Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New texts for dismissal; a Eucharistic Compendium

At the end of the previous Synod of Bishops (on the Eucharist), a set of Propositions were presented to the Pope; in early 2007, Pope Benedict responded with his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis.

In the exhortation, the Holy Father mentioned, among other things, the dismissal rite of Mass and the need for a Compendium on the Eucharist:
Finally, I would like to comment briefly on the observations of the Synod Fathers regarding the dismissal at the end of the Eucharistic celebration. After the blessing, the deacon or the priest dismisses the people with the words: Ite, missa est. These words help us to grasp the relationship between the Mass just celebrated and the mission of Christians in the world. In antiquity, missa simply meant "dismissal." However in Christian usage it gradually took on a deeper meaning. The word "dismissal" has come to imply a "mission." These few words succinctly express the missionary nature of the Church. The People of God might be helped to understand more clearly this essential dimension of the Church's life, taking the dismissal as a starting-point. In this context, it might also be helpful to provide new texts, duly approved, for the prayer over the people and the final blessing, in order to make this connection clear. (n. 51, referring to Proposition n. 24)

At the conclusion of these reflections, in which I have taken up a number of themes raised at the Synod, I also wish to accept the proposal which the Synod Fathers advanced as a means of helping the Christian people to believe, celebrate and live ever more fully the mystery of the Eucharist. The competent offices of the Roman Curia will publish a Compendium which will assemble texts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, prayers, explanations of the Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Missal and other useful aids for a correct understanding, celebration and adoration of the Sacrament of the Altar. It is my hope that this book will help make the memorial of the Passover of the Lord increasingly the source and summit of the Church's life and mission. This will encourage each member of the faithful to make his or her life a true act of spiritual worship. (n. 93, referring to Proposition 17)
Both of these considerations are becoming a reality. There has been a recent revision to the third edition of the Roman Missal (from 2002) which includes these new texts. We won't hear these in English for a few years still.

[H/T: Zenit]


Matt said...

Options options options...why are all the options necessary? I think they only deform the liturgy. But I guess approved options are better than improvised ones.

The problem is that the more options you provide the less we have a standard liturgy around the world. I am at a loss for understanding the necessity for all the options.

or Alternative Comment:

I've read quite a bit of Sacrosanctum Concilium (sp?) and if I remember correctly I think it called for the allowance of local liturgies to include some options. But too many options makes for loose liturgy, where everything except a few bits are optional. This is also a problem with the new Divine Office.

Mark said...


Completely off-topic, so feel free to nuke this post, but who is "in charge" of Mount Carmel bloggers? I was idly wondering if it might be something I would like to join.

God bless,

japhy said...

Mark, I was invited by Nicholas R. Larkin (

I haven't posted there in quite some time. :(

japhy said...

After having read the posted comment, the blog owner, or some other suitable person, responds in these or similar words:

Matt, I am generally of the same opinion as you. (And your humor is not lost on me!)

I am not a big fan of the options for the Penitential Rite, partly because it means the Confiteor rarely gets used, partly because the other two forms don't seem as honestly penitential as the Confiteor.

I am not a big fan of the army of Eucharistic Prayers; again, the Roman Canon gets neglected, and EP II gets used far too often.

I do like the variety of texts for the greeting; I'm not opposed to the variety of texts for the dismissal either, although these do appear to be an attempt to solve a problem (the people don't recognize the mission-character of the dismissal) by coming up with "clearer" (i.e. more obvious) texts, rather than direct catechesis.

Another problem with the multitude of options is that it hasn't been a feature of the Roman Rite except in very specific places.