Third Editio Typica of the Roman Missal

Author: CDW


Congregation for Divine Worship


The following brief overview is drawn from the presentation to the press of the editio typica tertia by the Cardinal Prefect and the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on 22 March 2002. For the complete text see the next issue of Notitiae.

In 1970, after the Second Vatican Council and following the directives of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium on the liturgy, the first editio typica of the Roman Missal was published. Publication of the second editio typica followed after a few years, in 1975. Thirty years later, the third editio typica is published, which became necessary for many reasons and took almost 10 years to complete. This new edition of the Roman Missal is now offered to all the Roman Rite clergy and faithful as the most important of all the liturgical books renewed by the Second Vatican Council.

The Decree by which the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments publishes this new edition of the Roman Missal notes that it was approved by the Holy Father on 10 April 2000 and published on 20 April that same year, on Holy Thursday, as were the editions of 1970 and 1975.

The edition we are presenting is the result of a lengthy revision and "aggiornamento" which began in 1991 and was continued in 1996, years in which the Congregation held its plenary assemblies. The work devoted to producing the editio typica basically focused on adapting the normative and canonical section to the Codex Iuris Canonici and bringing the normative and liturgical section into line with the directives the Holy See has issued since 1975.

This is not merely an amended reprint. It is a real editio typica, that is, an official, updated publication intended for the Eucharistic celebration in Latin and for direct translation into the national languages, the task of the Bishops' Conferences in the various countries, who will do the translations according to the provisions on the translation of liturgical books set out in Liturgiam authenticam of 28 March 2001, in order to obtain the recognitio of the Holy See before they go into effect in their respective linguistic area. The editio typica becomes the paradigm to which one must refer for the faithful translation of liturgical texts into the vernacular. This editio typica, which was composed in the years following the Second Vatican Council and received an energetic impetus from the Letter of the Holy Father Vicesimus quintus annus of 1988, (n. 20), at this particular moment becomes a precise and obligatory instrument for the translation of liturgical books, with a view to the efficacy and fidelity in communicating the content of the patrimony of the Latin Church.

Making his own the affirmation of the Synod of Bishops in 1985, Pope John Paul II said that "liturgical renewal is the most visible fruit of the whole work of the Council" (Apostolic Letter Vicesimus quintus annus, n. 12, 4 December 1988). For many people, the message of the Second Vatican Council was first perceived in the liturgical reform. Moreover, "A very close and organic bond exists between the renewal of the liturgy and the renewal of the whole life of the Church" (Domenicae Cenae, n. 13, 24 February 1980,Letter on the Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist).

The third editio typica of the Roman Missal is certainly a gift, offered to the particular Churches of the Roman Rite by the Holy See and especially by the Holy Father, with the guarantee of authenticity or, essentially, fidelity to the traditio inherited from his predecessors who passed it on to the next generations.

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It is not surprising that in the course of history the Popes have paid special attention to publishing editions of the Roman Missal, in their concern to safeguard the fidelity, correctness and nobility of the liturgical language, an obvious sign of the special importance of the Eucharist in the life of the Church (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 47). Down through the centuries there have been a variety of official editions of the Roman Missal. The changes, integrations and insertions have all contributed to improving the quality of the celebration of the Eucharistic mystery, as required by the specific needs of the times. In this historical development of the Roman Missal, an effort has always been made to safeguard what is known as the unitas substantialis (substantial unity) of the Roman Rite, an element that should remain unchanged as the testimony of the unfailing tradition of the Church. In fact, like other liturgical books, and in accord with the ancient saying lex orandi legem statuat credendi (the way of praying witnesses to the law of belief), the Missal expresses the sensus fidei of the Church, not in the style of dogmatic formulas but in the classical density of the oral style of the liturgy, composed not only of the words but also of the gestures and signs, to express what we receive from divine Revelation.

The principal part of the Roman Missal consists in eucological formulas or prayers, even if the correct celebration, the ars celebrandi, requires norms and instructions to regulate and to assist both the main celebrant and the assembly to take part in the celebrations of the mysteries of salvation in an orderly and fruitful way and in conformity with their own specific role.

Moreover, the insertion in the section on general norms of a new chapter IX, to integrate what was prescribed by the Instruction Varietates legitimae on liturgical inculturation, is very important. It takes up and reasserts those principles and criteria to be applied whenever a Bishops' Conference deems it necessary to introduce into the Missal adaptations that go beyond those foreseen by the Missal itself. These adaptations should be considered as special exceptions, and can only be justified by the need to provide for the spiritual good of the particular Churches concerned within substantial unity of the Roman Rite.

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From the viewpoint of the innovations introduced into the text of the Roman Missal, certain details can be listed which have a certain pastoral efficacy.

In the first place, there is the work of integrating or updating the Calendarium Romanum generale, with the insertion of those celebrations established after the editio typica altera.

Optional memorials:

23 April: St Adalbert, bishop and martyr; 28 April: St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, priest; 2 August: St Pierre Julien Eymard, priest; 9 September: St Peter Claver, priest; 28 September: St Lawrence Ruiz and companions, martyrs;

Obligatory memorials:

14 August: St Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest and martyr; 20 September: St Andrew Kim Taegon, priest, and Paul Chong Hasang and companions, martyrs; 24 November: St Andrew Dung-Lac, priest, and companions, martyrs.

Moreover, Higher Authority arranged for the addition of 11 new celebrations: 3 January: the Holy Name of Jesus; 8 February: St Josephine Bakhita, virgin; 13 May: Our Lady of Fatima; 21 May: St Cristóbal Magallánes, priest, and companions, martyrs; 22 May: St Rita of Cascia, religious; 9 July: St Augustine Zhao Rong, priest, and companions, martyrs; 20 July: St Apollinaris, bishop and martyr; 24 July: St Sharbel Makhlouf, priest; 9 August: St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), virgin and martyr; 12 September: The Holy Name of Mary; 25 November: St Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and martyr.

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In the Order of the Mass, precisely in the collection of prefaces, a new preface was added for the martyrs; the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary was enriched with new formulas, mostly texts taken from Masses in the collection of Massesin honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary for a better variety.

In the section of Masses for various intentions two formulas from the pre-conciliar Missal have been inserted; the first is a new formula taken from the editio typica of 1962 in which it was titled: To ask for compunction of heartthat was added to the section of theMasses for the remission of sins. The second is the formula of the Mass toask for the virtue of continence. Among the votive Masses we should also mention the formula for the Mass In honour of Divine Mercy.

These particular innovations in the editio typica tertia, as well as the other insertions and the perfecting of certain parts of the General Introduction, constitute the overall differences in the new edition of the Missal which will help give it the importance it deserves and result in bringing an enrichment in the area of ritual practice and of theological reflection.

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A further addition is the inclusion of complete Masses for the ferial days of Advent. Formerly for the Easter Season the prayers for weekdays had a cyclical form. Now there are specific prayers for each day, taken from the ancient sacramentaries, which have a high theological and literary quality.

It is now possible to use the Apostles Creed, which is the Western Creed, witnessed to in Rome in the third century and explained by such great Fathers as Ambrose, Augustine, Rufinus, and present in the Gelasian Sacramentary which carries the Roman liturgical practice of the sixth century, going back to Hippolytus of Rome.

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At times minor changes have been introduced but they act nonetheless as a vehicle for important principles. For example, in the Eucharistic Prayers, where for some time people were asking that the graphical layout of the text be renewed in line with the literary form of the prayer and its theology, received always and everywhere from the ancient Churches of East and West in which this prayer does not begin from the first words of the Eucharistic prayer itself e.g. "You are holy indeed…",butfrom the dialogue of the Preface. Moreover, the rubrics of the post-conciliar Missal already required that the assembly "stand" from the prayer over the gifts. On the basis of this principle, the Eucharistic Prayer or Roman Canon begins with the dialogue between the priest and the assembly and continues with the Preface which is concluded by the Sanctus, to which the opening words of the Eucharistic Prayer are closely linked, e.g. in the first Eucharistic Prayer with the Latin words "Te igitur clementissime Pater" (since a clear reference to what has structurally preceded is implicit in the adverb igitur [therefore]).

Another element that characterizes the new "editio" is the restoration of the orationes super populum (prayers over the people) throughout the Lenten season which enriches the usual form of the blessing before the dismissal of the People of God. In this case one can detect in the new Missal the sense of traditio, which does not ignore any previous form of the liturgy which is authentically Roman, because most of these prayers over the people were taken from the 1962 Missal and others from the elegant and rich formulas of the ancient Sacramentaries.

Furthermore, in the Order of Mass and in the principles clearly expressed in the General Introduction to the Roman Missal (n. 115 ss), the choice—which also has a clear ecclesiological connotation—of the Mass with the people was reconfirmed as the typical form of the Eucharistic celebration as compared with the Order of Mass of the Missal of Pius V of 1570, which presents in first place the Private Mass of the priest, with possible adaptations for the presence of a minister, of the faithful or of ecclesiastical dignitaries (pope, bishops), sung or with the schola.

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The current Missal indisputably fosters and encourages participation with song, but in two places of the General Introduction to the Roman Missal, nn. 45 and 56, it emphasizes the opportunity for moments of silence which should help to give the celebration an intensely prayerful and contemplative atmosphere.

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With the official presentation of the third editio typica of the Roman Missal,the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments hopes that it will be a valid means at the service of the People of God, a guarantee of unity within the Roman Rite as well as an incentive to pursue the fully aware and active participation in liturgical celebrations that is the real objective and an effective means to achieve salvation.  

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
1 May 2001, page 8

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