The Myhic Fire


Implementation #1

Instruction on the Liturgy

October 16, 1964

Sacred Congregation of Rites



I. Nature of Instruction


     1. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy is deservedly counted among the first fruits of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, since it governs the most excellent part of the Church's activity. It will bear more abundant fruit the more profoundly the pastors and the faithful of Christ perceive its genuine spirit and put it into practice with good will.

     2. The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, established by the Supreme Pontiff, Paul VI, in the apostolic letter Sacram Liturgiam has already speedily undertaken the task entrusted to it, to bring the directives of the constitution and of the apostolic letter to a proper fulfillment and to provide for the interpretation and execution of these documents.

     3. It is of the greatest importance that the documents, from the very beginning, should be properly applied everywhere, with doubts, if there are any, concerning its interpretation being removed. Therefore, the commission, by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff, has prepared this instruction, in which the functions of the bodies of Bishops in liturgical matters are more clearly defined, some principles given in general words in the above-mentioned documents are explained more precisely, and finally some matters, which can be put into practice now, before the restoration of the liturgical books, are allowed or required.


II. Some Principles To Be Noted


     4. What is now defined as to be put into practice has the purpose of making the liturgy correspond always more perfectly to the mind of the council concerning the promotion of active participation of the faithful.

     The general reform of the sacred liturgy, moreover, will be accepted more readily by the faithful if it proceeds gradually and by stages and if the reform is proposed to the faithful and explained to them by the pastors by means required of the catechists.

     5. Nevertheless, it is necessary first that all be persuaded of the intention of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council: not only to change liturgical forms and texts, but rather to stir up that formation of the faithful and pastoral activity which has the sacred liturgy as summit and fount (cf. Const., Art. 10). The changes thus far introduced and to be introduced into the sacred liturgy in the future are directed toward this end.

     6. The power of pastoral-liturgical activity rests in this, that the Christian life may express the paschal mystery in which the Son of God, incarnate and made obedient even to the death of the cross, is so exalted in His resurrection and ascension that He may share His divine life with the world. By this life men, dead to sin and conformed to Christ, "may live no longer for themselves but for him who died for them and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:15).

     This is done through faith and through the sacraments of faith, that is, chiefly through Baptism (cf. Const., Art. 6) and the most sacred mystery of the Eucharist (cf. Const., Art. 47). Around the Eucharist are ranged the other sacraments and the sacramentals (cf. Const., Art. 61) and the cycle of celebrations by which the paschal mystery of Christ is unfolded in the Church during the course of the year (cf. Const., Art 102-107).

     7. Therefore, even if the liturgy does not exhaust the entire action of the Church (cf. Const., Art. 9), nevertheless the greatest attention must be paid to the necessary connection between pastoral works and the sacred liturgy, so that pastoral-liturgical action is not exercised as if separate and abstract, but as intimately joined to other pastoral activities.

     It is especially necessary that there be a close union between the liturgy and catechesis, religious formation, and preaching.


III. Fruits Hoped For


     8. Thus, the Bishops and their assistants in the priesthood should relate their entire pastoral ministry ever more closely to the liturgy. In this way the faithful may derive the divine life in abundance from the perfect participation in the sacred celebrations and, made the ferment of Christ and the salt of the earth, will proclaim the divine life and communicate it to others.






I. Application of Norms


     9. The practical norms, found in the constitution or in this instruction, and whatever is permitted or determined now by this instruction before the restoration of the liturgical books, even if they pertain to the Roman rite alone, may nevertheless be applied to the other Latin rites, the provisions of law being observed.

     10. Those matters which are entrusted to the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority in this instruction may and should be put into effect by that authority alone through legitimate decrees.

     In individual cases, the time and the circumstances in which these decrees will take effect shall be defined, always with a reasonable interval of time for the faithful to be instructed and prepared for their observance.


II. Liturgical Formation of Clerics


     11. With regard to the liturgical formation of clerics:

     (a) In theological faculties there shall be a chair of liturgy, so that all the students may receive the necessary liturgical instruction; in seminaries and in the houses of studies, of Religious, local Ordinaries and major superiors shall see to it that as soon as possible there be a special and properly prepared teacher of liturgy.

     (b) Professors who are appointed to teach sacred liturgy shall be prepared as soon as possible, in accordance with the norm of Art. 15 of the constitution.

     (c) For the further liturgical instruction of clerics, particularly of those who are already working in the Lord's vineyard, pastoral-liturgical institutes shall be established where possible.

     12. The liturgy shall be taught for a suitable period of time, to be indicated in the curriculum of studies by the competent authority, and according to an appropriate method in accordance with the norm of Art. 16 of the constitution.

     13. Liturgical services shall be celebrated as perfectly as possible. Therefore:

     (a) The directions shall be carefully observed and the ceremonies performed with dignity, under the diligent vigilance of the seminary directors, with the necessary preparations beforehand.

     (b) Clerics shall frequently fulfill the liturgical functions of their order, that is, of deacon, subdeacon, acolyte, lector, and, in addition, of commentator and cantor.

     (c) The churches and oratories, the sacred furnishings in general, and sacred vestments shall afford an example of genuine Christian art, including contemporary art.


III. Liturgical Formation of Spiritual Life of Clerics (Const., Art. 17):


     14. In order that clerics may be formed for the full participation in liturgical celebrations and for the spiritual life to be derived from these celebrations, while being prepared to share this participation and life with others, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy shall be put into full effect in seminaries and houses of studies of Religious, in accordance with the norm of documents from the Apostolic See, with the unanimous and harmonious cooperation of all the directors and teachers to this end. A suitable formation in the sacred liturgy shall be provided for the clerics together with the recommendation of books dealing with the liturgy, especially under its theological and spiritual aspect, which should be available in the library in sufficient numbers; as well as by meditations and conferences which shall be drawn above all from the fount of sacred Scripture and the liturgy (cf. Const., Art. 35, 2); and by common exercises, in accordance with Christian custom and usage, but suited to the various seasons of the liturgical year.

     15. The Eucharist, the center of the entire spiritual life, shall be celebrated daily with the use of different and appropriate forms which best correspond to the condition of the participants (cf. Const., Art. 19).

     On Sundays, however, and on other major feast days, a sung Mass shall be celebrated with the participation of all who are in the seminary or house of studies, with a homily and, as far as possible, with the sacramental communion of those who are not priests. The priests may concelebrate, especially on the more solemn feast days, if the needs of the faithful do not require that they celebrate individually, and after the new rite of concelebration has been published.

     It is desirable that, at least on major feast days, the students should participate in the celebration of the Eucharist assembled around the Bishop in the cathedral church (cf. Const., Art. 41).

     16. It is most fitting that the clerics, even if they are not yet bound by the obligation of the Divine Office, should each day recite or chant 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. The directors themselves shall take part in this common recitation, as far as possible. In addition, sufficient time shall be provided in the order of the day for clerics in sacred orders to pray the Divine Office.

     It is desirable that, at least on major feast days, the students should chant vespers in the cathedral church, where possible.

     17. Exercises of piety, arranged according to the laws or customs of each place or institute, shall be held in due esteem. Nevertheless, care should be taken, especially if these exercises are celebrated in common, that they be in harmony with the sacred liturgy, according to the purpose of Art. 13, and that they be related to the seasons of the liturgical year.


IV. Liturgical Formation of Members of Institute Dedicated to Acquiring Perfection


     18. What has been said in the preceding articles concerning the liturgical formation of the spiritual life of clerics must be applied also to the members, both men and women, of institutes dedicated to acquiring perfection, with the necessary adaptations.


V. Liturgical Formation of the Faithful (Const., Art. 19)


     19. Pastors of souls shall strive diligently and patiently to carry out the command of the constitution concerning the liturgical formation of the faithful and their active participation, both internal and external, "according to their age and condition, their way of life, and standard of religious culture" (Const., Art. 19). They should be especially concerned about the liturgical formation and the active participation of those who are engaged in religious associations of the laity, since it is the latter's duty to share more intimately in the life of the Church and also to assist the pastors of souls in properly promoting the liturgical life of the parish (cf. Const., Art. 42).


VI. Competent Authority in Liturgical Matters (Const., Art. 22)


     20. Regulation of the sacred liturgy pertains to the authority of the Church: therefore, no other person shall proceed in this matter on his own authority to the detriment, as may often happen, of the liturgy itself and of its restoration by the competent authority.

     21. It pertains to the Apostolic See to reform and to approve the general liturgical books; to order the sacred liturgy in those matters which affect the Universal Church; to approve, that is, confirm the acts and deliberations of the territorial authority; and to receive the proposals and petitions of the same territorial authority.

     22. It pertains to the Bishop to regulate the liturgy within limits of his diocese, in accordance with the norms and spirit of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy as well as the decrees of the Apostolic See and of the competent territorial authority.

     23. The various kinds of territorial bodies of Bishops, to which the regulation of the liturgy pertains in virtue of Art. 22, 2, of the constitution, must be understood to be, for the interim:

     (a) Either the body of all the Bishops of a nation, in accordance with the norm of the apostolic letter Sacram Liturgiam, n. X;

     (b) Or a body already lawfully constituted which consists of the Bishops, or of the Bishops and other local Ordinaries of several nations;

     (c) Or a body to be established, with the permission of the Apostolic See, consisting of the Bishops or of the Bishops and the local Ordinaries of several nations, especially if in the individual nations the Bishops are so few that they may convene more profitably from various nations of the same language or of the same culture.

     If the particular local conditions suggest another solution, the matter should be proposed to the Apostolic See.

     24. The following must be invited to the above-mentioned bodies:

     (a) residential Bishops;

     (b) Abbots and prelates nullius;

     (c) vicars and prefects apostolic;

     (d) apostolic administrators of dioceses who have been appointed permanently;

     (e) all other local Ordinaries except vicars general.

     Coadjutor and Auxiliary Bishops may be invited by the president, with the consent of the majority of those who take part in the body with deliberative vote.

     25. Unless the law provides otherwise for certain places in view of particular circumstances, the convocation of the body must be made:

     (a) by the respective president, in the case of bodies already lawfully established;

     (b) in other cases, by the Archbishop or Bishop who has the right of precedence in accordance with the norm of law.

     26. The president, with the consent of the Fathers, determines the order to be followed in the examination of questions, and opens, transfers, prorogues, and closes the conference.

     27. A deliberative vote belongs to all who are named in n. 24, including Coadjutor and Auxiliary Bishops, unless a different provision is expressly made in the document of convocation.

     28. For the lawful enactment of decrees, two-thirds of the votes, taken by secret ballot, are required.

     29. The acts of the competent territorial authority which are to be transmitted to the Apostolic See for approval, that is, confirmation, should contain the following:

     (a) the names of those who took part in the session;

     (b) a report of matters taken up;

     (c) the result of voting for the individual decrees.

     Two copies of these acts, signed by the president and the secretary of the body, and with the proper seal, shall be sent to the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy.

     30. When, however, it is a question of acts in which there are decrees concerning the use and extent of the vernacular language to be admitted in the liturgy, besides what is enumerated in n. 29, in accordance with Art. 36, 3, of the constitution and the apostolic letter Sacram Liturgiam, n. IX, the acts should also contain:

     (a) an indication of the individual parts of the liturgy which are to be said in the vernacular;

     (b) two copies of the liturgical texts prepared in the vernacular, one copy of which will be returned to the body of Bishops;

     (c) a brief report concerning the criteria upon which the work of translation was based.

     31. The decrees of the territorial authority which need the approval, that is, the confirmation of the Apostolic See, shall be promulgated and put into practice only when they have been approved, that is, confirmed by the Apostolic See.


VII. The Office of Individuals in the Liturgy (Const., Art. 28)


     32. The parts which pertain to the schola or to the people, if they are sung or recited by them, are not said privately by the celebrant.

     33. Likewise the celebrant does not say privately the lessons which are recited or chanted by a competent minister or by a server.


VIII. Avoiding Distinctions of Person (Const., Art. 32)


     34. The individual Bishops or, if it seems opportune, the regional or national conference of Bishops shall see to it that the prescription of the holy council which forbids any favor to private persons or any favor on the basis of social distinctions, either in ceremonies or in external pomp, shall be put into effect in their territories.

     35. In addition, pastors of souls shall work with prudence and charity so that, in the liturgical services and, more especially, in the celebration of Mass and the administration of sacraments and sacramentals, the equality of the faithful shall be evident even outwardly and that, further, all appearance of money-seeking be avoided.


IX. Simplification of Certain Rites (Const., Art. 34)


     36. In order that the liturgical service may exhibit a noble simplicity in harmony with the mentality of our times:

     (a) The salutations to the choir on the part of the celebrant and the ministers shall be made only at the beginning and at the end of the sacred rites;

     (b) The incensation of the clergy, apart from those who are Bishops, shall be done once for each part of the choir, with three swings of the thurible;

     (c) The incensation of the altar shall be done only at that altar where the liturgical service is being celebrated;

     (d) The kisses of the hand and of objects which are being presented or received shall be omitted.


X. Sacred Celebrations of the Word of God (Const., Art. 35, 4)


     37. In places which lack a priest, if no priest is available for the celebration of Mass on Sundays and feast days of precept, the sacred celebration of the word of God shall be fostered, according to the judgment of the local Ordinary, with a deacon or even a layman, authorized for this purpose, presiding over the service.

     The pattern of this celebration shall be almost the same as the liturgy of the word in Mass; ordinarily the Epistle and Gospel of the Mass of the day shall be read in the vernacular, with chants, especially from the psalms, before the lessons and between them; the one who presides shall give a homily, if he is a deacon; if not a deacon, he shall read a homily indicated by the Bishop or the pastor; and the whole celebration shall be closed with the "common prayer" or "prayer of the faithful" and with the Lord's Prayer.

     38. It is also fitting that sacred celebrations of the word of God, which are to be encouraged on the vigils of the more solemn feasts, on some weekdays in Advent and Lent, and on Sundays and feast days, should take into account the pattern of the liturgy of the word in Mass, although there may be only a single reading.

     In the arrangement of several readings, however, in order that the history of salvation may be clearly discerned, the reading from the Old Testament shall generally precede the reading from the New Testament, and the reading of the Holy Gospel shall appear as the climax.

     39. In order that these celebrations may be held with dignity and piety, it shall be the task of the liturgical commissions in the individual dioceses to indicate and provide appropriate aids.


XI. Vernacular Translations of Liturgical Texts (Const., Art. 36, 3)


     40. In vernacular translations of liturgical texts prepared in accordance with the norm of Art. 36, 3, it is fitting that the following be observed:

     (a) The vernacular translation of liturgical texts shall be made from the Latin liturgical text. The version of the biblical pericopes, however, should conform to the Latin liturgical text, but with the possibility of revising this translation, if deemed advisable in accordance with the original text or some other clearer translation.

     (b) The preparation of the translation of liturgical texts should be entrusted, as a special concern, to the liturgical commission mentioned in Art. 44 of the constitution and in n. 44 of this instruction. So far as possible the institute of pastoral liturgy should assist the commission. But if there is no such commission, the supervision of the translation should be entrusted to two or three Bishops, who will choose persons, including lay persons, expert in Scripture, liturgy, biblical languages, Latin, the vernacular language, and music. For the perfect translation of the liturgical text into the language of the people must necessarily and properly fulfill many conditions at the same time.

     (c) Whenever it is called for, there should be consultation concerning translations with the Bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.

     (d) In nations which have several languages, different vernacular translations should be prepared for these languages and submitted to the special examination of the Bishops concerned.

     (e) Consideration should be given to the dignity of the books from which the liturgical text is read to the people in the vernacular language, so that the dignity of the book itself may move the faithful to a greater reverence for the word of God and for sacred things.

     41. In liturgical services which are celebrated in some places with people of another language, it is lawful with the consent of the local Ordinary to use the vernacular language known to these faithful, especially in the case of groups of immigrants, or of members of a personal parish, or similar instances. This shall be done in accordance with the extent of the use of the vernacular and its translation as legitimately approved by a competent territorial ecclesiastical authority of the respective language.

     42. New melodies for parts to be sung in the vernacular language by the celebrant and the ministers must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority.

     43. Particular liturgical books which were lawfully approved before the promulgation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and indults conceded up to that day retain their force, unless they are opposed to the constitution, until other provision is made in the liturgical restorations, as it will be completed in whole or in part.


XII. The Liturgical Commission of the Body of Bishops (Const., Art. 44)


     44. The liturgical commission, which it is desirable that the territorial authority establish, shall be chosen from among the Bishops themselves, as far as possible. At least it shall consist of one or other Bishop, with the addition of some priests expert in liturgical and pastoral matters, who are designated by name for this office. 

     It is desirable that the members of this commission be convened several times a year with the consultor of the commission that they may deal with questions together.

     45. The territorial authority may, as circumstances suggest, entrust the following to this commission:

     (a) studies and experiments to be promoted in accordance with the norm of Art. 40, 1 and 2 of the constitution;

     (b) practical initiatives to be undertaken for the entire territory, by which the liturgy and the application of the Constitution on the Liturgy may be encouraged;

     (c) studies and the preparation of aids which become necessary in virtue of the decrees of the plenary body of Bishops;

     (d) the office of regulating the pastoral-liturgical action in the entire nation, supervising the application of the decrees of the plenary body, and reporting concerning all these matters to the body;

     (e) consultations to be undertaken frequently and common initiatives to be promoted with associations in the same region which are concerned with Scripture, catechetics, pastoral care, music, and sacred art, and with every kind of religious association of the laity.

     46. The members of the institute of pastoral liturgy as well as individual experts who are called to assist the liturgical commission shall also freely offer their assistance  to individual Bishops for the more effective promotion of pastoral-liturgical action in their territory.


XIII. The Diocesan Liturgical Commission (Const., Art. 45)


     47. The following duties pertain to the diocesan liturgical commission, under the direction of the Bishop:

     (a) to be informed about the state of pastoral-liturgical action in the diocese;

     (b) to implement carefully what is proposed in liturgical matters by the competent authority, and to obtain information concerning studies and programs which are taking place elsewhere in this field;

     (c) to suggest and promote practical undertakings of every kind which may help to promote the liturgy, especially those which will assist priests already working in the Lord's vineyard;

     (d) in individual cases, or also for the entire diocese, to suggest opportune and progressive steps in the work of pastoral liturgy; to indicate and also to call upon suitable persons who on occasion  may help priests in this matter; and to propose suitable materials and aids;

     (e) to see to it that programs in the diocese to promote the liturgy progress with a harmonious spirit and with the assistance of other associations, in a way similar to that indicated for the commission established within the body of Bishops (n. 45e).






I. The Rite of the Mass (Const., Art. 50)


     48. Until the entire rite of the Mass is restored, the following shall be observed:

     (a) The parts of the Proper which are sung or recited by the schola or by the people are not said privately by the celebrant.

     (b) The celebrant may sing or recite the parts of the Ordinary together with the people or the schola.

     (c) In the prayers to be said 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 another liturgical service immediately precedes the Mass.

     (d) In solemn Masses the paten is not held by the subdeacon, but is left upon the altar.

     (e) The secret prayer or prayer over the offerings shall be chanted in sung Masses, and recited in a loud voice in other Masses.

     (f) The doxology at the end of the Canon, from the words "Per ipsum" up to "Per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen," inclusively, shall be chanted or recited in a loud voice. Throughout the entire doxology the celebrant lifts up the chalice and the host for the little elevation, omitting the signs of the cross, and at the end genuflects only after the response "Amen" is given by the people.

     (g) In low Masses the Lord's Prayer may be recited by the people together with the celebrant in the vernacular language; in sung Masses it may be chanted by the people with the celebrant in the Latin language and, if the territorial ecclesiastical authority shall so decree, also in the vernacular language, to melodies approved by the same authority.

     (h) The embolism after the Lord's Prayer shall be chanted or recited in a loud voice.

     (i) In distributing Holy Communion the formula, "The Body of Christ," shall be used. The celebrant, as he says these words, lifts up the host a little above the ciborium to show it to the communicant, who responds: "Amen," and afterward is communicated by the celebrant. The sign of the cross with the host is omitted.

     (j) The Last Gospel is omitted; the Leonine prayers are suppressed.

     (k) It is lawful to celebrate a sung Mass with a deacon only.

     (l) It is lawful for Bishops, if necessary, to celebrate a sung Mass according to the form used by priests.


II. Lessons and Chants Between the Lessons (Const., Art. 51)


     49. In Masses celebrated with the people, the lessons, Epistle, and Gospel shall be read or chanted facing the people:

     (a) in solemn Mass, at the ambo or at the edge of the sanctuary area;

     (b) in high Mass or in low Mass, if they are read or chanted by the celebrant, either at the altar or at the ambo or at the edge of the sanctuary area, as may be more convenient; if they are read or chanted by another, at the ambo or at the edge of the sanctuary area.

     50. In Masses celebrated with the people which are not solemn Masses, the lessons and Epistle, together with the intervenient chants, may be read by a qualified lector or server, while the celebrant sits and listens. The Gospel, however, may be read by a deacon or by a second priest, who says "Munda cor meum," seeks the blessing, and at the end presents the book of Gospels for the celebrant to kiss.

     51. In sung Masses, the lessons, Epistle, and Gospel, if they are proclaimed in the vernacular, may be recited without chant.

     52. In reciting or chanting the lessons, Epistle, the chants which occur after them, and the Gospel, the order is as follows:

     (a) In solemn Mass, the celebrant sits and listens to the lessons and Epistle as well as to the intervenient chants. After the Epistle has been chanted or recited, the subdeacon goes to the celebrant and is blessed by him. Then the celebrant, seated, places incense in the thurible and blesses it. While the Alleluia and its verse are being chanted or toward the end of other chants following the Epistle, the celebrant rises to bless the deacon. At his seat he listens to the Gospel, kisses the book of Gospels, and, after the homily, intones the Creed, if the latter is to be said. At the end of the Creed he returns to the altar with the ministers, unless he is to direct the prayer of the faithful.

     (b) In high or low Masses in which the lessons, Epistle, the chants following them, and the Gospel are sung or recited by the minister mentioned in n. 50, the celebrant acts in the manner described above.

     (c) In high or low Masses in which the Gospel is chanted or read by the celebrant, while the Alleluia and its verse are being chanted or recited or toward the end of other chants following the Epistle, he goes to the lowest step of the altar and there bows deeply while saying Munda cor meum. Then he goes to the ambo or to the edge of the sanctuary area to chant or recite the Gospel.

     (d) But if, in a high Mass or low Mass, all the lessons are chanted or recited by the celebrant at the ambo or at the edge of the sanctuary area, then, standing in the same place, he also recites the chants occurring after the lessons and the Epistle, if this is necessary; he says Munda cor meum turned toward the altar.


III. The Homily (Const., Art. 52)


     53. There shall be a homily on Sunday and feast days of precept in all Masses which are celebrated with the people present. No exception may be made for conventual, sung, or pontifical Masses.

     On other days, a homily is recommended, especially on some of the weekdays of Advent and Lent, as well as in other circumstances when the people come to church in larger numbers.

     54. By a homily from the sacred text is understood an explanation either of some aspect of the readings from Holy Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or Proper of the Mass of the day, taking into account the mystery which is being celebrated and the particular needs of the hearers.

     55. If plans of preaching within Mass are proposed for certain periods, the intimate connection with at least the principal seasons and feasts of the liturgical year (cf. Const., Art. 102-104), that is, with the mystery of the Redemption, is to be harmoniously preserved: for the homily is part of the liturgy of the day.


IV. The Common Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful (Const., Art. 53)


     56. In places where the custom is already in force of having the common prayer or prayer of the faithful, for the interim it shall take place before the Offertory, after the word Oremus, according to the formulas now in use in the individual regions. The celebrant shall direct the prayer either from his seat, from the altar, from the ambo, or from the edge of the sanctuary area.

     The intentions or invocations may be chanted by a deacon or a cantor or other qualified server, reserving to the celebrant the words of introduction and the concluding prayer. This latter will ordinarily be: Deus, refugium nostrum et virtus (cf. Missale Romanum, Orationes diversae, n. 20) or another prayer which corresponds better to a particular need.

     In places where the common prayer or prayer of the faithful is not in use, the competent territorial authority may decree that it be done in the manner indicated above, with formulas approved for the interim by that authority.


V. The Place Which May Be Granted to the Vernacular Language in the Mass (Const., Art. 54)


     57. In Masses, whether sung or low, which are celebrated with the people, the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority may admit the vernacular language, the decrees having been approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See:

     (a) especially in proclaiming the lessons, Epistle, and Gospel, as well as in the common prayer or prayer of the faithful;

     (b) according to the circumstances of the place, also in the chants of the Ordinary of the Mass, namely, Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei, and in the antiphons at the Introit, Offertory, and Communion, as well as in the chants that occur between the lessons.

     (c) Moreover, in the acclamations, salutations and dialogue formulas, together with the formulas at the Communion of the Faithful: Ecce Agnus Dei, Domine, non sum dignus, and Corpus Christi, and in the Lord's Prayer with its introduction and embolism.

     Missals for liturgical use, however, should contain the Latin text in addition to the vernacular translation.

     58. It pertains solely to the Apostolic See to concede the vernacular language in other parts of the Mass which are chanted or recited by the celebrant alone.

     59. Pastors of souls shall carefully see to it that the faithful, more particularly the members of lay religious associations, also know how to say or to sing together in the Latin language those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertains to them, especially with the use of simpler melodies.


VI. The Faculty of Repeating Communion on the Same Day (Const., Art. 55)


     60. The faithful who communicate in the Mass of the Easter Vigil or in the midnight Mass of Christmas may also receive Communion again in the second Mass of Easter and in one of the Masses which is celebrated on Christmas in the daytime.






I. The Place Which May Be Granted to the Vernacular Language (Const., Art. 63)


     61. The competent territorial authority may admit the vernacular language, the decrees having been approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See:

     (a) in the rites of Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, and Matrimony, including the essential forms, as well as in the distribution of Holy Communion;

     (b) in the conferral of Orders: in the allocutions at the beginning of each ordination or consecration, as well as in the examination of the Bishop-elect in episcopal consecration, and in the instructions;

     (c) in the sacramentals;

     (d) in funeral rites.

     Wherever a more extended use of the vernacular language appears desirable, the regulation of Art. 40 of the constitution is to be observed.


II. Things To Be Suppressed in the Rite for Supplying Omissions in Baptism (Const., Art. 69)


     62. In the rite for supplying omissions in the case of a baptized infant, which is given in the Roman Ritual, tit. II, cap. 5, those exorcisms shall be omitted which are found under n. 6 (Exi ab eo), 10 (Exorcizo te, immunde spiritus—Ergo maledicte diabole), and 15 (Exorcizo, te, omnis spiritus).

     63. In the rite for supplying omissions in the case of a baptized adult, which is given in the Roman Ritual, tit. II, cap. 6, those exorcisms shall be omitted which are found under n. 5 (Exi ab eo),15 (Ergo, maledicte diabole), 17 (Audi maledicte satana), 19 (Exorcizo te, Ergo, maledicte diabole), 21 (Ergo, maledicte diabole), 23 (Ergo, maledicte diabole), 25 (Exorcizo te, Ergo maledicte diabole), 31 (Nec te lateat), and 35 (Exi, immunde spiritus).


III. Confirmation (Const., Art. 71)


     64. If Confirmation is conferred within Mass, it is fitting that the Mass be celebrated by the Bishop himself. In this case he confers Confirmation while vested in the Mass vestments.

     The Mass within which Confirmation is conferred may be celebrated as a votive Mass of class II, of the Holy Spirit.

     65. After the Gospel and homily, before the reception of Confirmation, it is praiseworthy that those to be confirmed should renew the promises of Baptism, according to the rite legitimately in use in the individual regions, unless this has already taken place before Mass.

     66. If the Mass is celebrated by another, it is fitting that the Bishop assist at the Mass wearing the vestments prescribed for the conferral of Confirmation, which may be either the color of the Mass or white. The Bishop himself shall give the homily, and the celebrant shall resume the Mass only after Confirmation.

     67. Confirmation is conferred according to the rite prescribed in the Roman Pontifical, but at the words In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti which follow the formula Signo Te, a single sign of the cross shall be made.


IV. Continuous Rite for Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum (Const., Art. 74)


     68. When Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum are administered at the same time, unless a continuous rite is already found in a particular ritual, the rite shall be arranged as follows: after the sprinkling with holy water and the prayers of entrance which are given in the rite of anointing, the priest shall hear the confession of the sick person, if necessary, then administer anointing, and finally give Viaticum, omitting the sprinkling with its formulas and the Confiteor and absolution.

     If, however, the apostolic blessing with a plenary indulgence at the hour of death is to be imparted on the same occasion, this shall be given immediately before anointing, omitting the sprinkling with its formulas and the Confiteor and absolution.


V. Imposition of Hands in Episcopal Consecration (Const., Art. 76)


     69. All the Bishops present at an episcopal consecration may impose hands; they vest in choir dress. The words Accipe Spiritum Sanctum,  however, shall be said only by the Bishop-consecrator and by the two co-consecrating Bishops.


VI. Rite of Matrimony (Const., Art. 78)


     70. Matrimony, unless a just cause excuses from the celebration of Mass, shall be celebrated within Mass after the Gospel and the homily. The latter is never omitted.

     71. Whenever Matrimony is celebrated within Mass, the votive Mass for the spouses shall always be celebrated or a commemoration made of it, according to the rubrics, even during the prohibited season.

     72. As far as possible, the pastor or his delegate who assists at the marriage shall celebrate the Mass; but if another priest assists, the celebrant shall not continue the Mass until the rite of Matrimony has been completed.

     The priest who assists at the marriage but does not celebrate the Mass shall be vested in surplice and white stole and, according to the local custom, also in cope, and shall give the homily. The blessing after the Lord's Prayer and before the Placeat, however, is always to be imparted by the priest who celebrates the Mass.

     73. The nuptial blessing shall always be imparted within the Mass, even in the prohibited season and even if one or both of the spouses is entering a second marriage.

     74. In the celebration of matrimony without Mass:

     (a) At the beginning of the rite, according to the apostolic letter Sacram Liturgiam, n. V, a brief admonition shall be given. This is not a homily, but only a simple instruction for the celebration of marriage (cf. Const., Art. 35, 3). There shall be, however, a sermon or homily drawn from the sacred text (cf. Const., Art. 52), after the reading of the Epistle and Gospel from the Mass for the spouses, so that the order of the whole rite shall be: brief admonition, reading of the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular language, homily, celebration of marriage, nuptial blessing.

     (b) For the reading of the Epistle and Gospel from Mass for the spouses, in the absence of a vernacular text approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority, it is lawful for the interim to use a text approved by the local Ordinary.

     (c) A chant may be sung between the Epistle and the Gospel. Likewise the prayer of the faithful is highly recommended after the completion of the rite of Matrimony, according to a formula approved by the local Ordinary, in which petitions for the spouses are also to be included.

     (d) At the end of the rite the blessing shall always be imparted to the spouses, even in the prohibited season and even if one or both of the spouses is entering a second marriage, according to the formula which is found in the Roman Ritual, tit. VIII, cap. III, unless another blessing is given in particular rituals.

     75. If marriage is celebrated during the prohibited season, the pastor shall advise the spouses to take into account the special character of this liturgical season.


VII. Sacramentals (Const., Art. 79)


     76. In the blessing of candles on Feb. 2 and in the blessing of ashes at the beginning of Lent, a single prayer from among the prayers which are found in the Roman Missal for these blessings may be said.

     77. Blessings which have been reserved up to the present time and which are contained in the Roman Ritual, tit. IX, cap. 9, 10, 11, may be given by any priest, with the exception of the blessing of a bell for the use of a blessed church or oratory (cap. 9, n. 11), the blessing of the first stone for the building of a church (cap. 9, n. 16), the blessing of a new church or public oratory (cap. 9, n. 17), the blessing of an antimension (cap. 9, n. 21), the blessing of a new cemetery (cap. 9, n. 22), the papal blessings (cap. 10, n. 1-3), and the blessing and erection of the stations of the Way of the Cross (cap. 11, n. 1) inasmuch as this is reserved to the Bishop.






I. The Celebration of the Divine Office by Those Bound to the Obligation of Choir  (Const., Art. 95)


     78. Until the restoration of the Divine Office is completed:

     (a) Communities of canons, monks, nuns, and other regulars or religious bound to choir by law or constitutions must celebrate the entire Divine Office daily in choir, in addition to the conventual Mass.

     Individual members of these communities who are in major orders or are solemnly professed, except for the conversi, even if they are lawfully dispensed from choir, must recite individually each day the canonical hours which they do not celebrate in choir.

     (b) Cathedral and collegiate chapters must celebrate those parts of the Office in choir which are imposed upon them by the common law or by particular law, in addition to the conventual Mass.

     Individual members of these chapters, in addition to the canonical hours which all clerics in major orders are bound to celebrate (cf. Const., art. 96 and 89), must recite individually those hours which are celebrated by their chapter.

     (c) In mission lands, however, while preserving the religious or capitular choral discipline established by law, religious or members of chapters who are lawfully absent from choir by reason of the pastoral ministry may enjoy the concession made in the apostolic letter Sacram Liturgiam, n. VI, with the permission of the local Ordinary, but not of the vicar general or delegate.


II. Faculty of Dispensing From or Commuting the Divine Office (Const., Art. 97)


     79. The faculty conceded to all Ordinaries of dispensing their subjects, in individual cases and for a just  cause, from the obligation of the Divine Office in whole or  in part or of  commuting it, is also extended to major  superiors of  non-exempt clerical religious institutes and of  societies of clerics who live the common life without vows.


III. Short Offices (Const., Art. 98)


     80. No short office is considered as drawn up after the pattern of the Divine Office which does not consist of psalms, lessons, hymns, and prayers and which does not take into some account the hours of the day and the respective liturgical seasons.

     81. In order to celebrate the public prayer of the Church, for the interim those short offices may be used which have been lawfully approved up to the present time, provided that they have been drawn up according to the requirements enumerated in No. 80.

     New short offices, however, must be approved by the Apostolic See in order to be used for the public prayer of  the Church.

     82. The translation of the text of a short office into the vernacular language for use as the public prayer of the Church must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority, the decrees having been approved, that is, confirmed by the Apostolic See.

     83. The competent authority for conceding the vernacular in the recitation of a short office to those who are bound to this office by the constitutions, or for dispensing from or commuting the obligation of recitation, is the Ordinary or the major superior of the respective subject.


IV. Divine Office or Short Offices Celebrated in Common by Members of Institutes Dedicated to Acquiring Perfection (Const., Art. 99)


     84. The obligation of celebrating in common the Divine Office or a short office or parts of either imposed by their constitutions on members of institutes dedicated to acquiring perfection does not take away the faculty of omitting the hour of prime and of selecting from among the other minor hours one that best suits the time of day (cf. apostolic letter Sacram Liturgiam, n. VI)


V. The Language To Be Used in the Recitation of the Divine Office (Const., Art. 101)


     85. In the celebration of the Divine Office in choir, clerics are bound to retain the Latin language.

     86. The faculty granted to the Ordinary of conceding the use of the vernacular language, in individual cases, to those clerics for whom the use of Latin constitutes a grave impediment to their praying the office properly, is extended also to the major superiors of non-exempt clerical religious institutes and of societies of clerics who live the common life without vows.

     87. The grave obstacle which is required for the grant of the preceding concession must be weighed by taking into consideration the physical, moral, intellectual, and spiritual condition of the petitioner.

     Nevertheless, this faculty, which is granted solely to make the recitation of the Divine Office easier and more devout, is in no way intended to detract from the obligation incumbent upon priests of the Latin rite to learn the Latin language.

     88. The vernacular translation of the Divine Office according to a rite other than the Roman rite shall be prepared and approved by the respective Ordinaries of that language, employing for elements common to both rites those translations approved by the territorial authority, and then proposed for the confirmation of the Apostolic See.

     89. Breviaries to be used by clerics to whom the use of the vernacular language in the celebration of the Divine Office is conceded in accordance with Art. 101, no. 1, of the constitution, should contain the Latin text in addition to the vernacular translation.






I. The Arrangement of Churches


     90. In the new construction, repair, or adaptation of churches great care shall be taken that they are suitable for the celebration of divine services according to the true nature of the services and for the active participation of the faithful (cf. Const., Art. 124).


II. The Main Altar


     91. It is proper that the main altar be constructed separately from the wall, so that one may go around it with ease and so that celebration may take place facing the people; it shall occupy a place in the sacred building which is truly central, so that the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful is spontaneously turned to it.

     In choosing the materials for the construction or ornamentation of the altar, the prescriptions of law shall be observed.

     Moreover, the presbyterium or sanctuary area around the altar shall be of sufficient size that the sacred rites may be conveniently celebrated.


III. The Seat of the Celebrant and Ministers


     92. The seat for the celebrant and ministers, according to the structure of individual churches, shall be so placed that it may be easily seen by the faithful and that the celebrant may truly appear to preside over the entire community of the faithful.

     Nevertheless, if the seat is placed behind the altar, the form of a throne is to be avoided, as this belongs to the Bishop alone.


IV. Minor Altars


     93. The minor altars shall be few in number. In fact, to the extent permitted by the structure of the building, it is highly suitable that they be placed in chapels in some way separated from the principal part of the church.


V. Ornamentation of Altars


     94. The cross and candlesticks, which are required on the altar for the individual liturgical services, may also, in accordance with the judgment of the local Ordinary, be placed next to it.


VI. The Reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist


     95. The most holy Eucharist shall be reserved in a solid and inviolable tabernacle placed in the middle of the main altar or of a minor, but truly outstanding, altar, or, according to lawful customs and in particular cases to be approved by the local Ordinary, also in some other noble and properly adorned part of the church.

     It is lawful to celebrate Mass facing the people even if there is a tabernacle, small but suitable, on the altar.


VII. The Ambo


     96. It is fitting that there be an ambo for the proclamation of the sacred readings, so arranged that the ministers can be easily seen and heard by the faithful.


VIII. The Place of the Schola and Organ


     97. The places for the schola and the organ shall be so arranged that it will be clearly evident that the singers and the organist form a part of the united community of the faithful and so that they may fulfill their liturgical function more suitably.


IX. The Places of the Faithful


     98. The places for the faithful shall be arranged with particular care, so that they may participate in the sacred celebrations visually and with proper spirit. It is desirable that ordinarily benches or seats be provided for their use. Nevertheless, the custom of reserving seats for certain private persons is to be reprobated, in accordance with Art. 32 of the Constitution.

     Care shall also be taken that the faithful may not only see the celebrant and the other ministers but may also hear them easily, with the use of present-day technical means.


X. Baptistry


     99. In the construction and ornamentation of the baptistry, care shall be taken that the dignity of the Sacrament of Baptism is clearly apparent and that the place is suitable for the community celebration of the sacrament (cf. Const., Art. 27).

     The present instruction, prepared at the command of  Pope Paul VI, by the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, was presented to His Holiness by James Cardinal Lercaro, president of the commission.

     The Holy Father, after having given due consideration to this instruction, with the help of the above mentioned commission and of this Sacred Congregation of Rites, in an audience granted to Arcadio Maria Cardinal Larraona, prefect of the Congregation, on Sept. 26, 1964, approved it in a special way as a whole and in its parts, confirmed it by his authority, and ordered it to be published, and to be diligently observed by all concerned, beginning the First Sunday of Lent, March 7, 1965.

     All things to the contrary notwithstanding.


Rome, Sept. 26, 1964.


     James Cardinal Lercaro, Archbishop of Bologna, president of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

     Arcadio M. Cardinal Larraona, Prefect of S.R.C.

     Henry Dante, Titular Archbishop of Carpasia, Secretary of S.R.C.


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