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Can the gloria and sanctus be replaced at Mass with some other liturgical hymn or song?

Or can they be partially modified?

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  • Do you ask about the official rules or about what is actually done? Here in Germany the official (!) hymn book of the Catholic Church contains multiple sung variants of the Gloria and the Sanctus; many of them only translation variants (that would all be seen as "correct" translations of the Latin text in spite of using different words); some of them different. Sep 9, 2020 at 17:36

3 Answers 3

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General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2003):

53. The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other text.

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  • Anything on the Sanctus? Sep 7, 2020 at 2:02
  • @MattG The Sanctus is part of the Eucharistic Prayer (which may not be altered). See GIRM 79b and 24. Sep 7, 2020 at 7:31
  • @Andrew shouldn't that then be included in the answer? Sep 7, 2020 at 14:42
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Can the Gloria and Sanctus be replaced at the Mass with some other hymn or song?

The short answer is no on both counts.

That said, however, there are many translations of these hymns that are in use within the Church.

Gloria

  1. The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other text. The Gloria is intoned by the priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone. If not sung, it is to be recited either by all together or by two parts of the congregation responding one to the other. - General Instruction of the Roman Missal

There are several translations of the Gloria in use at the moment:

Three Glorias for the New English Translation.

As we progress toward the implementation of the new English translation of the Roman Missal we are hearing and seeing more activity surrounding this -- including that the Bishops of England and Wales are preparing to introduce the Ordinary of the new translation prior to Advent 2011, specifically in September; see Zenit as well as the official press release for more on that particular story.

Also related to the new English translation, the NLM was recently informed about three new compositions of the Gloria which have been made freely available and which use the new English translation.

Here they are:

English Chant Mass • Richard Rice • GLORIA from Corpus Christi Watershed

Gloria in Honour of Blessed Ralph Sherwin by Jeffrey Ostrowski from Corpus Christi Watershed

Adam Bartlett Gloria from Corpus Christi Watershed

Sanctus

The text for Sanctus is the oldest portion of the Mass in the Catholic Church and was added between the 1st and 5th centuries. Its purpose is to conclude the Preface of the Mass. As such the Sanctus is the prayer that begins the Eucharistic prayer (the Eucharistic Prayer may not be altered, but nevertheless various translations do exist), echoes the angelic hymn: “Holy, holy, holy!” It is one of the oldest Eucharistic prayers, with parts of it reaching back to the 1st century Didache.

In the New Translation of the Mass, the Sanctus changed:

from:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

to:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

No priest may alter the text of any Eucharistic Prayer, but must use only approved translations. No one may change anything of the Eucharistic Prayer on their own accord, not even a priest.

  1. These adaptations consist for the most part in the choice of certain rites or texts, that is, of the chants, readings, prayers, explanations, and gestures which may respond better to the needs, preparation, and culture of the participants and which are entrusted to the priest celebrant., the priest must remember that he is the servant of the sacred Liturgy and that he himself is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of Mass.

The Eucharistic Prayer

  1. The chief elements making up the Eucharistic Prayer may be distinguished in this way:

Thanksgiving (expressed especially in the Preface): In which the priest, in the name of the entire holy people, glorifies God the Father and gives thanks for the whole work of salvation or for some special aspect of it that corresponds to the day, festivity, or season.

Acclamation: In which the whole congregation, joining with the heavenly powers, sings the Sanctus. This acclamation, which is part of the Eucharistic Prayer itself, is sung or said by all the people with the priest.

...

General Instruction of the Roman Missal

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Good question. It appears it cannot be removed, but perhaps it can be modified. The English version is terrible. Do any of you know a better version or Latin version that you like?

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    Please add sources to your answer and avoid anti-neutral/unsourced comments like "The English version is terrible." There is also no need to include the question at the end.
    – Luke Hill
    Feb 16 at 21:04

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