Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy - Sacrosanctum concilium. Sacrosanctum Concilium. The Apostolic Constitution on the. Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. Issued December 4, Mystery and the Enduring Value of Sacrosanctum Concilium. The promulgation of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium on the Sacred.

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Lecture Notes: Sacrosanctum Concilium As the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium was one of the most significant. Its formal name, Sacrosanctum Concilium, means this most holy council. Since this was the first document the bishops formally approved (on Dec. 4, ), the. Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, is one of the constitutions of . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.

Civil War American History: Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. The Reception of Vatican II. Print publication date: March DOI: Find in Worldcat. Print Save Cite Email Share. Search within book. Email Address. Library Card. Sacrosanctum Concilium Sacrosanctum Concilium Chapter: Jeremy Driscoll Publisher: This consideration is especially important for professors of dogmatic, spiritual, and pastoral theology and for those of holy scripture.

In seminaries and houses of religious, clerics shall be given a liturgical formation in their spiritual life. For this they will need proper direction, so that they may be able to understand the sacred rites and take part in them wholeheartedly; and they will also need personally to celebrate the sacred mysteries, as well as popular devotions which are imbued with the spirit of the liturgy.

In addition they must learn how to observe the liturgical laws, so that life in seminaries and houses of religious may be thoroughly influenced by the spirit of the liturgy. Priests, both secular and religious, who are already working in the Lord's vineyard are to be helped by every suitable means to understand ever more fully what it is that they are doing when they perform sacred rites; they are to be aided to live the liturgical life and to share it with the faithful entrusted to their care.

With zeal and patience, pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful, and also their active participation in the liturgy both internally and externally, taking into account their age and condition, their way of life, and standard of religious culture.

By so doing, pastors will be fulfilling one of the chief duties of a faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God; and in this matter they must lead their flock not only in word but also by example. Transmissions of the sacred rites by radio and television shall be done with discretion and dignity, under the leadership and direction of a suitable person appointed for this office by the bishops.

This is especially important when the service to be broadcast is the Mass. The Reform of the Sacred Liturgy In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.

In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.

American Catholic Studies

Wherefore the sacred Council establishes the following general norms: A General norms Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.

Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised. This investigation should be theological, historical, and pastoral.

Also the general laws governing the structure and meaning of the liturgy must be studied in conjunction with the experience derived from recent liturgical reforms and from the indults conceded to various places. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.

As far as possible, notable differences between the rites used in adjacent regions must be carefully avoided. Sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung; the prayers, collects, and liturgical songs are scriptural in their inspiration and their force, and it is from the scriptures that actions and signs derive their meaning.

Thus to achieve the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy, it is essential to promote that warm and living love for scripture to which the venerable tradition of both eastern and western rites gives testimony. The liturgical books are to be revised as soon as possible; experts are to be employed on the task, and bishops are to be consulted, from various parts of the world.

B Norms drawn from the hierarchic and communal nature of the Liturgy Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the "sacrament of unity," namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops [ 33 ] Therefore liturgical services pertain to the whole body of the Church; they manifest it and have effects upon it; but they concern the individual members of the Church in different ways, according to their differing rank, office, and actual participation.

It is to be stressed that whenever rites, according to their specific nature, make provision for communal celebration involving the presence and active participation of the faithful, this way of celebrating them is to be preferred, so far as possible, to a celebration that is individual and quasi-private. This applies with especial force to the celebration of Mass and the administration of the sacraments, even though every Mass has of itself a public and social nature.

In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy.

Servers, lectors commentators, and members of the choir also exercise a genuine liturgical function.

They ought, therefore, to discharge their office with the sincere piety and decorum demanded by so exalted a ministry and rightly expected of them by God's people. Consequently they must all be deeply imbued with the spirit of the liturgy, each in his own measure, and they must be trained to perform their functions in a correct and orderly manner. To promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes.

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And at the proper times all should observe a reverent silence. The revision of the liturgical books must carefully attend to the provision of rubrics also for the people's parts. The liturgy makes distinctions between persons according to their liturgical function and sacred Orders, and there are liturgical laws providing for due honors to be given to civil authorities.

Apart from these instances, no special honors are to be paid in the liturgy to any private persons or classes of persons, whether in the ceremonies or by external display. C Norms based upon the didactic and pastoral nature of the Liturgy Although the sacred liturgy is above all things the worship of the divine Majesty, it likewise contains much instruction for the faithful [ 34 ].

For in the liturgy God speaks to His people and Christ is still proclaiming His gospel.

And the people reply to God both by song and prayer. Moreover, the prayers addressed to God by the priest who presides over the assembly in the person of Christ are said in the name of the entire holy people and of all present. And the visible signs used by the liturgy to signify invisible divine things have been chosen by Christ or the Church.

Sacrosanctum Concilium

Thus not only when things are read "which were written for our instruction" Rom. Wherefore, in the revision of the liturgy, the following general norms should be observed: The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people's powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation.

That the intimate connection between words and rites may be apparent in the liturgy: 1 In sacred celebrations there is to be more reading from holy scripture, and it is to be more varied and suitable. The sermon, moreover, should draw its content mainly from scriptural and liturgical sources, and its character should be that of a proclamation of God's wonderful works in the history of salvation, the mystery of Christ, ever made present and active within us, especially in the celebration of the liturgy.

But they should occur only at the more suitable moments, and be in prescribed or similar words. They are particularly to be commended in places where no priest is available; when this is so, a deacon or some other person authorized by the bishop should preside over the celebration. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art.

And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language. Translations from the Latin text into the mother tongue intended for use in the liturgy must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned above. D Norms for adapting the Liturgy to the culture and traditions of peoples Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not implicate the faith or the good of the whole community; rather does she respect and foster the genius and talents of the various races and peoples.

Anything in these peoples' way of life which is not indissolubly bound up with superstition and error she studies with sympathy and, if possible, preserves intact. Sometimes in fact she admits such things into the liturgy itself, so long as they harmonize with its true and authentic spirit. Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved; and this should be borne in mind when drawing up the rites and devising rubrics.

Within the limits set by the typical editions of the liturgical books, it shall be for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art.

In some places and circumstances, however, an even more radical adaptation of the liturgy is needed, and this entails greater difficulties.

Wherefore: 1 The competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. Adaptations which are judged to be useful or necessary should then be submitted to the Apostolic See, by whose consent they may be introduced. The bishop is to be considered as the high priest of his flock, from whom the life in Christ of his faithful is in some way derived and dependent.

Therefore all should hold in great esteem the liturgical life of the diocese centered around the bishop, especially in his cathedral church; they must be convinced that the pre-eminent manifestation of the Church consists in the full active participation of all God's holy people in these liturgical celebrations, especially in the same eucharist, in a single prayer, at one altar, at which there presides the bishop surrounded by his college of priests and by his ministers [ 35 ].

But because it is impossible for the bishop always and everywhere to preside over the whole flock in his Church, he cannot do other than establish lesser groupings of the faithful. Among these the parishes, set up locally under a pastor who takes the place of the bishop, are the most important: for in some manner they represent the visible Church constituted throughout the world.

And therefore the liturgical life of the parish and its relationship to the bishop must be fostered theoretically and practically among the faithful and clergy; efforts also must be made to encourage a sense of community within the parish, above all in the common celebration of the Sunday Mass. Zeal for the promotion and restoration of the liturgy is rightly held to be a sign of the providential dispositions of God in our time, as a movement of the Holy Spirit in His Church.

It is today a distinguishing mark of the Church's life, indeed of the whole tenor of contemporary religious thought and action. So that this pastoral-liturgical action may become even more vigorous in the Church, the sacred Council decrees: It is desirable that the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art.

So far as possible the commission should be aided by some kind of Institute for Pastoral Liturgy, consisting of persons who are eminent in these matters, and including laymen as circumstances suggest.

Under the direction of the above-mentioned territorial ecclesiastical authority the commission is to regulate pastoral-liturgical action throughout the territory, and to promote studies and necessary experiments whenever there is question of adaptations to be proposed to the Apostolic See. For the same reason every diocese is to have a commission on the sacred liturgy under the direction of the bishop, for promoting the liturgical apostolate.

Sometimes it may be expedient that several dioceses should form between them one single commission which will be able to promote the liturgy by common consultation. Besides the commission on the sacred liturgy, every diocese, as far as possible, should have commissions for sacred music and sacred art.

These three commissions must work in closest collaboration; indeed it will often be best to fuse the three of them into one single commission. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity [ 36 ], a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us [ 37 ].

The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ's faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration. They should be instructed by God's word and be nourished at the table of the Lord's body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator [ 38 ], they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all.

For this reason the sacred Council, having in mind those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the faithful, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation, has made the following decrees in order that the sacrifice of the Mass, even in the ritual forms of its celebration, may become pastorally efficacious to the fullest degree.

The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved. For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary.

The treasures of the bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's word. In this way a more representative portion of the holy scriptures will be read to the people in the course of a prescribed number of years. By means of the homily the mysteries of the faith and the guiding principles of the Christian life are expounded from the sacred text, during the course of the liturgical year; the homily, therefore, is to be highly esteemed as part of the liturgy itself; in fact, at those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the people on Sundays and feasts of obligation, it should not be omitted except for a serious reason.


Especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation there is to be restored, after the Gospel and the homily, "the common prayer" or "the prayer of the faithful. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the common prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to the norm laid down in Art.

Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them. And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's body from the same sacrifice, is strongly commended. The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remaining intact [ 40 ], communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to clerics and religious, but also to the laity, in cases to be determined by the Apostolic See, as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptized in the Mass which follows their baptism.

The two parts which, in a certain sense, go to make up the Mass, namely, the liturgy of the word and the eucharistic liturgy, are so closely connected with each other that they form but one single act of worship. Accordingly this sacred Synod strongly urges pastors of souls that, when instructing the faithful, they insistently teach them to take their part in the entire Mass, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation.

Concelebration, whereby the unity of the priesthood is appropriately manifested, has remained in use to this day in the Church both in the east and in the west. For this reason it has seemed good to the Council to extend permission for concelebration to the following cases: 1. Also, with permission of the ordinary, to whom it belongs to decide whether concelebration is opportune: a at conventual Mass, and at the principle Mass in churches when the needs of the faithful do not require that all priests available should celebrate individually; b at Masses celebrated at any kind of priests' meetings, whether the priests be secular clergy or religious.

The regulation, however, of the discipline of con-celebration in the diocese pertains to the bishop. Nevertheless, each priest shall always retain his right to celebrate Mass individually, though not at the same time in the same church as a concelebrated Mass, nor on Thursday of the Lord's Supper.

A new rite for concelebration is to be drawn up and inserted into the Pontifical and into the Roman Missal. The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the body of Christ, and, finally, to give worship to God; because they are signs they also instruct.

They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called "sacraments of faith. It is therefore of the highest importance that the faithful should easily understand the sacramental signs, and should frequent with great eagerness those sacraments which were instituted to nourish the Christian life. Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals.

These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments: they signify effects, particularly of a spiritual kind, which are obtained through the Church's intercession. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy. Thus, for well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event in their lives; they are given access to the stream of divine grace which flows from the paschal mystery of the passion, death, the resurrection of Christ, the font from which all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power.

There is hardly any proper use of material things which cannot thus be directed toward the sanctification of men and the praise of God.

With the passage of time, however, there have crept into the rites of the sacraments and sacramentals certain features which have rendered their nature and purpose far from clear to the people of today; hence some changes have become necessary to adapt them to the needs of our own times. For this reason the sacred Council decrees as follows concerning their revision.

Because of the use of the mother tongue in the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals can often be of considerable help to the people, this use is to be extended according to the following norms: a The vernacular language may be used in administering the sacraments and sacramentals, according to the norm of Art. These rituals, which are to be adapted, also as regards the language employed, to the needs of the different regions, are to be reviewed by the Apostolic See and then introduced into the regions for which they have been prepared.

A more formal set of directives or norms, explicitly enumerated by the Council, is to govern the reform of the Sacred Liturgy. SC 22 Proposed liturgical changes are to be examined cautiously, relying on careful study and on the experience derived from recent reforms and indults.

Clearly, this is a prescription for gradual reform, not revolution. The Council also remarks that liturgy should have a Scriptural emphasis, and that liturgical books should be revised promptly, under the consultation of experts and bishops.

Note that the communal is contrasted with the private, not with the hierarchical. A criticism of the old Mass was that the priest conducted the liturgy no differently than if he were saying Mass in a private chapel.

It was as if the laity were just spectators watching a private devotion. Indeed, the specific nature of the rite requires certain acts to be performed by the priest alone, or at least to be led by the priest. Yet, as much as possible, the presence of the laity needs to be acknowledged, as well as their participation, so that the Mass is clearly a public act of worship, not a private act done in public. And at the proper times all should observe a reverent silence.

To improve the didactic nature of the liturgy, the Council provides several norms. Also, it is a matter of judgment whether a repetition is useless. Further, the suggestion that there might be anything useless in the traditional Mass would seem to be incompatible with the reverence owed to that venerable rite. The potential for abuse under this norm is great, and the proper guard against such abuse is to recall that this is subject to the general norms mentioned earlier.

Any liturgical changes must be done under the proper Church authority, and should take care to show an organic continuity with the existing rite. There is no contemplation of a wholesale translation of the entire Mass into the vernacular. Each territorial ecclesiastical authority i.

The Council does not require the bishops to permit the vernacular at all if they so decide. The only language that is explicitly mandated is Latin, not the vernacular, yet this constitution has been interpreted as though the opposite were the case. The Holy See may then grant them the power to direct preliminary experiments with the proposed changes. Note that the reason for adaptation is presumed to be a strong traditional culture, not the normlessness of the postmodern West.

In order to promote liturgical restoration, the Council decreed that each territorial ecclesiastical authority should create a liturgical commission, assisted by liturgical experts including laymen, to regulate liturgical action under the direction of ecclesiastical authority.

SC, 44 Additionally, each diocese is to have, if possible, its own commission on sacred liturgy under the direction of the bishop SC, 45 , and commissions for sacred music and art.

SC, 46 The purpose of these commissions is to guarantee that the implementation of reforms is done with the guidance of relevant experts, including laymen, though always under the direction of ordinary ecclesiastical authority. With hindsight, we may detect a degree of naivete in the expectation that the difficult and vaguely defined task of liturgical reform would best be implemented by commissions of liturgical experts.

Too often, liturgists thought that the Mass and sacraments were fitting means for imposing their pet vision of how the Church ought to be re-constituted, even if this was at odds with faith and tradition.

In the absence of definite guidelines on the substance of liturgical reform or a clear structure of authority, the potential for abuse was great, and unfortunately was realized in many instances. Overreliance on expertism leads to social technocracy, which is antithetical to the organic development of a society. Indeed, the communal or sharing aspect of the eucharist consists precisely in the fact that Christ is sharing with us the sacrifice of his own Body and Blood as the paschal victim.

The benefits of the eucharist, namely the inflowing of grace and promise of eternal glory, are precisely those which were obtained for us on the Cross.

Lest it be thought that the Council is prescribing Lutheranism, orthodox Christianity has always recognized a common priesthood of the faithful as distinct from that proper to Holy Orders. The universal priesthood of orthodox Christianity is distinct from that of the Protestants in that it cannot be exercised independently of the ordained priesthood. Without the priest acting in persona Christi, there would be no real Victim Hostia to offer. This participation, for most of the faithful, was generally accomplished through interior prayer and adoration, but the Council now wants this participation to be expressed more explicitly.

Rather, we offer ourselves insofar as we are members of the mystical body of Christ. This action is fitting to all Christians, for all are called to emulate Christ in giving up oneself for the sake of the salvation of the world. We cannot be in Christ unless we participate in this self-giving or caritas. In order to achieve fuller participation by the faithful in the Mass, the Council issued nine decrees regarding Masses where the faithful are present. Other parts which suffered loss through accidents of history are to be restored to the vigor they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary.

SC, 50 The unnecessary duplication of parts can obscure the structure of the liturgical action. Amplification of some parts may be justified on the grounds that this is a restoration of the Patristic liturgies and useful to the pastoral aims of the present. In a second decree, the Council calls for a more diverse set of Scripture readings to be used at Mass over a cycle of several years.

This is one of the more successfully implemented decrees of the Council. Formerly, there was always the same Epistle and Gospel reading for each Mass of the liturgical year. Now, there are two readings before the Gospel, and the readings repeat on a three-year cycle, allowing for many more different readings, especially from the Old Testament.

The special theme of each Sunday and feast is not effaced, since they can still keep similar Gospel readings, though taken from different evangelists on different cycle years.

A third decree announces that the homily should become a proper part of the liturgy, not to be omitted on Sundays and holy days. Its subject matter should be faith and morals, based on an exposition of the Scriptural readings. The laity are to participate in this prayer for intercessions on behalf of the Church, civil authorities, those in need, and for all mankind and its salvation. SC, 53 Such a broad universalism was already existent in the Good Friday intercessions, which included prayers for various classes of unbelievers.

The fifth decree gives more definite form to the proposed usage of the vernacular during the Mass. Thus the only parts of the Mass that need to be in the vernacular are the readings and the parts that involve verbal response by the people. The implementation of the use of the vernacular is subject to Article 36 of the Constitution, discussed previously, which emphasized the primacy of the Latin language and subjection to proper ecclesiastical authority.

Although the faithful are now to always participate in the recitation or singing of these parts, it is still fitting that they should be able to do so in Latin or Greek, in the case of the Kyrie.

This is because the Latin forms of these prayers were familiar and dear even to those who knew no Latin, and it was not necessary to be fluent in Latin to understand the essential meaning of these prayers. A likely exception in this list is the Credo, which is not properly a prayer, but a profession of faith, given in elaborate and technical language. This was one of the first parts of the Ordinary to be translated to the vernacular after the Council, since it is obviously necessary for the faithful to understand what they profess to believe.

Even today, many parishes have preserved or restored the use of Greek for the Kyrie and Latin for the Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei, though seldom consistently. Their beauty is sufficient testimony in their favor.

This is conciliar confirmation of a practice first espoused by Pope St. Pius X. Prior to that, it was a matter of theological dispute how frequently the laity should be offered communion, which was generally only one or several times a year.

By the time of the Council, it was already customary in many places for the laity to receive communion weekly, even daily. This realized in practice a long-held ideal, expressed in the Catechism of Pope St. Pius V, that the faithful should receive communion daily.

Sacrosanctum Concilium

The Council commends this practice, in view of its objective of encouraging more perfect participation by the laity. The present article also makes the following provision for the reception of communion under both kinds: The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remaining intact, communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to clerics and religious, but also to the laity, in cases to be determined by the Apostolic See, as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptized in the Mass which follows their baptism.

SC, 55 The Council of Trent solemnly defined Thirteenth Session, Canon 3 that the whole Christ is contained under each species those of bread and wine , as opposed to the Utraquist heresy, which held the reception under both species was necessary for salvation.

This heresy is condemned and the correct doctrine is expounded at length in the twenty-first session of that ecumenical synod. We should note in particular that the Council of Trent declared that those who receive the Sacrament under one species receive it whole and entire, and are not defrauded of any grace.

We should note, however, that the Council of Trent did not absolutely forbid reception of communion under both kinds. Rather, it asserted that reception under one species was sufficient for those not performing the consecration of the Host, and that the Church was justified in declining to offer both species to the laity.

The Greeks and others permitted reception of communion under both kinds, and were not judged to be heretics on this account by the Latin Church. What is impermissible is to assert that such reception is necessary to complete reception of the sacrament. The Latin tradition of having distinct forms of reception for the consecrating priest and those in attendance i. As Sacrifice, only the priest can act in the person of Christ, who is the sole true Priest offering the one worthy Sacrifice of his Body and Blood at Calvary.

The perfection of the Sacrifice requires consecration and reception of both species by the priest. The reception of the Eucharist as Sacrament, however, requires only one species, as Christ is received whole and entire under either form. This is why the Sacrament can be exposed for adoration under only one species, and why those receiving the Eucharist as Sacrament are not receiving imperfectly if it is only under one kind.

Note that the distinction is not between priest and laity as such, for even non-consecrating priests may receive under only one species. Rather the distinction is between the Eucharist as Sacrifice and as Sacrament. The Second Vatican Council proposes that there may be special occasions where it is fitting for those not consecrating the Host to receive communion under both kinds.

This may deemed appropriate for those being ordained to the priesthood, in order to reflect their new power to consecrate the Sacrifice, or for those professing religious vows, in order to symbolize their marriage to Christ and their desire to participate fully in his life of self-sacrifice, by drinking from his chalice.

Even the laity might receive under both kinds in order to symbolize the universal priesthood they enter by making their baptismal vows. Such exceptions may be granted by bishops as determined by the Holy See. The Council proposes the reception of communion under both kinds only in highly restricted circumstances, where such reception is consonant with the special event and does not give occasion to the error that reception under one kind is a less perfect or incomplete form of the sacrament.

Allowing regular or arbitrary reception under both kinds at ordinary Masses is inadvisable, since it can create the impression that something additional is accomplished by reception of the second species. Also, the practice of allowing a special clique of non-consecrating clergy and laity to receive under both kinds can obscure the relevant distinction between the Eucharist as Sacrifice and as Sacrament.

This is why the Council wisely did not so much as hint at the desirability of either practice. During the time of Roman persecution, Christians made sure that the uninitiated catechumens were not exposed to the sacred mysteries before baptism. Only as full members of the Church could they actively participate in the Mass of the Eucharist. This practice was long abandoned by the Middle Ages, yet the Mass still bore some marks of this distinction, as there was more verbal interaction with the servers and laity in the first part of the Mass, while the second part was entirely priestly in action.

Yet the Council recalls that all of the baptized ought to participate in the Mass of the Eucharist, so that there is no reason for this residual distinction between the two parts of the liturgy, especially as practically all in attendance are baptized.

Further, a major theme of this Constitution and indeed of the entire twentieth-century liturgical movement is to encourage full participation in the public liturgy by all the baptized Catholics in attendance. This participation should be from start to finish, so there is less distinction between the two parts of the liturgy. It is difficult not to be excited and enthusiastic about these liturgical reforms proposed by the Council.

They seem to be genuinely oriented toward enhancing and improving the Mass, and we can only wonder what such a Mass might look like, since the actual reforms were generally more radical, aesthetically destructive and theologically dubious than anything the Council outlined.

This is generally attributable to the anti-authoritarian tendencies of the post-Conciliar period, exhibited in unauthorized liturgical experimentation that was later accepted as a fait accompli. Even today, when the chain of command has been generally restored, we find that priests enjoy considerable discretion in their liturgical practice, contrary to the general norms of the Council, which entrusted liturgical decisions to territorial conferences of bishops, subject to the approval of the Holy See.

The eighth and ninth decrees provide for broader application of priestly concelebration at Mass. Concelebration was always common in the East, but in the West this practice was limited to Masses at the ordination of priests and bishops. This had not always been the case, as in the early Middle Ages there were concelebratory Masses on major feasts and station days. Objections to the legitimacy of this practice were answered by St. Thomas Aquinas.

Summa Theol. The Holy Thursday liturgy naturally lends itself to concelebration, as it recalls the original priestly community of Christ and the Apostles.

The second, fourth, and sixth cases are also eminently suited for concelebration, as they are occasions of emphasizing the communal unity of the priesthood. The extension of concelebration to Masses of benediction for an abbot is obviously analogous to the existing practice of allowing it for the ordination of bishops.

The fifth case assumes that the traditional distinction between High Mass and Low Mass would be preserved, in which case, priests of the same church may concelebrate in the High Mass if they are not needed to celebrate other Masses that day. Today we can only dream of such an oversupply of priests. SC, 58 As it turns out, this rite actually places more emphasis on priestly unity than the traditional Latin form, since only one priest speaks words of consecration at a given time, rather than have several priests attempt to speak synchronously.

These changes have sometimes received inadequate attention by critics of post-Conciliar reforms, especially since they are essential to the life of Catholic faith. When we see the contrast between the actual reforms and those proposed by the Council, we can hardly be less scandalized than by the liturgical abuses at Mass.

The Council is fully aware that the sacraments, in addition to administering grace, serve as forms of instruction in the faith. Thus any change in the sacramental rites must retain the orthodox meaning of the sacraments and express this clearly, not invent a new meaning in an attempt to change the sacraments.

The essential meaning and sacramental form was already defined at Trent for baptism 7th session , confirmation 7th session , the eucharist 13th session , penance 14th session , extreme unction 14th session , holy orders 23rd session , and matrimony 24th session.

The Second Vatican Council nowhere presumes to alter this solemn teaching, so it is manifestly inappropriate for any liturgist, no matter how learned, to dare where an ecumenical synod would not. SC, 59 The most common sacramental is sprinkling with holy water, which signifies the effect of a priestly blessing upon the faithful.

Even here, nonetheless, rites should be consonant with the faith, so that an inappropriate symbol will not lead people into error. The Council justifies the need to reform the rites of sacraments and sacrementals in the following terms: With the passage of time, however, there have crept into the rites of the sacraments and sacramentals certain features which have rendered their nature and purpose far from clear to the people of today; hence some changes have become necessary to adapt them to the needs of our own times.

The reason for the present state of obscurity is not in any objective deficiency in the traditional rites. Rather, the symbols and language used by the ancient rites, while well suited to the culture in which they arose, are not clearly intelligible to most modern people. The effectiveness of a symbol is determined not by its intrinsic nature alone, but by its intelligibility to those who are to receive it. The first aid to intelligibility is the use of the vernacular in the rites of sacraments and sacramentals.

However, such locally adapted rites must include include the instructions prefixed to the rites. The edition of the Rituale Romanum implemented the reforms proposed in a very conservative fashion.SC, 53 Such a broad universalism was already existent in the Good Friday intercessions, which included prayers for various classes of unbelievers.

Nevertheless, let the paschal fast be kept sacred. Moreover, an ecclesiastical authority having the territorial competence described in Article Solemnities are high holy days pertaining to the mysteries of faith. SC, That article encouraged lay participation in hymns, while also calling for reverent silence at proper times.

These three commissions must work in closest collaboration; indeed it will often be best to fuse the three of them into one single commission.

The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.