GIRM 32-33: Priest Audibility

Some practical guidance for clergy:

32. The nature of the “presidential” parts requires that they be spoken in a loud and clear voice and that everyone listen to them attentively.[Musicam Sacram 14] Therefore, while the Priest is pronouncing them, there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent.

33. For the Priest, as the one who presides, expresses prayers in the name of the Church and of the assembled community; but at times he prays only in his own name, asking that he may exercise his ministry with greater attention and devotion. Prayers of this kind, which occur before the reading of the Gospel, at the Preparation of the Gifts, and also before and after the Communion of the Priest, are said quietly.

The prayers at Mass are important enough to be rendered without distraction. GIRM 32 in suggesting a “clear” voice, is telling us that intelligibility is important. Do most clergy know they must cater their speaking style to the building in which they celebrate Mass?

A note on the 2011 “upgrade” for GIRM 33. The priest in 2000, was instructed to say these prayers “in his own name” inaudibly. In the 2011 update, “quietly.” The Latin original is secreto.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to GIRM 32-33: Priest Audibility

  1. FrMichael says:

    Seminarians are taught to adjust their voice for the space.

    How is that lesson retained after ordination? In my experience, quite haphazardly.

  2. Todd says:

    This is interesting. Seminarians do need an all-out speech class. How many seminaries provide it? Have a faculty member who teaches it?

  3. FrMichael says:

    I don’t know that seminaries have generic “Speech 101” classes. What they do have is a series of homiletics courses as part of the curriculum. These are required by the Plan of Priestly Formation that governs seminaries. My personal experience was that every homiletics professor that I had not only taught and graded on content, but also on delivery, including the need to project and adjust depending on the specific venue of preaching.

  4. FrMichael says:

    Also should mention here that some dioceses in California have instituted mandatory accent reduction courses for the ESL priests who accents have made their public speaking in English problematic.

    IMHO these are long overdue!

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