Sancta Missa - Rituale Romanum (Roman Ritual) - Mass celebrated by a blind priest



CHAPTER VI: INSTRUCTION REGARDING THE CELEBRATION OF MASS BY A BLIND PRIEST IN VIRTUE OF AN APOSTOLIC INDULT

Revised according to the Instruction of the S. C. R. of December 15, 1957

I. Preliminary

1. A priest who is blind, or one who suffers temporarily or permanently from such defective vision that he can read only extraordinarily large type, can obtain from the Holy Father or from the Congregation of Sacred Rites (unless his own bishop has this faculty from the Holy See) a dispensation to celebrate either the votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the daily Mass for the Dead, in compliance with the norms explained more fully below.

2. The conditions attached to the grant of this privilege are not mere formality or convention but are obligatory in conscience.

3. If the privilege contains the following clause: "As long as the petitioner is not totally blind," and in the course of time he should go totally blind, then he must refrain from celebrating Mass until he has sought a new indult from the Congregation of the Holy Sacraments. And when he has obtained it, he is bound "sub gravi" to use the assistance of another priest, even though this obligation possibly is not expressly included in the indult.

II. Rules Concerning the Votive Mass of the B.V.M.

1. Which of the votive Masses of the Blessed Virgin is to be used:

(a) The blind priest who has this dispensation shall use the fifth Mass assigned among the votive Masses of the B. V. M., in all seasons of the church year, and using always white vestments;

(b) should he, however, have sufficient eyesight left to be able to read from the Missal for the Blind also the other four votive Masses of the B. V. M. prescribed for the various seasons, then he has permission to use these, according to the different seasons.

2. When the votive Mass of the B. V. M. is to be used:

(a) The votive Mass of the B. V. M. may be used at any time of the year; but it must be used on every single day when the daily Mass for the Dead is not allowed, following the calendar of the church where the blind priest celebrates Mass--however, with due respect to the more extensive privileges explained below in No. 3 concerning Masses for the Dead;

(b) a blind priest shall, on the last three days of Holy Week, refrain altogether from celebrating Mass;

(c) on Christmas day he may say three Masses. 3. The ceremonies to be observed:

3. The ceremonies to be observed:

(a) Whenever a blind priest celebrates a votive Mass of the B. V. M. for a cause both important and public, the following are said: only the one collect, the "Gloria," "Credo," solemn preface, "Ite, Missa Est," and the usual last Gospel; and this despite the fact that on such occasion priests who do not have the privilege in question are obliged by the rubrics to say the proper commemorations, or the collect ordered by the Ordinary:

(b) In all other cases:

i. the Gloria is said:

(a) whenever it is said in the Mass of the day, in compliance

with the calendar of the church in which the Mass is

celebrated;

(b) on the anniversary of the celebrant's ordination;

(c) on Saturday;

ii. in regard to the collect only one is said;

iii. the "Credo" is said:

(a) whenever it is said in the Mass of the day, according

to the calendar of the church in which the Mass is celebrated;

(b) on the anniversary of the celebrant's ordination;

iv. in the preface are inserted the words: "et te in veneratione,"

unless it is a feast day of the B. V. M., and in these instances the

preface to be used will be the one proper to the feast;

v. the last Gospel is always that of St. John;

vi. in a private oratory the special calendar of the celebrant will

be the rule.

III. Rules Applying to Masses for the Dead

1. In place of a votive Mass of the B. V. M., a blind priest may celebrate the daily Mass for the Dead, whether a sung Mass or low Mass, in accordance with rubrical prescriptions regarding Masses for the Dead as well as the calendar of the church where he celebrates Mass or of a private oratory;

2. He reads this Mass likewise on All Souls', even for all three Masses if it is his wish to offer three, saying only the one collect "Fidelium." If on this day he celebrates two Masses or three, he shall comply with the Constitution of Benedict XV: "Incruentum Altaris Sacrificium," by force of which only one Mass can be applied to a particular person and a stipend accepted for it; whereas the other two Masses, as holds true for every priest, must be applied, the second for all the faithful departed and the third for the intention of the Holy Father, and no stipend can be accepted for these.

3. In this Mass only the one collect is said.

4. A blind priest is never obliged to say the sequence "Dies Irae"; yet if the Mass is sung, even though he need not read the sequence, the choir may not neglect to sing it.

The matter given above for the celebration of Mass by a blind priest is to be emended in accord with a new instruction of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, dated April 15, 1961:

Directive no. 3 of Part I is to be emended as follows: "...to use the assistance of another priest or of a deacon."

Directive no. 1 (a) of Part II is to be emended: "If, however, he celebrates Mass in a church or a public or semi-public oratory, he may use the color either of the votive Mass or that which conforms to the office of the day."

Directive no. 3 (b) ii of Part II is to be emended: "Nevertheless, the priest has the right to add other collects prescribed or permitted by the rubrics."

Directive no. 3 (b) iii of Part II is to be emended: "The Credo is also said if the Mass is celebrated as a votive Mass of the first class."

Directive no. 3 (b) iv of Part II is to be emended: "In every votive Mass the common preface is said, except in Masses of the blessed Virgin Mary.

The following new directive is to be added: "If the Mass is a high Mass the solemn or ferial tone is used, in accord with the rank of the Mass of the current day or of the votive Mass."

Directive no. 1 of Part III is to be emended: "The daily Requiem Mass may always be used, even though the Mass prescribed by the calendar is one of the first, second, or third class."

For a full report with annotations of the aforesaid new instruction see "Ephemerides Liturgicae" 75 (1961) 362.

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