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STATUS QUAESTIONIS (1) AUTHORITY IN LITURGICAL LAW CIC c.1257: "Unius Apostolicae Sedis est tum sacram ordinare liturgiam, tum liturgicos aprobare libros". The Holy See alone has the right to regulate the sacred Liturgy and approve liturgical books. In the New Code of Canon Law, c.838: #1. "The supervision of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the Apostolic See and, in accord with the law, the diocesan bishop". The reservation of the regulation of liturgy to the Apostolic See is removed as a "major cause", acknowledging that it pertains also to the diocesan bishop. But nonetheless, some elements in the governance of the liturgy are without the authority of the bishop, as it is indicated in the expression "ad normam juris", "in accord with the law", which will determine whether the bishop may act or is limited by the common liturgical law of the Latin Church. #2. "It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, to publish the liturgical books, to review their translations into the vernacular languages and to see that liturgical ordinances are faithfully observed everywhere". This part of the canon retains the intent of canon 1257 of the 1917 Code: to reserve to the Holy See the right to publish the liturgical books of the universal (Latin) Church. 2) EXTENT OF THIS AUTHORITY Pius XII, encyclical "Mediator Dei" (Solesmes, n.546): "...the Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and to establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and to approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification-" 3) LIMITS FOR THE EXERCISE OF THIS AUTHORITY 1) A lawful development of the liturgy is possible: A rite is "the whole of the obligatory forms of worship, born from the development of a common tradition, later on sanctioned by ecclesiastical authority" (Msgr.Klaus GAMBER, "La riforma della liturgia romana", cfr pp.22-31). The rites of the Eastern and Western churches have developed throughout the centuries, grown from the essentials of worship established by Our Lord Himself. The key words in this definition are "the development of a common tradition": the only lawful development
is that one which is rooted and grows organically fran a common tradition, which is, on its part, based on the original teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Possibility of liturgical development, according to Pius XII in his encyclical "Mediator Dei" (Solesmes, n.5 ): "From time inmemorial the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy has exercised its right in matters liturgical. It has organized and regulated divine worship, enriching it constantly with new splendour and beauty, to the glory of God and spiritual profit of Christians. What is more, it has not been slow, - keeping the substance of the Mass and carefully intact-, to modify what it deemed not altogether, fitting, and to add what appeared more likely to increase the honour paid to Jesus Christ and the august Trinity, and to instruct and stimulate the Christian people to greater advantage". Causes for liturgical development: Pius XII, encyclical "Mediator Dei" (Solesmes, n.540): "The sacred liturgy does in fact include divine as well as human elements. The former, instituted as they have been by God, cannot be changed in any way by men. But the human admit of various modifications, as the needs of the age, circumstance and the good of souls may require, and as the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may have authorized. This will explain the marvelous variety of Eastern and Western rites. Here is the reason for the gradual addition, through successive development, of particular religious customs and practices of piety only faintly discernible in earlier times...". Attitude towards the past: Pius XII, allocution to the liturgical Congress at Assisi, Septmber 1956: "In liturgical matters, as in many other fields, one must avoid two exaggerated viewpoints concerning the past: blind attachment' and utter contempt. Immutable elements are found in the liturgy, a sacred content which transcends time; but one finds as well changeable, transitory, even, at times, defective elements". 2) It does not seem possible a change of the whole rite: The remaking of the rite, 'lex novo", as a whole, would not be organic and therefore, would break with the existent forms and with the common tradition developed throughout the centuries. Considering that there is no document expressly speaking of the right of the Holy See to modify substantially or to simply abolish-the traditional rite, and taking also in consideration that, until Paul VI, no Pope has actually modified substantially the rite, it is doubtful that such a modification of the Roman rite is within the competence and power of the Holy See. 3) It is not possible to impose a modification which will be the liturgical expression of a doubtful or ambiguous doctrinal teaching:
Pius XII, "Mediator Dei" (Solesmes n.547): "The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism in respect of the sacred Liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be Pius IX, 'Uneffabilis Deus": "What belongs to the worship is intimately united to the object of worship, and ' cannot be ratified and fixed If this object is do~ul or ambiguous. . . " "Lex orandi, lex credendi": the liturgy does not develops independently of dogma, but it consists in the visible signs by which the Church manifests her Faith. 4) The authority of the Pope in matters liturgical cannot be limited by decisions of a previous Pope: It is obviously not a question of the Pope as interpreter of divine Law, which is immutable, but of the Pope in respect of ecclesiastical law. In the case of the, Mass, the essentials of the Sacrifice are of Divine institution: matter, form, minister, right intention. The remainder of the rite is of ecclesiastical institution. A basic principle of Canon Law states: 'Tar in parem potestatem non habet", "Equals do not have power over each other"; no one, therefore, can constrain his equals. (cfr. Rev.Fr.DULAC, "The jurisdiction of the bull Quo primum of St.Pius V, in: DAVIES: "Pope Paul's-new Mass", pp.576-577). Concerning the case of the Mass, in which any further development seems to be forbidden, when St.Pius V states (in "Quo primum"): 'We order and enjoin under pain of Our displeasure that nothing be added to Our newly published Missal, nothing omitted therefrom, and nothing whatsoever altered therein... We order them (“any person of whatsoever ecclesiastical dignity") by virtue of holy obedience to sing or to read the mass according to the rite and manner and norm herein laid down by Us, and henceforward to discontinue and utterly discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals ... and not to presume in celebrating Mass to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal, he is clearly forbidding any private initiative which would dare to usurp the exclusive authority of the Holy See in matters liturgical, but he is, on the other hand, certainly not intending to set limits to his Successors, whose authority is not different from his own, but the-one and same authority given to Peter. Additional proof: None of his Successors considered themselves bound by this serious injunction, as the numerous changes and additions to his Missal prove:
1604: Clement VIII, "Cum sanctissimum": adds new feasts, reintroduces Saints suppressed by the drastic reduction of the Calendar decided by St.Pius V (among them, St.Anthony of Padua); introduces the Common of non-Virgins, and reorganizes the Rubrics in the "Rubricae Generales". 1634: Urban VIII, "Si quid est": revision of the Rubrics, to make them simpler and clearer. 1884, 1900: Leo XIII: introduces corrections in the scriptural texts used by St.Pius V, and also corrections in the Rubrics, to bring them into conformity with the answers and decisions of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. 1911,1913: St.Pius X, "Divinu affaltu" and "Abhinc duos annos": introduction of new feasts, extensive changes in the general Rubrics (concerning the Calendar, votive and Requiem Masses, commemorations); the rubrics of the Canon are made more precise. All his modifications are added, after the General Rubrics, as "Additiones..ad normam Bullae Divinu afflatu". 1920: Benedict XV publishes the "editio typica" of the reformed Missal, adding to new Prefaces (St.Joseph, and Dead), two more Masses for November 2nd; adds a new Common for the feasts of Our Lady and 6 other new Commons; notorious reduction of the Masses "pro aliquibus locis". 1923: Decree of the Sacred Congregation, publishing the "editio juxta typicam" of the Missal, with some minor corrections and additions to the "Additiones". 1925: Added the feast and Preface of Christ the King. 1929: Added Feast and preface of the Sacred Heart. 1935: Added Votive Mass of Jesus Christ Eternal High Priest. 1939: "Editio quinta post typic&n", by decree of the Sacred Congregation, including all the changes brought into the Missal. 1951: Decree "De solemni Vigilia Paschali instauranda"-, reforming the rite of the Paschal Vigil. 1954: "editio sexta post typicam", with another few minor changes in rubrics. 1955: decree "Maxima Redemptionis nostrae", promulgating the restored order of the Holy Week. Nevertheless, none of these changes has modified either the whole of the Roman rite or its substantial parts. And all of them are only further developments within a common tradition. 5) It is not possible to introduce modifications at the whim of the reigning Pope:
The liturgy is not a playing field! Even if the Pope has authority in matters liturgical, considering the intimate bond existing between rite and dogma, he will not use this authority but for the gravest possible reasons. In the cases when he will have to loose what another Pope, by the same power, has bound, he will do it moved only by such serious reasons, that the same would have induced his Predecessor to revoke his own law. (4) LITURGICAL LAW 1) Rubrics: Rubrics are the rules contained in the liturgical books for the right ordering of the liturgical functions. There are two kinds of rubrics: substantial, which prescribe the matter and form of a Sacrament, or which regulate the validity of a liturgical act. Instituted by or derives from Divine Law, they are immutable. accidental, which regulate the rite. These are positive ecclesiastical laws and therefore, as being of human institution, mutable: they may be changed or dispensed from. Obligation of rubrics: Obviously, substantial rubrics bind in conscience, "sub gravi", because if they are not observed, the sacrament is invalid. Accidental rubrics, being ecclesiastical laws, also bind in conscience, under pain of venial or moral sin, according to the gravity of the matter. N.B. Among moral theologians it is a disputed question if all the Rubrics, even the less important, bind in conscience under pain of sin. But all agree that the greatest effort must be made, out of reverence towards God, and loyalty and obedience to his Church, to secure that each and every one of the Rubrics are fulfilled. A proportionately grave cause excuses from the observance of an accidental rubric, provided that scandal of the faithful and contempt for the law are avoided. 2) Custom: The term "custom" has two meanings: - as a fact (usage), it is an uniform and continuous way of acting;
- in the canonical sense, it is an established usage having the force of law. These established usages may be: • "secundum legem", when they clarify or confirm an existing law, • "praeter legem", when they extend the scope of an existing law, or fill up its lacunae, * "contra legem", when they oppose an existing law and abrogate it wholly or in part. The acts which create a usage must be: free, uniform, frequent, continuous, public, and performed by the majority of a community. The usage can turn into custom: - if it is reasonable, - if it has been practiced-for-a certain period (40 years according to CIC), - if it has had the consent (explicit or tacit) of the ecclesiastical superior during such a period. It must be noted that good faith is not required to initiate a custom. 3) Custom and the Rubrics of the Missal: According to the authentic interpretation of CIC c.818 and the previous decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, a usage contrary to the rubrics of the Missal (or other liturgical book), which concerns matters outside the actual celebration (e.g. altar, vestments, biretta, etc.) or persons other than the celebrant (e.g. sacred ministers, servers), may become a custom. Actually, the sacred Congregation of Rites has frequently tolerated or even sanctioned particular usages which are contrary to the rubrics of the Missal, such as not lighting the Elevation candle, making the tunicle and dalmatic identical, the celebrant not himself preparing the chalice for the Mass, abandoning the use of surplice under the alb, etc. (5) OBEDIENCE TO THE ECCLESIASTICAL SUPERIOR
Cfr. Summa Theologica, 11-II, qq.104 & 105. We are bound to obey God in all things, and our legitimate superiors. The only reasons to refuse obedience to our superiors are: - when something is commanded that is against the command of a higher power. Cfr. Acts 5:29 In this respect, St. Thomas speaks of "indiscreet obedience, which obeys even in matters unlawful' (11~11, 104, 5, ad 3um).
- when the superior commands to do something wherein we are not subject to him. Therefore, it would be sinful to refuse obedience, when the command: - is not against Divine or natural law (the latter being "no other thing than the eternal Law engraved in the intellectual beings... the eternal reason of God", Leo XIII, encyclical "Libertas"); - is not outside the competence of the superior.' THE LITURGICAL REFORM OF JOHN XXIII Code of the general Rubrics of the Roman Breviary and Missal: - set forth in the decre& Novum Rubricarum" of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, dated 26th July 1960; - approved by the motu proprio "Rubricarum Instructum" of Pope John XXIII, of 25th July 1960; - came into force on Ist January 1961. - “editio typica" of the Missal with the new rubrics, published in 1962. - by decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, of 13th November 1962, the name of St. Joseph was added to the "Communicantes" in the Canon of the Mass. The “Ritus servandus, in celebraticne Missae" was therefore modified in a number of places: The priest is no more required to have recited Matins and Lauds before Mass. The prayers of preparation for the Mass, as given in the Missal, are said to be "ad libitum". Regarding the use of the biretta, the new rubric reads: "et convenienter, caput tegit”. This change is an acknowledgement of one of those things which have already fallen into disuse. It is no longer necessary to bow to the Cross at the doxology or Holy Name when reading from the Missal: the head is bowed towards the book. Simplification of the rules for extending the hands before the breast, as during the Prayers and the Canon. Simplification of the procedure for the singing of the Epistle and Gospel in a High Mass or in a "Misa cantata".
The incensation of the celebrant after the singing of the Gospel in a "Missa cantata" is suppressed. The main change occurs regarding the manner of distributing Communion during Mass: "Confiteor", "Misereatur" and "Indulgentiam" are emitted before the communion of the faithful; the priest holds the Blessed Sacrament and turning towards the communicants says: "Ecce Agnus Dei...". Other reforms concern the "Rubricae generalesn; the most notable are: Reorganization of the Calendar (suppression of some feasts or change of their importance, introduction of new feasts); Prayers at the foot of the altar are emitted: after Candlemass procession, after distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday, after the procession on Palm Sunday, at the Easter Vigil Mass, at the Rogations mass following the procession, at Masses following certain consecration rites of the Roman Pontifical. "Ite missa est" is used at all non-Requiem masses, except when Mass is followed by a procession; in these and on Holy Thursday evening, it is substituted by "Benedicamus Domino". Final blessing is omitted when "Benedicamus Domino" is said. Last Gospel is emitted: whenever "Benedicamus Domino" is used; at the third Mass at Christmas, at the principal Mass on Palm Sunday; at Easter Vigil Mass; at Masses for the Dead which are followed by the absolution rite. "Oratio Imperata": only one additional collect may be ordered on low masses on liturgical days of Ill-IV class, and in low votive Masses of III-IV class. The only change in the "Ordo Missae" itself is the addition of St. Joseph to the list of Saints in the "Comunicantes". The reform has been according to canonical procedure, and it has explicitly abrogated the previous rubrics ("Rubricae Generales" and "Additiones ad normam bullae Divinu afflatu", promulgated by St.Pius X). Cfr.the latin text of the documents (as Appendix). IS THERE ANY REASON TO REFUSE OBEDIENCE TO THIS NEW LITURGICAL LAW? As we have already seen in the "status quaestionis", there are only two reasons which excuse us of the obedience due to our ecclesiastical superior, in this case, The Pope: 1) if the command is against Divine or natural law,
2) Is the object of the command is outside the competence of the superior Considering the liturgical reform of John XXIII, we conclude: (1) It is not outside the competence of the ecclesiastical superior.. (a) The Pope is the supreme (and only, according to the 1917 Code of Canon Law) authority in matters liturgical. (b) To introduce new rites or to modify the existing ones is within the extent of the Pope's authority (cfr. Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", Solesmes,n.546).
(c) The Pope has not trespassed the limits fixed for the exercise of his authority in matters liturgical: 1) He has not changed the whole Roman rite or substantial parts of it: • rite; The modifications of accidental rubrics do not change substantially the Roman
• Neither is the new rite for the communion of the faithful a substantial modification of the _Raman rite: the rite of the mass is complete in itself with the communion of the priest. • As liturgical action, the Order of the Mass continues being the same.
2) None of the modifications implies contradiction or refusal of any point of Catholic Faith: Neither the changes in the rubrics and Calendar, nor the introduction of St. Joseph in the Canon, nor the reformed rite of communion of the faithful. 3) The severe injunctions of St.Pius V do not' bind him, as they haven't bound any of the Popes who have preceded John XXIII, who in their turn, have also: Simplified and/or changed accidental rubrics,
Reformed the Calendar by the suppression, introduction, upgrading or degrading of numerous Saints' feasts. (2) It is not against Divine Law. (a) The substance of the Sacrament, instituted by our Lord and, therefore, immutable, has not been touched.
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