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Rituale Romanum (Roman Ritual)

Rituale Romanum

Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul V on the Roman Ritual

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on the Roman Ritual


as a Perpetual Memorial

Called by divine munificence, and not through any personal merit, to occupy the See of the Apostles, we deem it our duty to watch with full earnestness over all that concerns the decorum of God's house. And such constant vigilance on our part prompts us to take suitable measures so that, as the Apostle admonishes, everything in divine worship may function decently and orderly. Particularly is this true in regard to the administration of the sacraments of the Church of God; here especially our office obliges us to provide that a religious observance be given those rites and ceremonies established by apostolic tradition and the decrees of the fathers. Pope Pius V, our saintly predecessor, fully conscious of his obligation which is now ours, labored with pastoral indefatigability to publish first the Roman Breviary, then the Roman Missal--both having been worked out with much labor and zealous care--so that there might be, God willing, a uniform manner of chanting and praying the Church's liturgy. He did this not only to restore careful observance of the sacred rites in celebrating the Holy Sacrifice and chanting the Divine Office, but also for the purpose of promoting the bond of Catholic unity in faith and in government, under the visible authority of the Roman Pontiff, the successor of St. Peter. With similar wisdom our predecessor of blessed memory, Clement VIII, followed in the footsteps of Pius V. He not only gave to the bishops and lesser prelates of the Church the carefully revised Pontifical; but he also made a systematic compilation of many other ceremonies wont to be used in cathedrals and lesser churches, embodied in the Ceremonial which he promulgated. With all this accomplished there remained to be published, by authority of the Holy See, a volume of the Ritual which would contain the genuine and sacred rites of the Catholic Church, those which must be observed by shepherds of souls in the administration of the sacraments and in other ecclesiastical functions. Amidst the numerous existing rituals it would rank as the official and authorized one, by whose standard the officiants could fulfill their priestly office unhesitatingly, and with uniformity and precision. This matter had been urged a long time ago. But since the work of the General Councils (whose acts by God's help have been published both in the Greek and Latin tongues) is at present hindered, we considered it our obligation to prosecute the business in right good earnest. In order that the task proceed correctly and orderly as it should, we assigned it to certain of our venerable brethren among the cardinals, outstanding for their piety, learning, and sagacity. Aided by the counsel of scholars and through comparison with ancient as well as other available rituals--in particular that erudite work of Julius Antonius of blessed memory, Cardinal with title of St. Severina, a man of singular piety, zeal, and learning--the commission of cardinals has succeeded in compiling a ritual of desired brevity, after mature deliberation and with the help of God. Now as we see lying before us this well-arranged assortment of received and approved rites of the Catholic Church. we deem it fitting that it be published for the universal utility of God's Church, under the title of "The Roman Ritual." Therefore. we exhort in the Lord the venerable brothers patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, and their vicars, beloved sons of ours, as well as abbots, all pastors wherever they labor, and all others concerned, sons of the Roman Church, that in future they use during the sacred functions this Ritual, made official by the authority of the same Church, mother and mistress of all; and that in a matter so important as this they observe inviolately whatever the Catholic Church with her ancient and approved traditions has laid down.

Given at Rome at St. Mary Major, under the fisherman's seal, on June

17, 1614, in the tenth year of Our Pontificate.

S. Cobellutius.

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