CDWDS Decree on Magnum Principium Introduction

Before we get to the meat of the document, let’s spend a bit of time with the introduction. Some background: in 2017 Pope Francis changed canon law, specifically parts 2 and 3 of number 838. That means that liturgical documents impacted by this must be revised to bring worship into harmony with church law. Additionally, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (referred frequently here by the acronym CDWDS) clarifies its role in setting out adjustments to liturgical law, working with conferences of bishops throughout the world.

Here we go.


Following the promulgation of Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio Magnum Principium, with which the norms of §§ 2 and 3 of can. 838 of the C.I.C. were changed, it is necessary that whatever is found to the contrary in the Institutiones generales and in the Prænotanda of the liturgical books, as well as in the Instructions, Declarations, and Notifications published by this Dicastery according to the old norms of §§ 2 and 3 of can. 838 of the C.I.C. 1983, be corrected. [Magnum Principium quibus nonnulla in can. 838 Codicis Iuris Canonici immutantur: AAS 109 (2017) 967-970.]

The footnotes produced in brackets are still in Latin. Even in the translated sections of the link below. The reference above is Pope Francis’ directive on adjustments in translation. 

This is especially true for the Institutio generalis Missalis Romani 2002 and 2008, for the Praenotanda of the second editions of the De Ordinatione Episcopi, presbyterorum et diaconorum, of the Ordo celebrandi Matrimonium and of the editions of the De Exorcismis and of the Martyrologium Romanum. It also applies in a particular way to the Instructions Varietates legitimæ and Liturgiam authenticam.

These documents, in plain English, are the most recent editions of the GIRM, the rites for ordination, matrimony, exorcisms, and the Roman martyrology. Those instructions will look familiar–these have been treated on this website in good detail.

Future revisions and translations of rites will be affected:

It must also be taken into account that whatever is said in the Decrees of promulgation of the individual liturgical books whenever reference is made to the authority or juridical competence of the Episcopal Conferences and of this Dicastery regarding adaptations and translations of texts in vernacular languages must be interpreted according to the letter and mind of the new canon 838. [Cf. Magnum Principium: AAS 109 (2017) 969: «Consequenter interpretari oportet sive art. 64 § 3 Constitutionis Apostolicae Pastor bonus sive alias leges, praesertim in libris liturgicis contentas, circa eorum translationes», “Consequently this is how art. 64 §3 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus as well as other laws are to be interpreted, particularly those contained in the liturgical books concerning their revision”]

That document Pastor Bonus was the 1988 apostolic constitution penned by Pope John Paul II that detailed how the Vatican would operate administratively.

Rolling back to this 2021 document, the CDWDS intends also to assist bishops:

In line with the aforementioned Motu Proprio, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has considered it its duty to interpret and, as far as necessary, clarify the liturgical laws that it has issued on this matter, so that it may “help the Episcopal Conferences to fulfil their task as well as working to promote ever more the liturgical life of the Latin Church”.

And a brief word on what lies ahead in this CDWDS decree, what this document will present and what we’ll discuss:

Therefore, in accord with the mind of the Motu Proprio, the first part of the present Decree reiterates, interprets and amends the norms, the discipline, and the procedures regarding the translation of liturgical books and their adaptation. It does so in particular with regard to the competence of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and of the Episcopal Conferences. The second part indicates some “variations”, following those already published in 1983,<[Cf. DecretumNotitiæ 19 (1983) 540-541] to be introduced in the new editions of liturgical books.

The link of the English translation is here

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in CDWDS Decree on Magnum Principium, Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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