From a seminarian:
I’m a seminarian and have a few questions regarding blessings. A newly ordained priest, who is a friend of mine recently started using blessings from the 1964 Collectio Rituum. For example, he uses the Blessing for Water and he does it all in English.
The Book of Blessings claims that the use of the book in English is mandatory (i.e. no other vernacular version may be used). Since I don’t have a Latin copy available for inspection I do not know if the Latin typical edition requires its use for blessings. Summorum Pontificum in Art 9 gives permission for the use of the older ritual and the circular letter form Bishop Trautman interprets it to mean the one in force in 1962 (in America that includes the 1961 Collectio Rituum). [NB: While I think that instinct is sound, I would need more convincing that local bishops are the authentic interpreters of papal documents.] However, he subsequently notes that this book is out of print and for that reason suggests the use of the 1964 Collectio. The 1961 Collectio was in accord with the 1959 permission granting the use of the vernacular in a limited way, while the 1964 makes provision for a far more substantial use of the vernacular.
My question is three fold:
1) Does the Latin typical edition of De Benedictionibus mandate the exclusive use of this book for the imparting of blessings? [If is did, that is no longer relevant since Summorum Pontificum. Priests may use – and I hope they will use – the Rituale Romanum. De Benedictionibus is, for the most part, dreadful.]
2) Summorum Pontificum references the use of the older ritual for the sacraments listed in Art. 9. How is this legitimately extended to the use of the blessings also contained in the older ritual? [The rutale Romanum contains all the blessings. Thus, all those blessings may be used.]
3) What should be the stance on the use of the vernacular, should the rubrics and permission in force in 1961 be used or is it permissible to use those suggested by Bishop Trautman in accordance with the 1964 edition. [Good question. I use Latin. However, I believe the English in one of those approved editions may be used. This is the case for the readings during Holy Mass in the older form according to Summorum Pontificum: vernacular readings may be used in an approved translation. I don’t think anyone has taken that to mean a translation that was approved in 1962. That also includes later approved translations.]
Thanks for your time. I very much enjoy your blog. Due to my status I would appreciate anonymity if you publish this email. [Always, for priests and seminarians if requested!]
I have said this before on other occasions. The book De Benedictionibus is so awful that I hope one day soon it will be ash-canned. This is also the opinion of some good liturgists I have known who have even held key positions.