When are we to start adhering to the contents of the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM)? I’ve heard that the bishops must go over it with a fine-tooth comb first. But what more needs to be said or done when our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has put his seal of approval on it? Won’t we be held bound if we don’t follow it? Why make up rules if we are going to break them?
In order for a law to go into force it has to be promulgated. Usually, unless laws specify otherwise, they go into effect three months after they are published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS). Neither the new GIRM nor decrees ordering the publication of the new Missal have been published in AAS or promulgated through other means. Therefore, these are not yet in force. Their current legal status is (essentially) drafts of future law that have been shown to the public early. They are not yet promulgated.
When they will go into force is not clear. Rome has not made an announcement. Until such time as that happens, the current law remains in force.