• Latin: ad, to; clamare, to cry out


Manifestation of public feeling; in republican Rome, a shout, often limited to certain stereotyped forms. These were the prototypes of most of the liturgical acclamations, called laudes, which originated when coronations assumed an ecclesiastical character and were performed in a church. A sort of litany was chanted by the herald while the people repeated each verse after the leaders. The laudes were also often repeated on festivals, at a bishop‘s election, and since about the eighth century, at the papal Mass. Now, after the Gloria and Collect of the Mass of the Coronation, the senior cardinaldeacon, standing before the pope enthroned, chants the words “Exaudi Christe” (Hear, O Christ), to which all present reply “Long Life to our Lord… who has been appointed Supreme Pontiff and universal Pope.” This is repeated three times with other invocations and expands into a short litany, to which the response is, “Tu illum adjuva” (Do Thou help him). At the early councils the acclamations usually took the form of a compliment to the emperor. Other meanings attached to the word are: the applause of the congregation which often, in ancient times, interrupted the sermons of favorite preachers; the prayers and good wishes found upon sepulchral monuments; brief liturgical formulae, such as “Deo gratias”; a form of papal election in which the cardinals without previous consultation or the formality of balloting, unanimously proclaim one of the candidates Supreme Pontiff.

MLA Citation

  • “acclamation”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 July 2012. Web. 25 September 2021. <>