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 Please Note: Rather than update the various pages on this site dealing with the previous status of the Traditional Latin Mass, we've decided to leave those pages intact (for historical/reference value) & place all updates here. We hope you will find this approach useful.


Latin Mass Updates: 7/07 & Later

Latin Mass/Trad. | Novus Ordo Mass vs. Latin 'Tridentine' Mass 

Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass

Latin Mass Updates: 

7/07 & Later

Important Notice: The following is provided for informational purposes only and is not comprehensive. We make no guarantees regarding any item herein. By using this site you agree to all terms. For more terms information, click here.

Notice: Scroll to Bottom for Most Recent Update

On 7/7/07 Pope Benedict XVI (after "much reflection, numerous consultations, and prayer", and "having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God") issued his long-awaited Motu Proprio, 'Summorum Pontificum' along with an explanatory letter. Among other things, these documents:

* Admit that the traditional Latin Mass was "never abrogated" (and was "always permitted")

* State that both secular and regular priests have the right to celebrate Mass according to the traditional rite on any day of the week+ (and that no permission is necessary to do so) + Except the Easter Triduum, when private celebrations are traditionally not allowed

* Remove previous restrictions and allow parishioners to direct their request for the traditional Mass directly to pastors (removing the requirement of seeking permission from one's bishop for the traditional Latin Mass)

* Permit parishioners to attend priests' private (traditional Latin) Masses of their own free will

* Officially refer to the traditional Latin Mass as the 'extraordinary' form of the rite (while calling the Novus Ordo Mass the 'ordinary' form of the rite)

* State that the traditional rite must be given "due honor"

* Allow parishioners to request the traditional rite at their parish (both daily and on Sunday, as well as on feast days) directly from the pastor, who is supposed to "willingly" accept their request. Should he not do so, they may go to the bishop who is "strongly requested" to satisfy their wishes. If he also does not facilitate their request, they may have recourse to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

* Allow parishioners to request traditional celebrations for weddings and funerals, as well as allow for pastors to use traditional rituals for Baptism, Penance, and Extreme Unction/Anointing of the Sick. Ordinaries are also given permission to use the traditional rituals for Confirmation.

* Allow clerics to use the previous Breviary

* Permit the erection of "personal parishes" for celebrations following the traditional form of the Roman rite


* The pastor is to ensure that "the welfare of [those attached to the previous rite] harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish"

* The pope's letter acknowledges that "a good number of people remained strongly attached to [the traditional rite]" and said that this "was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation"

* The pope acknowledged that "young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist particularly suited to them"

* The pope indicated that he had "seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy [have] caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church"

* He also acknowledged that the use of the old Missal "presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of those is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the New Missal [the Novus Ordo] will certainly remain the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful."

* Pope Benedict XVI also said that his "positive reason" which motivated his decision is "a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church" and instructed, "Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows."

* The Pope also stated that, "What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place."

The provisions of the Motu Proprio have an effective date of 9/14/07 (Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross). The pope invited the bishops to send an account of their experiences to the Holy See in three years from that date - not because the measure is temporary, but as he indicates, remedies for "truly serious difficulties" which come to light can be sought. 

As a result:

* One no longer needs to petition one's bishop for the Traditional Latin Mass, but may go directly to one's pastor

* The term "indult Mass" becomes inapplicable

* The faithful are entitled to request ALL the Sacraments according to their traditional rites (e.g. baptisms, confirmations, nuptial masses, requiems, etc.)

In less than a month, we have already seen:

* Bishops having a 'change of heart' in favor of the traditional Latin Mass

* Large number of priests - of all ages and "from coast to coast"- wanting to learn the traditional Latin Mass (including the complete filling of workshops and a "long waiting list of interested priests" wanting to learn the ancient rite)

* Increased numbers of scheduled Masses according to the traditional rite 

* Increased activity of traditional orders (e.g. instructing priests on the ancient Mass) 

* Increased numbers of scheduled, public celebrations of the traditional Latin Mass (even by bishops)

* The return of traditional Latin Masses where they were formerly (wrongly) 'forbidden' by the bishop

* Some talk of certain so-called 'independent parishes' seeking to be regularized

We have also learned that Pope Benedict XVI himself regularly uses the traditional rite for his private Masses.

Check back here soon for more updates...

6/18/08 - Update

Sources now state that...

* The Traditional Latin Mass will return to all Catholic parishes in England and Wales, even if it has not been specifically asked for.

* The Cardinal in charge of the Pontifical Commission which oversees implementation of the Motu Proprio has indicated that the pope wants to see the Traditional Latin Mass in ALL parishes, not just those in which it has been requested.

* The Vatican intends to "promote" the Traditional Latin Mass, which has been referred to as a "treasure" and "a gift of God" by the above indicated Cardinal. No longer is the Vatican talking about the "few groups that demand it", but is calling for "everybody" to know this Mass. It is expected that the Traditional Latin Mass may be introduced even where it has not been asked for (as the above referenced Cardinal said, "People don't know about it, and therefore they don't ask for it"). The Cardinal also admitted that the Novus Ordo Mass, in use for about the last 40 years, has given rise to "many, many, many abuses" and that now "[m]any people have lost their sense of adoration for God, and these abuses mean that many children do not know how to be in the presence of God".

* The Vatican is writing to all seminaries to request that seminarians be trained to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.

* It is said that Catholic congregations worldwide will receive instruction in order to appreciate the Traditional Latin Mass.

* According to the above indicated Cardinal, a "stable group" can mean as few as 3 people - and those do not necessarily have to be from the same parish - for purposes of the Motu Proprio.

* The Traditional Latin Mass - frequently called "Tridentine" - may be referred to as the "Gregorian Rite" (not to be confused with "Gregorian Masses"). Note: As indicated in our Latin Mass Q & A, the Traditional Latin Mass is often called the 'Tridentine' Mass, since its codification is tied to the Council of Trent. In contrast to the Novus Ordo (New Order) Mass of the 1960's however, the 'Tridentine' Mass was not fabricated by men. Rather, most of its central elements are said to trace back - nearly without change - to apostolic times. Therefore, although it is convenient to refer to the Traditional Latin Mass as the "Tridentine" Mass, it is somewhat misleading. Consequently, the term "Gregorian" may be preferable, as it indicates that the Mass traces back many centuries before the Council of Trent.

1/24/09 - Update

It has been reported as of 1/24/09 that Pope Benedict XVI has mandated that the excommunications against the bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 be withdrawn. According to the SSPX* website, the decree withdrawing these excommunications was issued by the Congregation for Bishops on 1/21/09. At this time, it remains to be seen what extraordinary implications may be in store for traditional Catholics as a result of this historic action.

* SSPX = Priestly Society of Saint Pius X

3/12/09 - Update

Since the lifting of excommunications, there has been much controversy over one of the SSPX bishop's views concerning the Jewish holocaust. Initially it was thought that the SSPX might be regularized. However, due to the controversy, regularization seems to be a more distant hope, at least at this time. Also, Pope Benedict has faced much criticism for his lifting of the excommunications and has issued a letter dated 3/12/09 with some explanations / clarifications.

In this letter, the Pope has also indicated that is his intention "to join the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei' the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith." It is unclear at this point how this will affect availability of the TLM*.

Furthermore, it has been noted that since the Motu Proprio, some lapsing in the number of available TLMs has occurred. Unfortunately, some bishops have openly defied the Pope's wishes as expressed in the Motu Proprio.

* TLM = Traditional Latin Mass

7/8/09 - Update

Pope Benedict XVI fulfilled his previously announced intention of joining the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei' to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The announcement was made today in the Motu Proprio "Ecclesiae unitatem". In this document, the Pope also stated that the problems still to be examined with the SSPX are "essentially doctrinal in nature" and says he wishes "in particular to show paternal solicitude towards the Society of Saint Pius X, with the aim of rediscovering the full communion of the Church".

9/25/09 - Update

Those who love the Traditional Latin Mass may be gratified to learn of the recent comments of Fr. Recktenwald of the FSSP:

"Pope Benedict XVI wishes that the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter be entrusted, beyond the celebration of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, at as many places as possible, with the cura animarum, i.e. the full pastoral care. This was reported by Fr. John Berg, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, at the Annual Meeting of Pro Tridentine Missa, which was held today in Wiesbaden. Fr. Berg had on 6 July, a private audience with the Pope, during which he was able to speak for fifteen minutes with him at his desk in the papal library. The Holy Father was very interested in whether the Fraternity was able to exercise its apostolate without obstacles, as intended. He inquired whether its priests, where they operate, could really work pastorally for the souls."

2 Year Anniversary of Motu Proprio: Update

For information on Una Voce's report regarding the 2 year anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, click here

2/15/10 - Update

Ecclesia Dei has answered some questions about Summorum Pontificum. The answers revealed that...

* Priests may schedule 'Tridentine' Masses on their own accord - without having to be asked by the laity (thus effectively removing any need for a 'stable group' to ask them)

* A 'Tridentine' Mass can replace a regularly scheduled Novus Ordo Mass

* The Novus Ordo calendar and readings can't be substituted for 'Tridentine' counterparts in the Traditional Latin Mass

* Bad news: Lay readers may be allowed to read the vernacular translations

3 Year Anniversary of Motu Proprio: Update

For information on Una Voce's report regarding the 3 year anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, click here

5/13/11 - Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei Issues Instructions on the Motu Proprio

For highlights from the 'Instruction On The Application Of The Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum' (Universae Ecclesiae), click here

Good News Re: Instruction

 A 5/19/11 letter signed by Mons. Guido Pozzo of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei confirms that the novelty of 'female altar boys' is not permitted at the TLM. The letter, being circulated online, cites paragraph 28 of the recently issued 'Instruction On The Application Of The Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum' (Universae Ecclesiae).

PLEASE NOTE: For most current news, try the Catholic News & Opinion Page (click here). For recent news, try the News & Opinion Archives (click here)

Please check back soon for more updates...

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