Addendum to Spanish Book of the Chair

Editor’s Note:

A few days ago, Fr. Neil Xavier O’Donoghue published a post on the new Spanish Book of the Chair.  Yesterday I received the following note from an official of the CDW: “The Congregation for Divine Worship would like to clarify that this publication has not been voted on or approved by the Spanish Episcopal Conference, nor was it ever presented to this Congregation for confirmation.”

We are pleased to publish this note, along with Fr. Neil’s response below, and we wish to thank all those in the CDW for the important work they do.



I readily admit that I am not privy to any of the discussion in the Bishops’ Conference of any region, nor do I have any particular information regarding the relationship between any of these Conferences and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. 

I was simply commenting on how I saw a valuable liturgical resource in Spain and personally considered it to be pastorally useful.  

Working from information in the public domain, I note the fact that the members of the USCCB felt the need to vote on their Excerpts from the Roman Missal and submit it to the CDW for a recognitio prior to its 2017 publication. They explicitly said they were following number 82 of Liturgiam authenticam. The members of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the members of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland followed a similar route prior to the 2018 publication of their Excerpts from the Roman Missal. For whatever reason, none of these English-speaking conferences added any material to the book that wasn’t already contained in the Third Edition of the Roman Missal and none of them called the volume “Book of the Chair.”

However the Spanish book seems to have followed a different route. It is entitled Libro de la Sede (Book of the Chair). It was published in 2018 by Libros Litúrgicos Conferencia Episcopal Española. The copyright page says that it was “prepared by the secretariat of the Bishops’ Commission for Liturgy of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference” and it has an imprimatur for the “official liturgical texts” granted by Cardinal Ricardo Blázquez Pérez, President of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference. The Copyright page carries the note that: “The text of this work is the property of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, which has the authority to grant reproduction rights as established by the Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam, promulgated by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (28 March 2001), as well as by the relevant civil laws and norms.” The title page of the book can be seen here:

This Spanish book contains a mixture of material from the official texts of the 2015 Spanish edition of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal and from the 1976 Spanish edition of the R.C.I.A., alongside these official texts is also includes other texts (introductions, texts for the prayer of the faithful, etc.). The book is published by the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, who apparently published it without holding a vote of the full membership of their Conference and without submitting it to the CDW for recognition.

It remains to be seen why the English-speaking bishops submitted their books to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Spanish bishops did not. Again the main point of my reflection was that I liked the Spanish book and thought that a similar edition would be useful in English. If anyone would like to add any further information or clarification I would be happy to receive it and if I have made any factual errors please point them out to me and I will gladly correct them.

Fr. Neil Xavier O’Donoghue, Ph.D.,
Maynooth, September 25, 2019.

One comment

  1. Sounds as if the Spanish Bishops read Magnum Principium and just got on with it!

    The whole thing is typical of the Continental approach to church law, which is always to find wiggle room, unlike the literalist Anglo-Saxons who unthinkingly obey the letter of the law without considering the spirit of it.

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