WASHINGTON (CNS): The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments has issued the first revision in 25 years of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
The new Latin-language instruction, released on July 28, introduces numerous minor changes in the way Mass is to be celebrated.
Some of these are new rules, some are clarifications or greater emphasis in areas where some rules were sometimes ignored or subject to various interpretations.
It also makes a clear legislative decision on a controversy of recent years by declaring that it is “desirable whenever possible” for the priest to celebrate Mass facing the people.
The 1975 instruction simply said the altar in every church “should be free-standing to allow the ministers to walk around it easily and Mass to be celebrated facing the people”.