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Online Edition:
November 2008
Vol. XIV, No. 8

Cardinal Arinze Reports Missal Changes to Synod

Cardinal Francis Arinze notified the participants attending the Synod of Bishops in Rome of recent changes that have been made in the Roman Missal. In his October 14 report to the bishops, he announced the changes — adding three alternatives for the dismissal at the end of Mass — that reflect the request of the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist, and Pope Benedict XVI’s Sacramentum Caritatis, the apostolic exhortation that followed it.

Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW), also said that the Eucharistic Compendium is nearly complete, fulfilling another request of the Synod on the Eucharist. The Compendium will define Eucharistic doctrine, and include Benediction, Eucharistic holy hours, adoration, and prayers before and after Mass, he explained.

Added Dismissals

The new alternative dismissals have been approved by Pope Benedict, and are incorporated in a newly revised Roman Missal editio typica tertia, which was printed in early October, the cardinal said.

Earlier, in his June 23 letter to the presidents of the bishops’ conferences approving the new English translation of the Order of Mass, Cardinal Arinze had noted that these additional dismissal options had already been incorporated into the approved English version.

Pope Benedict XVI has approved the alternatives, which were requested at the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist to express the missionary spirit that should follow from the celebration of Mass. As he wrote in Sacramentum Caritatis,

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. (§ 51, referring to Proposition n. 24)

Cardinal Arinze said that the pope had asked for suggestions for the new texts; and the CDW prepared nine proposals from the 72 suggestions. Pope Benedict selected three.

The Latin of the current dismissal “Ite, missa est” is unchanged. Although in the current English version, it is rendered “The Mass is ended, go in peace”, in the new translation of the Order of Mass approved by the Holy See in June, it is “Go forth, the Mass is ended”.

The Latin version and the newly approved English translation of the three new alternative dismissals follow:

Ite ad Evangelium Domini nuntiandum.
Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

Ite in pace, glorificando vita vestra Dominum.
Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.

Ite in pace. (Alleluia, alleluia is added during Easter season.)
Go in peace. (Alleluia, alleluia)

Eucharistic Compendium

Cardinal Arinze announced the imminent completion of the Compendium on the Eucharist as recommended by the Synod on the Eucharist in 2005. Publishing the Compendium as an aid to worshippers was also mentioned by Pope Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis:

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. (§ 93, referring to Proposition 17)

Exchanging the Sign of Peace, Homily Aids

Cardinal Arinze reported that the Holy See, at the request of Pope Benedict and the 2005 Synod, is studying the most appropriate moment during the Mass for exchanging the Sign of Peace.

In Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict suggested “greater restraint”, and mentioned “distraction” concerning the Sign of Peace:

[D]uring the Synod of Bishops there was discussion about the appropriateness of greater restraint in this gesture, which can be exaggerated and cause a certain distraction in the assembly just before the reception of Communion. (§ 49)

Cardinal Arinze said that Pope Benedict indicated that episcopal conferences should consider two options for exchanging the Sign of Peace: either before the Agnus Dei, as is presently done, or after the Prayers of the Faithful. (This is the practice of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. In 2005, Cardinal Arinze had said the Vatican would allow the Neo-Catechumenal Way to continue its practice of exchanging the sign of peace after the Prayers of the Faithful, just before the offertory, rather than just before Communion.)

Each bishops’ conference is to respond by the end of October, though there is a three-week grace period for late responses. (The US bishops meet in November.) The proposals will then be presented to the Holy Father, who will make a decision on the matter.

Cardinal Arinze also announced that the Congregation for Divine Worship is preparing a book with thematic materials for homilies to assist priests throughout the world with their preaching. Several bishops who addressed the Synod on the Word of God expressed concern about homiletics, and the need for good preaching.

***

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