It contains all of the services which may be performed by a priest or deacon which are not contained within either the Missale Romanum or the Breviarium Romanum. The book also contains some of the rites which are contained in only one of these books for convenience. When first ritual functions books were written, the Sacramentary in the West and the Euchologion in the East , they contained all the priest's and bishop's part of whatever functions they performed, not only for the Mass or Divine Liturgy , but for all other sacraments , blessings , sacramentals , and rites of every kind as well. The contents of the Ritual and Pontifical were in the Sacramentaries.
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The principle of active participation of the faithful in the liturgy, which was widely promoted by the Liturgical Movement of the twentieth century, was a decisive element in the process of revision. Moreover, there are theologically significant changes in the way liturgical blessings are conceived in the new De benedictionibus.
In this paper, I intend to sketch the history of this revision and to indicate the rationale for it. The relevant paragraph of Sacrosanctum concilium, no.
When rituals are revised, as laid down in Art. Reserved blessings shall be very few; reservations shall be in favour of bishops or ordinaries. Let provision be made that some sacramentals, at least in special circumstances and at the discretion of the ordinary, may be administered by qualified lay persons. The second point mentioned in article 63 concerns the adaptation of the particular rituals for different regions, with due attention to the necessities of the age.
Apart from translation into the vernacular, a work that was done in many countries soon after the promulgation of Sacrosanctum concilium,3 and a certain degree of adaptation on the local level, the conciliar document would appear to indicate a limited scope for up- dating the existing Ritual, which had a particular history.
The Rituale Romanum, promulgated by Pope Paul V in ,4 was never imposed as such, like the other liturgical books of the post-Tridentine reform, but was rather intended as a model to be adapted in local Rituals.
In fact, local books of blessings continued to be used in the following centuries. The edition contained no more than 29 blessings, of which only 18 were non-reserved. In Ritualibus recognoscendis ad normam art. Ben- edictiones reservatae perpaucae sint, et in favorem tantum Episcoporum vel Ordinariorum. Provideatur ut quaedam Sacramentalia, saltem in specialibus rerum adiunctis et de iudicio Ordinarii, a laicis congruis qualitatibus praedi- tis, administrari possint.
Philip T. Weller Milwaukee: Bruce, Editio princeps , Edizione anastatica, In- troduzione e Appendice a cura di M. Sodi — J. This was done in subsequent editions, by means of an appendix that eventually became as long as the original book itself.
In the last edition of the Rituale Romanum by Pope Pius XII in , the addi- tional blessings of the appendix were integrated into the main body of Title IX De benedictionibus; this edition contains blessings, of which 95 are reserved. Jungmann, who was directly involved in the preparation of this text, provides the following commentary It means that suitable lay people, who are in the service of the Church, like catechists, lay brethren, helpers in pastoral work, can bless and say prayers in an official capacity.
In this way the Christianization of a frequent custom could be greatly facilitated in mission lands. The proposal was accepted, but not without strong resistance affirmative and negative votes , which found expression also at the final voting on the chapter in modi which were either of a negative nature or asked for reservations, and even on 21 November , after the explanation of the relator to justify the proposal quaesitum , in negative votes.
However, the Preparatory Commission replied that, according to current Canon Law, sacramentals were not by nature reserved to clerics and that the Church could designate a layman to give a bless- ing in her name.
Moreover, the Commission noted that, according to the current Rituale Romanum, a lector could bless bread and first fruits and that that the sacred power of the priesthood was not necessary for every blessing. Vatican City: Vatican Polyglot Press, , vol. In the immediate post-Vatican II period, priority was given to baptism, marriage, care of the sick, funeral rites and religious profession.
This would explain why the work on the blessings started relatively late; in fact, it advanced in leaps and bounds, and took many years to conclude.
The work of Coetus 23 is usually divided into two periods: a first one of preparation from to , and a second one from the end of until Bradshaw, Maxwell E. Johnson and L. This most recent research confirms the in- sights of Louis Bouyer, Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer, trans. Matthew J. A third study group was formed in March and the project advanced through various stages, until Pope John Paul II promulgated the new liturgical book on 31 May De aptatione benedictionum ad diversas regionum necessitates et de facultate addendi novas benedic- tions in Ritualibus particularibus.
According to Gy, the problems posed by the process of secularization go deeper, because it decreases the influence of religion in human society at large and extols the power and creativity of man. This, however, needs not to be judged entirely negatively and should be considered in the context of the just autonomy of earthly reality.
Here the first key principle emerges that blessings, according to the biblical tradition Christian and Jewish , are conceived primarily as acts of thanksgiving and praise of God for the good gifts of his creation. Achille M.
Constitutive blessings consecrate persons to the service of God for example, the blessing of an abbot or abbess, the rite of religious profession , or designate objects and places for liturgical use, by constituting them as sacred. For instance, a constitutive blessing is conferred on objects to be used exclusively in divine worship, such as paten and chalice; once this hap- pens, they are separated from ordinary use.
The prayer of the Church ensures the efficacy of constitutive blessings. In practice, invocative blessings make up the great majority of blessings. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, no. Among those blessings which are intended for persons - not to be confused with sacramental ordination - are the blessing of the abbot or abbess of a monastery, the consecration of virgins, the rite of religious profession and the blessing of certain ministries of the Church readers, acolytes, catechists, etc.
The dedication or bless- ing of a church or an altar, the blessing of holy oils, vessels, and vestments, bells, etc. Codex Iuris Canonici , can. Gy lists a number of guidelines for a reworking of the actual rites: the first concerns the language used in the prayers of benediction. He fears that such use of blessings may lead to or confirm superstition — and this seems to have been a major concern that marked the work of Coetus These general considerations about liturgical blessings should be followed in the revision not only of the prayers themselves, but of the whole ritual structure; they should also be reflected in catechesis.
For the administration of blessings, Gy refers to the recommendation of Sacrosanctum concilium that they should be inserted into a commu- nity celebration, which would include readings from Scripture, some form of preaching or at least catechetical instruction, and would promote the active participation of the faithful, by means of chants, acclamations or, at the very least, responses.
It should be clear that the liturgical celebration is not just that of the priest who blesses. Gy suggests that blessings in the context of family life, or of material objects that are not destined for divine wor- ship should not be reserved to priests.
Under certain circumstances and according to pastoral opportunity, such prayers of blessing could be said by a priest or by a layperson. This would apply, for instance, to the blessing of children and perhaps also to the blessing of a house by the parents themselves. Finally Gy proposes that the revised Rituale Romanum should have only about 30 select blessings of different types, which would then serve as models to be adapted in local Rituals.
In his relatio for the Second Plenary Assembly of the CDW in March , Gy briefly restates these theological principles for the revision of De benedictionibus and provides further indications on the question of the minister of the rite. He concedes that already in the early Church, as evident from Apostolic Tradition, there were signs of a hierarchical ministry of blessings.
However, two considerations would speak in favor of an extension of rites of blessings to laypeople: first, the New Testament concept of blessing as giving thanks and praise to the Creator for his good gifts of Creation, and, secondly, the need to promote the use of blessings in an increasingly secularized world. From the brief text recorded in Notitiae, it would appear that extending the rites of blessings to laypeople was met with reserve by the cardinals and bishops who were then members of the Vatican dicastery.
Essential Characteristics of the Revised De benedictionibus For the purposes of this paper, it will not be necessary to trace the further work of the Study Group on De benedictionibus; it will suffice here to state that the general principles outlined by Gy were applied in the preparation of the new liturgical book, which was promulgated in In the previous editions of the Rituale Romanum, blessings have the following typical form: At the beginning there is the dialogue between the priest, who would ordinarily be the minister of the rite, and the server or assembly: V: Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
Qui fecit caelum et terram. Dominus vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo. See the useful study of David A. Finally, he sprinkles the person or object with holy water, which is followed, if so indicated, by an incensation, without saying anything.
The new book significantly extends this typical form and inte- grates it into a fuller liturgical celebration, consisting of two parts that imitate the structure of the revised liturgy of the sacraments. The second part can include intercessions and has as its centre the actual prayer of blessing; at the end, there is usually a concluding blessing for the assembled community and the opportunity for a suitable song.
For a number of blessings, both of persons and of objects, De bene- dictionibus includes the possibility of a shorter rite, which includes the following indispensable elements: the liturgical greeting and response, a brief reading from Scripture and the prayer of blessing. These are simply prayers of blessing that do not require the otherwise obligatory proclamation of the Word of God. It is not specified whether making the sign of the cross refers to the object which would conform to the practice of the earlier Rituale Romanum or to the person s presenting the ob- ject which would be in keeping with the fuller rites of blessing in the book.
The texts of the prayers are for the most part newly composed, even though they are modeled on or contain elements of ancient euchological sources. In the first option, the actual object is blessed, whereas in the second option the people who use it are blessed. Per Christum Deus, lumen verum, aeternae lucis propagator et auctor, cordibus infunde fidelium perpetui luminis claritatem, ut, quicumque in templo sancto tuo splendore praesentium luminum adornantur, ad lumen gloriae tuae feliciter valeant pervenire.
There is another difference between the two prayers: in the first, the celebrant makes the sign of the cross over the candles, whereas in the second prayer this is not indicated. In either case, the prayer is followed by the sprinkling of candles with holy water. The prayers of blessing in De benedictionibus follow the second model: things and places themselves are not blessed, with the excep- tion of the aforementioned short formularies for religious articles.
Moreover, many of these prayers are not are accompanied by the sign of the cross, which is always used in blessings according to the older Rituale Romanum. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments considered this a lacuna and in September issued a decree to the effect that a blessing given by sacred ministers i.
Where in fact the sign of the cross is not indicated in De benedictionibus, it should be made nonetheless at the appropriate words benedictio, benedicere, or likewise; if, as is the case with some prayers of blessing, no such words are used, the sign of the cross is to be made at the end of the prayer.
Hac vero absente mentione, tempus opportunum habeatur cum textus benedictionis verba benedictio, benedicere vel similia praebeat vel his deficientibus verbis, cum concluditur ipsa oratio benedictionis. Deacons and lectors can give certain blessings that are expressly permitted to them. Third, a deacon can give those blessings indicated in the book; when a priest is present, however, the blessing should be carried out by him. The general rule, however, is that whenever a priest or a deacon is present, the blessing should be imparted by him.
Nonetheless, the place of the blessings within in the life of the people of God leads to a hierarchical ordering of the liturgical ministry of blessing, which will always be assumed by the ordained minister of the highest rank, who is present. RR , Regulae generales de Benedictionibus, 1, p. In the cases of the blessings that are strictly connected with the celebration of Holy Mass, such as candles on Candlemas, ashes on Ash Wednesday, and palms on Palm Sunday, the minister of blessing will always be the celebrant bishop or priest.
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In addition to the Sacraments, the instruction on the proper application of Summorum Pontificum by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the document Universae Ecclesiae, clarifies that the Rituale can be used in its entirety The Rituale was a sacerdotal book containing all of the rites typically celebrated by the priest. For ceremonies pertaining to the bishop, a separate liturgical book was used: the Pontificale. Thus, in addition to the administration of the aforementioned Sacraments, the Rituale contained the rites related to Christian burial, deputed exorcisms, and the majority of blessings. The section on blessings, the De benedictionibus Tit. Although the formularies found in the Rituale were in Latin, the Holy See often permitted local Churches to produce their own editions that allowed for some use of the vernacular.