Summorum Pontificum clarifications or modifications

A point was raised in another entry which started me thinking.  Fr. W said that he wished that older Rituale Romanum could be used in English, because doing a baptism entirely in Latin would be very hard for people.

I invite mostly priests, especially priests with experience of using the older form of liturgy, to post what things they would like to see clarified about Summorum Pontificum.  Practical experience often raises issues that might be overlooked. 

Kindly avoid too many digressions.  This will be more useful to me, in the next days, if it is tidy and I don’t have to sift out less than helpful digressions.


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  1. Legisperitus says:

    I thought it used to be permitted to do a Baptism in the vernacular. The FSSP priest where I live will often do Baptisms under the old ritual with parts in English and parts in Latin, depending on the wishes of the parents.

  2. David says:

    While not a priest, at various times I’ve been a Cantor, Chorister and Schola Master for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Liturgy. I’ve long thought that there are some positive elements of the Ordinary Form when fully sung in Latin that could positively and organically influence the Extraordinary Form amongst these are:

    1. Singing of the Pater Noster by everyone;

    2. Singing by the Priest at the Minor Elevation/Doxology of the “per ipsum…”

    3. Singing of the “Deo Gratias” following the Epistle, the “Laus tibi Christe” following the Gospel and the Final Blessing by the Priest.

    I am wondering if you could comment or consider these “suggestions” for clarification in light of these old letters from Ecclesia Dei…

    Thank you and God bless you.

  3. The issues I here discussed the most by priests:

    The difficulties posed by two different lectionaries.

    The status of “altar girls” for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

  4. Tim Ferguson says:

    Canonically, it would be helpful to have a clarification on Art. 5’s statement regarding “one such celebration on Sundays and feast days.” Though it seems clear to me that this does not limit the celebration to “only one,” others are less certain, so a clarfication would be good.

    Similarly, a statement regarding a bishop’s ability to confer Holy Orders using the former ritual. In those situations where a priest now has the faculty to confirm (e.g., when they baptize an adult convert (c. 883), may he utilize the former ritual?

    Then the usual question: What constitutes a “coetus continenter existit”?

  5. Even the SSPX uses the vernacular partially in the baptismal rite. No one made a big fuss out of it.

  6. Hank_F_M says:

    In 1964 the US Bishops published a shortlived and mostly forgetten translation of the 1962 Missal with a major portion translated into English

    The following was published on the Catholic Citizens of Illinois


    The fundamental basis for the legitimacy of the use of English in the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is to be found in Article 6 of Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio:

    Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.



    The use of the vernacular (English) in the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is therefore legitimate and is clearly in keeping with the mind of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Benedict XVI.
    +Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi

    Is Bishop Gracida’s interpretation correct?

  7. No, I’m not a priest either (they’re all saying Mass at the moment), but I’m an emcee for one every Sunday, and this is something that came up when we got started.

    To take the issue raised by “David” one step further, I’d like to see clarification on the people’s responses, whether at a Low or High Mass. As a boy growing up in Ohio in the late 50s, I know that responses like “Suscipiat” or “Domine non sum dignus” were allowed at either, without it constituting a “dialogue Mass.” If I try that in DC, I get stares from people who weren’t even BORN in 1962. There’s already a fair amount of internet chat on this, and all the documentation in the world doesn’t quiet them down.

    And I’m afraid it’s more likely to be an issue at a TLM than… altar girls???

    Thanks for listening, Father.

  8. Fr. W says:

    1. Permission to baptize and annoint in the vernacular.

    2. The insertion of the Classical Rite into the mainstream seems to require that some of it be permitted in the vernacular, and perhaps permission to use vernacular hymns at the offertory. While the goal is full-up, chanted Mass, the insertion of the Classical Rite into minastream Sunday needs some ability to transition.

    3. The option to recite aloud in the vernacular at Low Mass, including the introit.

  9. prof. basto says:

    If we start allowing vernacular in the Extraordinary Form,
    then we will not be using the Books of 1962, approved by bl. John XXIII, will
    we? In that case, we would have to use the Books of the start of the
    liturgical reform (such as the rituale of 1964, promulgated by Paul VI), which
    would go against the discipline of Summorum Pontificum and of all
    other pontifical concessions still in force on this matter (e.g. the decree
    giving the FSSP the use of all books “in force in 1962”; the decree granting
    the Campos Administration the use of the liturgical forms “codifyed by St.
    Pius V and updated up to and including bl. John XXIII”).

    Summorum Pontificum mentions only the possibility of doing the readings in
    the vernacular, and even that is mentioned as a faculty, a possibility, not
    an obligation. Clearly, for other parts to be said in the vernacular it would
    be necessary to have either a permission already contained in the books in
    force in 1962 — not 1963, 1964, etc — or an explicit grant from the PCED,
    with authority from the Pope, modifying Summorum Pontificum. Yes, because
    Summorum Pontificum, like all other concessions, refers only to the forms that
    were used in the pontificate of John XXIII – those are the forms that are
    authorized as the current version of the extraordinary form – and we cannot
    just add vernacular at will.

    Most importantly, if we start introducing vernacular all over the place
    because Father X thinks that it is important, or that the laity will not get
    the Latin, then we are introducing a “spirit of the Council” mentality
    of “the laity needs vernacular / Latin isn’t pastoral” that goes against
    the Extraordinary form. Also, a priest is not to introduce vernacular on
    his own, without leave from the Holy See (that has only authorized vernacular
    readings): otherwise, the “do it yourself” mentality, that is so prevalent
    among the clergy when celebrating the Novus Ordo (changing the prayers, adding
    and ommiting rubrics, etc) will creep into the Extraordinary Form.

    We do not want, and have not been granted by the Holy See, the modifyed Mass
    of the period between 1964-1970, that was basically the Tridentine Mass
    translated into the vernacular and with minor changes (Think of the Ordo Missae
    1965). No. We were rather granted the use of a “pure” form of the Tridentine
    expression, in its last/latest version — 1962 — before the reforms inspired by the
    Council. That “pure” form of the Tridentine Liturgy has never been abrogated
    (cf. Summorum Pontificum), neither by the initial reforms of 1964-1970, nor by
    the introduction of the new Mass in 1970. We should stick, therefore, to doing
    things as they were done in 1962, unless we want the spirit of reform, of
    introduction of the vernacular, of simplification of rites, that did so great
    a harm in the past, to infect the Extraordinary Form as well. That should be
    avoided at all costs.

  10. Henry Edwards says:

    David: To take the issue raised by “David” one step further, I’d like to see clarification on the people’s responses, whether at a Low or High Mass.

    Don’t worry about those “Younger than thou’s”. The people’s responses were not only authorized but urged in the 1958 Instruction De musica sacra et sacra liturgia (Pius XII). (“Every effort must be made that the faithful of the entire world learn to sing these responses.” And a similar later statement for low Mass.) As spelled out in the 14th revised edition of Fortescue, O’Connell, and Reid (the latter of whom updated it to 1962 in 2003).

  11. Henry Edwards says:

    Father W: There is no prohibition of vernacular hymns at low Mass. Indeed, the lamentable “4-hymn sandwich” is simply an unfortunate carryover from pre-Vatican II days.

  12. Joshua says:

    A very useful clarification for members of religious orders and priests of dioceses that previously had their own liturgical rite (e.g. Dominican, Milanese) would be whether “Summorum Pontificum” applies to these rites also.

  13. Matthew Mattingly says:

    I don’t understand the point of Fr. W’s suggestion of using the older form of the Baptismal Rite in English. Why would it be hard on people? If there’s a little print-out with the Latin/English translation of the ceremony it sould be no problem.
    The whole idea of using the vernacular in parts of the Mass and liturgy because Latin was supposedly “hard for the people” was one of the facile arguments for the vernacular in the Liturgy during Vatican II, and which got us in all this mess in the first place.

  14. Mark says:

    I am not a priest either. I have seen vernacular used with the old ritual. I believe this in included in the Weller’s ritual. As said above I have seen baptism in partial vernacular…and if my memory serves me right, I have seen extreme unction entirely in vernacular.

  15. Pleased as Punch says:

    *doing a baptism entirely in Latin would be very hard for people.*

    To quote George Weigel: “We’re not morons.”

    What would be “very hard” about a baptism in Latin? How would it be any harder than Holy Mass in Latin?
    Give us poor laity the benefit of the doubt. Baptism is a *mystery*, a *sacramentum*, just as much as
    Holy Mass. As such, it too merits treatment in a sacred language, which as Fr. Z has often remarked
    highlights the mystery, the transcendent reality at work. Admittedly, the old Latin ritual doesn’t have
    the “immediate intelligibility” of the new, but we forget the following principle at our peril: people
    don’t respect what doesn’t take any effort. Require some struggle of us; our souls will be the better
    for it.

  16. Habemus Papam says:

    I was baptised in the Old Rite. My parents told me it had been in Latin but did’nt say it had been hard for them. Should’nt think my grandparents found it very hard either.
    Perhaps we’ve gone soft in the head and need special treatment!

  17. Scott says:

    Pleased as Punch:

    Here here!

  18. Melchior Cano says:

    Two and a half years ago, my wife and I were married in the Classical Rite. Both of our children have been baptized in the “extraordinary form.” While she and I are both “traditionalists,” our family is not. However, none of them had a problem following along in missals that we provided.

  19. Mark says:

    EXTREME UNCTION. How should the old ritual of Exterme Unction be applied in regard to the newer and broader definition of “in danger of death.”

  20. PATER, O.S.B. says:

    I would very much like to have clarified the status of “Reserved Blessings” in the Roman Ritual. The proper blessing of a Rosary for example, is listed as reserved to members of the Dominican Order. If I am not mistaken, in the old days permission for its use by secular priests and those of other orders would have been given with faculties (along with the blessings of altar linens and such by assistant pastors). This is no longer the case. A general clarification on the present status of these restrictions would be very helpful.


  21. Cathy2 says:

    Pleased as Punch:

    Amen. Amen. Alleluia. Amen.

    Please people, JUST GIVE MYSTERY A CHANCE!

  22. Fr. W. T. C. says:

    What are we to do with the concept of anticipated Masses vis-à-vis the Traditional Mass?
    Is it possible? Is it advisable pastorally, and in concert with the principle of continuity?

    How about the Office? If one makes use of the Traditional Breviary is the obligation satisfied with saying Matins, Lauds, one of the little hours, Vespers, and Compline or must the whole of the hours be said? Furthermore, in the event that the obligation to say the Divine Office can be satisfied in the manner that the new Office can be satisfied, may Prime substitute for Laudes?

  23. Fr Andrew Wadsworth says:

    I have always used traditional rites for the sacraments, using authorized vernacular versions where necessary for pastoral reasons. In relation to baptism, I would suggest that everything except the sacramental forms could be in the vernacular, likewise for confirmation, extreme unction, penance, the distibution of Holy Communion outside Mass and the reception of converts. In the case of matrimony, the rite could be majorly in the vernacular. I would particularly welcome any clarification that encouraged priests towards a pastoral application of the traditional sacramental rites guided by the principle that ‘the salvation of souls is the supreme law’.

  24. Angelo says:

    Baptism 25 Pack
    Compiled by Angelus Press. There are three types of Baptism. No, I am not talking about water, blood and desire. Nor am I speaking of immersion, infusion and aspersion. For a normal infant baptism (infusion with water, technically speaking), I have witnessed, “chaotic baptism,” “clueless baptism” and “orderly and intelligent baptism.” What, you may ask, am I talking about? In “chaotic baptism,” there are generally a bunch of people and the priest shows up with two or three rituals–all of which are shared, tugged at or fought over by the attendees. At a “clueless baptism,” there may be a few rituals present, perhaps some St. Andrew Daily Missals (with its incomplete Rite of Baptism) and those who are not fortunate enough to have one of the above stand silently and make as much sense of things as possible. Lastly, “orderly and intelligent baptism.” There is one essential ingredient, and that is that everyone in attendance have a copy of the Rite of Baptism in English and Latin. There are two sources for this. Ideally, one would flip to the Rite of Baptism in Angelus Press’s 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal. Ahh–perfect. The whole rite to follow. You can even share with a neighbor…but hopefully not three or four! Not everyone has the Roman Catholic Daily Missal and so we have produced Baptism, which contains the entire Rite of Baptism. Ideally, the church should make them available for use at baptisms, but otherwise, bring your own. Everything you need (and not just for observers, but also parents and godparents) is there. They are inexpensive enough that everyone can have one and fully concentrate on the rich ceremonial the Church provides for creating new members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Simply, I don’t think I have ever been to a baptism where I would not have bought one of these books for everyone present, just so people could pray along with the Church in these beautiful prayers. EVERY CHURCH AND CHAPEL SHOULD HAVE THESE AVAILABLE TO THE FAITHFUL. Chapters include: On Holy Baptism by Fr. Franz Schmidberger, Church Teaching About Baptism, The Ceremonies of Baptism, The Serious Obligations of Godparents, The Churching of Women, Blessing of a Woman after Childbirth and of Her Child, Consecration of a Child to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, The Rite for the Baptism of Adults, The Reception of Converts. 78pp, softover

  25. Several weeks ago I baptized six children using the Traditional Rite. I prepared a bilingual English-Latin booklet for all to follow along. The parts required by the sponsors were in English, while I said most of the prayers in Latin. It worked our very nicely.

    An observation:–The NO Rite of Acceptance into the Catechumenate uses the older form at the doors of the church:

    “The celebrant asks: What is your name?

    Candidate: N.

    Celebrant: What do you ask of God’s Church?

    Candidate: Faith.

    Celebrant: What does faith offer you?

    Candidate: Eternal life.”

    … Sound familiar? Very interesting.

  26. Charles says:

    In the parish ritual that I have published in 1962 by Benziger brothers with the imprimatur of Cardinal Spelman, it says the following in the introduction:

    “in accordance with the rescript of October 11, 1959, it is lawful for the priests of the United States to employ the vernacular language in place of the Latin, to the extent that this is necessary for the understanding and the piety of the people, wherever the authentic English text is printed in the column parallel to the Latin. In these cases either the Latin or the English may be used; either one suffices… over and above the English prayers which may be substituted for the Latin and the rights taken from the Collectio Rituum, an English translation of the rubrics has been added to the Latin, as well as an English version, at the bottom of the respective pages, but the prayers which must be said in Latin. These translations should of course be carefully distinguished from the approved liturgical texts.”

    In the rite of baptism, the prayers that need to be said in Latin are: the blessing of the salt, the two exorcisms, the anointing with oil of catechumens, the baptismal formula itself and the anointing with chrism.

    God bless you all,

  27. Sean says:

    Not a priest but…

    1. That all the 1962 books (rituale, etc) be specifically derestricted and liturgical norms existing outside of the 1962 books (no altar girls, etc) be generally deresricted so as to make the form as whole and free-standing as it was in 1962.

    2. Vernacular in baptism, wedding, etc in those parts addressed to a specific human person for avoidance of doubt as to intention. Otherwise in Latin (or however it would be under 1 above). No mention of ‘pastoral reasons’ because we know where that leads.

  28. Cathy2 says:

    [In the interests of rooting out “fogginess” we could use a new discussion on what “pastoral reasons” really means.]

  29. Father G says:

    Speaking as a traditionalist priest who uses only the old rite, I see no problem with doing the baptism entirely in
    Latin. Of course, I do some parts of it in the vernacular,e.g. the interrogation at the entrance of the church and the profession of faith, as well as the recitation of the apostles creed and the Our Father. I’ve never experienced a problem among the faithful with the ceremony being in Latin and I’ve done hundreds of baptisms. At my church, we have Latin/English booklets printed for Baptisms and they work quite well. I was brought up in the Novus Ordo and I discovered the TLM when I was 20(I’m 45 now) and I’ve never had a problem with the Latin. I think it’s a danger for priests who celebrate the revised liturgy or even traditionalist priests to think that the faithful must have everything or even some things in the vernacular. They deserve more credit and they shouldn’t be treated like idiots. Even before the Council(VatII), the vernacular was never a question among the faithful, they just wanted a better understanding of the liturgy they had. We just got the mass back, let’s not be so eager to reform that which doesn’t need to be reformed. That would seem to me the prudent course to take.

  30. Andrew says:

    Oh Fr. G:

    Your (most pastoral) comment should be framed and hung on a wall.

  31. Anthony says:

    I know one problem that has come up in our formerly termed indult mass is what is the proper
    role of the permanent deacon in the TLM? Specifically at our parish the parish priest feels
    that one priest is not enough to distribute communion to the 80 – 100 people who attend our
    mass so one of the permanent deacons comes out of the sacristy into the sanctuary right before
    the “Domine non sum dignus…” and then distributes communion to the faithful along with
    the celebrating priest. Once communion in distributed the permanent deacon leaves the
    sanctuary and presumably goes home. The parish priest has also talked about having the
    permanent deacons give the homily with some regularity, even though none of the permanent
    deacons have ever served mass in the proper role of the deacon/sub deacon in the TLM and
    presumably don’t know how to nor desire to.

    This question falls under general topic of the proper and improper mixing of some elements of
    NO and the TLM along with altar girls, communion in the hand, contemporary music, etc.

  32. B. says:

    Have a look at the the website of St. Francis De Sales in Atlanta, which offers the TLM exclusively and staffed by the FSSP. They have two permanent deacons.
    Deacons are allowed to distribute Holy Communion (I have seen this done by FSSP transitional deacons), and I don’t see what would speak against permanent deacons giving homilies or serving as Deacons and Subdeacons (as they do at St. Francis De Sales). I mean they’re deacons. That what they are there for! That they are married doesn’t matter. Remember, the indult for married priest converts dates back to Pius XII.

    I have to say the deacon should attend mass, though, instead of just hopping in. If he serves a liturgical role, he should – partake in the Liturgy?

  33. Ben says:

    In England and Wales, permission was given in 1961 to use a rite of Baptism
    in which all except the most solemn prayers and the exorcisms were translated
    into a graceful English by Archbishop Grimshaw of Birmingham. When planning
    my daughter’s baptism in the extraordinary form, I assumed that this permission
    was still in force. The text is available in ‘Excerpta e Rituale’ (correct my
    declensions if I’ve got that wrong), which can be found in some libraries but
    few sacristies. It can also be found in the archive of the excellent ‘Lacrimarum
    Valle’ blog, as the owner of that blog also had his daughter baptized using that

  34. Timothy Clint says:

    Father Z,

    I have been to many baptisms performed by a traditional priest in Akron, Ohio and his method is to read the latin and then read the englilsh translation. The whole ceremony is increased by about 7 minutes. When we start substituting the actual Latin form and replacing it with strictly english we start a new experiment. And the church has, sad to say, been through too many in recent decades.

  35. Jasna Gorak says:

    This is a wonderful and truly pastoral suggestion. The vernacular forms of the Rituale are
    uplifting and beautiful. When people can truly understand and actively participate in the
    responses it is both pastorally wise and beneficial.

    Good for you, Fr.Z!

  36. Joshua says:

    For those who want vernacular for some of the Rituals, that was already allowed in part. For America get the Collectio Rituum of 1955 (that was the most recent).

    I think the issue of dialogue Mass should not be forced. If a congregation would benefit, then the priest should direct them in it to the degree (there are 4 for low Mass, 3 for Sung Mass) that can be done in a fitting an appropiate manner. We tried doing a 2nd degree dialogue low Mass here. After a week the people stopped making the responses. So I think de Musica sacra should stand as is, and the rubrics for the 1962 Missal which, not only do that say that “every effort should be made” for a dialogue low Mass, but rather recognise many different forms of participation of the laity.

    As for deacons, again there were rules in force in 1962 that are crystal clear:
    1. The are the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. The priest and bishop are Ordinary Ministers
    2. It belongs to the priest to give the homily, whereas the deacon Sings the Gospel. But it coudl be permitted on occassion for a deacon to preach. (cf. the Roman Catechism on Holy Orders)

    As for extreme unction

    As far as I can tell there is no newer and broader definition of danger of death. The rule is and has always been that there must be a danger of death from an internal cause, not that one had to be at thehour of death. Hence even in only theology manuals from the 1920’s the practice is reprobated where it is delayed, and the rule of, if the disease gets worse it can be repeated, is given. Unfortuantely we have went from one abuse, delaying it too much, to another, giving it when there isn’t danger of death. For instance, before a surgery for a non life threatenining condition.

    The one clarification/modification I would like to see is this:
    1. The Pater Noster in low and High Masses. It is clear that in the year 1962 there was an option for it to be said, with Amen said aloud at the end, with the priest in low Mass, but not in Sung Mass. This can cause confusion.

    Personally I think that option should be withdrawn (St. Augustine talks of the priest praying it for the people, it was always done that way at least since it was place between the Minor Elevation and the Fractioning). But at least the option should be consistent between the two forms, so that it could be used in either.

  37. Mr Edwards:

    The people’s responses were not only authorized but urged in the 1958 Instruction De musica sacra et sacra liturgia (Pius XII). (“Every effort must be made that the faithful of the entire world learn to sing these responses.”)

    Thank you for responding. I was referring to spoken parts, not sung. As to Joshua, who appears to suggest that a “dialogue Mass” might be forced on people, that is not the case here. That is a form of the Low Mass; I am referring to a High Mass. Further, I contend that people are not being bullied into outward participation (a rather unlikely proposition), but rather out of it.

  38. Masone says:

    “Art. 9, § 1. Parochus item, omnibus bene perpensis, licentiam concedere potest utendi rituali antiquiore in administrandis sacramentis Baptismatis, Matrimonii, Poenitentiae et Unctionis Infirmorum, bono animarum id suadente.

    § 2. Ordinariis autem facultas conceditur celebrandi Confirmationis sacramentum utendo Pontificali Romano antiquo, bono animarum id suadente.”

    I) Of the seven sacraments, two are not mentioned here: holy orders and holy communion (when it’s given out of mass). Is it therefore prohibited to use the old rite for them?

    II) The sacramentals are not mentioned either. Is it therefore prohibited to use the old “Rituale Romanum” for blessings, in particular?

    III) “Et, quatenus negative ad secundum”: I think that the old ritual formulas had to be used “ad validitatem”, meaning that if one didn’t use them, the blessing wasn’t valid. Does that law still hold good nowadays (supposing one wanted to use the old ritual for a blessing)?

    Thanks for your help.


  39. Masone says:

    Rather a linguistic than a juridical doubt:

    “Art. 3. Si communitates Institutorum vitae consecratae atque Societatum vitae apostolicae iuris sive pontificii sive dioecesani QUAE in celebratione conventuali seu ‘communitatis’ in oratoriis propriis celebrationem sanctae Missae iuxta editionem Missalis Romani anno 1962 promulgatam habere cupiunt, id eis licet. […]”

    There must be a mistake: the word “quae” (I’ve written it in capital letters) should probably be deleted. Otherwise, the sentence doesn’t make sense, does it?

    Don’t call me pedantic. But it’s strange that nobody seems to have noticed the relative is redundant.

    Do you remember the grievous mistake in the Latin of “Ecclesia Dei afflicta”?

  40. Henry Edwards says:

    Anthony: Specifically at our parish the parish priest feels that one priest is not enough to distribute communion to the 80 – 100 people who attend our mass.

    This reminds me of Cardinal Arinze’s remark that an elderly priest with severe arthritis might need help if there were a thousand communicants. I’ve certainly seen many a traditional priest who didn’t need help with only a hundred. Just enough time for the choir to sing Ave Verum Corpus and Panis Angelicus, and maybe an Ave Maria. With an unneeded deacon speeding things up, they’d hardly have time to scratch their repertoire.

  41. Jon K says:

    I should like to point out, as layman and father of three children, how difficult it can be to get even a traditional priest to baptize one´s child entirely in Latin. My point is: what is tolerated in terms of vernacular and “pastoral adaptations” often becomes an obligation imposed on the faithful against their will (just like the Dialogue Mass, by the way). In the name of “pastorality”, so many clerical arbitrary choices… Thank God, my children were eventually christianed in Latin, though it was not easy to obtain. Alas, friends of mine, among whom a University Latin professor, were not as fortunate.

  42. I have a problem with the vernacular replacing any parts of the mass or the sacraments. At Mass today, the priest only read the Epistle and Gospel in English.. not first in Latin. To me, it reminded me of the gradual changes that took place in the 1960’s with the initial reform. We should be careful not to go in the same direction. One exception leads to another, and another, and another….

    Odd, I have never heard anyone from the Orthodox faith, or Orthodox Jewish faith complain about “not understanding” their services which are said in Hebrew or Greek. Nor have I ever heard this as a comment from other people. “You go to temple in Hebrew? Do you understand everything the rabbi is saying?” or “You can speak Greek?” They are understood as sacred languages, and traditions. Why are Catholics expected to have such an issue with our sacred language??

  43. Pleased As Punch says:


    The *quae* is arguably a little odd, but I don’t think it need be deleted. An implied *sunt* can be understood anywhere after *Si* and before *quae*. So the sentence would mean: “If *there are* communities…which…want [this], it is lawful for them.”

  44. Pleased As Punch says:

    Michael Lavey:

    To my knowledge, you’re certainly right about the Orthodox Jewish retention of Hebrew as a liturgical language (though in the interests of full disclosure, many Orthodox Jews, at least males anyway, begin Hebrew sometime before the age of 7, so they actually know the language). But as for the Orthodox, as a rule, the Divine Liturgy has always been translated into the vernacular. The Ecumenical Patriarch still says the Divine Liturgy in the Greek of the New Testament, and presumably the Orthodox Church in Greece does the same. But in other parts of the world, Orthodox worship is conducted in a hieratic vernacular (such as Old Church Slavonic, though I don’t know how intelligible that is anymore to the man in the street) or an unremarkable vernacular. I should add that I could be slightly wrong about the details here, but the general principle holds: Orthodox worship is highly vernacularized.

  45. “Orthodox worship is highly vernacularized.”

    Actually, I’d take it a step further. Both the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches with which I am familiar have benefited from a peaceful co-existence between traditional and vernacular languages. The rancor between one and the other that is common among traditional Catholics in the West, is simply NOT an issue in the East.

    I would go into this even more, but I fear getting off topic. I just wanted to get this out in the open.

  46. CarolinaGeo says:

    To tag onto what Michael Lavey stated above: the priest at our parish used to read the epistle and gospel in Latin at the altar during Mass (and then read them in English during his homily). About six months ago he started reading the epistle in English and the gospel in Latin. He refers to the Mass as “the Missal of 1962.” Strictly speaking, shouldn’t he refer to it as “the Missal of 1964,” if that’s when reading the epistle and/or gospel in the vernacular was permitted?

    I have two qualms about him doing this. The first is practical or, rather, sensory. To go back and forth between Latin and English and Latin again is acoustically harsh. It breaks up the continuity of the Mass. It’s like a liturgical speed bump! It just plumb doesn’t sound right to the ear.

    My other qualm is more philosophical. The offering of the Tridentine Mass has just been liberalized. There have been many experiments with the Novus Ordo, typically for the worse, for quite a while. I think a lot of adherents to the Tridentine Mass would simply like to have some liturgical stability for a change. Let’s have a standardized Mass – according to the rubrics of 1962 – that everyone can get used to before we talk of changing this or that. Almost 40 years of liturgical chaos has left some of us feeling a bit out of breath.

  47. Fr. WTC,

    People were happy when the revisions of Holy Week took place because the ceremonies began to take place at the time they “had” to be celebranted (The Easter Vigil was not celebrated in the morning anymore).

    So, anticipated Masses should not have any place in the traditional Order of the Mass, especially if they are for Holy Days of obligation because this will discourage people from attending the Mass on the actual day of the Feast and Vigils would not be Vigils anymore.

    For those afraid or tired of the “Younger than Thou’s:” It does not really matter whether you were born before or after or during Vatican II. This is just foolish – to think that if you were born before the changes, then your opinion *should* count more! Or just because you remember something as it was done, then that should be brought back – remember that the late 50’s were also times for changes that, although they were safe to a great extent, they were also distorted later on and would be again.

    Making the responses aloud *is* distracting to everyone. Not everyone will be equally loud, not everyone will make the responses at the same pace, not everyone will pronounce Latin the same way, not everyone will be respectful of the limits for participation, etc., etc.

    If this were done, then the server will not have much to do – it would be better to have the congregation make the responses and no servers as the priest can pour wine and water and carry the book himself.

  48. Joshua says:

    David Alexander wrote: “. As to Joshua, who appears to suggest that a “dialogue Mass” might be forced on people, that is not the case here. That is a form of the Low Mass; I am referring to a High Mass. Further, I contend that people are not being bullied into outward participation (a rather unlikely proposition), but rather out of it.”

    Here at my college there were some against it at all, but as soon as we explained and showed them that it was allowed they were fine. They were merely concerned about the rubrics. I wonder how much of the staring down is done by people who just think they know.

    Unfortunately for sung Mass participation in singing is very low here, but this isn’t new. Even when it was the Novus Ordo, participation with the schola had dropped.

    But anyways, we did have a visitor, a nonmember of the college,come and disrupt a few Masses (in both forms), insisting that we had to do more dialogue (she argued with the priests). We weren’t using the option for the Our Father, but no matter she chimed in loudly. She even chimed in at parts that even in the NO are just the priest’s. So I guess I am a bit sensitive to this.

    latinmass1983 said:Making the responses aloud is distracting to everyone. Not everyone will be equally loud, not everyone will make the responses at the same pace, not everyone will pronounce Latin the same way, not everyone will be respectful of the limits for participation, etc., etc.

    If this were done, then the server will not have much to do – it would be better to have the congregation make the responses and no servers as the priest can pour wine and water and carry the book himself.”

    As one who has attened a traditional Latin Novus Ordo (we serve it much like the Old Rite) for three years, and has served the old rite in both forms, I can tell you your concerns aren’t right. I think it is true that a Congregation new to the EF, especially if it is to Latin in general as well, could not just chime in on the first day with any fittingness.

    But having observed people get accustomed to the NO in Latin, you find that, just as in English, a certain pace becomes the NORM. Pronuciation could be helped by cards with phonetics, and they will pick it up by hearing.

    Another example is that the Curia of the Legion of Mary to which I belong started using Latin in the rosary at the meetings because some spoke Spanish and others English. They all picked it up very fast and said it, after a few minutes, at the same pace.

    The servers at a low Mass would have the job to lead the people, in pace and when to say the responses. They should be heard slightly above the people by the priest.

  49. JML says:

    As a former altar boy I will echo latinmass1983’s comments. I’ve always wondered if the NO was responsible for the decline in vocations. There was a sense of mystery that was lost in the NO.

    But to get back to Fr. Z’s original question. Clarifications:

    — Use of the EF during Holy Week

    — boys only as servers?

    — readings in the vernacular (like the 65 missal) and/or will there be an A.B.C cycle like the NO?

    What is not a clarification, but I wonder what the Holy See envisions in, say 10 years or so, what the Mass will look like? Fr. Z refers to this as Pope Benedict’s “Marshall Plan”. What is his Holiness’s expected outcome?

    The Chinese say “May you live in interesting times”. I think we are!

  50. Andrew says:


    “Si … QUAE … cupiunt, … licet. […]” – you’re absolutely right: the sentence makes no sense, strictly as it stands, but it is a small error that does not completely obscure the meaning. Clearly the “QUAE” should be omitted so that it would read: “si … cupiunt, … licet.” (so it doesn’t say: if which want they may).

    But, considering the state of Latin these days, we should be thankful to get anything at all, nonne? Look at this thread: folks are saying: do anything, just don’t make us speak Latin. It would be highly Unpastoral if we had to learn Latin. We’ll gladly learn about new cellphones and i-pods and how to invest our money and all about laptops and computer programs and even Spanish if we must, just please don’t make us talk that Latin stuff. Be pastoral.

  51. Father M says:

    I too wonder about the status of blessings. Some of the older “priest’s rituals” and such seem to presume at least some elements of the vernacular. But I still wonder. I agree the Latin (with a translation) suffices and would can actually heighten the “participation” in rites like baptism. On the other hand, the marriage rite probably should maintain the vows, at least, in the vernacular. Form, matter, and INTENTION. Unless somebody has a clearer vision…

  52. Maria says:

    B. said: “Deacons are allowed to distribute Holy Communion (I have seen this done by FSSP transitional deacons).”

    Am I scrupulous to be slightly aghast at this? I wouldn’t have thought the FSSP would do that. (At least, assuming B. refers to the Host… St. Thomas says the deacon may give the Precious Blood, but not touch the Host, Summa III q. 82 art. 3, though I know he isn’t the same as actual rubrics.) Did deacons use to do that?

  53. Anthony says:

    Joshua: As for deacons, again there were rules in force in 1962 that are crystal clear:
    1. The are the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. The priest and bishop are Ordinary Ministers
    2. It belongs to the priest to give the homily, whereas the deacon Sings the Gospel. But it could be permitted on occassion for a deacon to preach. (cf. the Roman Catechism on Holy Orders)

    It is my understanding that these were part of the 1917 code of canon law which has since been superseded by the 1983 code of canon law which states that the deacon is one of the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion (Canon 910).

    Based on what I’ve read on this and other blogs, while the rubrics of the TLM have not changed since 1962, and are therefore to be followed in the same manner as they were before VII, the same cannot be said for the items relating to TLM which are governed by canon law (such as head coverings for women, altar boys, etc.), since the code of canon law in effect today differs in some respects from the code of canon law in effect before VII. I’m hopeful that the forthcoming document from the PCED will clarify these and any other points which have both an influence on the TLM and which have changed with the new code of canon law.

    I do not dispute the fact that the permanent deacon has the facilities to distribute communion or preach during mass. I should have been a bit clearer on this in my earlier post. Where I was hoping for clarification possibly from fellow readers, since I doubt the PCED will touch on something this specific, is whether or not the permanent deacon can just enter into and exit from the celebration of mass at either the time of the homily or the distribution of communion. I’m assuming he can since there is nothing in the rubrics or canon law, as far as I know, which forbids either of these from occurring.

    As I said in my earlier post this is something which has just recently come up in my parish as the pastor has started requesting the help of the permanent deacons at the time for communion. There are some parishoners who are getting upset over this development as they feel that since the permanent deacon and extraordinary Eucharistic minister were items which were added after VII, then they do not belong in the TLM. I’ve told these people that since neither of this is covered in the rubrics and since both are allowed in the new code of canon law, technically there are permissible, although, even in my opinion, undesirable for reasons such as those mentioned by Henry Edwards above.

  54. Fr Arsenius says:

    In response to David Alexander’s inquiry, Mr. Edwards replies:

    The people’s responses were not only authorized but urged in the 1958 Instruction De musica sacra et sacra liturgia (Pius XII).

    Actually, this “urging” comes quite a bit earlier, in Pope Pius XI’s 1928 Apostolic Constitution, Divini cultus:

    In order that the faithful may more actively participate in divine worship, let them be made once more to sing the Gregorian Chant, so far as it belongs to them to take part in it. It is most important that when the faithful assist at the sacred ceremonies, or when pious sodalities take part with the clergy in a procession, they should not be merely detached and silent spectators, but, filled with a deep sense of the beauty of the liturgy, they should sing alternately with the clergy or the choir, as it is prescribed. If this is done, then it will no longer happen that the people either make no answer at all to the public prayers – whether in the language of the liturgy or in the vernacular – or at best utter the responses in a low and subdued manner.

    While this seems to point to the sung responses rather than the recited (e.g., “Suscipiat…”, “Domine, non sum dignus…”), I think that the concluding phrase (“utter the responses in a low and subdued manner”) could justifiably be construed as referring to the recited texts.

  55. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    (i) Other than cases where charity is the higher law, is a priest obliged to give Holy Communion in the hand to those who wish to receive it thus?

    (ii)When are we going to get propers for the celebrations of saints canonized since new propers were last issued for the 1962 Missal?

  56. Angelo says:

    When are we going to get propers for the celebrations of saints canonized since new propers were last issued for the 1962 Missal?

    Fr Ó Buaidhe

    John Paul II’s saint factory produced tens of hundreds of
    saints, out numbering all his predecessors of the past millennium.
    With the exception of one or two, the vast majority of them have
    been consigned to oblivion and consequently, no sentiment or
    attachment is there as one would have to, let’s say, St Don Bosco, or
    St. Bernadette, or a St Francis Xavier. The “saints” in this
    post-conciliar era are one faceless mass, really strangers.

  57. Michael R. says:

    From the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia:

    “In later times the diaconate was so entirely regarded as a stage of preparation for the priesthood that interest no longer attached to its precise duties and privileges. A deacon’s functions were practically reduced to the ministration at high Mass and to exposing the Blessed Sacrament at Benediction. But he could, as the deputy of the parish priest, distribute the Communion in case of need.”

    So, even in early 20th century practice, deacons distributed Holy Communion. I do not see how anyone could object to this practice.

  58. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:


    Neither the number of canonizations overseen by the late Holy Father or any other Pope, nor the level of attachment of the faithful to such saints, in any way lessens the need for new propers. When it comes to the actual production of those texts there will clearly be a hierarchy of importance which will likely be reflected in the order in which they are made available.

    Let me put my second question slightly differently: Approximately when can we expect to see these new propers being produced?

  59. Fr. D says:

    Rather than focusing on the degree to which the vernacular (or other adaptations) may be used with the 1962 Missal, I think we should be looking in the other direction: how should the NO be adapted or celebrated in response to SP and under the influence of the extraordinary form? It seems to me that this question is much closer to the Holy Father’s intention in issuing SP, as he explained it in his explanatory note.

    Specifically, I wonder whether the Holy Father has opened the door to a wider use of some of the gestures and ritual solemnity of the TLM in NO Masses. In my view, this would be a far more helpful question to ask.

    As background, it is helpful to recall that, in 1978, the CDW published a response to a dubium about the manner of incensing to be used in the Mass of Paul VI. The principle used there was that, where the new rubrics are silent about gestures that were included in the Tridentine rite, you shouldn’t continue to use the old gestures. Thus, when you incense the altar at the offertory, you should not use the more complex TLM rubrics, but rather a simplified form of incensing.

    The problem with this principle is that it assumes discontinuity between TLM and the NO unless the new rubrics specifically say otherwise. It has been used with ruthless efficiency by many liturgists to eliminate any obvious carryovers from the TLM into the NO — most of which would make the NO much more reverent and beautiful, and which seem to be exactly what the Holy Father is hoping to bring back through the influence of the 1962 Missal. (In fact, in at least one video I’ve seen of Pope Benedict celebrating Mass, he used the gestures prescribed in the TLM at the offertory at “gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro” rather than those in the current Missale Romanum.)

    The second question on which I think clarification would be helpful is the degree to which SP applies to other Latin rites (e.g., Ambrosian, Carmelite, Dominican) — the Church will be richer if this true diversity of rites can re-emerge.

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