Varietates Legitimae 62: Procedures with Rome and the Bishops’ Conferences

How do the bishops’ conference and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS) work together? Good question.

62. When an episcopal conference prepares its own edition of liturgical books, it decides about the translations and also the adaptations which are envisaged by the law. (Cf. Canons 455.2 and 838.3; that is also the case for a new edition, cf. Vicesimus Quintus Annus, 20.) The acts of the conference, together with the final vote, are signed by the president and secretary of the conference and sent to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, along with two copies of the approved text.
Moreover along with the complete dossier should be sent:

a) A succinct and precise explanation of the reasons for the adaptations that have been introduced.

b) Indications as to which sections have been taken from other already approved liturgical books and which are newly composed.

After the recognition by the Apostolic See has been received according to the law, (Canon 838.3) the episcopal conference promulgates the decree and determines the date when the new text comes into force.


The initiative for liturgical inculturation comes from the conference of bishops, not from Rome.

The procedure is particular, but not a deeply involved one.

Bishops should have good reasons for making requests.

My sense is that the key point is the relative openness of Rome to adaptations. Does the CDWDS have a high bar or a low one? A lot is at stake in that unwritten policy. I wonder if the procedures as set down are adequate, but that perhaps the problem is a dicastery that fails to grasp the importance of liturgy, or a failure to respect the particular expertise of local bishops and their consultants. In other words, if Rome sees uniformity as an ideal, then this section isn’t really relevant to liturgy, evangelization, and prayer.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in post-conciliar liturgy documents, Varietates Legitimae. Bookmark the permalink.

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