Rorate Caeli

2012 Rite of Canonization discarded: another reversal of the Reform of the Reform
Shortened Rite of Canonization with truncated Litany of Saints to be used tomorrow

The booklet for the canonization of six new saints tomorrow was published online on Friday, November 21. The Rite of Canonization introduced on October 21, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI and which was largely based on the Rite of Canonization before Pius XII is now gone. (This rite had been last used, with minor modifications, for the canonization this past April of John XXIII and John Paul II.) Naturally the threefold petitions are gone, and with them the formulae that emphasized the authority of canonizations, composed under the Pope Emeritus. 

Instead, the "reformed", post-Conciliar rite in use for canonizations from the time of the liturgical reforms of Paul VI until the canonizations of 2011 (called from here on as the "Paul VI rite") will mostly be brought back into use tomorrow. We say "mostly", for this shortened rite has been subjected to further simplifications that, we genuinely hope, do not betoken more truncations of the liturgy in the coming years. (For the rest of this article we will call the rite to be used tomorrow as the "2014 rite".)

The 2014 rite begins with a processional song (in Italian, sung antiphonally between the schola and the congregation) followed by the Entrance Antiphon in Latin (without verses). After the sign of the cross and the initial greeting (Pax vobis - et cum spiritu tuo) the Veni Creator Spiritus is sung immediately. In the 2014 rite this is one of only two survivors from the elements added in the 2012 rite (where the Veni, Creator is sung after the second of three petitions addressed to the Pope). 

In both the Paul VI rite and the 2012 rite for canonizations, the Penitential Rite is not omitted. In the former it takes place before the rite of canonization, and in the latter it takes place after. In the 2014 rite the Penitential Rite is entirely omitted either before or after the rite of canonization proper, apparently because the Veni, Creator is already sung in its place -- can't have too many prayers! 

After the Veni, Creator has been sung, the Cardinal Prefect for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints steps forward to address the Pope with a short petition (in Latin) asking that the beati be enrolled among the saints. The Cardinal then reads brief biographies of the beati. After the biographies have been read the Pope responds with a short call to prayer (using exactly the same text as in the Paul VI rite, also used in the 2012 rite after the first petition.)

Then follows a greatly truncated Litany of Saints, which abruptly ends at Omnes sancti et sanctae Dei  - orate pro nobis. Unlike in the Paul VI rite (where it is also sung at this point), in the 2012 rite (where it is sung during the entrance procession), and indeed in a break from the whole history of this Litany, the 2014 rite's Litany of Saints is shorn of all of its concluding petitions addressed to the Lord, all of the ones to which the faithful respond with libera nos, Domine and te rogamus audi nos. Even the final Christe, audi nos... Christe, exaudi nos has not been spared. Instead the Litany, after such an abrupt ending, is concluded with a very short prayer by the Pope, using the text of the prayer after the first petition in the 2012 rite. 

Right after this prayer, the Pope then pronounces the Formula of Canonization, which is the same as in the Paul VI rite and the 2012 rite. The schola then sings the Iubilate Deo (as the relics of the new saints are venerated) after which the Cardinal Prefect ends the canonization rite proper (just like in the Paul VI and 2012 rites) by addressing the Pope with his thanks and a request that "the Apostolic Letter concerning the act of Canonization be drawn up" to which the Pope responds with "I so decree" (Decernimus). (To be fair, Iubilate Deo is somewhat longer than the short acclamation -- "Alleluia (3x), Tibi laus, Domine..." -- that the schola used to sing after the Formula of Canonization in the Paul VI rite.)

Once again the obsession of the liturgical reformers with brevity, with making sure that there are no "useless repetitions", is back with a vengeance; and now they have got rid of one of the few actual changes effected by Benedict XVI to the Latin texts of the Roman liturgy, and one of those changes that truly betokened a return to liturgical tradition. And with regards to the Litany of the Saints, let it be remembered that not even the liturgical reformers tampered with its very structure -- until now.


The text of the 2014 rite of canonization can be found here.
The text of the 2012 rite can be found here. Rorate's post on this can be found here.
The text of the Paul VI rite can be found, for instance, here (2008 canonizations) and here (2011 canonizations). A video of the canonization of St. Edith Stein in 1998 can be found here
For those interested, we post below descriptions of the Canonization rites prior to the liturgical reform -- the fuller version before Pius XII which was the basis for the 2012 rite, and the shorter version used from Pius XII until the early years of Paul VI:


The rite of canonization as celebrated before Pius XII (Source):

The Pope, surrounded by a brilliant company of cardinals and bishops, presides over the ceremony. An advocate, on behalf of the postulator of the cause, makes a formal request to the Pope for the canonization ("instanter"). On behalf of His Holiness, a prelate replies that, though the virtues of the servant of God are clear and evident, yet before canonization God's guidance must be asked. Then are recited the Litanies of the Saints. A second time the advocate asks for the canonization ("instanter, instantius"), and a similar reply is made. Then is sung the "Veni Creator." A third time the request is made ("instanter, instantius, instantissime"), and now at length the prelate signifies that the Pope will grant the favour desired. 
The Pope then pronounces the following or a similar formula: "To the honour of the holy and undivided Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian religion, by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of Ourselves, after mature deliberation and many petitions for the Divine assistance, with the advice of Our venerable brethren the cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops and bishops at present in Rome, We decree and define that N. is a saint, and We insert his name upon the catalogue of saints, commanding that his memory be annually venerated by the Universal Church upon the <> day of the <> month. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." 
After the advocate has returned thanks, a solemn Te Deum is intoned, the bells . are rung in all the churches of the city, and in olden times guns were fired from the castle of St. Angelo. Then the Supreme Pontiff, after reciting the collect of the saint, sings High Mass in his honour.

The "Pacellian" Rite of Canonization, used until the early years of Paul VI (Source):

During the singing of the Litany of the Saints, the Cardinals and Patriarchs approached the Papal throne, one by one, to pay homage to the Supreme Pontiff. Then, the Cardinal Postulator of the cause of the martyrs, using the traditional formula, urgently, more urgently and most urgently (instanter, instantius, instantissime) begged the Pope to proclaim the Martyrs of Uganda as Saints of God. A secretary replied, on behalf of the Pope, that His Holiness was prepared to grant this request, but first called for prayers and the invocation of the assistance of the Holy Spirit. After a pause for silent prayer the Holy Father intoned the hymn to the Holy Spirit, 'Veni Creator Spiritus', which was taken up and sung by all present. 
Then, seated upon his throne, he made the official pronouncement:  
'To the honour of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and the increase of the Christian Religion; by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and Our own; after mature deliberation and frequent prayer for divine guidance, and with the advice of Our venerable brethren, the Cardinals, Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops of the Holy Roman Church present in the city. We decree and define as Holy, and inscribe in the Roll of Saints, the Blessed Charles Lwanga, Matthias Mulumba Kalemba and their twenty companions. We decree that their memory be commemorated by the Universal Church with pious devotion, each year on 3 June. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
After giving formal instructions for the official recording of the Act of Canonization, and for its official notification to the whole Church, the Holy Father intoned the 'Te Deum', the Church's hymn of thanksgiving, in which all joined. Then, before beginning the Papal Mass, which was to follow, the Pope spoke of the respect and honour always accorded to martyrs from the earliest ages zof the Church, of the feeling of horror and awe aroused by the story of their sufferings and of the triumph of their victory. 'Life passes away, but faith lives on. Violence is pitted against valour-and violence in prevailing is vanquished, while valour triumphs in defeat.'