I need a fast answer about changing the Sanctus

Hi all,

I make up the photocopied “missalette” every week for my small parish. I got information from the person who chooses the music that they want a new Sanctus used. When I joined this parish several years ago, they used a different non-traditional sanctus, and I was really shocked by it, but I was too new to the Church to question it. Then it was switched to the traditional one, about 18 months ago. Now, however, they want to use yet another one:

Holy, Holy Lord God
From the Heaven’s above.
Blessed Be the Lord God
Sing His Glory forever…
Holy Holy is the Lord
For He dwells in our Land. 2x

I am pretty sure this is not allowed, but they apparently are in the habit of changing it up every so often. I just want to be sure that this is not a permitted variation (the parishoners are almost all overseas Philipino migrant workers) in other places, before I make an issue of it.


It shouldn’t be done. While at a cursory glance I can’t seem to find the right text, it’s in GIRM somewhere as I remember discussing this with the Liturgical Coordinator at my church. Though if you’re being ultra technical, that GIRM isn’t set to be used until Advent.

It is my thought, however, that generally when something is put in that says “not allowed” into the new GIRM it’s because it was never intended to be done but it had to be put into writing due to abuses that happened.

The first thing that makes it incorrect and unfit is that it doesn’t have three holies. It isn’t a coincidence that the Sanctus (in any language) has three Holies. It is a direct reference to the Triune God. Anything less is not the Sanctus. It is a direct reference to Isaiah 6:3.

Latin: “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominie Deo Sabboeth.”

English (current): Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of power and might.

English (revised): Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts.

Spanish (Mexico): Santo, Santo, Santo es el Señor, Dios del universo."

Spanish (Spain):Santo, Santo, Santo, Señor Dios de los ejércitos.

Lucky that’s not the only place to find this sort of thing! See below.

To the OP:
No it shouldn’t be done, and this should give you plenty of “ammo” to be used if needed:

Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 22.3 (1963)
o Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.

Canon 846.1 (1983)
o The liturgical books approved by the competent authority are to be faithfully observed in the celebration of the sacraments; therefore no one on personal authority may add, remove or change anything in them.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1125 (1992)
o For this reason no sacramental rite may be modified or manipulated at the will of the minister or the community. Even the supreme authority of the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 24 (2003)
o Nevertheless, 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.

Redemptionis Sacramentum, nos. 31, 59 (2004)
o They ought not to detract from the profound meaning of their own ministry by corrupting the liturgical celebration either through alteration or omission, or through arbitrary additions.
o The reprobated practice by which Priests, Deacons or the faithful here and there alter or vary at will the texts of the Sacred Liturgy that they are charged to pronounce, must cease. For in doing thus, they render the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy unstable, and not infrequently distort the authentic meaning of the Liturgy

Here’s another one for good measure.

*Redemptionis Sacramentum

  1. In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.

  2. Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.*

Nice to have all those. I know I’ve read a lot of that before, but I’m pretty bad at remembering where. I really should make more use of bookmarks.

Also, I need to send all that to a certain nun I know that tried to tell me otherwise…

Glad to help!

Just have to ask. Are you the Curt Jester (Jeff Miller?)

No, I am not. I’m waiting to be able to put in my signature that I am not THE Curt Jester, but I don’t seem to be able to do a signature at this time.

It’s just a coincidence that I have the same nickname as the blogger.

Until Vatican II the hymns sung by the people were not considered part of the Liturgy. People were required to present only without any communal participation. The Law did not made any provision what they sing, the local pastor under the supervision of the diocese was the competent authority.

Now the rule is that if the hymn is considered straight translation of the Latin text of the Mass, then the approval of the Apostolic See and the National Conference of the Bishops is required. Beginning this Advent in the US this text will the the one in the new Missal

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.

It this is sung, the priest can sing with the congregation or just wait until they finish, it is part of the Mass.

If the priest says the Sanctus or the vernacular equivalent by himself, there is no strict approval rule, except that it has to be taken from some Church approved publishing.

In my opinion you shall talk to your pastor, and accept his decision or resign from your function. You yourself have no authority over the question, not even enforcing a supposed or exiting rule. Such thing would lead to anarchy. The responsibility stays with the pastor.

Sabaoth is actually Hebrew. And you might get some debate on its proper meaning.

And not to belabor the point, but if every Mass had a minimum of the Kyrie and Sanctus of the untranslated text, all three languages of the cross would be represented.

Do you have a source for this? It seems in conflict with the GIRM (no 24) quoted in post #4 above.

Thanks to all who replied, especially TheMc. I sent the music person an email with some of those citations and that really cleared things up. They just didn’t know that this change was not permitted, and seemed happy to be instructed…happy ending! :slight_smile:


If only everyone could take instruction in such an easy manner. Some people pretty much go into a rage when told they can’t do something.

Glad you had success. :slight_smile:

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