Explanatory Note by the Episcopal Commission for Liturgy on the Revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal

Monday, September 18 2000

The Vatican Information Service on August 4, 2000, published the following information:

This autumn, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciplineof Sacraments is to publish the Latin text of the new updated Roman Missal.The text of the new Missal has been sent to Episcopal conferences and nuncios in order for them to become aware of the changes and to prepare translations.These, once approved by the Episcopal conferences, will be examined by the Holy See in order to receive the necessary recognitio, in other words, the confirmation of their juridical value.

The revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) is part of the third edition of the Roman Missal.The first edition was published in 1969 and the second in 1975. At the end of August 2000, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) received the Latin text of the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal but has to date received neither the new updated text of the Roman Missal nor the Decree from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacramentswhich will specify the date when the Latin text takes effect.

The following steps are necessary prior to the complete implementation of the revised GIRM in Canada:

  1. The CCCB is asking the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) and the Commission internationale francophone pour les traductions et la liturgie (CIFTL) to prepare official English and French translations of the text.
  2. The bishops of Canada (French and English Sectors) will vote on the translated texts.
  3. The translated texts will be sent to Rome for the recognitio of the Holy See.
  4. Once recognitio is received, bishops and pastors will complete the process of implementing the revised GIRM

The CCCB Episcopal Commission for Liturgy is aware that an unofficial English summary and a “study translation” of the GIRM are available through the Website of the US National Conference of Catholic Bishops / United States Catholic Conference. However, this translation is currently not official even in the United States, much less in Canada. Thefull implementation of the GIRMin Canada must await the completion of the process described above.

Canon 835, 1 states:

The sanctifying office is exercised principally by Bishops, who are the high priests, the principal dispensers of the mysteries of God and the moderators, promoters and guardians of the entire liturgical life in the Churches entrusted to their care.

The initial implementation of the revised GIRM is under the aegis of each diocesan bishop. In this initial phase, individual priests and others should follow the directions of their bishop and his coworkers, especially the diocesan liturgy office / commission, so that the implementation of any changes following the new General Instruction are well planned, uniform, correct, and thoroughly explained to all involved.

Episcopal Commission for Liturgy (English Sector)
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops