Bell Ringing?


What's the official word on bellringing? Isn't this practice supposed to be obsolete? Hasn't the symbolism ceased to have meaning since Vatican II liturgical changes. Doesn't this border on reminding people of supersitions that once existed with the liturgy?

-Holy Bells in Houston


There is a rubric in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal 2002,150

A little before the consecration, when appropriate, a server rings a bell as a signal to the faithful. According to local custom, the server also rings the bell as the priest shows the host and the chalice.

The custom of bell ringing developed in the middle ages to alert the congregation to what they could not see at the altar. Now with the congregation "active and participating," it does seem that the bell ringing may indicate something magical since in our eucharistic theology, we believe that the whole eucharistic prayer is consecretory and not just when the bells are rung.

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