Rorate Caeli

A most important historical document:
the 1969 Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (the original GIRM)

7. Cena dominica sive Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi Dei in unum convenientis, sacerdote praeside, ad memoriale Domini celebrandum. Quare de sanctae Ecclesiae locali congregatione eminenter valet promissio Christi: "Ubi sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo, ibi sum in medio eorum" (Mt. 18, 20).

"7. The Lord's Supper, or Mass, is the sacred meeting or congregation of the people of God assembled, the priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason, Christ's promise applies eminently to such a local gathering of holy Church: 'Where two or three come together in my name, there am I in their midst' (Mt. 18:20)."

This is the original complete definition of the Mass according to the 1969 Novus Ordo Missae: they were arguably the most influential liturgical words written in the 20th century and signaled a watershed moment - in a sense, closing the book written since late antiquity and the chapter begun in Sessions XIII and XXII of the Council of Trent. 

Number 7 of the first edition of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (the General Instruction of the Roman Missal - GIRM) is the end moment of the original liturgical movement. Its writers also thought they would have the final say in the history of the Traditional Mass - within a few months, the storm started by these words on the edge of acceptability would spark the Brief Critical Study of the New Order of the Mass, presented to the Pope and to the Catholic world under the auspices of Cardinals Ottaviani, first Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Bacci. 

The waves set by that text have not subsided. That famous number 7 and other highly problematic words of the original 1969 IGMR (in which Trent is not mentioned a single time) and Ordo Missae would be amended in 1970, 1975, and 2002. While much was vindicated by the swift and significant corrections of 1970 - and, ultimately, by the proclamation by Pope Benedict XVI that the traditional Roman Missal was "never abrogated -, can it be denied that the spirit of the 1969 IGMR lives on in the New Mass, or "Ordinary Form"?

While the texts of the 1970, 1975, and 2002 IGMR are widely available, it had been impossible up to now to find online the original source of the controversy. Thanks to the generous effort of a priestly source, RORATE can now present to our readers the original 1969 Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani. (Note: this is the entire IGMR, but only the first pages of the original complete publication of the 1969 Ordo Missae, promulgated on April 3, 1969, by the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, of Pope Paul VI.)