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Table of ContentsIntroductionChapter II. Mystery of the Eucharist

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:

  1. an assembly of all the bishops of a nation, in accordance with the norm of the Motu Proprio Sacram Liturgiam X;
  2. an assembly already lawfully constituted and consisting of the bishops - or of the bishops and other local Ordinaries - of several nations;
  3. 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:

  1. residential bishops;
  2. abbots and prelates nullius;
  3. vicars and prefects apostolic;
  4. permanently appointed apostolic administrators of dioceses;
  5. 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:

  1. by the one who is the president, in the case of assemblies already lawfully constituted;
  2. 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:

  1. the names of participants in the assembly;
  2. a report on matters dealt with;
  3. 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:

  1. a list of the individual parts of the liturgy for which use of the vernacular has been decided;
  2. two copies of the liturgical texts prepared in the vernacular, one of which will be returned to the assembly of bishops;
  3. 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:

  1. the celebrant and ministers shall bow to the choir only at the beginning and end of a service;
  2. 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;
  3. incensation shall be limited to the one altar where the liturgical rite is being celebrated;
  4. 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:

  1. to carry out studies and experiments in keeping with the norms of the Constitution art. 40, §§ 1 and 2;
  2. to further practical initiatives for the whole region that will foster liturgical life and the application of the Constitution on the Liturgy;
  3. to prepare studies and the resources required as a result of decrees of the plenary assembly of bishops;
  4. 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;
  5. 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:

  1. to be fully informed on the state of pastoral - liturgical activity in the diocese;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. 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.

Table of ContentsIntroductionChapter II. Mystery of the Eucharist

You are here: Rubrics & Law > Appointments & Architecture > First Instruction on the orderly carrying out of the Constitution on the Liturgy  Back one page.

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You are here: Rubrics & Law > Appointments & Architecture > First Instruction on the orderly carrying out of the Constitution on the Liturgy  Back one page.

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All contents © copyright, 1998-2019
The Catholic Liturgical Library