I have a question on Participatio Actuosa. This is a term that makes a lot of people confused. Anyway, in the EF of the Roman rite the Priest says the words of the Consecration in silence. He is the only one who can hear him saying the words. In the OF the Priest says the words so that we all (unless you are deaf) can hear him. There seems to be a new teaching here. If you hear the words than you are participating more. Nowadays you should hear almost everything the Priest says. I don't know why this is.

Is it more Participatio Actuosa if the congregation hears the words of the Consecration?

1 Answer 1


"Active participation" means participating in the prayer of the Mass.

"Active participation" originally meant the congregation participating in the priest's sacrifice, especially by singing the Gregorian chant (cf. Pope St. Pius X, Tra le sollecitudini).

The words of consecration must not be said in a loud voice.

The Council of Trent, Session 22, Doctrina de ss. Missae sacrificio, 17 September 1562 anathematizes those who think

Canon IX.— […] that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone [submissa voce], is to be condemned; or, that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vulgar tongue only

It also says (Chapter V. On the solemn ceremonies of the Sacrifice of the Mass.) that

holy Mother Church instituted certain rites, to wit, that certain things be pronounced in the mass in a low [summissa], and others in a louder [elatiore], tone [voce].

This teaching was also taught by Pope Pius VI in his bull Auctorem Fidei condemning the heretical Council of Pistoia [DZ 1533]:

The proposition of the [heretical] synod [of Pistoia:] […] "[…] by expressing it [the liturgy] in the vernacular language, by uttering it in a loud voice"; […]—rash, offensive to pious ears, insulting to the Church, favorable to the charges of heretics against it.

  • active? Is that really good Latin? I am no expert in Latin so I have to ask. I have heard it being translated as "actual"
    – user51926
    Feb 18, 2021 at 20:42
  • so back in the 16th century you were considered a bad person if you wanted Mass in the vernacular?
    – user51926
    Feb 18, 2021 at 20:55
  • @andrewjohnsson Pope St. Pius X wrote that encyclical in Italian (the title is Italian, not Latin); he uses "partecipazione attiva" (active participation). Also, the Council of Pistoia was condemned in 1794.
    – Geremia
    Feb 18, 2021 at 21:15
  • 1
    @andrewjohnsson Because they're Modernists, and Modernists think Catholic dogma can change. There are faithful Catholic priests who say the pre-Vatican II, Catholic Mass, and Catholic laity who assist at such Masses; see the WikiMissa directory to find one in your area.
    – Geremia
    Feb 19, 2021 at 4:22
  • 1
    @andrewjohnsson Those who say the Mass entirely in the vernacular, which is against the Council of Trent; cf. Cdl. Ottaviani's intervention to Paul VI on September 25th, 1969.
    – Geremia
    Feb 19, 2021 at 18:17

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