About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), where he also did graduate work in Musicology. On 22 January 2011, the board of directors elected Mr. Ostrowski President of Corpus Christi Watershed. He lives with his wife and two children in Corpus Christi, TX.
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"Since such is the nature of man that he cannot easily without external means be raised to meditation on divine things, on that account holy Mother Church has instituted certain rites, namely that certain things be pronounced in a subdued tone (canon and words of consecration) and others in a louder tone; she has likewise made use of ceremonies such as mystical blessings, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind in accordance with apostolic teaching and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be commended, and the minds of the faithful excited by these visible signs of religion and piety to the contemplation of the most sublime matters which are hidden in this sacrifice."
— Council of Trent (Session XXII)
Is the Kyrie part of the Penitential Rite?
published 24 February 2014 by Jeff Ostrowski

777 Deacon ANY PRIESTS BELIEVE the Kyrie Eleison (“Lord, have mercy”) to be part of the Penitential Rite, but that’s incorrect.  The only time the Kyrie is part of the Penitential Rite is when the priest chooses Option C 1 — the one that begins:

“You were sent to heal the contrite of heart: Lord, have mercy … etc.”

The first proof is GIRM #46. Notice how the Kyrie is distinguished from the Penitential Act:

The rites that precede the Liturgy of the Word, namely, the Entrance, the Greeting, the Penitential Act, the Kyrie, the Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) and Collect, have the character of a beginning, an introduction, and a preparation.

The second proof is GIRM #52. Obviously something that comes after the Penitential Rite is not part of that Rite:

After the Penitential Act, the Kyrie, eleison (Lord, have mercy), is always begun, unless it has already been part of the Penitential Act.

The third proof is the Ceremonial of Bishops #255, which says on Ash Wednesday:

The introductory rites of the Mass and, as circumstances suggest, also the Kyrie are omitted, and the bishop immediately says the opening prayer.

The fourth proof is GIRM #125. The Kyrie is once again distinguished from the Penitential Act:

The Penitential Act follows. After this, the Kyrie is sung or said, in accordance with the rubrics (cf. no. 52).

The fifth proof is the Roman Missal, Third Edition, which says for Ash Wednesday (Stational) and Palm Sunday:

Omitting the Introductory Rites and, if appropriate, the Kyrie, he says the Collect of the Mass, and then continues the Mass in the usual way.

WHY, THEN, is the Kyrie so often wrongly omitted? Especially at Weddings (Nuptial Mass) the Kyrie is wrongly omitted. I don’t know the answer, but my guess is that most priests believe the Kyrie is part of the Penitential Act.


See also Andrew’s treatment.

UPDATE :

More opinions on this matter are given by the Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy.



NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1   If “Option B” is used, the Kyrie is still said, even though Option B begins with Miserére nostri, Dómine (“Have mercy on us, O Lord”).