Omitting the Gloria

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I hope you’re doing well. I am sorry to bother you, but I thought you may know the answer to a question we received from an initiation minister.

The question we received is “Why is the Glory to God is omitted in the Rite of Acceptance and what is the reason these introductory rites can vary?” The catechist understands that the rite replaces the normal introductory rites, but is searching for a reason of why this came to be. He noticed that in the new Order of Baptism the Glory to God is included.

Is there a historical or theological reason? It sounds as if his pastor is saying the Glory to God must be included even though the rite doesn’t indicate it. The pastor seems to think it’s an omission and the minister is searching for a concrete reason why the Church alters the intro rites on this and other occasions.

Thanks for any insight you can share.


A: The Gloria isn’t really “omitted” as much as it is “unforeseen”. You don’t find out that this ceremony may take place during Mass until you get to RCIA 67 & 68. In the early paragraphs of this rite, the RCIA presumes that this isn’t taking place during Mass. There’s no sign of the cross either. The Roman Missal has no Mass for the Rite of Acceptance because it thinks that this liturgy is non-eucharistic.

But RCIA 67 & 68 do give instructions for what happens when it takes place at Mass. It does not retrofit everything else. It’s just looking forward for what you do next.

Consequently, if this is taking place at a Sunday Mass, then I think you can argue for a sign of the cross, and, if it fits, a Gloria as well. But the rubrics are at best ambiguous, probably because they are sorting out bigger issues.

As to why the introductory rites vary, this was a gift of the liturgical renewal that followed the council. We are so used to doing ceremonies within Mass that we forget how rare that was in preconciliar days. Marriage, for example, took place by itself. When it was over, then the nuptial Mass began. The same is true of the Dedication of a Church. First came the elaborate ceremony, and then Mass started from the beginning, as if nothing had happened. By nesting liturgies within liturgies, the reform gave us more coherent celebrations from start to finish. The rules change a little for ceremonies such as weddings, baptisms and this one, but the overarching principle is that the introductory rites allow some flexibility to accommodate the twin needs of the ordinary liturgy and the special liturgy.