GIRM 17-18: Participation

Today’s two sections parallel the 1975 GIRM 2 and 3.

17. It is, therefore, of the greatest importance that the celebration of the Mass or the Lord’s Supper be so ordered that the sacred ministers and the faithful taking part in it, according to the state proper to each, may draw from it more abundantly[Sacrosanctum Concilium 14, 19, 26, 28, 30] those fruits, to obtain which, Christ the Lord instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood and entrusted it as the memorial of his Passion and Resurrection to the Church, his beloved Bride.[SC 47]

18. This will fittingly come about if, with due regard for the nature and other circumstances of each liturgical assembly, the entire celebration is arranged in such a way that it leads to a conscious, active, and full participation of the faithful, namely in body and in mind, a participation fervent with faith, hope, and charity, of the sort which is desired by the Church and which is required by the very nature of the celebration and to which the Christian people have a right and duty in virtue of their Baptism.[SC 14]

The recent directives on Communion not from the cup would seem to be contraindicated in light of the desire of the Church that the faithful may “draw … more abundantly” from what Christ offers in the Mass. It’s not a flimsy concept, for the Council bishops reinforced the notion of participation at least five times in the first quarter of the liturgy constitution.

GIRM 18 seems to present no less zeal for participation–conscious, active, and full–two generations after Vatican II. Good that the Church communicates the fullness of this, reminding clergy that the people have a right to participate according to the ordering of the liturgy, and that for our part, we laity have a duty to take up that mantle.

It seems pretty clear, doesn’t it?

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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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One Response to GIRM 17-18: Participation

  1. “..namely in body and in mind” is actually a loaded phrase. This is not simple.

    In some of the ongoing liturgical discussions among Catholics over on Google+ it has become clear there are many understandings of what “participation” is. I feel that we have done a fairly good job teaching children and youth about singing and saying the responses – the exterior participation – the work of the “body” at liturgy. However, we do little with the concept of interior participation.

    Probably this is an adult concept, but up until the recent push for catechesis on the Mass in preparation for the new Missal, we have done little catechesis for adults on the Mass – and I have heard little about the two types of participation. (I did, however, include that in my own parish presentation.)

    I have started a series over on my blog about the points in the Mass where there are specific recommendations about interior participation, either in the actual rubrics, the GIRM, or other sources, such as documents or the CCC. http://liturgycatechesisshallkiss.blogspot.com/2011/10/getting-more-of-mass-part-3-joining-in.html .

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