386. The renewal of the Roman Missal carried out in our time in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council has taken great care that all the faithful may display in the celebration of the Eucharist that full, conscious, and active participation that is required by the very nature of the Liturgy and to which the faithful, in virtue of their status as such, have a right and duty.
However, in order that such a celebration may correspond all the more fully to the norms and the spirit of the Sacred Liturgy, certain further adaptations are set out in this Instruction and in the Order of Mass and entrusted to the judgment either of the Diocesan Bishop or of the Conferences of Bishops.
387. The Diocesan Bishop, who is to be regarded as the High Priest of his flock, from whom the life in Christ of his faithful in some sense derives and upon whom it depends, must promote, regulate, and be vigilant over the liturgical life in his diocese. It is to him that in this Instruction is entrusted the regulating of the discipline of concelebration (cf. nos. 202, 374) and the establishing of norms regarding the function of serving the Priest at the altar (cf. no. 107), the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds
(cf. no. 283), and the construction and ordering of churches (cf. no. 291). It is above all for him, moreover, to nourish the spirit of the Sacred Liturgy in the Priests, Deacons, and faithful.
388. Those adaptations spoken of below that necessitate a wider degree of coordination are to be decided, in accord with the norm of law, in the Conference of Bishops.
389. It is the competence, in the first place, of the Conferences of Bishops to prepare and approve an edition of this Roman Missal in the authorized vernacular languages, so that, once their decisions have been accorded the recognitio of the Apostolic See, the edition may be used in the regions to which it pertains.
The Roman Missal, whether in Latin or in legitimately approved vernacular translations, is to be published in its entirety.
390. It is for the Conferences of Bishops to formulate the adaptations indicated in this General Instruction and in the Order of Mass and, once their decisions have been accorded the recognitio of the Apostolic See, to introduce them into the Missal itself. They are such as these:
• the gestures and bodily posture of the faithful (cf. no. 43);
• the gestures of veneration toward the altar and the Book of the Gospels (cf. no. 273);
• the texts of the chants at the Entrance, at the Presentation of the Gifts, and at Communion (cf. nos. 48, 74, 87);
• the readings from Sacred Scripture to be used in special circumstances (cf. no. 362);
• the form of the gesture of peace (cf. no. 82);
• the manner of receiving Holy Communion (cf. nos. 160, 283);
• the materials for the altar and sacred furnishings, especially the sacred vessels, and also the materials, form, and color of the liturgical vestments (cf. nos. 301, 326, 329, 339, 342-346).
It shall be permissible for Directories or pastoral Instructions that the Conferences of Bishops judge useful to be included, with the prior recognitio of the Apostolic See, in the Roman Missal at an appropriate place.
391. It is for the same Conferences of Bishops to attend to the translations of the biblical texts that are used in the celebration of Mass, exercising special care in this. For it is out of the Sacred Scripture that the readings are read and are explained in the Homily and that Psalms are sung, and it is by the influence of Sacred Scripture and at its prompting that prayers, orations, and liturgical chants are fashioned in such a way that it is from Sacred Scripture that actions and signs derive their meaning.
Language should be used that corresponds to the capacity for understanding of the faithful and is suitable for public proclamation, while maintaining those characteristics that are proper to the different ways of speaking used in the biblical books.
392. It shall also be for Conferences of Bishops to prepare with care a translation of the other texts, so that, even though the character of each language is respected, the meaning of the original Latin text is fully and faithfully rendered. In accomplishing this task, it is desirable that the different literary genres used at Mass be taken into account, such as the presidential prayers, the antiphons, the acclamations, the responses, the litanies of supplication, and so on.
It should be borne in mind that the primary purpose of the translation of the texts is not for meditation, but rather for their proclamation or singing during an actual celebration.
Language should be used that is accommodated to the faithful of the region, but is noble and marked by literary quality, even though there will always be a necessity for some catechesis on the biblical and Christian meaning of certain words and expressions.
Moreover, it is preferable that in regions that share the same language, the same translation be used in so far as possible for liturgical texts, especially for biblical texts and for the Order of Mass.
393. Bearing in mind the important place that singing has in a celebration as a necessary or integral part of the Liturgy, all musical settings for the texts of the Ordinary of Mass, for the people’s responses and acclamations, and for the special rites that occur in the course of the liturgical year must be submitted to the Secretariat of Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for review and approval prior to publication.
While the organ is to be accorded pride of place, other wind, stringed, or percussion instruments may be admitted into divine worship in the Dioceses of the United States of America, according to longstanding local usage, in so far as these are truly suitable for sacred use, or can be made suitable.
394. Each diocese should have its own Calendar and Proper of Masses. For its part, the Conference of Bishops should draw up a proper Calendar for the nation or, together with other Conferences, a Calendar for a wider territory, to be approved by the Apostolic See.
In carrying out this task, to the greatest extent possible the Lord’s Day is to be preserved and safeguarded, as the primordial feast day, and hence other celebrations, unless they are truly of the greatest importance, should not have precedence over it. Care should likewise be taken that the liturgical year as revised by decree of the Second Vatican Council not be obscured by secondary elements.
In the drawing up of the Calendar of a nation, the Rogation Days and Ember Days should be indicated (cf. no. 373), as well as the forms and texts for their celebration, and other special measures should also be kept in mind.
It is appropriate that in publishing the Missal, celebrations proper to an entire nation or territory be inserted at the proper place among the celebrations of the General Calendar, while those proper to a region or diocese should have a place in a special appendix.
395. Finally, if the participation of the faithful and their spiritual welfare require variations and profounder adaptations in order for the sacred
celebration to correspond with the culture and traditions of the different nations, then Conferences of Bishops may propose these to the Apostolic See in accordance with article 40 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy for introduction with the Apostolic See’s consent, especially in the case of nations to whom the Gospel has been more recently proclaimed. The special norms handed down by means of the Instruction on the Roman Liturgy and Inculturation should be attentively observed.
As regards the procedures in this matter, these should be observed:
Firstly, a detailed preliminary proposal should be set before the Apostolic See, so that, after the necessary faculty has been granted, the detailed working out of the individual points of adaptation may proceed.
Once these proposals have been duly approved by the Apostolic See, experiments should be carried out for specified periods and at specified places. When the period of experimentation is concluded, the Conference of Bishops shall decide, if the case requires, upon pursuing the adaptations and shall submit a mature formulation of the matter to the judgment of the Apostolic See.
396. However, before proceeding to new adaptations, especially profounder ones, great care shall be taken to promote due instruction of the clergy and the faithful in a wise and orderly manner, so as to take advantage of the faculties already foreseen and to apply fully the pastoral norms in keeping with the spirit of the celebration.
397. The principle shall moreover be respected, according to which each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally received from apostolic and unbroken tradition. These are to be kept not only so that errors may be avoided, but also so that the faith may be handed on in its integrity, since the Church’s rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of faith (lex credendi).
The Roman Rite constitutes a notable and precious part of the liturgical treasure and patrimony of the Catholic Church; its riches are conducive to the good of the universal Church, so that their loss would gravely harm her.
This Rite has in the course of the centuries not only preserved the liturgical usages that arose in the city of Rome, but has also in a deep, organic, and harmonious way integrated into itself certain other usages derived from the customs and culture of different peoples and of various particular Churches whether of the West or the East, so acquiring a certain supra-regional character. As to our own times, the identity and unitary expression of this Rite is found in the typical editions of the liturgical books promulgated by authority of the Supreme Pontiff, and in the liturgical books corresponding to them approved for their territories by the Conferences of Bishops and endowed with the recognitio of the Apostolic See.
398. The norm established by the Second Vatican Council, namely that in the liturgical renewal innovations should not be made unless required by true and certain usefulness to the Church, nor without exercising caution to ensure that new forms grow in some sense organically from forms already existing, must also be applied to implementation of the inculturation of the Roman Rite as such. Inculturation, moreover, requires a necessary length of time, lest the authentic liturgical tradition suffer hasty and incautious contamination.
Finally, the pursuit of inculturation does not have as its purpose in any way the creation of new families of rites, but aims rather at meeting the needs of a particular culture, though in such a way that adaptations introduced either into the Missal or coordinated with other liturgical books are not at variance with the proper character of the Roman Rite.
399. And so, the Roman Missal, though in a diversity of languages and with some variety of customs, must in the future be safeguarded as an instrument and an outstanding sign of the integrity and unity of the Roman Rite.