Christmas Proclamation
  • It posted with music at the USCCB here
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    The rubrics seem to suggest that if one does the proclmation then the penitential rite would be suppressed. Is that correct?
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    The URL Jeffrey posted is

    but I see it on the USCCB site as

    …anyway, just a minor detail. Of more pressing interest, though, is if the proclamation is available in Latin and/or in four-line notation.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460 is titled "The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ"

    Shouldn't it read "The Proclamation of the Birth of X" ??

    I get discouraged when I see this sort of thing at the site of the nation's Catholic pastors.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Do you get upset when you have to sing "He is Alpha and Omega" in "Of The Father's Love Begotten"? X is a symbol for Christ.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    incantu, I would be upset if we sang "X is the Alpha and Omega" indeed. X also means "treasure located here" or "sign here please" or "use this if you can't write". I am familiar with Greek "Χριστός" and the Chi-Ro representation as well, but that is NOT what drives the use of "X" in place of "Christ" in contemporary American society. When our bishops can't keep the Christ in Christmas, what can we possible expect of anybody else?
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    the "PX" symbol represents Christ, to be accurate, but I side with Incantu. "Xmas" is a common abbreviation of "Christmas", which is itself a common abbreviation of "Christ's Mass". I write Xmas in my notes because it's several letters shorter than Christmas. Likewise, in the old days (anybody remember this?) file names had to be of 8 letters or fewer, which would make "christmas.pdf" too long for a file name. These restrictions no longer apply, but it's good to use a shorter file name rather than "the_proclamation_of_the_birth_of_Christ_for_singing_during_Mass_of_the_Nativity_at_midnight_on_CHRISTmas_keep_the_Christ_in_CHRISTmas_thank_you_Bill_O_Reilly.pdf"
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Oh, and I wasn't aware that this could be sung during Mass. I've only ever heard it sung before. It seems to me that having it done before Mass makes more sense, rather than having it follow the Greeting Rite.
  • Well, let's have a discussion about the location of the proclamation . . .

    I've also always done it just before the opening hymn (OF in English). BUT I'll confess that I did it that way (in the murky, distant past) not because of rubrics, but because of the dramatic effect. I downloaded the file in quo, and read the rubrics for it, and was tempted to change the order of things for this reason.

    Now I'm not so sure. Does anyone know when it is sung at the Patriarchal Vatican Basilica of St. Peter the Apostle at Rome for Midnight Mass? I'd be inclined to follow their lead.
  • Incantu,

    Yes, the Solemn Proclamation of the Birth of Christ (Roman Martyrology) does replace the penitential rite. It's been done that way for decades at St. Paul Church in Cambridge.

    Sorry I can't be in SF to hear your upcoming concerts.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Minor snit warning.

    In comparing earlier translations of this Proclamation to the current one, there seems to be the same tinkering/correcting/refocusing - the flood is replaced with a rainbow, the sixth age disappears, the specific years are replaced by centuries, etc. And a recent report from Spain said the same was true in the vernacular text there. Snit concluded.

    Does anyone have the Latin text? No, not so I can write outraged letters. I just like Latin - and all I can seem to turn up are varieties of translations.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I just noticed that last night, mj. It's because of the Church's rejection of literal creationism and other historical revisionisms (1300 BC instead of 1500 BC for the Exodus)
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Gavin - I know that's given as the reason for the corrections. However, I doubt that anyone hearing the earlier version today would consider it a lesson in world history. It would like banishing medieval and renaissance paintings of religious events in which the actors are wearing anachronistic clothing and the temple of Jerusalem looks suspiciously like the Doge's palace in Venice.

    These texts, paintings, etc. give an "imaginative" connection back through the history of the Church. Obviously, we can't pick some moment and freeze all literary and artistic work there, but I'm increasingly tired of an approach that says "it's only valid if we did it right now (or within the last 20 years)."
  • mjballou, I agree with you. There are some things we do not necessarily because they withstand the rigours of logic or science, but simply because they are beautiful and part of tradition.

    Here is the more literal one set to the traditional tones:

    I would add to the beginning, "Today, the 25th Day of December", however.

    If someone has a copy of the 2001 or 2004 Martyrologium Romanum, they should look up this day in it and see if the text still says "5,199 days since the creation, etc.", or if it has been updated to "millions and millions of years" and so forth. If it has not been updated, that is reason enough to use the traditional version, until such time as the Church sees fit to update the martyrology to say "millions and millions of years".

    Anyone with a current Martyrologium Romanum available?
  • I mean, some scientists and historians question whether Christ was really born on the 25th of December and not some other day, and we "know" that it probably didn't happen in the year 0. If we would be consistent, we would sing, "Around this time, millions and millions after the creation of the world...".
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,007
    Anyone else notice the press release from the Vatican saying it would be done before Midnight Mass at St. Peter's? We keep getting all these "hidden messages" from the chief liturgist of the Church...
  • The Proclamation should not replace the Penitential Rite unless you are sure that all present have made their ChristMass Confession! Though the USCCB instruction may be read that way, I would suggest it comes after the Kyrie and before the Gloria; the Gloria then to be accompanied by bells, fanfare, the "works" etc as at Easter Vigil.

    The Holy Father is having it proclaimed with ceremony before the Mass begins - this would seem appropriate to me as a precursor to the main event.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    From 2008
    Bumped to prevent a third discussion
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,325
    I was just thinking about starting a thread on this... I'm glad to see this bumped up.

    I greatly prefer the specific-years version. I have a copy of that somewhere in my files and could scan it if it would be useful for anyone.
  • Simon
    Posts: 118
    I have a Latin (four-line notation) version of the proclamation as we plan to sing it at the conclusion of the first vespers of Christmas her in Amsterdam. If anyone wants a pdf of this send me an email and I will forward. It takes practice to sing it in Latin - all those dates, but it is impressive. It's a specific year version where one has to insert the Latin lunar date in the first line - this year .......Luna decima nona. It has Dutch rubrics at the conclusion to determine this for later years. Click my name for my email address.
  • Simon
    Posts: 118
    I just figured out how to put the pdf here in the discussion. Here it is (I hope)
  • Simon
    Posts: 118
    One more thing - the credit for this goes to Prof. Kees Pouderoijen, OSB (Univ. Vienna) who made this for our and his own abbey's use some 10 years ago.
  • Jeffery Tucker, in a post he wrote at NLM last year, found the (2009) Vatican Edition (Latin) and a literal rendition (English) done by John Birchfield. I plan to use the English version; with about a day and a half of practice it should be doable.

  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,372

    Do you have a recording of this? I gotta get this to my Deacon asap!
  • Excellent!! I have two questions/observations.

    1. If proclaiming the Latin version, what moon is it this year?

    2. In Laudes Festivae (, there are two different versions, the modus ordinarius and the modus solemnior ad libitum, which is the model for Mr. Esguerra's (cui gratiae agendae) setting. Is one version considered "traditional"? The setting over at (; seems to me at least a decent rendering of the modus ordinarius.
  • Aristotle--Thank you for the update from your 2009 arrangement! I was wondering if/when this would be done.

    Francis--I plan to use this as an audition piece as part of my application for a position in a North Dakota church. I can send you a copy of this recording by the end of the day (hopefully).
  • Aristotle: Do you know where I can find an audio recording of that version, in English or Latin? I can't find it on youtube.
    And do you have a pdf version of that, my computer won't print from Scribd for some reason. Does the translation matter if it's outside the liturgy?
  • @Ioannes Andreades:

    Computing lunar dates for things is a task that people who think they like rubrics get assigned in Purgatory. That said, if we go to, change the date to December 24 (because the Martyrology is anticipated), click on Prime (Prima), and scroll down to the Martyrology, we are told that Christmas this year is the 30th (tricesima) day of the Moon.

    (Don't ask me how that works, though, since that makes January 1 the seventh day of the Moon -- but next year's epact is 6, and I thought the epact was supposed to be the age of the moon on January 1. Also, don't ask why, after so much calculation, they settled on a system that so frequently does not correspond with the actual state of the moon. There is, after all, a new moon on December 24, which would make the 25th, strictly speaking, the 1st or 2nd day of the Moon, depending on whether you count the new moon as 0 or 1. Oh well.)
  • @Bro. John Pio:

    Here you go. Christmas Proclamation: tonus solemnior, English [PDF]

    @Francis et al.
    I can't promise a recording until tomorrow at the earliest…perhaps someone can record it in the meantime?
  • Just a note to everyone:

    Earlier in this thread (way back in 2008), it was discussed that the Christmas Proclamation replaces the Penitential Rite at the Midnight Mass. In the new translation of the Missal, this appears to be no longer the case. On my copy's page 1293:

    "It may also be chanted or recited before the beginning of Christmas Mass during the Night. It may not replace any part of the Mass." (emphasis mine)

    Just a heads-up to everyone that there's a change in the rubric.
  • I have made a recording. I am unable to upload it due to its size. Please whisper your e-mail address to me and I will send you a copy (mp3).
  • "It may also be chanted or recited before the beginning of Christmas Mass during the Night. It may not replace any part of the Mass." (emphasis mine)

    While I am a "say the black, do the red" type of person, I could make a case for inserting the Proclamation into the Mass. Ah, the joys of options in the Ordinary Form, where one could be "creative" (sneaky?). (Hey, I have seen more egregious examples, as have others.)

    From the GIRM (emphasis mine):

    50. When the Entrance Chant is concluded, the Priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, signs himself with the Sign of the Cross. Then by means of the Greeting he signifies the presence of the Lord
    to the assembled community. By this greeting and the people’s response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest.

    After the greeting of the people, the Priest, or the Deacon, or a lay minister MAY very briefly introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day.

    So, this could be inserted between the Greeting and the Penitential Rite. It is not displacing anything, since this introduction is a option. (Besides, it make a nice compliment to the "Exultet" at the Easter Vigil.)

    I'm not saying; I'm just saying....
  • NPM has a recording of the Christmas proclamation click here
  • My recording of Aristotle's Christmas Proclamation

    My thanks to a regular contributor to these forum for his help.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Thank you to fatherodonnell! I decided at 4:50 to sing the proclamation at 5:30 Mass, once I heard my new pastor was going to just read it out of the Martyrology. But here's the best part: After Mass, I told him I can prepare Aristotle's adaptation of the Latin one, instead of the simple missal setting on NPM, and guess what he said:

    "Hopefully by next year, we can just sing it in latin."

    Ha! My kind of guy!
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Oh yes, one more thing (yes, I know this is about 24 hours late, but whatever). As for the rubrical discussion above, I think the answer can be found right in the Missal, on page 1450, right above the music:

    from the Roman Martyrology
    This text, The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, may be chanted or recited, most appropriately
    on December 24, during the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours. It may also be chanted or
    recited before the beginning of Christmas Mass during the Night. It may not replace any part of
    the Mass.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,173
    Ok I have a problem and I would really welcome
    comments. Does it bother any of you that the proclamation says ' 5000' years since
    The creation of the world... etc. Aren't we singing something that just is not true?
    We know now that the world is much older. Does anyone else feel this way?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,195
    The world is ending in 2012. Next year, none of it will matter. ;-)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,205
    Age of the world? 5 thousand years? 150 million years? 13 billion years?

    Yep, age is just a number.

    Besides, we all know what infinity is: it's almost a million.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • There is no way in classical Latin to render 13,000,000,000 in a spoken way. Maybe Reggie Foster finagled a work-around at some point. In Roman numeral is possible but not with any font my computer has.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,372

    the world was created approx 5000 years from the birth of Christ... get with the program

    ...and the earth IS the center of the universe.
  • There is no way in classical Latin to render 13,000,000,000 in a spoken way.

    That is doubtful, though it would presumably be awkward; but anyway there should be no problem giving the martyrology in mediaeval or late Latin, in which there are several ways to express the number, such as "tredecim billiones" (short scale) and "tredecim milliarda" (long scale).
  • Actually...ummm...err...I'm right.

    According to the Oxford English dictionary, the word billion is from French billion, purposely formed in 16th century. It is not nor has it ever been a Latin word.

    Something similar can be said about million, which comes from Old French millon, a word first found in 1266. It is not nor has it ever been a Latin word.

    You're not actually basing your argument on Latin wikipedia, are you?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,205
    Nevertheless, one can translate one million into Latin: decies centena milia.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,948
    Well, there are neo-Latin words invented after the classical period, so there may be some expressions for the higher numbers. The Vatican's "Latinitas" foundation, in 2000, published Carolus Egger's Omnia dici possunt Latine, a guide to Latin terms for inventions in recent centuries.
  • Actually...ummm...err...I'm right.

    And again, I tend to doubt it, even as regards, as you said, classical Latin. I can't believe that if Cicero wanted to express "thirteen billion" to Atticus he would have just had to stand there mute like an idiot; there would have been some way to do it, were it "tredecim milia milia milia," as we might have to express 13x10^27 as "thirteen billion billion billion" when we do not know that we can call it "thirteen octillion."

    Moreover, as I said, "there should be no problem giving the martyrology in mediaeval or late Latin," and I include modern Latin. Just wait until the martyrology has to include some poor soul "qui necatus est cum aeroplanum eius in oceanum crashuit Pacificum."
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,205
    Well, 12 legions of angels would be approximately 72,000 angels, so I'm guessing that rather large numbers (at least of soldiers, or angels, or people) were readily expressible to the Romans. We just haven't encountered them that much in numeration - which is a different story altogether.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Let's just go with the ICEL version and say "A long time ago, Jesus was born."
  • In Vitruvius' book on archtitecture, the largest number written out in Latin is found: 31,500,000, with reference to the Earth's circumference as disovered by Eratosthenes: trecenties et decies quinquies centena milia.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
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