In response first of all to the events surrounding the election and initial actions of Pope Francis and the celebration of this year’s Paschal Triduum in the Roman Rite, I chose not to post any articles for discussion in our on-going re-reading of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, believing that there would be little energy for these topics. (The fact that there was so little discussion of article 37 seemed to confirm my intuition.) I will today begin reposting on a Monday/Thursday schedule.
Vatican website translation:
38. Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved; and this should be borne in mind when drawing up the rites and devising rubrics.
38. Servata substantiali unitate Ritus romani, legitimis varietatibus et aptationibus ad diversos coetus, regiones, populos, praesertim in Missionibus, locus relinquatur, etiam cum libri liturgici recognoscuntur; et hoc in structura rituum et in rubricis instituendis opportune prae oculis habeatur.
Slavishly literal translation:
38. The substantial unity of the Roman rite having been preserved, a place should also be given for legitimate variations and adaptations to diverse groups, regions, and people, especially in Mission lands, when the liturgical books are revised; and this should be held opportunely before the eyes in the structure of the rites and in the constructing of the rubrics.
After articulating in article 37 the foundational principles, both negative and positive, for adapting Liturgy to the cultural ethos of various peoples, the Council Fathers now begin the decrees germane to this topic. They state that all revised liturgical books are to provide opportunities for cultural adaptation of the liturgy, especially citing the way in which the rituals are structured and the rubrics guiding ritual action.
Fifty years after the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was promulgated, Pray Tell readers might wish to discuss: 1) what characterizes the “substantial unity of the roman Rite”; 2) what the Council Fathers may have meant by “varieties” and “adaptations” (as well as the term “accommodatio”/”accommodation”) in speaking of the construction of the reformed rites and how helpful these categories are today; 3) how “groups, regions, and people” were to be distinguished from the Council Fathers’ perspective and how helpful those distinctions are today; and 4) a recognition that adaptation of the roman Rite to culture is not confined to, but especially exemplified in mission territories, which raises many issues about the adaptation/accommodation of the Liturgy in cultures that have already received the gospel but may be the addressees of the New Evangelization.