Today’s Question: When to use which Penitential Act
The Roman Missal gives three options for the Penitential Act (excluding the possibility of its substitution by the Sprinkling Rite). Those three options are 1) the Confiteor followed by the Kyrie, 2) the “Have mercy on us, O Lord…” followed by the Kyrie, and 3) the Kyrie with invocations. Which Penitential Rite do you or your priest prefer to use? Do you use a certain Penitential Act on Sundays, and another on weekdays? Or do you vary it seasonally? Are all three Penitential Acts used in your parish or is one preferred over others? From my perspective it is helpful to balance all three. The Confiteor seems most appropriate on Sundays and more solemn feast days not because it is more penitential, as some people may think, but because it is more solemn. Its solemnity lies in is greater cosmic and communal awareness, as well as, its more formal and reverential style. I understand that not everyone feels the same way about the Confiteor, but its highly communal and cosmic dimensions are to be commended. The other two, while also obviously appropriate on Sundays, seem to lend themselves better to daily Mass than the Confiteor. Additionally, the flexibility of the invocations in Form C can be quite refreshing and powerful when the priest, deacon, or liturgical planner takes adequate time to prepare proper invocations. What are your thoughts? What does your parish do, and why? Please comment below.
Moderator’s note: “Non solum” is a new feature at Pray Tell for our readership community to discuss practical liturgical issues. The title comes from article 11 of the Vatican II liturgy constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium: “Therefore there is to be vigilance among holy pastors that in liturgical action not only are laws for valid and licit celebration to be observed, but that the faithful should participate knowingly, actively, and fruitfully.” (Ideo sacris pastoribus advigilandum est ut in actione liturgica non solum observentur leges ad validam et licitam celebrationem, sed ut fideles scienter, actuose et fructuose eandem participent.) May the series contribute to good liturgical practice – not only following the law, but especially grasping the spirit of the liturgy!