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The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM)—in the Latin original, Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (IGMR)—is the detailed document governing the celebration of Mass of the Roman Rite in what since 1969 is its normal form. Originally published in 1969 as a separate document, it is printed at the start of editions of the Roman Missal since 1970.
In the circumstances indicated in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of 2007, the Catholic Church still permits celebrations of Mass in accordance with the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal. Such celebrations are governed not by the General Instruction but by the 1960 Code of Rubrics, particularly its section Rubricae generales Missalis Romani (General Rubrics of the Roman Missal), and by the Ritus servandus in celebratione Missae (Rite to be observed in celebration of Mass).
The 1960 Code of Rubrics replaced the Rubricae Generales Missalis, which had been in the Tridentine Roman Missal since its first edition in 1570 and had been amplified and revised by Pope Clement VIII in 1604. This had been supplemented, since the 1920 edition, by the Additiones et Variationes in Rubricis Missalis ad normam Bullae "Divino afflatu" et subsequentium S.R.C. decretorum (Additions and Variations to the Rubrics of the Missal in accordance with the Bull Divino afflatu and subsequent decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites), which indicated the changes in the Roman Missal that followed from the reform of the Roman Breviary by Pope Pius X.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal also replaced the document that in the original Tridentine Roman Missal (1570) was called Ritus servandus in celebratione Missarum (Rite to be observed in celebration of Masses) and that, after being revised by Pope Clement VIII, appeared in editions from 1604 on in altered and amplified form under the title Ritus servandus in celebratione Missae (Rite to be observed in celebration of Mass). In his 1962 edition, Pope John XXIII had made some changes in this document.
The General Instruction is arranged in nine chapters, preceded by a preamble. The chapter headings are:
- The Importance and Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration
- The Structure of the Mass, Its Elements and Its Parts
- The Duties and Ministries in the Mass
- The Different Forms of Celebrating Mass
- The Arrangement and Furnishing of Churches for the Celebration of the Eucharist
- The Requisites for the Celebration of Mass
- The Choice of the Mass and Its Parts
- Masses and Prayers for Various Circumstances and Masses for the Dead
- Adaptations within the Competence of Bishops and Bishops' Conferences
The eucharistic celebration is enhanced when priests and liturgical leaders are committed to making known the current liturgical texts and norms, making available the great riches found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the Order of Readings for Mass. Perhaps we take it for granted that our ecclesial communities already know and appreciate these resources, but this is not always the case. These texts contain riches which have preserved and expressed the faith and experience of the People of God over its two-thousand-year history.
An English translation, but with adaptations for the United States, can be consulted at the appropriate web page of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Divine Worship. The same translation, but with adaptations instead for England and Wales, may be found at the web site of the England & Wales Liturgy Office.
- Compare the text in the 1962 Roman Missal with that in the 1920 edition
- Pope Benedict XVI (2007). "§40 Respect for the liturgical books and the richness of signs". Sacramentum caritatis. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Archived from the original on 2015-01-14.
- "Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani". Salesianer.de. 2002.
- "General Instruction of the Roman Missal". Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2010.
- Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales (2005). General Instruction of the Roman Missal (PDF). Catholic Truth Society and Colloquium. ISBN 1-86082-288-6.