• 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 cardinal-deacon, 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. 3 July 2012. Web. 29 January 2015. <>