Do You Say 'Amen' at Communion in a 'Tridentine' Mass?
No. The Communicant does not say Amen
when receiving Holy Communion at the Tridentine Mass. Instead, you
should silently adore the Host and recite (interiorly) the
historically indulgenced aspiration "My Lord and My
You Say Anything if the Priest Indicates That it is the
"Word of the Lord" in the 'Tridentine' Mass?
No. Such responses are not given by
laity in the 'Tridentine' Mass. (Note: If this does occur in
your parish, it may be because the people are accustomed to do so
at the Novus Ordo Mass. If so, they should be instructed that this
is not to be recited by the laity at the 'Tridentine' Mass.)
Wear Veils at the 'Tridentine' Mass?
Women should wear veils in church (and during
prayer) regardless of which Mass they attend. From the very
earliest days of the Church women have been instructed/required to
wear veils, and this has nothing to do with local custom or
particular styles of dress. Rather, it has to do with the fact
that women have been placed in a state of subjection by Almighty
God (see Gen. 3:16, Eph. 5:22-24, Col. 3:18, etc.). As St. Paul
says in Scripture, women should wear veils as a sign that they are
under authority of men (as a mark of subjection), because of the
angels, and because women who pray with unveiled heads "bring shame
upon their heads":
"Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame upon his head.
But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her
head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved. For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil. A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; nor was man created for woman, but woman for man;
for this reason a woman should have a sign of authority on her head, because of the
angels." (St. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit in 1 Cor. 11:4-10, emphasis added)
Veils further serve to protect modesty
(larger ones are most desirable in this regard - as one Early
Church Father has said, "The region of the veil is
co-extensive with the space covered by the hair when unbound; in
order that the necks too may be encircled"), reduce
distractions, and help protect against becoming an object of
One should further note that the so-called
"exemption" (ibid. 11:16) is only for women who wish to
be "argumentative". But what kind of good
Catholic woman would want to be "argumentative" to St.
Paul who wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit - that is,
Here for 'Proper Role & Behavior of Women' Reflections
(Priests & Vocations Section)
Here for Flier: "Scripture Passage: Women's Head
the Traditional Latin Mass of Interest to Young Persons?
The Traditional Latin Mass is of interest to
persons of all ages - most definitely including young
persons. In fact, the growing popularity of the ancient Mass
includes many young persons who had never previously been
exposed to this glorious Mass. The false belief that young persons
are not interested in the Traditional Mass arises merely from the
fact that so many young persons are not even aware that such a
precious possession has been taken from them. As Davies has pointed
out: "[T]o destroy the Mass of St. Pius V truly 'the most
beautiful thing this side of heaven' - this is an act of
liturgical vandalism on such a scale that beside it the
destruction of all the cathedrals of Europe would appear of little
consequence. Many young Catholics today wonder why some of their
elders make so much fuss about the Tridentine Mass. This is not
surprising as it is hard for any individual to feel real concern
for a cause of which he has had no direct experience. Young
Catholics have been deprived of their birthright for a mess of
ecumenical pottage (Genesis 25:29-34). It would not be true to
state that this pottage satisfies them, the exodus of young people
from our churches has been one of the most dramatic manifestations
of the 'Conciliar Church,' but as the nature of their true
birthright is something of which they are kept in total ignorance
they are hardly likely to lament its absence. However, it is both
remarkable and encouraging that when young people do discover the Tridentine
Mass, their fervor and enthusiasm, their determination to defend
and extend its use, is proving to be a source of encouragement and
inspiration for many older Catholics."
Are Some Parts of the Mass Called
'Ordinary' and Some Called 'Proper'?
In the 'Tridentine' Mass, certain parts of the
Mass do not change and these may be called
"Ordinary", whereas parts of the Mass which change (or
are "proper to the day or season") may be called
Do the 'Tridentine' Mass and the Novus
Ordo Mass Use the Same Calendar?
No. The 'Tridentine' Mass and the Novus Ordo
Mass use a different calendar. The 'Tridentine' Mass has a fuller
calendar, whereas the Novus Ordo Mass has dropped many feast days
(including highly popular feasts, feasts of popes, etc.). The old
calendar is still in use, however, by traditional orders and in
places where Masses are celebrated according to the old
('Tridentine') rite. Note: To find a 'Tridentine' Mass, click
here. For feasts of the old and new calendar, try
Aren't the 'Tridentine' Mass and the Novus
Ordo Mass Very Similar?
Besides the many noticeable external
differences (e.g. language, orientation of the priest, use of incense, lack of 'lay ministers', etc.), there are
differences between the 'Tridentine' Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass.
In fact, it has been estimated that around 70% of the traditional Mass has been replaced
or eliminated from the Novus Ordo Mass. Of the remainder,
various parts may have been changed, leaving just a small amount unchanged. Clearly, there are numerous and significant
differences between the 'Tridentine' Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass.
Note: For more information on the differences between the
'Tridentine' Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass, click
Doesn't the Novus Ordo Mass Contain the
A modified version of the Roman Canon was
added back to the Novus Ordo Mass as an option, but it is longer
and therefore not often used. Further, parts of it are made
optional, and various parts have been mistranslated into
vernacular languages. As Davies has said, "Thanks be to God,
Pope Paul VI ordered Msgr. Bugnini to replace the Roman Canon
which he had removed from the 1969 rite of Mass. It is, alas, only
an option and is very rarely used."
Traditional Catholics Consider the Novus
Ordo Mass to be Valid?
Generally, Traditional Catholics consider the
Novus Ordo Mass to be valid if said with the proper form, matter,
and intention (although there are exceptions - e.g. some see the translation error in the words of consecration to invalidate the
Mass). However, even if traditional Catholics do recognize that
the Novus Ordo Mass to be valid, they may point to concerns that
the new rite makes it easier to have an invalid consecration - for
example, consider that the entire consecration may now be recited
as part of a narrative (the "Institution Narrative"),
and that if a priest recites the prayer as a mere narrative,
his intention may be defective, resulting in no consecration
whatsoever (for a valid consecration, the priest must have the
desire to consecrate in the here and now, and not merely read
about Our Lord's past actions).
Furthermore, Traditional Catholics may point
out that validity isn't the only criterion that should be
considered - but that is merely the bare minimum necessary for
there to be a consecration. A Mass can be valid as well as sacrilegious! A priest with valid orders who leaves the Church and
becomes a Satanist can have a "valid" Mass, yet no one
would question whether it was acceptable to attend, simply because
it is "valid". At a "valid" Mass, a priest may
preach heresy from the pulpit. At a "valid" Mass, many
liturgical abuses - and even great sacrilege & profanation -
may occur. In fact, no matter what happens after a valid
consecration, the Mass is valid. That does not, however, guarantee
that the Mass is "acceptable".
Why Shouldn't the Mass be Changed in Order
Not to Offend Protestants?
First of all, the Mass is not for
Protestants, it is for Catholics. Secondly, it is wrong to change
a Catholic Mass to please those who hold erroneous / heretical
views. Scripture tells us not to even greet heretics (see 2 Jn.
1:10-11), much less change one of our most sacred possessions to please
them! It is in no way
"charitable" to Protestants to leave them in their
errors - much less to confirm them in their errors. Finally, it is
not charitable to Catholics to take what is most precious from
them - and endanger their faith - to please those who reject the
Church. As Scripture says, "do good to all, but especially to
those who belong to the family of the faith." (Gal. 6:10) As Bouyer
"The fact that the liturgy is made for the
faithful, and not for those who are still outside of the Church,
must be stressed especially. More exactly, it is only when they are
brought into the threshold of the Church that the liturgy is opened
"It would be a misguided pastoral
that would try to adapt the liturgy in such a way that even
unbelievers could easily follow and understand it. This, indeed,
would not be a healthy adaptation of the liturgy, but its
Traditional Catholics Reject Practices Like Liturgical Dancing?
Traditional Catholics primarily reject practices such as 'liturgical dancing'
during Mass because it is
not appropriate for God's house or for a solemn sacrifice.
Mass is the true re-presentation of Calvary and one would not expect to
have found people dancing around the cross 2,000 years ago.
Furthermore, it introduces a profane element into the church, and
may even excite some persons to lust (often the dancers are immodestly
dressed). Those who argue that liturgical dancing is biblical should
take note of Davies' remarks: "Dancing formed no part of the prescribed ritual for
Jewish worship in either the Temple or the synagogue... [Exodus
15:20] is not a liturgical dance but a spontaneous outburst of
exultation common to primitive peoples upon the destruction of their
enemy, i.e. a war dance!"
But Didn't God Want All These Changes?
Are we to believe that God - who is unchanging
- suddenly wanted us to drop a Mass which developed
over the centuries under the guidance of Holy Spirit for one
created by men in the 1960's with the assistance of protestant
'observers'? Are we to believe that God wanted us to abandon the
Mass that was called "the most beautiful things this side of
heaven" and produced many saints for one that is plagued with
abuse and one that even high-ranking prelates call "banal"?
Common sense alone tells us that the changes - which have resulted
loss of faith, rampant sacrilege, widespread heresy, a "near
collapse" of the Church, and include changes which are
contrary to the teachings / warnings / practice of many popes, saints, councils,
and even those which oppose Scripture (e.g. 1 Cor. 14:33-35, 1 Cor.
11:4-10) - could not be positively
willed by God. In fact, not even Vatican II called for - or wanted
- all the changes which have occurred. We must remember that the
mere fact that something has happened, does not mean that God
positively willed it, but rather that He tolerates it. In fact, we
know that God tolerates many bad (and even evil) things - and the
fact that they have occurred in no way means that God directly wills
Traditional Catholics Just Be
Happy if the Novus Ordo Mass Was Said in Latin?
No. The desire for the 'Tridentine' Mass has
little or nothing to do with the language used. It is important to
remember that Traditional Latin Mass is an entirely different
rite of Mass than the Novus Ordo Mass. Besides the language, there
are numerous and significant differences between the
Novus Ordo Mass and the Traditional Latin Mass. Note: For more
information on the differences between these Masses, click
However, due to the
mistranslations, a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin would be somewhat
preferable to a Novus Ordo Mass said in English. Such Masses have
been offered in various locations, but they are still not
comparable to the 'Tridentine' Mass. As Davies has said, "[O]pposition
to the New Mass is not based upon the question of Latin...
although the New Mass can be celebrated in Latin, in most western
countries it rarely is, and, in the U.S.A., for example, some
Bishops even forbid a Latin celebration of the Novus Ordo. (One
American priest has told me [Davies] of a parish where such a celebration
had been stopped by the Bishop on the grounds that it was drawing
away the faithful from all the neighboring parishes.)"
Can't One of the Eucharistic Prayers in the Novus Ordo Mass Be Traced Back to a Saint?
While it is true that one of the Eucharistic Prayers
in the Novus Ordo Mass is said to be derived from a writing attributed to St.
Hippolytus, this is still controversial for various reasons. St.
Hippolytus (c. 170-235
A.D.), first of all was of suspect orthodoxy in some areas.
He not only was in conflict with at least two popes, but is
generally considered to be the first anti-pope. Eventually, however, he was
reconciled to the Church and died a martyr. Still, though, his
writings are of a personal nature, and are, of course, not binding
on the Church. Further, there is no guarantee of the authenticity of writings attributed to him (there is no extant original), or
that they were even written by him, or
that they represent the most desirable practices, or that they represent
the mind of the early Church as a whole. Remember further that
"just because it's old, doesn't mean that it's best."
Also, note that many of the traditional prayers in the
'Tridentine' Mass that were simply 'discarded' by the creators of
the New Mass were written by saints (so it is clear that
authorship by a saint was not the overriding concern in the
selection of prayers for the New Mass).
It is believed that the real reason people
"cling to" writings attributed to St. Hippolytus is
because his writings were written at an early point in doctrinal
development (even before the Bible was codified and before the
doctrine of the Trinity was formally promulgated). Therefore, it
fails to include various references that Protestants might object
to. Further, they only selectively quote his writings and fail to
include other parts of his writing parts that they don't care for (e.g. standing naked
in the water for baptism). As Davies
"Canon II (the mini-Canon) incorporates passages from the
so-called Canon of the anti-pope, Hippolytus. The prayer was
originally intended only as a model of the form a Eucharistic Prayer
should take; no one knows its original format as the original Greek
has been lost; this original text has certainly been modified and
its integrity is a matter of dispute among scholars. The chief value
of the Canon of Hippolytus from the ecumenical standpoint is that
its sacrificial phraseology is minimal - it was composed at a stage
in the third century when there was still a long way to go before
the matter which was implicit in the Mass was made explicit in its
prayers. Bringing this prayer into the Mass in the twentieth century
is precisely the type of liturgical archaelogism condemned as
pernicious by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Mediator Dei. And yet
it is because elements from a modified version of a suggested form
for an anaphora (Eucharistic Prayer), written by an anti-pope and
never part of the Church's official liturgy, are included in
the mini-Canon that we are all supposed to feel
reassured according to Mgr. Martimort."
If the Novus Ordo Mass Really is Less
Desirable Than the 'Tridentine' Mass, Why Was it Approved?
of the Novus Ordo Mass never did receive overwhelming approval from
the voting prelates (in fact,
about 25% rejected a draft of the New Mass and another 35% had
reservations - totaling about 60% who rejected it or had
reservations about it). However, it was ultimately approved and imposed on the faithful.
Since that time, orthodox prelates and loyal members of the
faithful have issued strong criticisms of the Mass. In fact, it
has been reported that some Council Fathers later regretted some
of their votes. According to Davies, the retention of the Roman
Canon (although rarely used nowadays) was the reason the fathers
were able to give approval to the New Mass: "It is true that a modified version of the Roman Canon is
available as an option in the New Mass although it is not obligatory
on a single day throughout the year. It was the retention of this
Canon which enabled the majority of orthodox priests to accept the
New Mass without doing too much violence to their consciences. Thus
most of the priests who might have been expected to stand up in
protest against the New Mass contented themselves instead with
opting to use the Roman Canon".
Was the New Mass Ever Officially Made
According to Parsons,
"It is now widely recognized that it is impossible to point
to any document signed by Pope Paul that ever made the use of the
new Missal obligatory. It is also certain that Pope Paul [VI] said late
in his reign that its use was obligatory, but he at no time
indicated what decree was alleged to have made it so." That is,
"saying it is obligatory is different than making it obligatory."
When Was the Mass Changed?
The Traditional Latin 'Tridentine' Mass was
replaced in most parishes by the Novus Ordo Mass in the wake of the
Second Vatican Council of the 1960's. However, the traditional Mass has been in continued used in various places since that time
and, in recent years, the 'Tridentine' Mass has been making quite
a comeback. In fact, the desire for this Mass has been called a
"rightful aspiration" deserving of "respect" by Pope John
Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI has also supported the desire for
the Traditional Mass. Recent years have seen an increase in
priestly orders dedicated to the traditional rites and even a
whole diocese has received papal sanction to be an "entire
traditional diocese". The number of Traditional Masses has
increased over recent years and many dioceses have at least one
'Tridentine' Mass per week, while some have daily 'Tridentine'
Masses. Additionally, the number of traditional Catholics has been
swelling over recent years and even high ranking prelates have
publicly said the Traditional Mass. Note: For more information on the status of
the 'Tridentine' Mass, click
Are 'Tridentine' Masses Supposed to Be
Available to All Who Desire Them?
HERE For Most Current Info. (7/07 & Later Updates)
According to Pope St. Pius V, the Mass may be
said in perpetuity:
all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the
Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches,
and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other
formula than that of this [Traditional, the so-called
'Tridentine'] Missal published by Us. This ordinance applies
henceforth, now, and forever, throughout all the provinces of the
Christian world... This Missal is to be used by all
churches, even by those which in their authorization are made
exempt, whether by Apostolic indult, custom, or privilege, or even
if by oath or official confirmation of the Holy See, or have their
rights and faculties guaranteed to them by any other manner
whatsoever... whereas, by this present Constitution, which
will be valid henceforth, now, and forever, We order and
enjoin that nothing must be added to Our recently published
Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be
changed within it under the penalty of Our displeasure...
Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our
Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for
the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this
Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple
of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or
censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are
superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular
priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to
celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise
declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to
alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be
revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full
force... Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to
alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command,
precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and
prohibition. Should [anyone venture to do so, let him] know that
he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed
Apostles Peter and Paul." (Pope St. Pius V, Quo
Primum, emphasis added)
According to the
Second Vatican Council, all rites are to be preserved and fostered:
in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares
that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognized rites
to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them
in the future and to foster them in every way."
(Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, The Constitution
on the Sacred Liturgy, December 4, 1963, emphasis
Cardinal Ratzinger (the future Pope
Benedict XVI) has said:
is good to recall here what Cardinal Newman observed, that the
Church, throughout her history, has never abolished or forbidden
orthodox liturgical forms. [To do so] would be quite alien to the
Spirit of the Church. An orthodox liturgy [is] one which
expresses the true faith.... The authority of the Church has the
power to define and limit the use of such rites in different
historical situations, but she never just purely and simply
forbids them! Thus the [Second Vatican]
Council ordered a reform of the liturgical books, but it did not
prohibit the use of the previous books." (emphasis
To the displeasure of many liberal
prelates, Pope John Paul II called upon the bishops to allow for a
"wide and generous" use of the 'Tridentine' Mass in
all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous
liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition I
wish to manifest my will to facilitate their ecclesial communion
by means of the necessary measures to guarantee
respect for their rightful aspirations. In this matter I
ask for the support of the bishops and of all those engaged in the
pastoral ministry in the Church...moreover, respect must
everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached
to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous
application of the directives already issued some time ago by the
Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to the
typical edition of 1962." (Pope John Paul II, from
the Motu Proprio "Ecclesia Dei"*, 1988 A.D.) (emphasis added) *Note:
"A document issued Motu proprio ('of our own accord') is a
binding papal document involving the supreme authority of the
Sovereign Pontiff as opposed to the documents of Vatican
Congregations which, although issued frequently with papal
approval, are not papal acts. There have been about 300 post-conciliar
documents concerned with the liturgy [at the time of this quote].
Ecclesia Dei is only the third one to constitute a papal act, and
hence its authority can hardly be exaggerated." (Davies)
Despite the above,
however, many bishops have been unwilling to show obedience to the
pope in this matter. Often, they refuse to allow the 'Tridentine'
Mass or make it so inconvenient or uncomfortable that persons may not
attend (e.g. placing the Mass at difficult times, moving the
Mass from parish to parish, placing the Mass in ultra-liberal or awkward
locations, not allowing the Mass to be publicized, etc.).
Vatican has taken note of this unfortunate situation. For example,
consider Cardinal Ratzinger's (the future Pope Benedict XVI's)
am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be
granted much more generously to all those who desire it.
It is impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable
about that. A community is calling its very being into question
when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and
highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the
longing for it seem downright indecent." (emphasis added)
for the time being, the short answer is that yes, the 'Tridentine'
Mass should be made available to all, but that, in practice, it
often is not made available. Traditional Catholics continue to
hope that the situation will change quickly.
The above answer was current as of 8/06. However, it should be
remembered that all items may change at any time. It may be
greatly hoped that the 'Tridentine' Mass will be made even more
widely available in a short time. For more current information on
this topic, consider other applicable places on this site (e.g. Latin
Mass posts, Catholic News Section, etc.)].
Also see 'Latin
Mass Updates: 7/07 & Later' for current information.
Do Some Traditional Catholics Draw Comparisons Between Catholic Practices
After the Second Vatican Council and the Issue of Invalid Orders
Some traditional Catholics have expressed
concern over the nature of changes to the Mass and to the
Ordination of priests after the Second Vatican Council because the
new rites have deleted certain references (e.g. to a sacrifice),
and because the new rite of Mass is said to be a "return to a
primitive form". They cite the official
declaration of Pope Leo XIII regarding the nullility of Anglican
orders - meaning that Anglican 'priests' are not really priests
at all, but merely laymen since they lost Apostolic succession
after their rupture with the Catholic Church due to the changes
they implemented ["Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this
matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and
confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our
authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we
pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to
the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly
void." (Pope Leo XIII, "Apostolicae Curae", 1896
A.D.)] - and express concern over certain perceived parallels. As Pope
Leo XIII has said:
"Being fully cognizant of the necessary connection between faith
and worship, between 'the law of believing and the law of
praying', under a pretext of returning to the primitive form,
they corrupted the Liturgical Order in many ways to suit the errors
of the reformers. For this reason, in the whole Ordinal not only is
there no clear mention of the [Eucharistic Sacrifice], of
consecration, of the priesthood (sacerdotium), and of the power of
consecrating and offering [the Eucharistic sacrifice] but, as we
have just stated, every trace of these things which had been in such
prayers of the Catholic rite as they had not entirely rejected, was
deliberately removed and struck out. In this way, the native
character or spirit as it is called of the Ordinal clearly manifests
itself." (Pope Leo XIII, "Apostolicae Curae", 1896
The defect of form, combined with their
defect of intention, ultimately resulted in their failure to
confer a sacrament, and the loss of Apostolic succession.
the Reforms of Pope Paul VI Similar to Those of Other Popes?
No. In fact, the reforms of Pope Paul VI were
unprecedented in the entire history of the church (click
here for more information / Latin Mass history). As Davies
there is no possible comparison with what Pope Paul VI has
permitted and the revisions of these other Popes. To repeat a
point that has already been made, if a martyr priest of England or
Wales could have been transported from the sixteenth century to
any Catholic Church of the Roman Rite in 1961, even after the
reform of Pope John, he could have followed the Mass or celebrated
it without noticing that four centuries had passed. Had he been
transported to a vernacular Mass using Penitential Rite II and
Canon II in 1971, he would have rushed from the church in horror
within a few minutes, seconds probably, convinced that he had been
present at a Protestant service. To compare a revolution of this
magnitude with, say, an attempt to restore order to a Calendar
that had become chaotic
is, to put it mildly, to ask
not to be taken seriously."
Do Traditional Catholics Reject the Concept of Returning to
This refers to 'Antiquarianism', which has received papal
it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity
by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would
be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar
restored to its primitive table form; were he to want black
excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to
forbid the use of sacred images and statues in churches; were he
to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body
shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to
disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even
where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See."
(Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947)
that Antiquarianism refers to the
modernists quest to 'restore' the Church to a 'primitive form'
that better corresponds with Protestant sensibilities, NOT
Traditionalists' attempts to restore the traditional Latin
('Tridentine') Mass and pre-Vatican II practices. In fact,
the 'reduction to antiquity' of the Modernists and the restoration
sought by the Traditionalists are diametrically opposed. The
'reducing to antiquity' of the Modernists has been condemned by
the popes - whereas true faithfulness to tradition has always been
guarded in the Church, and is even praised in Holy Scripture.
While the idea of returning to a 'Primitive Christianity' may appear attractive at first glance, the concept
is faulty for a number of reasons. For example:
The early Church was illegal and persecuted - therefore early
behaviors and practices were conditioned by the times.
The fact that something was earlier does not necessarily make it
Earlier practices were less developed and did not express
the faith as well as later practices.
There was a "less developed understanding" of certain
dogmas in the earliest days of the Church. For example, in the
early Church, the dogma of the Trinity was not formally declared,
nor was the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
Although these were implicit in her teachings, they had yet to be
put forth in a more formal, more developed manner. Therefore,
"to go back to the old ways would be a step backwards."
In the earliest days, they did not yet have "theological sophistication".
They did not even have a complete Bible for many years.
The practice has been condemned by the pope. For example, consider
what Pope Pius XII has said:
"The same reasoning holds in the case of some persons who
are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies
indiscriminately. The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly
worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed
more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its
significance for later times and new situations, on the simple
ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity... But it is
neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every
possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying
from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its
primitive table form; were he to want black excluded as a color for
the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images
and statues in churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed
that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel
sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic
music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations
issued by the Holy See." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator
Dei", 1947 A.D.)
"We earnestly call your attention to all this, venerable
brethren, confident that, between widespread passion for the new and
exaggerated attachment to the past, you will use a prudence which is
circumspect and vigilant even when it tries fresh paths of activity
and struggle for the triumph of the truth... Let everyone be
persuaded of this: that it is necessary to follow the Will of God
and not that of the world, and to regulate the activity of the
apostolate according to the directives of the Hierarchy and not
according to personal opinions. It is a vain illusion to think
oneself able to hide one's own inner poverty and still cooperate
effectively in spreading the Kingdom of Christ by novelties in his
method of action." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae",
"[A]ll moreover should abhor that intemperate zeal which
imagines that whatever is new should for that very reason be opposed
or suspected" (Pope Pius XII, "Divino Afflante Spiritu",
"The Church is without question a living
organism, and as an organism, in respect of the sacred liturgy
also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates
herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that
the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This
notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce
novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete
rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve
severe reproof. It has pained Us grievously to note, Venerable
Brethren, that such innovations are actually being introduced, not
merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as
well. We instance, in point of fact, those who make use of the
vernacular in the celebration of the august Eucharistic Sacrifice;
those who transfer certain feast-days - which have been appointed
and established after mature deliberation - to other dates; those,
finally, who delete from the prayer books approved for public use
the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited
and inopportune for modern times." (Pope Pius XII,
"Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)
"But in all these
matters, it is essential that you watch vigilantly lest the enemy
come into the field of the Lord and sow cockle among the wheat; in
other words, do not let your flocks be deceived by the subtle and
dangerous errors of false mysticism of quietism - as we know We have
already condemned these errors; also do not let a certain dangerous
'humanism' lead them astray, nor let there be introduced a false
doctrine destroying the notion of Catholic faith, nor finally an exaggerated
zeal for antiquity in matters liturgical [Note: This does not
refer to the Traditional Latin Mass, but to those who sought changes to
similar to those which were incorporated into the Novus Ordo (New) Mass].
Watch with like diligence lest the false teaching of those be propagated
who wrongly think and teach that the glorified human
nature of Christ dwells in the 'just' by his presence and
that one and numerically the same grace, as they say, unites Christ
with the members of His Mystical Body." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator
Dei", 1947 A.D.)
An attempt to return to primitive practices strips the liturgy of
various protections as well as the beautiful enhancements added
over the centuries: "Trying to return this worship to the practices of Christian
antiquity and recreating artificially the original spontaneity of
ancient times is to engage in that 'unhealthy archaelogism' Pius XII
so roundly condemned. It is, moreover, to dismantle all the
theological ramparts erected for the protection of the rite and to
take away all the beauty which enriched it for centuries. And all
this at one of the most critical moments - if not the most critical
moment - in the Church's history!" (Cardinals Ottaviani &
It is wrong to throw out hundreds of years of development. As time
has gone on, the Church has been able to express truths more
clearly and more explicitly.
The hundreds of years that have passed are "not a contradiction, but a development - the
essence remaining the same. Would you fault a tree for changing from its beginning as a seed
to a more mature, fuller tree (but of the same essence)? Would you want it
returned again to a seed?"
It is a flawed concept to want to return to a time when the faith
wasn't expressed as precisely, to a time when there was only a
little experience, to a time before hundreds of years of wisdom
were added to the Church's patrimony, to a time before the Church
had "centuries of experience on how to work with our human
nature to achieve holiness". One may rightly ask: "Would you want to return to
your childhood now that you know
more? Would you want to give up all your experience, growth, and
It is going backwards to discard a liturgy that has been
gaining more and more completeness over the centuries. As Davies
has said: "In 1947 Pope Pius XII warned us against the very practices
which are now universally triumphant through the west...he warned us
of a 'wicked movement that tends to paralyze the sanctifying and
salutary action by which the liturgy leads the children of adoption
on the path to their heavenly Father.' This wicked movement was concerned
with reviving obsolete liturgical practices on the grounds that they are more
primitive... But what was
rightly condemned in 1947 was wrongly imposed in 1977".
It would be unrealistic to take what occurred in the early Church -
during the height of persecution - as the norm for other times. As
Davies states: "[E]arly Christians worshipped in their homes...or, less
frequently, in the catacombs. It would be unrealistic to take what
was done in time of persecution as the norm in time of freedom. It
must also be remembered that liturgy, like dogma, is not static. Just
as the doctrine of the Trinity was understood and defined more
clearly as the centuries passed, so the liturgy gradually came to
show ever more clearly in its outward signs that it was a solemn
It would be wrong to discard the doctrinal clarity that has been achieved
throughout the centuries (often in response to articles
of faith that were denied by heretics).
It would be wrong to pattern the Church after the early Church
since the circumstances are so different (e.g. at first all
members of the Church were converts, many of them had practiced now
unnecessarily Jewish rituals, etc.). Remember also that the early
Church had no shortage of miracles and other special phenomena to
testify to the faith that are no longer necessary in our days
since the faith is established.
To go back to earlier times ignores the fact that certain terms
and practices that were once acceptable may no longer be
acceptable since they have been distorted by certain sects.
Those who lived in earlier times would not have wanted to stay
stuck in their time, but would have wanted to go forward to better
times (e.g. to when persecutions were over, to when the Bible was
promulgated, to when the doctrine of the Trinity was presented
more formally and with more clarity, to when debatable matters of
doctrine were infallibly settled, etc.)
It is wrong to go back to less developed times since we now have a
deeper appreciation of our doctrines.
Practices of the early Church weren't uniform (and in some cases
weren't even desirable).
Early Christians understood certain terms differently than we do
today. For example: "[T]he early Christians referred to the
'table of the Lord.' This is because the word 'altar' was avoided
in the early centuries as a result of its pagan connotations.. The
Christian altar [however,] could be most accurately described as
an altar-table." (Davies)
Numerous practices of the early Church were dropped due to various
reasons. Should we now say we know better than them? That they
have dropped such practices? Even though they are the ones who had
experience with them and knew the reasons for the practices and
for discarding them?
To want to return to primitive times essentially condemns the
following nineteen hundred(ish) years of the Church's life. What
makes the Church in the year 200 better than the Church in the
year 1700 or 1800 or ...?
Returning to primitive times fails to fully appreciate the various
developments which occurred naturally over time. As Davies states:
"[I]t was not only natural but inevitable that there should
be developments in every aspect of the church's life. The first
Christians still frequented the synagogues and, in many cases, observed
Jewish dietary regulations... Forms of worship used in times
of persecution were clearly no longer adequate when the Christians
emerged from the catacombs and were presented with great
It is impossible to truly return to primitive times since the
historical factors are so different. Further, there would be no
way of knowing the contexts in which certain things were appropriate. Also, the true
meaning of some practices can only be
determined if they are in their full, original context. In any
event, it would be impossible to know all the relevant early
Church practices since written records are so scarce.
Further, it is clear that this "zeal for
the primitive" has only been selectively adopted by modern
persons in the Church and may rightly be called a "pretended
loyalty to the early Church." They are not really interested
in restoring primitive practices, but are rather interested in subverting
the faith. They clearly only want to return to the
primitive practices which suit their agenda (usually practices that
Protestants prefer). They are noticeably silent concerning all
other primitive practices. For example, some early Church practices
they do not want to consider include...
The restoring of Communion only after showing "fruitful
Allowing only one confession in one's lifetime in order to
encourage others not to fall into sin
Long and arduous penances for those who fell into serious sin
Frequent fasting / abstinence
Separation of the men and women in church: "And let the women stand in the
assembly by themselves apart
from the men, both the baptized women and the women
catechumens." (St. Hippolytus, 3rd century A.D.)
Excluding of penitents from church buildings - e.g. certain
classes of penitents (weepers, kneelers, etc.), some of whom had
to stand outside in sackcloth and beg for prayers.
Denying of Holy Communion to certain persons even at death.
Although they claim that certain changes
bring us closer to primitive Christianity, this is also far from
true. In fact, the changes taken as a whole bring us farther from
the early Christians (e.g. the reduction / elimination of fasting,
the failure to mention tough concepts such as sin / hell / judgment, etc., the lack of emphasis on penance and
etc.) and closer to Protestants.
Did the Traditional Latin Mass Come From?
For information on the history of the
Traditional Latin Mass, click
Are the Parts of the Traditional Latin Mass?
For information on the parts of the
Traditional Latin Mass, click
But Aren't There a Lot of Rules in the 'Tridentine' Mass?
Yes, there are a number of rubrics in the 'Tridentine'
Mass, but this serves as a valuable protection (e.g. from a priest
imposing his style / heterodox beliefs on you, protects against sacrilege
and profanation, protects against priests' experimentation,
protects the rights of the faithful, etc.). Furthermore, this
agrees with the Old Testament where we can see that God made
detailed requirements for worship, vestments, etc. (cf. The Book of Exodus).
You Have Any Recommendations For Those Attending the 'Tridentine'
Mass For the First Time?
For 'Latin Mass for the First Time', click
Can I Find Out More About the Latin 'Tridentine' Mass?
For 'How to Learn More About the Latin Mass',
Can I Find a Latin 'Tridentine' Mass?
For 'How to Find a Latin (Tridentine) Mass', click
Some 'Tridentine' Masses Considered 'Illicit'?
here for "Cautionary Statement Regarding 'Illicit' Latin
There Any Encouraging News For Those Who Love the 'Tridentine'
here for 'Encouraging News for Traditionalists'.
Have Others Said About the 'Tridentine' Mass?
here for 'Traditionalist Testimonies'.
Can I Do? / How Can I Help?
here for 'What to Do / How to Help'
Vatican II Condemn Traditional Catholics Or the Traditional Mass?
here for 'Vatican II Did Not Condemn Traditional Catholics or
the Traditional Mass' (Printable Flier)
Music is Commonly Associated With the 'Tridentine' Mass?
Gregorian Chant is often associated with the
'Tridentine' Mass. For more information about Gregorian Chant, click
Does "Quo Primum" Refer To?
Quo Primum refers to the document of Pope St.
Pius V which officially promulgated the 'Tridentine'
Mass. To read Quo Primum, click
here. Note: For information regarding the history of the
traditional Latin Mass, click
a Missa Cantata?
This refers to a "sung Mass". It
may be said that it is a Tridentine Mass "in between" a Low Mass and a High
resembles a High Mass in some regards, but it has no deacon/subdeacon.
Pope Leo's Vision Somehow Connected to the 'Tridentine' Mass?
On October 13, 1884 (exactly 33 years to the
day before the miracle of the sun at Fatima), Pope Leo XIII had a frightening
vision in which
the Devil told Jesus he could destroy the Church within 100 years.
After the vision, Pope Leo XIII
composed a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. A short version
of this prayer is recited after 'Tridentine' Low Masses, but this
practice was dropped with the Novus Ordo Mass. Since the time of Pope
Leo's vision (generally after the Second Vatican Council), the Church
has seen a dramatic drop in Mass attendance and falling
away from the faith, a precipitous decline in vocations,
widespread scandal, profanation, sacrilege, etc. Then, just 10 days
short of 100 years from Pope Leo XIII's vision, on
October 3, 1884, Pope John Paul II issued his first 'indult' in favor
of the 'Tridentine Mass'. Since that time, the availability and
demand for 'Tridentine' Masses has grown dramatically, with
corresponding increases in its attendance, vocations growth from
tradition-minded persons, etc. Given the
state of the Church over the past several decades and the almost
exactness of the period to 100
years, many Traditionalists see a connection between the vision
and the 'Tridentine' Mass, noting that the restoration of this
precious Mass marks the end of the 100 years.
Can I Find a Missal for the 'Tridentine' Mass?
'Tridentine' Missals are available from
various Catholic merchants and organizations. For sources on this
site, consider the Commercial Sections (click
here). To make a printout of the text of the Mass, try the
Catholic Web Links section (click
Do I Use a 'Tridentine' Mass Missal?
Use of the Missal may vary depending upon its
arrangement and content. Some Missals may be comprehensive (e.g.
they may have the prayers for all Sundays and feasts in both Latin
and English), others may be less comprehensive (e.g. they may have
the prayers for Sundays only, they may contain the Proper prayers
in English only, they may exclude the Proper prayers, etc.).
Generally, when the Missal contains both Latin and English, the
Latin will appear on one side and the English will appear on the
other side. Usually it will be necessary to flip to different
parts of the Missal during Mass to view the Proper
prayers for that day. Multi-colored ribbons may be provided to
aid in finding particular pages. In some parishes, small Missals
may be provided which contain all the unchanging prayers (called
"Ordinary") in Latin and English. These may (or may not)
be supplemented with a sheet containing the Proper prayers for that
When Do You Sit, Stand & Kneel at a 'Tridentine' Mass?
Click here for user-submitted article "When to Sit, Stand &
Kneel at the Traditional Latin Mass"
All 'Tridentine' Masses Perfect?
Unfortunately, rubrics can be violated even
in a 'Tridentine' Mass. In fact, it has been reported that in
certain parishes, Novus Ordo type novelties (e.g. Communion in the
hand, Communion under both species, etc.) have occurred. Such
abuses should be reported to the proper authorities. Note: One
must be keep in mind that some liberal prelates so dislike the
'Tridentine' Mass that they may wish to see abuses occur in
'Tridentine' Masses so that Tradition-minded Catholics may become
accustomed to them. In fact, it is theoretically possible to take
a 'Tridentine' Mass and "Novus Ordo-ize" it (e.g. by turning
around the altar, using 'lay ministers', offering
Communion in the hand, etc.). Of course, the difference still
remains that such occurrences are abuses in the 'Tridentine' Mass
(whereas they are not considered abuses in the Novus Ordo
Mass). Traditional Catholics must be wary of liturgical abuses in
'Tridentine' Masses and report them accordingly. If those in
charge are not responsive, it may be necessary to take the matter
to higher authorities.
Other Sacraments Available in the Traditional
HERE For Most Current Info. (7/07 & Later Updates)
In the wake of the Second Vatican Council,
every Sacrament suffered an overhaul. Many of the changes have been
criticized for various reasons (even Pope Paul VI criticized a new
rite of Baptism). Essentially, the changes tend to make the
Sacraments more pleasing to non-Catholics, more
"positive" sounding (e.g. reduced or eliminated references to sin, sacrifice, etc.), more earthly focused (e.g.
reduced references to the supernatural, miracles, etc.), more
Thankfully, however, all the Sacraments -
not just the Mass - may still be licitly and validly
available in their traditional rites! Note that Archbishop Burke
has confirmed that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos wrote him that "it was
indeed the mind of the Holy Father that bishops be generous in
permitting the celebration of all the sacraments in the
former rites." (emphasis added)
In recent years, there has been an increased use of the
traditional rites for the other Sacraments, such as weddings &
baptisms (and also for funerals). To receive a
Sacrament according to its beautiful and orthodox traditional
rite, one may simply ask the proper person (you may start with a
priest who licitly celebrates the Traditional Mass in your
diocese). If you encounter resistance, you may pursue your rights
through various other appropriate channels [e.g. consider
contacting the Bishop, obtaining legal assistance from Canon
lawyers (that is, Church lawyers), petitioning, corresponding
with the Vatican, etc.]
What Does the
Refer To? Was it Revoked?
'Ottaviani Intervention' refers to a writing
signed by Cardinals Ottaviani & Bacci in the wake of
the Second Vatican Council ("Short Critical Study of the
Novus Ordo Missae"). It concerns the Novus Ordo (New Order)
Mass promulgated in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. Among
other things, it states that:
new liturgy will delight all those groups hovering on the verge of
apostasy who, during a spiritual crisis without precedent, now
wreak havoc in the Church by poisoning Her organism and by
undermining Her unity in doctrine, worship, morals and
also says that:
Novus Ordo Missae - considering the new elements, susceptible of
widely differing evaluation, which appear to be implied or taken
for granted - represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking
departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was
formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent, which, by
fixing definitively the 'canons' of the rite, erected an
insurmountable barrier against any heresy which might attack the
integrity of the Mystery."
further states that:
prepare a complete study of all the pitfalls, dangers and
psychologically and spiritually destructive elements the new rite
contains, whether in texts, rubrics or instructions, would be a
Some liberals may argue that this original
writing was revoked, pointing to a later letter that allegedly
came from Cardinal Ottaviani. This later letter is quite
controversial since Cardinal Ottaviani showed consistency in his
opinions (both before and after the council) and since the new
rite of Mass did not change, and since the events surrounding the
letter are quite controversial. As Davies
explains: "At this time Cardinal Ottaviani was almost
totally blind and had to rely on the advice of his secretary with
regard to the documents he signed. Jean Madiran [a respected
editor] had no hesitation
in claiming that Mgr. Agustoni had tricked the Cardinal into
signing the letter and accused him of a public felony -
challenging Mgr. Agustoni to contest this charge in the
ecclesiastical courts if he disputed it. Mgr. Agustoni did not
accept the challenge and soon afterwards relinquished his position
as Cardinal Ottaviani's secretary." As Davies states, "Can it be imagined for one moment that a
public figure with the reputation of Jean Madiran would make such
serious charges against Mgr. Agustoni and offer to substantiate
them in court, if there was the least possibility of his being
proved wrong? If there is one man in France whom the progressive
establishment would dearly love to discredit, that man is Madiran."
Further, it has been claimed that the signature of the letter is different than
other signatures of Cardinal Ottaviani.
Those who complain that there was no
authorization to publish the Cardinals' letter to Pope Paul VI
should note that Madiran stated that he "received a personal assurance
from Cardinal Ottaviani himself that the authorization
[to publish the letter] was
authentic, real, not revoked, and that there was no
misunderstanding about it, nor about the use which we have made of
offered to make this testimony in front of the ecclesiastical
courts and acknowledged the gravity of his declarations and signed
them "before God and men".
is the 'Davies' Referred to So Frequently in the Latin Mass &
Catholic Tradition Section?
The 'Davies' so frequently referred to in the
Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition section is Michael Davies. He
was a popular traditional Catholic author and gentleman who wrote
numerous works concerning the New Mass, liturgical abuses, etc. He
expended much effort for the restoration of the Traditional Mass,
and is greatly missed by traditional Catholics worldwide since his
recent passing. As Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict
XIV has said:
"I have been profoundly touched by the news of
the death of Michael Davies. I had the good fortune to meet him
several times and I found him as a man of deep faith and ready to
embrace suffering. Ever since the Council he put all his energy
into the service of the Faith and left us important publications
especially about the Sacred Liturgy. Even though he suffered from
the Church in many ways in his time, he always truly remained a
man of the Church. He knew that the Lord founded His Church on the
rock of St Peter and that the Faith can find its fullness and
maturity only in union with the successor of St Peter. Therefore
we can be confident that the Lord opened wide for him the gates of
heaven. We commend his soul to the Lord's mercy." (Cardinal
Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XIV, November, 2004)
Are Traditional Catholics
the Same as 'Old
No. This group is in no way related to traditional
Catholics. In fact, 'Old Catholics' refers to a group that broke away from the Church after the First Vatican Council in defiance of the dogma of Papal Infallibility.
They have "no connection with the Catholic Church"
(decree of the Inquisition) and represent a "religious society
entirely separate from the Church" (Brief, 1873). Not only do
they reject papal infallibility, but they have implemented "very radical liturgical, disciplinary, and constitutional
ordinances" and "hardly differ from a liberal form
of Protestantism" (Catholic Encyclopedia). They may accept contraception, openly practiced homosexuality, female "priests",
is This Section Called the 'Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition'
While we know that the Latin ('Tridentine')
Mass is inseparable from Catholic Tradition, we thought it helpful
to highlight them individually herein, especially since many
persons today may not be aware of the Traditional Latin Mass.
Can I Help? / What Should I Do?
might be able to help increase the number of traditional Latin Masses -
inheritance to pass on to the future! Not only might this precious
Mass help souls become closer to God, but the spread of this highly
reverent, orthodox Mass may be especially pleasing to God. For
information on how you might be able to help the Traditionalist cause, click
Are Some Traditional Prayers & Practices?
here for 'Traditional Prayers & Practices'
Materials Might Be Helpful for Those New to Tradition?
In keeping with our general policy of not
commercializing the non-commercial areas of this site, we will
refrain from including specific titles of books and other
materials here that may
be of assistance. However, for the benefit of our visitors, we
included a short list of some items for consideration on a separate page
(click here). Note
that this list is not comprehensive and that inclusion on this
list does not necessarily mean that we endorse the author, any/all
the content, the publisher, those who sell the books, any
associated organizations or publications, etc.
Are Some Reasons Participation of the Laity Can Cause Difficulties
in the Church?
Although 'active participation' by the laity
is frequently promoted nowadays, it may not be without problems.
Laity participation - while it may be helpful and even necessary - may
also tend to cause troubles in the Church for various reasons,
including: personal agendas, forming of cliques, forcing one's
views on others, laity are frequently poorly catechized, laity
often set a bad example for others, laity frequently attempt to
usurp priestly roles, etc. Their participation may be distracting
to some and contrary to the forming of humility. It is even
possible that their participation may lead to the loss of eternal
here for an example). And further, the
more lay persons participate, the more they may tend to see the
Church as a democracy.
"Contrary to Modernist belief, the
Church is not a democracy in which the Pope derives his mandate
from the people, or has the duty to proclaim as Catholic teaching
whatever a majority of them cares to believe." (Davies)
Regard to Tradition, What Do Popes Pius V and X Have in Common?
Pope Pius V was the last canonized pope until
Pope Pius X was canonized in the 20th century. Pope St. Pius V
formally promulgated the Traditional Latin Mass - a certain barrier
against Modernism, whereas Pope St. Pius X was a "great
champion" against Modernism.
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