Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Gospel Responses

Gospel Responses QUESTION from Adrian G. Bruley April 3, 2001 In the proclamation of the Gospel on the Sundays of the 3 Scrutinies, is there a provision for a gospel resonse, e. g. in the 3rd scrutiny is there a provision for a cantor or anyone else to sing take the stone away, come out, come out at several points in the gospel followed by the laity responding; repeating the same words several times. I have searched as many Church document as I have on the liturgy but can find no reference to gospel responses. These words are not contained in the lectionary. Are these responses provided for or are they to be considered illicit?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on April 23, 2001 Dear Mr. Bruley:
I don't have the Rite of Christian Initiation on hand, but unless there is reference to this gospel response you mentioned somewhere in the liturgical law, then what you are describing is illicit.
As I posted a couple of questions ago, no one can change the liturgy on their own, even a priest.
As to making changes or alterations to the approved alternatives, Canon 846 of the Code of Canon Law states:
The liturgical books approved by the competent authority are to be faithfully observed in the celebration of the sacraments; therefore no one on personal authority may add, remove or change anything in them. Number 22 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy states:
Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.
Therefore, absolutely no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.
Bottom Line: No one may change even a dotted i from any approved liturgical text. This includes the Lectionary and the Sacramentary.
Thus, the question is: Does the Rite of Christian Initiation or some other OFFICIAL document approve of the responses you describe. The Lectionary does not give the responses you describe, the Sacramentary does not, the GIRM does not. So until a document can be produced that approves of these responses, I would have to say they are illicit.
Bro. Ignatius
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