Videos of the Sarum Rite

My friend Fr. Raymond Blake sent an interesting link to videos of the Sarum Rite celebrated for Candlemass posted at Valle Adurni.

Check it out!

Here is the first installment.

This looks like Merton College chapel in Oxford.


For descriptions of what is going on, head over to Valle Adurni.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Prof. Basto says:

    I didn’t know that Valle Adurni was back. Great news! The blog had been deleted.

    Reverend blogger Pastor in the Valle (a.k.a Brunothelabrador on Youtube) gave the internet the wonderful gift of the videos of bl. Pope John XXIII’s Coronation Mass.

  2. Tim says:

    Please excuse my ignorance, but I’m truly curious. I’ve seen some of these Sarum Rite videos before, but they all seem to be in Anglican chapels (crucifix on the altar only, no Tabernacle). Are these Catholics or Anglicans celebrating Mass in the video? I’ve heard of Anglicans allowing Catholics to use their Churches/Chapels in relatively recent years, so it makes me wonder.

  3. Joshua Ignoble says:

    The people in this video are Catholics using a chapel which has, since the 16th century, been on temporary loan to Anglicans.

  4. Joshua: Then it is being put to good use.

  5. Garrett says:

    Does a church or chapel not need to be consecrated for Catholic use?

    Or, if it used to be a Catholic church as it the case with this chapel, does it not need to be re-consecrated since it has been in the hands of, non-Catholics, shall we say, for half a millennium?

  6. Aumgn says:


    the Anglicans have indeed celebrated Sarum use ‘Masses’ in the past, following the Oxford Movement and the work of the Camden Society. But the video you’re seeing is Catholic, though in the Anglican setting, if you will, of the Medieval Merton College chapel.

    As to your other comments, why would there be more than two candlesticks and a tabernacle on the altar? As Edmund Bishop, nigh on a century ago, showed, the use of six candlesticks is connected with the exile of the Papacy in Avignon and is thus a 14th c. innovation. Why would those in Northern Europe who celebrated the Sarum use change their altar furniture to conform to Continental innovations? Much the same can be said of the tabernacle. In England reservation was typically in a Hanging pyx or an Aumbry set off to the side. Like the principle Roman churches, there was never, as far as is known, reservation “at” the altar.

  7. Bob says:

    Whilst I think that this is interesting and quite beautiful, in the light of recent contentious issues on this blog, what is the difference between celebrating Mass in the Sarum Rite and using the Second Confiteor or the pre-Pius XII Holy week rituals. Are we in a position where we can just pick any historical period we fancy, or ought we to stick to what is actually prescribed?

  8. Tim says:


    I was not aware of that traditionally in England, the Blessed Sacrament was not reserved in a Tabernacle on the alatar. Thank you for clearing that up.


  9. fr francis says:

    Bob: I am open to correction by those with clearer memories of the occasion, but I seem to recall that permission was specifically sought and obtained for this Mass, and also for one a year earlier. After the second occasion, permission was withdrawn, and consequently the Sarum rite has not been celebrated since. On what grounds permission was granted I couldn’t say, but it does mean that those involved were not simply following their own private whims but getting it OK’d through the necessary channels.

  10. Tim says:

    I wonder why permission to celebrate the Sarum Rite would be withdrawn? Did not Vatican II call for the preservation of all rites? I will freely admit that I am not in possession of all the facts in this case, so bear that in mind when reading this.

    From Sacrosanctum Concilium:
    Lastly, in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.

    This rite is preserved both by Vatican II and also by immemorial custom. Harkening back to Benedict XVI’s letter to the Bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum, since the rite had never been abrogated (at least to my knowledge), does not any priest of the Latin Ritual Church already possess the ability to celebrate this rite? Perhaps I’m wrong on the abrogation part, but it would seem most improper for any Bishop or Superior to curtail the use of any venerable, preserved, rite.

    I believe a great part of recovering the Church’s identity will include not just reigniting the TLM, but the other vernerable rites of the Latin Church are part of our treasury, too. Mozarabic, Dominican, Sarum, Ambrosian, etc… Why should the Latin Church possess and celebrate just the Novus and Traditional Latin Mass when we have so many more rites to draw from? And I mean that not in any way to disparage the TLM.

  11. Tim says:

    Or, perhaps only a priest who has a historical claim to a certain rite would be able to celebrate it: i.e. a only a Dominican can celebrate the Dominican Rite, only an English priest celebrating the Sarum Rite, etc. It would be most enlightening to hear Fr. Z’s or another priest’s opinion on this some time.

  12. fr francis says:

    In response to a comment on his blog, Pastor in Valle has said:
    “The legal position of the Sarum Use needs clarifying. I am of the opinion that, being considerably older than 200 years at the Council of Trent, it needs no permission or indult for celebration in the British Isles. This conclusion was reached in the early years of the 20th Century when they revived the Use of Braga. However, ten years ago, a flunkey at the Congregation of Rites came to a different conclusion, (with which judgment eminent liturgists have disagreed).”
    I may, therefore, have been wrong in saying that permission was explicitly sought on these occasions – they may have simply been going with the earlier judgement. But it is clear that permission was explicitly withdrawn by a change of heart at the Congregation. As Pastor in Valle goes on to say, “There may well be a different spirit in the Congregation of Rites these days”. It would certainly be interesting to find out!

  13. Michael says:

    The Sarum Rite could never be restored. Even if we found priests willing to carry the flame, would any bishop ever adopt this as the rite to be used in his diocese? If the Sarum Rite had never been squashed, think of how much of the world would be celebrating it? Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and Ireland. It would be as popular as the Roman Rite, especially since the Irish used this Rite before the reformation too. Who knows if it’s resurrection would even be beneficial. It obviously reflects and English spirituality that died during the reformation. The restorers seemed to have been more Roman in their thinking than English.

  14. We did in fact clear the celebrations of the Mass with the Archbishop of Birmingham at the time, who, like us, saw no objection. As Catholics, we have certainly accepted the ruling of the Congregation of Rites, though I continue to think that the verdict was a knee-jerk one without even an examination of the case. It needs a re-examination.

  15. Tim says:

    Michael, with respect, I’m not sure what you’re getting at. On what grounds do you say that the Sarum Use Rite couldn’t be restored? Perhaps we should first define restoration. I would define restoration, in this context, as meaning that it could be celebrated legally by any priest with the right and competency to do so. I am not suggesting that it ever would have the support or following to supplant the Roman Rite, but there is certainly a place within the Latin Church for it still today. England desperately needs to find its Catholic identity once again, and I see the Sarum Rite as something uniquely British, if closely related to the Roman Rite, and uniquely Catholic. I don’t believe that the Church, in its heart, would believe that any of its ancient, but preserved, rites could be anything but beneficial. Any quarreling that the use of any venerable rite could somehow be bad for the Church would be incredibly short-sighted, and reflects the same attitude and dearth of understanding of those that unjustly attempted to throw the TLM into the dustbin of history. I am interested in reviving Catholicism everywhere that has thrown it off, but most especially England. The Catholic Church in Britain needs to find its lightening rod, and it is highly doubtful that the Novus Ordo Mass could ever inspire that change of heart that she so desperately requires.

  16. Athanasius says:

    Though I have no intention of detracting from the debate here, I thought I might mention that when I clicked on the video it said that it is no longer available. Is the link bad or did youtube yank it?

  17. Kiran says:

    This is second-hand (I have a friend who was at Merton and at the Mass at the time), so I do not claim any credibility, but from what I heard, what happened was that somebody worked out that whatever the status of the 1962 missal, the changes did not affect the Sarum rite (though, did Trent affect Sarum? I am not sure, and would be willing to accept enlightenment on this point). So they contacted the Bishop, who ‘never objected to anybody having their bit of fun’, obtained permission and celebrated Mass at Merton College. Someone wrote to Rome to thank the CDW, and they shot back asking the Bishop to put a stop to it, which he did.

    I tend to think it should be preserved, not least because of its constituting a branch towards reuniting Anglicans (in absence of above clarification) given that the Sarum use, if it was older than 200 years, was not affected by Trent, think that it is covered by the Popes’ (Benedict XVI and JPII at least) desire to preserve older traditions which have not been definitively abrogated.

  18. Tom says:

    I was present at this mass at Merton. I think that it was about ten years ago. It was a very splendid thing. The Sarum Use (I think I am correct in saying that it is a use, rather than a Rite) makes the 1962 missal look like a Calvanist preaching service! I understood that someone (now an Anglican) wrote to the SCR about it afterwards, and got a reply that it was forbidden. It is a pity if that is the case. Maybe a group needs to be formed in England to investigate and promote the Sarum Use, and obtain clarification from Rome? I would be happy to join such a group.

  19. Malta says:

    a good friend was recently married in an episcopal church with the approval of the local Bishop (Groton Academy, near Boston), so these things can be done. The Sarum Rite is just beautiful (as is the ancient Amborsian Rite, and many other authentic rites formulated through the centuries). Only the Novus Ordo was a “manufactured…liturgy on the spot, created by commission” (to borrow some words Pope Benedict XVI has used to describe it. I am all in favor of nourishing such rites as the Sarum and Ambrosian, it’s the protestantesque Novus Ordo that perturbs me (not that that fact matters to you, but it matters a great deal to me). I think, honestly, that BXVI has set in motion a movement that in 20-30 years will make the Novus Ordo passe.


  20. I have a post on the legal situation vis-á-vis the Sarum Mass on my blog:

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