From a reader:
I have not spent too much time observing the four Eucharistic prayers but I recall that, particularly in the Roman Canon / Eucharistic Prayer I, the priest has the option of saying “Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Are the people supposed to say the Amen, as is commonly heard, or is it reserved for the priest?
First, the Roman Canon (1st Eucharistic Prayer) is probably not commonly heard in many parishes. I suspect that younger priests are bring it back. It is hard to say how many use the traditional though optional (in the Novus Ordo) “Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Second, in the traditional manner of recitation of the Roman Canon, in the older form of the Roman Rite, the text “Through Christ our Lord. Amen.” comes several times and it is not an option. The priest must say it and no one responds. The Canon is silent, of course.
In the Novus Ordo version of the Roman Canon, there are no rubrical indications that the congregation is supposed to join the priest in saying “Amen” in that optional conclusion. I also did not see anything in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
I conclude that, no, people are not to say “Amen” with the priest if he opts to use that conclusion in the Novus Ordo.
That said, I can’t see much harm being done by people saying “Amen”. I, for one, if I have to say Mass in English, use only the Roman Canon and I use that optional conclusion. Sometimes I hear some people quietly “amening” in the pews. Fine.
Frankly, we should just go back to a silent Canon and have done with the options.
Do I hear an “Amen!”?
Let’s find out.
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