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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Before Stepping Down, Pope Benedict Changed Phrase in Ceremony for Baptism


VATICAN CITY, August 22, 2013 – The Sunday after the Epiphany is the Sunday of the baptism of Jesus. And on each of these Sundays, year after year, Benedict XVI administered the first sacrament of Christian initiation to a certain number of children, in the Sistine Chapel.

Each time, therefore, he had occasion to pronounce the formulas supplied by the rite of baptism in effect since 1969. But two of the words in this rite never entirely convinced him.

And so, before renouncing the chair of Peter, he ordered that they should be changed in the original Latin, and as a result in the modern languages as well.

The provision, which was worked up by the congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments, was published in the official bulletin of the dicastery, “Notitiae." Its existence was pointed out, amid the silence of the Vatican media, by the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, “Avvenire."


The decree that introduces the innovation, published in Latin, begins as follows:

"The gate of life and of the kingdom, baptism is a sacrament of faith, by which men are incorporated into the one Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.”

It is precisely on the basis of this consideration that the congregation for divine worship and discipline of the sacraments justified the variation in the second Latin “editio typica" of the 1973 rite for the baptism of children (which in the formula in question is identical to the first “editio typica" of 1969):

"So that in this same rite more light may be shed on the doctrinal teaching of the task and duty of Mother Church in the sacraments to be celebrated.”

The variation introduced is the following.

From now on, at the end of the rite of reception, before signing with the cross the forehead of the child or of the children, the priest will longer say: "Magno gaudio communitas christiana te (vos) excipit," but instead: "Magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei te (vos) excipit".

In practice pope Joseph Ratzinger, as a sophisticated theologian, wanted that in the baptismal rite it should be clearly said that it is the Church of God - which subsists fully in the Catholic Church - that receives those who are being baptized, and not generically the “Christian community,” a term that also signifies the individual local communities or non-Catholic confessions, like the Protestants.

The decree published in “Notitiae" specifies that Benedict XVI “benevolently established” the aforementioned variation in the course of an audience granted to the prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, on January 28, 2013, just two weeks before the announcement of his resignation as pope.

The decree bears the date of February 22, 2013, the feast of the chair of St. Peter, and is signed by the cardinal prefect and by the secretary, Archbishop Arthur Roche. And it is said there that it went into effect on March 31, 2013, already under the reign of Pope was Francis, who evidently had nothing to object with regard to the decision of his predecessor.

The introduction of the variation in the modern languages will be overseen by the respective episcopal conferences.

Currently in English the phrase in which the two words “Christian community” must be changed to “Church of God” is: "The Christian community welcomes you with great joy".

In French: "La communauté chrétienne t’accueille avec une grande joie."

In Spanish: "La comunidad cristiana te recibe con gran allegria."

In Portuguese: "È com muita allegria que la comunidade cristã te recebe."

Departing slightly from the original Latin are the German version: “Mit großer Freude empfängt dich die Gemeinschaft der Glaubenden [The community of believers welcomes you with great joy]" and the one in effect in Italy: “Con grande gioia la nostra comunità cristiana ti accoglie [With great joy our Christian community welcomes you],” where there is the addition of an “our” not present in the original Latin.

The Italian version is the one that Benedict XVI used each time he administered the sacrament on the Sunday of the Baptism of Jesus. And perhaps it is precisely that excessively self-referential “our” that induced the pope theologian to decide on the change.

Until 2012, in fact, Benedict XVI omitted the “our,” and although he was celebrating in Italian, he told the little baptizands: "With great joy the Christian community welcomes you.”

But in the end he must have considered the original Latin ambiguous as well. So that on last January 13, in celebrating baptism for the last time as supreme pontiff, he said: "Dear children, with great joy the Church of God welcomes you.”

And shortly afterward, among the last measures of his pontificate, he prescribed this formula for the whole Church.

_________



THE TEXT OF THE DECREE


In the decree published in "Notitiae", 557-558, Ian.-Feb. 2013, 1-2, pagg. 54-56, "communitas christiana" is changed to "Ecclesia Dei" in paragraphs 41, 79, 111, 136, and 170 of the second "editio typica," or normative, in Latin, of the 1973 rite for the baptism of children.

Paragraph 41 concerns properly speaking the "Ordo Baptismi pro pluribus parvulis" (the rite of baptism for multiple children).

Paragraph 79 the "Ordo Baptismi pro uno parvulo" (the rite for one child).

Paragraph 111 the "Ordo Baptismi pro magno numero parvulorum" (the rite for a large number of children).

Paragraph 136 the "Ordo Baptismi parvulorum absente sacerdote et diacono a catechistis adhibendus" (the rite celebrated by catechists in the absence of a priest or deacon).

Paragraph 170 the "Ordo deferendi ad Ecclesiam parvulum iam baptizatum" (the rite for bringing into the Church a child already baptized).

Here is the text of the decree:


CONGREGATIO DE CULTU DIVINO ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUM

Prot. N. 44/13/L

DECRETUM

Vitae et regni ianua, Baptismus est sacramentum fidei, quo homines incorporantur unicae Christi Ecclesiae, quae in Ecclesia catholica subsistit, a Successore Petri et Episcopis in eius communione gubernata.

Unde Congregationi de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum visum est variationem quandam in editionem typicam alteram Ordinis Baptismi Parvulorum inducere, eo ut in eodem ritu melius in lucem ponatur tradita doctrina de munere et officio Matris Ecclesiae in sacramentis celebrandis. Dicasterium proinde ea, quae sequuntur, disponit:

Ordo Baptismi Parvulorum in posterum sic recitet:

1. "41. Deinde celebrans prosequitur dicens:
N. …, N. (vel Filioli), magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei vos excipit. In cuius nomine ego signo vos signo crucis; et parentes vestri (patrinique) post me eodem signo Christi Salvatoris vos signabunt.
Et signat ununquemque parvulum in fronte, nihil dicens. Postea invitat parentes et, si opportunum videtur, patrinos, ut idem faciant".

2. "79. Deinde celebrans prosequitur dicens:
N. …, magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei te excipit. In cuius nomine ego signo te signo crucis; et parentes tui (patrinique vel et matrina) post me eodem signo Christi Salvatoris te signabunt.
Et signat parvulum in fronte, nihil dicens. Postea invitat parentes et, si opportunum videtur, patrinum (matrinam), ut idem faciant".

3. "111. Celebrans prosequitur dicens:
Filioli, magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei vos excipit. In cuius nomine ego signo vos signo crucis.
Producit signum crucis super omnes infantes simul, et ait:
Et vos, parentes (vel patrini), infantes in fronte signate signo Christi Salvatoris.
Tunc parentes (vel patrini) signant parvulos in fronte".

4. "136. Catechista prosequitur dicens:
Filioli, magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei vos excipit. In cuius nomine ego signo vos signo crucis.
Producit signum crucis super omnes infantes simul, et ait:
Et vos, parentes (vel patrini), infantes in fronte signate signo Christi Salvatoris.
Tunc parentes (vel patrini) signant parvulos in fronte".

5. "170. Deinde celebrans prosequitur dicens:
N. …, magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei, cum parentibus tuis gratias agens, te excipit testificaturque te iam ad Ecclesia fuisse receptum. In cuius nomine ego signo te signo Christi, qui tibi in Baptismate vitam largitus est et Ecclesiae suae te iam aggregavit. Et parentes tui (patrinusque vel et matrina) post me eodem signo crucis te signabunt.
Et signat infantem in fronte, nihil dicens; postea invitat parentes et, si opportune videtur, patrinum, ut idem faciant".

Ego infrascriptus Congregationis Praefectus, haec Summo Pontifici Benedicto XVI exposuit, qui, in audientia die 28 mensis ianuarii 2013 eidem concessa, textum praesentem editionis typicae alterae Ordinis Baptismi Parvulorum modo sopradicto posthac variari benigne statuit.
Quae statuta de Ordine Baptismi Parvulorum statim ab omnibus, ad quos spectant, serventur et inde a die 31 mensis martii 2013 plenum habeant vigorem.
Curae autem Conferentiarum Episcopalium committitur ut variationes, in Ordine Baptismi Parvulorum factae, in editiones eiusdem Ordinis lingua vernacula apparandas inducant.
Contrariis quibuslibet minime obstantibus.

Ex aedibus Congregationis de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum, die 22 mense februarii 2013, in festo Cathedrae sancti Petri Apostoli, datum.

Antonius Card. Cañizares Llovera, Praefectus

Arturus Roche, Archiepiscopus a Secretis

__________


English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.
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