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from issue no. 02/03 - 2010

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The drafts and the definitive text of the Council on the Roman Canon


The dogmatic Decree De sanctissimo sacrificio missae consists of nine doctrinal chapters and nine norms. Chapter IV and Norms 6 and 9 deal with the Roman Canon


by Lorenzo Cappelletti


1552 Draft
Chapter IV
«Totum missae Canonem sacra synodus asserit sanctissime esse constitutum, nec quicquam continere, quod pietatem et religionem non spiret. Quod si quae forte sint obscuriora loca et quae explicationis lucem desiderent, qualia permulta in scripturis reperiuntur, consultis orthodoxis patribus, qui ea suis expositionibus illustrarunt, pie et catholice intelligi debent. Ideo nonnisi pernicioso ac pravo consilio abrogari quidam Canonem missae suadent vel tamquam erroribus, mendaciis et seductionibus scatentem impie traducunt. Propterea religiose et sapienter etiam observatur, ut consecrationis verba et maxima pars Canonis tacite et submissa voce a sacerdote recitentur. Hac enim secreti ratione et maiestas huius ineffabilis mysterii rectius servatur et populus excitatur ut de eo reverentius et maiori cum devotione cogitet».

Translation: “The Holy Synod affirms that the entire Canon of the Mass is composed in the most holy way and that it contains nothing that does not emanate piety and religion. And if by chance there are somewhat obscure passages that require an explanation (as quite a few are to be found in Holy Scripture), once checked by the orthodox Fathers, who illustrated them with the expositions they made, they must be piously understood and in the Catholic way. Therefore the opinion of those who press for the Canon of the Mass to be abrogated and who impiously teach that it is full of errors, falsehood and distortion is but dangerous and twisted. It also follows that religiously and wisely it is prescribed that the words of the consecration and the majority of the Canon be recited by the priest secretly and in a low voice. In fact, through this secrecy the majesty of this ineffable mystery is better safeguarded and the people urged to think of it with more reverence and devotion”.


September 1562 Draft
Chapter IV
«Porro cum sancta sancte administrari conveniat, sitque hoc omnium sanctissimum sacrificium: ecclesia catholica, ut digne reverenterque offerretur ac perciperetur, sacrum Canonem instituit, ita ab omni errore purum, ut nihil in eo contineatur quod non maxime sanctitatem et pietatem quandam redoleat mentemque offerentium in Deo erigat».
Translation: “Furthermore, given that it is well that holy things be administered in holy fashion and that this sacrifice is the holiest thing of all, that it might be offered worthily and with reverence, the Catholic Church has established the sacred Canon, so immune from any error that nothing is contained in it that is not fragrant with great holiness and piety and that does not raise up to God the minds of those who offer it”.

Norm 6
«Si quis dixerit Canonem missae errores continere ideoque abrogandum esse, anathema sit».

Translation: “If anyone say that the Canon of the Mass contains errors and for that reason should be abrogated, let him be excommunicated”.

Norm 9
«Si quis dixerit Ecclesiae romanae ritum, quo submissa voce verba consecrationis proferuntur, damnandum esse; aut lingua tantum vulgari missam celebrari debere; aut aquam non miscendam esse vino in calice, eo quod sit contra Christi institutionem, anathema sit».

Translation: “If anyone say that the ceremony of the Roman Church by which the words of consecration are said in a low voice let him be condemned; or that the Mass be celebrated only in the vulgate; or that the water in the chalice be not mixed with the wine because supposedly against the institution of Christ, let him be excommunicated”.


Definitive Text Officially Approved at the XXII Session (17 September 1562)
Chapter IV
«Et cum sancta sancte administrari conveniat, sitque hoc omnium sanctissimum sacrificium: ecclesia catholica, ut digne reverenterque offerretur ac perciperetur, sacrum Canonem multis ante seculis instituit, ita ab omni errore purum, ut nihil in eo contineatur quod non maxime sanctitatem et pietatem quandam redoleat mentemque offerentium in Deo erigat. Is enim constat cum ex ipsis Domini verbis, tum ex apostolorum traditionibus ac sanctorum quoque pontificum piis institutionibus»

Translation: “And, given that it is well that holy things be administered in holy fashion and that this sacrifice is the holiest thing of all, so that it might be offered and received worthily and with reverence, the Catholic Church has for many centuries established the sacred Canon, so immune from any error that nothing is contained in it that is not fragrant with great holiness and piety and that does not raise up to God the minds of those who offer the sacrifice. In fact, it is composed in part of the very words of the Lord, in part of what has been handed down by the apostles, and also of what has been piously established by the saintly pontiffs”.

Norm 6
«Si quis dixerit Canonem missae errores continere ideoque abrogandum esse, anathema sit».

Translation: “If anyone say that the Canon of the Mass contains errors and for that reason should be abrogated, let him be excommunicated”.

Norm 9
«Si quis dixerit Ecclesiae romanae ritum, quo submissa voce pars Canonis et verba consecrationis proferuntur, damnandum esse; aut lingua tantum vulgari missam celebrari debere; aut aquam non miscendam esse vino in calice, eo quod sit contra Christi institutionem, anathema sit».

Translation: “If anyone say that the ceremony of the Roman Church by which the words of consecration are said in a low voice let him be condemned; or that the Mass be celebrated only in the vulgate; or that the water in the chalice be not mixed with the wine because supposedly against the institution of Christ, let him be excommunicated”.


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