Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What to say at Mass during a Sede Vacante

Rome, February 19, 2013 ( Father Edward McNamara, LC


Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: After Feb. 28, and before the election of a new pope, do we continue to name Benedict in the Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass? My opinion is that we do what we do when the pope dies: Say no name but continue on to the bishop. -- E.R., Keimoes, South Africa

A: Our reader's opinion is correct. Even though Pope Benedict XVI will be thankfully still alive, the Holy See will be vacant as of 8 p.m. Rome time (2 p.m. New York time; 4 a.m. March 1, Sydney time).

With respect to naming the pope most of the recent liturgical manuals don't go into such detail, but manuals from before the Second Vatican Council can still be found that touch on the more arcane aspects of liturgy.  [Arcane but useful!  Most of the liturgical books pre-Vatican II are down pat to the last detail of what to do.  That is the reason for the rubrics and the liturgical laws.  For order!  Remember that does who love to use the term "rubricism" and being too "tied down with liturgical laws" are most likely to commit liturgical abuse.  Mark my words.]

In this case the pope's name, and the entire phrase referring to the pope, is omitted from the Eucharistic Prayer during the period of the sede vacante. Mention is made only of the local bishop and the clergy according to the literary form of each prayer.

For example, in Eucharistic Prayer II it would be: "Together with … N. our bishop, and all the clergy."  [This goes out to all Catholic churches, chapels and oratories.]

In the Diocese of Rome: "Together with …. all the clergy." Even though the cardinal vicar of Rome and the auxiliary bishops remain in their functions, their collective mention is optional.

An analogous procedure is followed in each diocese following the death or retirement of the local ordinary. During a time of vacancy of the episcopal see, the clause "N., our Bishop" is also simply omitted. The name of an apostolic administrator is mentioned but not that of a temporary diocesan administrator.  [It should go like "For N., our apostolic administrator.  There are dioceses in the Philippines that are still sede vacante or have only an apostolic administrator like Bontoc - Lagawe, Infanta, Imus, Gumaca, Dumaguete, Romblon, Kalookan, San Carlos and the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.  Liturgists and those in the...uhm..."Worship Ministry" would have to take note of this.]

In the case where both diocese and the Holy See are currently vacant, the priests would follow the same practice as in Rome, omitting both names.


Praying for the cardinal electors...

...that is what we need to do also!

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