Saturday, September 9, 2017


Commentary on the motu of the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

The motto "Magnum principium"

It changes the formulation of some of the Codex iuris rules concerning the edition of liturgical books in current languages. With the motu-magnum principium, dated 3 September 2017 and in force since 1 October, Pope Francis introduced amendments to the text of canon 838. Explanation of the reasons for the variations is provided by the same papal document, which recalls and exemplifies the principles at the basis of the translation of the liturgical texts typical in Latin and the instances involved in the delicate work. As the Church's prayer, the liturgy is in fact governed by ecclesial authority.

Since the fathers of the Second Vatican Council have been involved in this field, both the Apostolic See and the Bishops' Conferences (see Sacrosanctum Concilium, Nos. 36, 40 and 63) have been high in the matter of being challenged. Indeed, the serious commitment to providing liturgical translations was guided by rules and specific instructions of the relevant department, in particular Comme le prévoit (January 25, 1969) and, after the 1983 Canonical Codex iuris, by Liturgiam authenticam (March 28 2001), both published at different seasons in order to respond to concrete problems highlighted over time and aroused by the complex work that translates liturgical texts. In the field of inculturation, matter was regulated by Varietates legitimae (January 25, 1994).

Given the experience of these years, now - the Pope writes - "it seemed appropriate that certain principles transmitted from the time of the Council are more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice."

Bearing in mind the course of the journey and looking to the future, on the basis of the liturgical constitution of Vatican II Sacrosanctum concilium, the Pontiff intended to clarify the current discipline by making some variations to canon 838 of the Codex iuris canon.

The purpose of the modification is to better define the roles of the Apostolic See and the bishops' conferences, called to work in dialogue with each other, in respect of their own competence, which is different and complementary to the translation of typical Latin books, adaptations, which may relate to texts and rituals. This is at the service of the liturgical prayer of the people of God.

In particular, the new formulation of the canon in question places a more appropriate distinction in the role of the Apostolic See, between the scope of recognizio and confirmatio, in respect of what competes in the episcopal conferences, taking into account their pastoral responsibility and doctrinal as well as their limits of action.

Recognition, mentioned in §2 of Canon 838, implies the process of recognition by the Apostolic See of legitimate liturgical adaptations, including those "deeper" that episcopal conferences can establish and approve for their territories, within the limits allowed. On this ground of encounter between liturgy and culture, the Apostolic See is therefore called upon to recognize, that is, to review and evaluate such adaptations, on the grounds of the safeguarding of the substantial unity of the Roman rite: the reference in this matter are numbers 39- 40 of Sacrosanctum concilium, and its application, in the ways indicated or not in liturgical books, is governed by the Varietates legitimae statement.

Confirmation - Terminology already adopted in the motto Sacram liturgiam n. IX (January 25, 1964) - refers instead to the translations of the liturgical texts which, according to Sacrosanctum concilium (No. 36 § 4), competes in the bishops' conferences to prepare and approve; § 3 of Canon 838 states that versions must be performed faithfully according to original texts, thus gathering the main concern of Liturgiam authenticam education. Recalling the right and burden of translation entrusted to the bishops' conferences, the motu-reminder also reminds us that the same conferences "must make and establish that, while safeguarding the indole of each language, the meaning of the original text is fully and faithfully" .

Confirmation of the Apostolic See does not therefore turn out to be an alternative translation, but as an authoritative act by which the competent department ratifies the approval of bishops. Supposing, of course, a positive evaluation of the fidelity and congruence of the texts produced in relation to the typical edition on which the unity of the rite is based and taking into account above all the most important texts, in particular the sacramental formulas, the Eucharistic prayers, the prayers ordination, the rite of Mass, and so on.

The modification of the canonical Codex iuris naturally involves an amendment to Article 64 § 3 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, as well as the legislation on translations. This means the need to retouch, for example, some numbers of the Generalis missalis Romani Institute and Praenotanda of liturgical books. The same instruction Liturgiam authenticam, to be appreciated for the good attentions that it reserves for this complicated work and its implications, when it calls for recognizio must be interpreted in the light of the new wording of the canon 838. Finally, the motu-law provides that the Congregation for the divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments "modify its Rules according to the new discipline and help the Episcopal Conferences to carry out their task."

X Arthur Roche
Archbishop Secretary
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Labels: Bergoggan Milestones, Continuing Liturgical Revolution
Posted by New Catholic at 9/9/2017 10:53:00 AM


Anonymous said...

Oh good. That means invalid ordination rites are coming. Dare we even say imvalid Masses. I can't wait to see what nonscene the Germans come up with. But I guess we deserve the never ending punishment God is giving us through this unfaithful pontificate.

And before it even starts ....." this is closer to the Church in the Apostolic Age" blah b;ah b;ah. If it is wrong to go back to 1950 then it is equally wrong to go back to the year 35 A.D.

Victor said...

Interesting the way the post V2 Church is using the vernacular to build walls between nations.

ByzRC said...

With each passing day, inching closer to becoming the NGO dreamed about by many.

TJM said...

I suspect that Pope Francis will be the only "Doubleknit Dinosaur" elected Pope. The vast majority of the heirarchy, which is 10 years or more years younger than him, will likely be a traditional Pope, not tainted by left-wing ideology, someone who did not live through the divisive Liturgical Wars and slobbering over "Liberation Theology." The Church survived the Borgias and will survive Pope Francis. Every time I see a story about a young priest (even Diocesan ones) offering the EF as their first Mass, my heart jumps for joy. In the terrible dark days of the late 1960s through the late 1980s. I never dreamed this wouid ever occur in my lifetime. Deo gratias, Alleluia!

Dialogue said...


This is nothing like the Apostolic Age.

Theo McTheoface said...

"If it is wrong to go back to 1950 then it is equally wrong to go back to the year 35 A.D."

One would think that apostolic times would be preferable, no?

Dialogue said...


A fundamental claim of the Catholic Church is that the Apostolic Tradition, in its entirety, is handed down to us from the Holy Apostles through the generations of Catholics. The Apostles are alive in Heaven, and we hope to join them there, but there is no obvious reason for us to relive their First Century experiences.

Dave S said...

Ironically, this could be a good thing. Should the novus ordo fall into such chaos, serious Catholics will be drawn even more to the TLM, and demand their pastors offer it. It could also make it easier for the next pope, should he be more rational and traditional than Francis (which is almost a given), to simply suppress the novus ordo, citing it as a failed experiment that ran its course.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Well, there goes "consubstantial." :-)

God bless,