That the sacred liturgy be carefully safeguarded, developed, and, where necessary,
reformed has been the concern of earlier popes, of ourself, and of the bishops of the
Church. The many published documents on liturgical topics, known to all, confirm this. So
does the Constitution on the Liturgy, approved with near unanimity by Vatican Council II
in solemn session and promulgated 4 December 1963.
The concern for the liturgy rests on the fact that "in the earthly liturgy we take
part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem
toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a
minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle (see Rv 21:2; Col 3:1; Heb 8:2); we sing
a hymn to the Lord's glory with the whole company of heaven; venerating the memory of the
saints, we hope for some part and communion with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, our
Lord Jesus Christ, until he, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with him in
glory (see Phil 3:20; Col 3:@)." 
The hearts of the faithful who so worship God, the source and exemplar of all holiness,
are therefore drawn, even compelled, to seek this holiness and in this way to become in
this earthly pilgrimage "seekers of holy Zion." 
Accordingly, our foremost concern is clearly that the faithful, and especially priests,
dedicate themselves first of all to the study of the Constitution on the Liturgy and from
this moment on prepare themselves to carry out its prescriptions wholeheartedly as soon as
these take effect. Because by the very nature of the case the understanding and
dissemination of liturgical laws must go into effect without delay, we earnestly exhort
bishops of dioceses to an immediate, intense effort, aided by their sacred ministers,
"the stewards of God's mysteries,"  so that their own
faithful, in keeping with their age, particular state in life, and level of culture will
grasp the innate power and value of the liturgy and at the same time participate devoutly,
body and soul, in the rites of the Church. 
Many of the prescriptions of the Constitution clearly cannot be put into effect in a
short period of time, since some of the rites must first be revised and new liturgical
books prepared. In order that this work may be carried out in the wisdom and prudence
required, we are setting up a special commission with the principal task of seeing that
the prescriptions of the Constitution are put into effect.
Other norms of the Constitution, however, are applicable now; we desire their immediate
observance, so that the faithful may no longer be without the anticipated fruits of grace.
By apostolic authority and "motu proprio", therefore, we prescribe and decree
that the following norms shall go into effect beginning with the First Sunday of Lent, 16
February 1964, the expiration date of the established "vacatio legis".
I. The norms in art. 15, 16, and 17 on the teaching of liturgy in seminaries, houses of
study of religious and theological faculties are to be incorporated into their programs of
study in such a way that with the beginning of the next academic year students may devote
themselves to liturgical studies in an orderly and intense way.
II. In keeping with the norms of art. 45 and 46, in all dioceses there is to be a
commission that is entrusted, under the bishop's direction, with the duty of increasing
the knowledge and furthering the progress of the liturgy.
In this manner it may be advantageous for several dioceses to have a joint commission.
Each diocese should also, as far as possible, have two other commissions, one for
music, the other for art.
In some dioceses it will often be advisable to merge the three commissions into one.
III. On the date already established, the norms of art. 52 shall take effect, namely,
that there be a homily during Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
IV. We direct the implementation of the part of art. 71 that permits the sacrament of
confirmation to be celebrated, when convenient, within Mass after the reading of the
gospel and the homily.
V. Regarding art. 78, the sacrament of marriage is normally to be celebrated within
Mass, after the gospel has been read and the homily given.
Should marriage be celebrated without a Mass, the following regulations, pending
revision of the entire rite, are to be observed: at the beginning of the rite, following a
brief instruction,  the epistle and gospel of the nuptial Mass are to
be read in the vernacular; then the blessing found in the Rituale Romanum, tit,
VIII, cap. III is always to be given to the spouses.
VI. Although the order for divine office has not yet been revised and reformed, in
keeping with art. 89, those not bound by choral obligation now have permission, from the
expiration date of the vacatio legis, to omit the hour of prime and to choose
from among the other little hours the one best suited to the time of day.
We make this concession with the full confidence that sacred ministers will not grow
slack in devotion, but rather that, if they diligently carry out the duties of their
priestly office for the love of God, they will see themselves as going through the day
closely united in spirit with him.
VII. Also in regard to the divine office, Ordinaries may, in particular cases and for
just cause, dispense their subjects from the obligation, in whole or in part, or may
replace it with something else. 
VIII. In regard also to recitation of the office, we declare that members of any
institute of religious perfection who by reason of their own rule recite either some part
of the divine office or a little office, structured like the divine office and duly
approved, shall be counted as celebrating public prayer with the Church. 
IX. To those bound to recite the divine office art. 101 of the Constitution grants the
faculty - in various ways and for various classes of people - to use the vernacular
instead of Latin. Therefore it seems advisable to make it clear that the various
vernacular versions must be drawn up and approved by the competent, territorial
ecclesiastical authority, as provided in art. 36, §§ 3 and 4; and that, as provided in
art, 36, § 3, the acts of this authority require due approval, that is, confirmation, of
the Holy See. This is the course to be taken whenever any Latin liturgical text is
translated into the vernacular by the authority already mentioned.
X. Whenever the Constitution (art. 22, § 2), entrusts regulation of the liturgy,
within certain specified limits, to various types of competent, lawfully constituted,
territorial assemblies of bishops, we decree that for the present these must be national
In such national assemblies, besides the residential bishops, all those mentioned in
CIC can. 292 may participate and vote; coadjutor and auxiliary bishops may also be
summoned to meetings.
Passage of lawful decrees in these bodies requires two-thirds of the votes, cast by
XI. Finally, we want it understood that over and above the liturgical matters changed
by this Apostolic Letter or made effective before the date established, regulation of the
liturgy depends exclusively on the authority of the Church, i.e., of the Holy See and of
the bishop in accordance with the law; therefore no other person, not even a priest, may
add, take away, or change anything in matters of liturgy. 
We order that all matters decreed by this Letter, issued motu proprio, are
confirmed and established, anything to the contrary notwithstanding.