GIRM 15: Things Old and New

At the US Bishops’ site, you can access the full text of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Today, we finish up the introduction to the 2000 GIRM. This section, you’ll recall, was an addition to the previous edition of the GIRM. As we’ve read through it, it has laid some groundwork for what is to come, and also has referenced the current situation in the Church. To a degree, GIRM 15 also summarizes the prior fourteen sections.

15. In this manner the Church, while remaining faithful to her office as teacher of truth, safeguarding “things old,” that is, the deposit of tradition, fulfills at the same time the duty of examining and prudently adopting “things new” (cf. Mt 13:52).

For part of the new Missal orders the prayers of the Church in a way more open to the needs of our times. Of this kind are above all the Ritual Masses and Masses for Various Needs, in which tradition and new elements are appropriately brought together. Thus, while a great number of expressions, drawn from the Church’s most ancient tradition and familiar through the many editions of the Roman Missal, have remained unchanged, numerous others have been accommodated to the needs and conditions proper to our own age, and still others, such as the prayers for the Church, for the laity, for the sanctification of human labor, for the community of all nations, and certain needs proper to our era, have been newly composed, drawing on the thoughts and often the very phrasing of the recent documents of
the Council.

On account, moreover, of the same attitude toward the new state of the world as it now is, it seemed to cause no harm at all to so revered a treasure if some phrases were changed so that the language would be in accord with that of modern theology and would truly reflect the current state of the Church’s discipline. Hence, several expressions regarding the evaluation and use of earthly goods have been changed, as have several which alluded to a certain form of outward penance which was proper to other periods of the Church’s past.

In this way, finally, the liturgical norms of the Council of Trent have certainly been completed and perfected in many particulars by those of the Second Vatican Council, which has carried into effect the efforts to bring the faithful closer to the Sacred Liturgy that have been taken up these last four centuries and especially those of recent times, and above all the attention to the Liturgy promoted by St. Pius X and his Successors.

Two brief comments, then yours:

Note the positive regard of the combination of “tradition and new elements.”

Note also that while Tridentine liturgical norms have been referenced and affirmed, the Church also views them as incomplete and imperfect in terms of their ability to bring people closer to the liturgy. The Church views liturgical reform as an ongoing effort, in that Pius X is referenced, and in so doing, affirms that liturgical reform and renewal did not begin with Vatican II. It is an exercise with which we will likely never find satisfaction in this life.

What observations have you had all so far?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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