebrant rises to bless the deacon. From his place he listens to the gospel, kisses the Book of the Gospels, and, after the homily, intones the Credo, when prescribed. At the end of the Credo he returns to the altar with the ministers, unless he is to lead the prayer of the faithful.
b. The celebrant follows the same procedures in sung or recited Masses in which the lessons, epistle, intervening chants, and the gospel are sung or recited by the minister mentioned in no. 50.
c. In sung or recited Masses in which the celebrant sings or recites the gospel, during the singing or saying of the Alleluia and verse or toward the end of other chants after the epistle, he goes to the foot of the altar and there, bowing profoundly, says the Munda cor meum. He then goes to the lectern or to the edge of the sanctuary to sing or recite the gospel.
d. But in a sung or recited Mass if the celebrant sings or reads all the lessons at the lectern or at the edge of the sanctuary, he also, if necessary, recites the chants after the lessons and the epistle standing in the same place; then he says the Munda cor meum, facing the altar.

III. HOMILY (SC art. 52)

53. There shall be a homily on Sundays and holydays of obligation at all Masses celebrated with a congregation, including conventual, sung, or pontifical Masses.
On days other than Sundays and holydays a homily is recommended, especially on some of the weekdays of Advent and Lent or on other occasions when the faithful come to church in large numbers.

54. A homily on the sacred text means an explanation, pertinent to the mystery celebrated and the special needs of the listeners, of some point in either the readings from sacred Scripture or in another text from the Ordinary or Proper of the day's Mass.

55. Because the homily is part of the liturgy for the day, any syllabus proposed for preaching within the Mass during certain periods must keep intact the intimate connection with at least the principal seasons and feasts of the liturgical year (see SC art. 102-104), that is, with the mystery of redemption.


56. In places where the universal prayer or prayer of the faithful is already the custom, it shall take place before the offertory, after the Oremus, and, for the time being, with formularies in use in individual regions. The celebrant is to lead the prayer at either his chair, the altar, the lectern, or the edge of the sanctuary.
A deacon, cantor, or other suitable minister may sing the intentions or intercessions. The celebrant takes the introductions and concluding prayer, this being ordinarily the Deus, refugium nostrum et virtus (MR, Orationes diversae no. 20) or another prayer more suited to particular needs.
In places where the universal prayer or prayer of the faithful is not the custom, the competent territorial authority may decree its use in the manner indicated above and with formularies approved by that authority for the time being.


57. For Masses, whether sung or recited, celebrated with a congregation, the competent, territorial ecclesiastical authority on approval, that is, confirmation, of its decisions by the Holy See, may introduce the vernacular into:

a. the proclaiming of the lessons, epistle, and gospel; the universal prayer or prayer of the faithful;
b. as befits the circumstances of the place, the chants of the Ordinary of the Mass, namely, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus-Benedictus, Agnus Dei, as well as the introit, offertory, and communion antiphons and the chants between the readings;
c. acclamations, greeting, and dialogue formularies, the Ecce Agnus Dei, Domine, non sum dignus, Corpus Christi at the communion of the faithful, and the Lord's Prayer with its introduction and embolism.

Missals to be used in the liturgy, however, shall contain besides the vernacular version the Latin text as well.

58. The Holy See alone can grant permission for use of the vernacular in those parts of the Mass that the celebrant sings or recites alone.

59. Pastors shall carefully see to it that the Christian faithful, especially members of lay religious institutes, also know how to recite or sing together in Latin, mainly with simple melodies, the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass proper to them.


60. The faithful who receive communion at the Mass of the Easter Vigil or the Midnight Mass of Christmas may receive again at the second Mass of Easter and at one of the Day Masses of Christmas.

Chapter III. The Other Sacraments and Sacramentals


61. The competent territorial authority, on approval, that is, confirmation, of its decisions by the Holy See, may introduce the vernacular for:

a. the rites, including the essential sacramental forms, of baptism, confirmation, penance, anointing of the sick, marriage, and the distribution of holy communion;
b. the conferral of orders: the address preliminary to ordination or consecration, the examination of the bishop-elect at an episcopal consecration, and the admonitions;
c. sacramentals;
d. rite of funerals.

Whenever a more extensive use of the vernacular seems desirable, the prescription of the Constitution art. 40 is to be observed.

II. Elements to be Dropped in the Rite of Supplying Ceremonies for a Person Already Baptized (SC ART. 69)

62. In the rite of supplying ceremonies in the case of a baptized infant, Rituale Romanum tit. 11, cap. 6, the exorcisms in no. 6 (Exi ab eo), no. 10 (Exorcizo te, immunde spiritus - Ergo, maledicte diabole), and no. 15 (Exorcizo te, omnis spiritus) are to be dropped.

63. In the rite for supplying ceremonies in the case of a baptized adult, Rituale Romanum tit. 11, cap. 6, the exorcisms in no. 5 (Exi ab eo), no. 15 (Ergo, maledicte diabole), no. 17 (Audi, maledicte satana), no. 19 (Exorcizo te - Ergo, maledicte diabole), no. 21 (Ergo, maledicte diabole), no. 23 (Ergo, maledicte diabole), no. 25 (Exorcizo te - Ergo, maledicte diabole), no. 31 (Nec te latet), and no. 35 (Exi, immunde spiritus) are to be dropped.


64. If confirmation is conferred within Mass, the Mass should be celebrated by the bishop himself; in this case he confers the sacrament clad in Mass vestments.
The Mass within which confirmation is conferred may be celebrated as a second-class votive Mass of the Holy Spirit.

65. After the gospel and homily, before the reception of confirmation, it is well for those being confirmed to renew their baptismal promises, according to the rite in lawful use in individual regions, unless they have already done so before Mass.

66. If the Mass is celebrated by someone else, the bishop should assist at the Mass in the vestments prescribed for the conferral of confirmation; they may be either of the color of the Mass or white. The bishop himself should give the homily and the celebrant should resume the Mass only after the conferral of confirmation.

67. The conferral of confirmation follows the rite outlined in the Pontificale Romanum, but with a single sign of the cross at the words In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti that follow the formulary, Signo te.


68. When the anointing of the sick and viaticum are administered at the same time, unless a continuous rite already exists in a local ritual, the sequence of the rite is to be as follows: after the sprinkling with holy water and the prayer upon entering the room as given in the rite of anointing, the priest should, if need be, hear the confession of the sick person, then administer the anointing and finally give viaticum, omitting the sprinkling with its formularies, the Confiteor, and the absolution. If, however, the apostolic blessing with plenary indulgence at the hour of death is also to be imparted, it shall be given immediately before the anointing; the sprinkling with its formularies, the Confiteor, and absolution are omitted.


69. At the consecration of a bishop all bishops present, clad in choral vesture, may participate in the laying on of hands. Only the consecrator and the two co-consecrators, however, pronounce the words, Accipe Spiritum Sanctum.


70. Unless there is some good, excusing reason, marriage shall be celebrated within Mass, after the gospel and homily The homily is never to be omitted.

71. Whenever marriage is celebrated within Mass, the Missa votiva pro sponsis shall always be celebrated, even in closed times, or a commemoration made from it, in keeping with the rubrics.

72. As far as possible, the pastor himself or the one he delegates to assist at the marriage shall celebrate the Mass; if another priest assists at the marriage, the celebrant shall not continue the Mass until the rite of marriage has been completed.
The priest who only assists at the marriage but does not celebrate the Mass shall be vested in surplice and white stole and, if it is the local custom, also in cope; he shall also give the homily. But the celebrant is always to give the blessing after the Pater noster and before the Placeat.

73. The nuptial blessing shall always be given within the Mass, even in closed times and even if one or both of the spouses is entering into a second marriage.

74. In the celebration of marriage outside Mass:

a. At the beginning of the rite, in keeping with the Motu Proprio Sacram Liturgiam no. V, a brief instruction shall be given, not a homily but simply an introduction to the celebration of marriage (see SC art. 35, § 3). After the reading of the epistle and gospel from the Missa pro sponsis, there shall be a sermon or homily based on the sacred text (see SC art. 52). The order of the whole rite, then, is to be as follows: the brief instruction, reading of the epistle and gospel in the vernacular, homily, celebration of marriage, nuptial blessing.
b. For the reading of the epistle and gospel from the Missa pro sponsis, if there is no vernacular text approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority, it is lawful for the time being to use a text approved by the local Ordinary.
c. Singing is allowed between the epistle and gospel. After the rite of marriage and before the nuptial blessing it is most desirable to have the prayer of the faithful in a form approved by the local Ordinary and incorporating intercessions for the spouses.
d. Even in closed times and even if one or both of the spouses is entering a second marriage, they are to receive the nuptial blessing, according to the formulary in the Rituale Romanum tit. VIII, cap. 3, unless local rituals provide a different one.

75. If marriage is celebrated during closed times, the pastor shall advise the spouses to be mindful of the proper spirit of the particular liturgical season.

76. For the blessing of candles on 2 February and of ashes on Ash Wednesday just one of the prayers for these in the Missale Romanum suffices.
77. The blessings in the Rituale Romanum tit. IX, cap. 9, 10, 11, hitherto reserved, may be given by any priest, except for: the blessing of a bell for the use of a blessed church or oratory (cap. 9, no. 11); the blessing of the cornerstone of a church (cap. 9, no. 16); the blessing of a new church or public oratory (cap. 9, no. 17); the blessing of an antemensium (cap. 9, no. 21); the blessing of a new cemetery (cap. 9, no. 22); papal blessings (cap. 10, nos. 1-3); the blessing and erection of the stations of the cross (cap. 11, no. 1). reserved to the bishop.

Chapter IV. Divine Office


78. Until reform of the divine office is completed:

a. Communities of canons, monks, nuns, other regulars or religious bound to choir by law or constitutions must, in addition to the conventual Mass, celebrate the entire divine office daily in choir.
Individual members of these communities who are in major orders or solemnly professed, except for lay brothers, are obliged, even if lawfully dispensed from choir, to private recitation each day of the hours they do not celebrate in choir.
b. Cathedral and collegiate chapters must, besides the conventual Mass, celebrate in choir those parts of the office imposed on them by common or particular law.
Individual chapter members, besides the canonical hours obligatory for all clerics in major orders (see SC art. 96 and 89), must recite in private the hours that are celebrated by their chapter.
c. In mission regions, while preserving the religious or capitular choral discipline established by law, religious or capitulars who are lawfully absent from choir by reason of pastoral ministry may, with permission of the local Ordinary (not of his vicar general or delegate), use the concession granted by the Motu Proprio Sacram Liturgiam no. VI.


79. The faculty given all Ordinaries to dispense their subjects, in individual cases and for a just reason, from the obligation of the divine office in whole or in part or to commute it is also extended to major superiors of nonexempt clerical, religious institutes and of societies of common life.


80. No little office can be classified as conformed to the divine office if it does not consist of psalms, readings, hymns, and prayers or if it has no relationship to the hours of the day and the particular liturgical season.

81. But little offices already lawfully approved suffice for the time being as a sharing in the public prayer of the Church, provided their makeup meets the criteria just stated.
For use as part of the public prayer of the Church, any new little office must have the approval of the Holy See.

82. The translation of the text of a little office into the vernacular for use as the public prayer of the Church must have the approval of the competent, territorial ecclesiastical authority, following approval, that is, confirmation, by the Holy See.

83. The Ordinary or major superior of the subject is the authority competent to grant use of the vernacular in the recitation of a little office to anyone bound to it by constitution or to dispense from or commute the obligation.


84. The obligation of celebrating in common all or part of the divine office or a little office imposed by their constitution on members of institutes of perfection does not take away the faculty of omitting prime and of choosing from among the little hours the one best suited to the time of day (see Motu Proprio Sacram Liturgiam no. VI).


85. In reciting the divine office in choir clerics are bound to retain the Latin language.

86. The faculty granted the Ordinary to allow use of the vernacular in individual cases by those clerics for whom the use of Latin constitutes a serious hindrance to fulfilling the obligation of the office is extended also to the major superiors of nonexempt, clerical religious institutes and of societies of common life.

87. The serious hindrance required for the concession of the faculty mentioned ought to be evaluated on the basis of the physical, moral, intellectual, and spiritual condition of the petitioner. Nevertheless, this faculty, conceded solely to make the recitation of the divine office easier and more devout, is not intended to lessen in any way the obligation of priests in the Latin rite to learn Latin.

88. The respective Ordinaries of the same language are to prepare and approve the translations of the divine office for the non-Roman rites. (For parts of the office shared with the Roman Rite, however, they are to use the version approved by competent territorial authority.) The Ordinaries are then to submit the translation for the Holy See's confirmation.

89. Breviaries for clerics who, according to the provisions of art. 101, § 2, have the right to use the vernacular for the divine office should contain the Latin text along with the vernacular.

Chapter V. Designing Churches and Altars to Facilitate Active Participation of the Faithful


90. In building new churches or restoring and adapting old ones every care is to be taken that they are suited to celebrating liturgical services authentically and that they ensure active participation by the faithful (see SC art. 124).


91. The main altar should preferably be freestanding, to permit walking around it and celebration facing the people. Its location in the place of worship should be truly central so that the attention of the whole congregation naturally focuses there.
Choice of materials for the construction and adornment of the altar is to respect the prescriptions of law.
The sanctuary area is to be spacious enough to accommodate the sacred rites.


92. In relation to the plan of the church, the chair for the celebrant and ministers should occupy a place that is clearly visible to all the faithful and that makes it plain that the celebrant presides over the whole community.
Should the chair stand behind the altar, any semblance of a throne, the prerogative of a bishop, is to be avoided.


93. There are to be fewer minor altars and, where the design of the building permits, the best place for them is in chapels somewhat set apart from the body of the church.


94. At the discretion of the Ordinary, the cross and candlesticks required on the altar for the various liturgical rites may also be placed next to it.


95. The Eucharist is to be reserved in a solid and secure tabernacle, placed in the middle of the main altar or on a minor, but truly worthy altar, or, in accord with lawful custom and in particular cases approved by the local Ordinary, also in another, special, and properly adorned part of the church.
It is lawful to celebrate Mass facing the people even on an altar where there is a small but becoming tabernacle.


96. There should be a lectern or lecterns for the proclamation of the readings, so arranged that the faithful may readily see and hear the minister.


97. The choir and organ shall occupy a place clearly showing that the singers and the organist form part of the united community of the faithful and allowing them best to fulfill their part in the liturgy.


98. Special care should be taken that the place for the faithful will assure their proper participation in the sacred rites with both eyes and mind. Normally there should be benches or chairs for their use but, in keeping with the Constitution art. 32, the custom of reserving places for special persons is to be suppressed.
Care is also to be taken to enable the faithful not only to see the celebrant and other ministers but also to hear them easily, even by use of modern sound equipment.


99. In the construction and decoration of the baptistry great pains are to be taken to ensure that it clearly expresses the dignity of the sacrament of baptism and that it is a place well suited to communal celebrations (see SC art. 27).

This Instruction was prepared by the Consilium by mandate of Pope Paul VI, and presented to the Pope by Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro, President of the Consilium. After having carefully considered the Instruction, in consultation with the Consilium and the Congregation of Rites, Pope Paul in an audience granted to Cardinal Arcadio Maria Larraona, Prefect of the Congregation of Rites, gave it specific approval as a whole and in its parts, confirmed it by his authority, and ordered it to be published and faithfully observed by all concerned, beginning on the first Sunday of Lent, 7 March 1965.

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