RDCA II, 18-19: Adaptations

Let’s look briefly at the possibility of liturgical adaptations. Some are within the competence of the national conference:

18. The conferences of bishops may adapt this rite, as required, to the character of each region, but in such a way that nothing of its dignity and solemnity is lost.

However, the following are to be respected:

  • a) The celebration of Mass with the proper preface and prayer for a dedication must never be omitted.
  • b) Rites that have a special meaning and force from liturgical tradition (see no. 16) must be retained, unless weighty reasons stand in the way, but the wording may be suitably adapted if necessary.

With regard to adaptations, the competent ecclesiastical authority is to consult the Holy See and introduce adaptations with its consent. (Sacrosanctum Concilium 40)

Changing words are not a matter for an individual bishop, but the conference with the assent of Rome.

Others are “within the Competence of the Ministers”:

19. It is for the bishop and for those in charge of the celebration of the rite:

  • to decide the manner of entrance into the church (see no. 11);
  • to determine the manner of handing over the new church to the bishop (no. 11);
  • to decide whether to have the depositing of relics of the saints. The decisive consideration is the spiritual good of the community; the prescriptions in no. 5 must be followed.

It is for the rector of the church to be dedicated, helped by those who assist him in the pastoral work, to decide and prepare everything concerning the readings, singing, and other pastoral aids to foster the fruitful participation of the people and to ensure a dignified celebration.

Two brief observations that touch on liturgy in general:

  • - Any adaptation is made for the spiritual good of the people, not the convenience or whim of the ministers.
  • - I like the term “fruitful participation.” It is retained in the 2003 ICEL translation draft.
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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.
This entry was posted in Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to RDCA II, 18-19: Adaptations

  1. Bill Logan says:

    If this were written today, would it allow for adaptations by the conferences? Even if spiritual good for the people were to result? I’ve been pondering this in light of Msgr. Wadsworth’s belief expressed on the PrayTell blog that the unity of the Roman rite is a textual unity.

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