PCED response about TLMs for children

One of the WDTPRSers sent me a copy of an interesting response to a question put to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

I don’t have the original letter of the sender containing the question(s), but we can perhaps discern what was going on.

Here is the main part of the PCED response:

You raise the question as to whether school children are permitted by right to be exposed to the celebration of the Eucharist in the extraordinary form provided all necessary catechesis is offered.  the answer is obviously positive.

Of course, they are permitted to be exposed to the celebration of the Mass according to the extraordinary form.  No doubt, a number of them already assist at this Mass with their parents on Sunday.

We trust the the priests of the Institute of Christ the King and those who collaborate with them will help engage the children’s participation in some way with songs or chants.  we would also suggest that the readings for Masses be read in the vernacular as this is in full accord with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and could further help to maintain their attention.

I am guessing that the question we put to the PCED because someone suggested to the writer that TLMs are too hard for children, that Latin isn’t appropriate for them.

A couple things.  First, we don’t know what age "school children" are.  They might be 6 or 16, with rudimentary English or, perhaps home-schooled with Latin.  Common sense must be used.

Also, from the onset after the text of the Motu Proprio was released I spoke of my option that the vernacular could be used during TLMs.  That doesn’t mean I think it should: I am saying that Summorum Pontificum permitted it (as did the PCED’s guidelines many years ago).  I am not sure about the best way to handle this, however.  Perhaps the priest could do as he would during a low Mass on a Sunday, leave the altar and read the readings a second time.  Perhaps he would not read in Latin, but rather read them in English.  Perhaps someone else would read them in English while Father was reading them normally in Latin.  I don’t know.

However, what the PCED wrote was a suggestion.  It can be taken or not.

Also, songs and chants could be used to "engage the children’s participation".  Well… okay.  But I suppose that means having  Missa cantata.  Otherwise are we now into the thorny problem of the role of "hymns" and "songs" versus the actual liturgical texts of the Mass?  I don’t know.

Another thing, and interesting, is that children have the right to be exposed to the TLM.  They have a right.   If they have a right, then pastors of souls have a duty to respond.  And since there are children pretty much everyone, as memory serves, then pastors of souls pretty much everywhere have the duty to see that the rights of those children are being met.

Furthermore, since children themselves don’t know their rights or know clearly what is good for them, and they might even from time to time resist what is good for them, pastors of souls should nevertheless persevere in building up the TLM in parishes.

By extension, adults also have these rights.  Pastors of souls should also see to the needs of their spiritual children even if no request has been made.

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  1. Antonia says:

    TLM is too hard for children? Children have attended TLM for centuries. Are kids now that much stupider? I hope not!

  2. Michael Stevens says:

    My sister-in-law’s mother told me she still remembers the Latin responses she was taught by the nuns at Scare Coeur in the 1940s when she was a primary school girl, so I can hardly see why today’s children are any less likely to be able to cope.

  3. Mac McLernon says:

    At a recent talk on participation at the TLM given by Fr. Tim Finigan, after a comment from one parishioner saying that the “yoof” don’t understand the TLM, one youngster put up his hand, and chimed in with the response, “I like Latin!”

    He was about 6 years old.

    One of our regular servers at the Saturday morning Low Mass is 10 years old. He’s happy to make the responses.

    And we have a whole bunch of youngsters keen to serve the TLM as soon as they’ve made their First Holy Communions.

    And, in the pews, several little girls have been spotted following the words of the Creed in their Mass books…

    I am inclined to wonder whether the constant talking down to young people at the Mass over the past 40 years, removing all sense of the special and sacred from the liturgy, and desperate attempts to make the Mass “relevant” to “yoof” by means of guitars, tambourines, drums and cringingly bad pop songs have been the biggest factors in the decline in numbers of young people attending Mass.

  4. LCB says:

    Personally, I would like to hear the psalm in English.

    Instead of the current call-and-response format (which is usually banal and seems to revolve around the ‘psalm leader’), I would like to hear the entire congregation read the psalm together in english… without the antiphons for each stanza.

  5. LCB says:

    Should clarify, my first sentence references TLM. The 2nd sentence references the NO.

  6. Rose in NE says:

    Since I work at a K-8 Catholic school this question is very interesting to me. I doubt that at our modern suburban parish we will ever have the TLM available to the children. My guess is that many of the parents have never even heard of Summorum Pontificum. However, it seems to me that the kids should at least be taught about the TLM in the classroom. This is part of their Catholic heritage. They do have a right to know about it. If this is their right, shouldn’t Catholic schools have a duty to teach it? Any advice on how one might approach a school principal about this?

  7. Brian says:

    My two sons, ages ten and eleven, have known no other Mass other than the TLM.

    They both serve at the Altar and know the Our Father, Hail Mary, Hail Holy Queen, and Glory Be to the Father in Latin.

  8. “…Also, from the onset after the text of the Motu Proprio was released I spoke of my option that the vernacular could be used during TLMs. That doesn’t mean I think it should: I am saying that Summorum Pontificum permitted it.”
    I am puzzled as to why so many “traditionalist” have a distaste for a vernacular Tridentine rite. The language and words of the Tridentine Mass are beautiful. If I was to compare the Tridentine rite to poetry, it is the most beautiful poem that I have ever heard. I would never want to take its beauty away from a fellow Catholic or pagan for that matter. I concede that the Latin is just as beautiful and just as easy to learn, however I view this as a battle to convert souls to the Mass of all time. “Traditionalists” would be surprised how Latin can turn people away from the Tridentine rite. Again, I see nothing wrong with the Tridentine rite performed in English, and I believe that it would change novus order Catholics to “our” side.

  9. TNCath says:

    Isn’t it sad that someone had to write the PCED for an answer to this “no-brainer” question. Obviously there was a pastor or liturgy committee out there who is resisting the expressed wishes of the Holy Father and the Universal Church. Until bishops get with the Pope’s “Marshall Plan” for the Church, I think it’s going to be very difficult just to get dioceses to encourage and give the right for “school children” (K-12) to sing the parts of the Mass in the Ordinary Form in Latin, much less the Extraordinary Form. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that “brick by brick” we are making progress albeit slowly, but eventually “brick by brick” needs to accelerate to “wall by wall.” How long, O Lord, how long?

  10. Hidden One says:

    The one [FSSP] Extraordinary Form Mass I attended had the priest repeat the readings in English instead of starting his homily – the congregation present made, once again, the customary signs and actions. Given that most people are not fluent in Latin and that the homily is in the vernacular, it makes little sense to me not to have the readings read in the vernacular [at whatever point, instead of Latin or not]. I would, however, prefer to maintain the reading of the readings in Latin at their proper time, but then, I like Latin.

  11. therecusant says:

    My kids’ school in Indianapolis has daily Mass, with the Ordinary Form in English on Monday and the EF Tuesday through Friday. Works great.

  12. Petros says:


    I often say to those who put forward the argument ” they won’t know what is going ” regarding the Latin mass. Well ,what about those in Ireland, during the penal days, who attended at the Mass Rock.Did they know what was going on

  13. rosie says:

    What a crop of Protecatholic bullcaca.

  14. The one [FSSP] Extraordinary Form Mass I attended had the priest repeat the readings in English instead of starting his homily – the congregation present made, once again, the customary signs and actions.

    I am at the opposite extreme, having attended more TLM’s than I could possibly count or remember. And — although the vernacular re-readings may be omitted at a weekday low Mass — I cannot recall a single Sunday Mass in a over a half-century-plus period that did not follow exactly the pattern you describe, with the readings first read in Latin at the altar, then in the vernacular at the pulpit.

  15. Terry says:

    The school in question serves children 4-14. The original letter to Msgr Perl stated that the school children attend a Catholic school connected to a Novus Ordo parish. The priests of the Institute of Christ the King serve the neighboring parish and wish to make available the Extraordinary Form once a month for the school children.

    So the question posed to Mgsr Perl asked if Catholic school children, during regular weekday school Masses, have a right to be exposed to both forms of the Roman rite given the ready access of the priests of the Institute.

  16. JPG says:

    I have at this juncture attended only 5 EFs in my adult life. Only at one were the readings done in English using the DRV. It was graet.
    The one Solemn Mass for Laetare Sunday Fr Cipolla gave a grat sermon on the Introit for that Sunday. I personally would prfer to see the readings kept in Latin with a rereading in the vernacular either at the pulpit or outside the Sanctuary. The Mass needs to be seen as a fabric, a delicate work of art with which one must not trifle. The custom of the Eastern Churches is to have the homily after the Liturgy since one has by entering the Liturgy left ordinary time thus the homily is deliberately outside the Liturgy. One must be careful of falling into the sad dare I say error of making the Mass a didactic session. It was with this assumption and goal that some took a meat cleaver to the Mass. In terms of exposing children to the EF, the sensibilities and the reverence of the EF are such that much is taught without words but with gestures and attitude which I think make more of an impression on younger minds. Assisting my Pastor vesting for Mass as a child of 10 I recall vividly the reverence and peacefulness of this excercise with both servers in attendence. He was clearly murmuring a prayer as he did so. I recall the amice, the cincture and the alb. I recall one of us having to assist with the cincture. I recall the reverence with which he said even the 1970 Mass. By his calm recollected manner without bruising a reed with out giving the impression that”let’s get this show rolling “kind of attitude,he taught very powerfully the Love of the Mass and the centrality of the Sacrifice. I imbibed and learned that same reverence. Not from his speech but from his actions.
    A child with minimal instruction will I believe learn more from the EF than any immediately accessible if not watered down OF. Mind you they should see both. In this way we may yet find that 2000 years of Tradition will trump 40 years of innovation.

  17. Tiny says:

    The liturgy belongs to posterity; don’t mess it up for future generations. Say the black, do the red!

  18. AnnaTrad says:

    Why O Why do some of you persist in thinking that you can reinvent the EF Mass to suit your own image. It is as if you can’t wait to get your hands on it and rip this beautiful Mass apart. Does history repeat its self again!!! The way the readings are done have no need to be changed, one follows along with your missal, they are very easily obtained. If you don’t like Latin there are plenty of NO masses to go to.

  19. Deusdonat says:

    AnnaTrad – the TLM has been said in the vernacular at many points throughout history. There is nothing to say it can’t.

  20. JPG says:

    Well said. Do not trifle with the seamless garment. The OF needs to be changed to reflect the EF not the other way around. The Calender needs changing. The Doxology needs to be reintroduced at the end of the Collects, the Introit and the resposorial psalms. The error by which the Mass became community meal with didactic session needs to be corrected. The penitential rites B and C need to go. The proper English translation will help with the elimination of what I refer to as telephone book Engish. As far as I am concerned, Eucharistic prayers II-IV as well as the ones for Reconciliation and for children can all be abolished. Keep the EF as it is do not experiment or change it. As far as the OF, it needs I think major renovation. (Also get rid of the prayer of the faithful and replace it with a brief formal Litany.) the current practice of the topic of the day being passed out from the Bishpop’s conference sounding like a politically correct composition from Sister spandex leotard, the wannabe Liturgical dancer, needs to go.
    Sorry about the rant.

  21. Terry says:

    The long term significance of this clarification has nothing to do with whether the readings are in Latin or the vernacular.

    The significance is that 5% of the US population is enrolled in Catholic schools and they have the right to be exposed the the Extraordinary Form at their regular school Masses.

    SP’s long-term effects had little to do with allowing currently willing priests to say the TLM. It’s long-term impact will be the result of the definition of two-forms of the same rite and the Catholic faithful have the right to the participate in the complete rite. Therefore all seminarians must be taught both forms of the same rite. Therefore all children in Catholic schools should be instructed in and be exposed to both forms of the same rite.

    CCD programs, hospitals, universities next? Etc, etc.

    The institutions of the Church now have a duty to make the TLM available to all not just a remnant.

  22. Damien says:

    Come to think of it, an innovation such as the reading of the Scrpitures in the vernacular either instead of or during the private Latin reading of the priest sounds like a subtle change characheristic of the organic development of Liturgy per se. I’m sure there were those who objected when, say, the Gloria was added to the Ordinary or the prayer for the Pope was added to the Canon based on the fact that it wasn’t there before. What was defined at Trent took a thousand years to develop, after all. So who’s to say it may not be tweaked here and there again?!!

  23. Former Altar Boy says:

    Rose in Nebraska wrote:
    “My guess is that many of the parents have never even heard of Summorum Pontificum.”
    Why not? Rose works in a Catholic school? What is her school doing to teach the children, who can, in turn (as they often do) teach the parents.

  24. Chris says:

    I’m trying to be charitable here. Trying.

    But am I the only one depressed by the fact that someone can be so ignorant as to have to ask this question? Actually, I don’t think anyone can be.

    And I’m convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that no one can be this ignorant but yet also knows not only what Ecclesia Dei is but how to get a hold of them. How to fax them at that!

    I smell something rotten.

    Being one that surrounds himself in politics all day, my paranoia tells me that libs here in America are sending tens of hundreds of crazy questions into PCED hoping to get one bite — one bite that they can roll back the progress with that we’ve made.

    I know for a fact that the USCCB has sent six “dubia” or questions to the PCED asking if we in America can have “extraordinary lay communion dispensers,” “extraordinary girl altar boys,” “extraordinary readers,” ect.

    God willing the PCED won’t fall for these traps.

  25. fortradition says:

    The EF of the Mass was the ONLY form of the Mass for the first 20 yrs. of my life. From the first grade on, our Catholic School of 900 students attended the Tridentine Mass everyday. We could read the English translations in our little prayer books. When I was 12 yrs. old I sang in the Gregorian Choir and was taught the Latin by the nuns. Not difficult at all.

  26. Cathomommy says:

    I would imagine that this letter was written not out of ignorance (As in, do children have the right to attend the Extraordinary Form?) and more out of the need to have proof in hand to convince a recalcitrant principal or DRE somewhere. (As in, “Children DO have the right to attend the Extraoridinary Form, don’t they?”) With a letter from PCED in hand, perhaps they will have the ammo that they need to convince the powers-that-be.

  27. Terry says:


    The question was not whether a child may attend the TLM. Rather the question is whether Catholic school children have a right to be exposed to the TLM at their parish school Masses.

    The logic follows that pastors and Catholic school administrators have a duty to teach children about the complete rite in both its ordinary and extraordinary forms.

    Posing dubia allows the relevant commission to clarify for the entire church the proper interpretation of a necessarily succinct law. This is how a bureaucracy works and how it completes its interpretive mission.

  28. Nick says:

    “expose the children to…”? — who writes this stuff —

    All four of my grown children were “exposed” the the Extra Ordinary rite from the get-go. They were also “exposed” to periods of quiet during the day as well which is very important in my opinion to “expose” their little minds to the higher order of things. Today all of them can read and write Latin with some ability, one can even reads and writes Greek as well.)

    (Hint to parents of young children — if your children appear to have a little too much energy before Mass — take them outside and have them run down the block and back. The “best runner” of the day gets to put the Offering envelope into the basket…heh)

  29. mcitl says:

    Are children allowed to be exposed to the “Children’s Liturgy of the Word” where they are removed from the Church during the Liturgy of the Word to be taught by someone other than the priest?
    How did this thing get inserted into the Mass? I don’t see it in the rubrics anywhere…

  30. Chris says:

    “Posing dubia allows the relevant commission to clarify for the entire church the proper interpretation of a necessarily succinct law.”

    That’s what makes me nervous.

  31. Jbrown says:

    Surely Cardinal Hoyos’ office could find more important, and more valuable, questions to answer than this. Since the answer was OBVIOUSLY positive, it boggles the mind that time was actually spent responding to this. What about the meaning of ‘stable group’? Can priests begin public Masses on their own? Do bishops have the authority to screen possible celebrants of the Gregorian Rite? And so on…

  32. Legisperitus says:

    Can children handle the TLM? Check this out: http://lalemantpolyphonic.org/home/miscellaneous/tarcisius/

  33. Larry says:

    I haven’t read all the posts on this topic so you may have already had something similar. First off, as a child in grade and high school we all managed quite nicely to assist at Latin Mass. Of course we had Latin classes is highschool; but, even before these we did not have a great deal of trouble. Currently I try to attend the TLM once a week on Wednesday. There are always several children there ranging in age from infants to maybe 15 or 16. They all seem to have a good idea of what is going on and are far moe attentive than most of the children at Sunday Mass in my regular parish in the OF. What is more at our parish we just completed the “Totus Tuis” program and the 1st thru 5th grade children managed quite nicely to say “Kyrie” and “Agnus Dei” without any problem in the OF. Kids are open to learning just about anything and when taught the Truth it is all the better.

  34. MamaJen says:

    I have four boys, ages 11 down to 5. We have attended an FSSP parish for the last 2 years. My oldest has studied some Latin, but the other 3 have not. All of my boys love going to mass. Mostly, they love the music (gregorian chant). :-) Our parish does have the readings in English before the homily, but everything else is Latin. The excuse that “children won’t do well in a longer, foreign language mass” drives me NUTS! I submit that children don’t HAVE to understand the Latin to get the *meaning* of the liturgy. (though I absolutely believe that the study of Latin is valuable, and once my children are reading English well they have, and will, begin to study Latin). I think that the believe in the necessity of native language understanding during the liturgy is modern hogwosh! My children know what is going on during the mass, even though they don’t translate every word into their native English – quite honestly, I think they understand better now that we attend a tridentine mass than they did when we attended the Norvus Ordo! Sometimes I, myself, will put my english-latin missal down and just experience the prayers of the tridentine mass, rather than spending time and effort to mentally “translate”. I just don’t think that instant, literal, native understanding is necessary to participate in the mass of Our Lord! My children prefer the longer high mass, because they adore the beautiful music provided by our organ and choir and they truly “get” the awesome reverence shown to Our Lord. (That’s not to say they are perfect – my 5 year old does fuss at times, though once my boys reach the age of reason, there has been no fuss, no matter how long the mass lasts). I do think that Catholic children have a “right” to be shown their heritage, the tridentine mass. People that claim they won’t understand it so it will be meaningless to them just don’t understand children, or the mass! Just my 2 cents as a mother!

  35. Back in the 1970s, a choir director who was a friend of mine was teaching music to lower grade elementary school children in Boston, all aged 8 or lower. He was teaching them a Kyrie.

    The local sister happened in, stopped the practice, berated the instructor for teaching children things they did not understand. She pulled a first grader out of the choir and demanded: What does Kyrie Eleison mean?

    He said: “Domine miserere, Sister.”

    She stormed out; the practice went on as usual. Nothing like a good teacher.

  36. My children, aged 6, 4 and 2, routinely attend the TLM, and have sometimes expressed a preference for it.

  37. Mr. Thomas Larson came to our parish, St. William the Confessor Catholic Church in Greenville Texas, and taught a course on Gregorian Chant, July 8 through July 22. Go to this link and hear what the outcome was. I understand that there were three women and about ten children present when this was recorded on the last day of the class. Children can indeed learn Latin

  38. I forgot to mention that the play list for the chant starts below the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  39. student says:

    I attend a college where they canceled the daily and Sunday EF Mass because, even though everyone had a choice of two other Masses (Latin NO’s) it was thought too overwhelming for kids who were visiting, all are in between their junior and senior year of high school.

    Many of these kids brought Missals expecting this Mass to be here…

  40. George Festa says:

    My children, aged 6 and 5, routinely attend the TLM, and often express a preference for it(“The priest is facing God”).

    I think that the greatest gift any parent can give their offspring is instruction in orthodox Catholic beliefs.

    Our bishop is not TLM friendly and just discontinued the only regularly-scheduled TLM —of course you know the drill by now, the TLM is held in the most dangerous neighborhood in Western MA at an inconvenient time and the diocesan newspaper touts a big article saying that there is “No interest” a mere 11 months after the M.P.

    It is sad that many exert much more effort avoiding the effort that it would take to learn the EF so that the Holy Father’s vision could be realized. Please pray that all children may know the treasure of that is the TLM.

  41. rick says:

    Ha ha, this is too funny ! I am an old man and as a child in the
    pre-Vatican II days I attended mass almost daily for a good deal of my childhood. I was too timid to become an altar boy, but I had my daily Latin/English Saint Joseph’s Missal with me ( remember them?), and there I knelt on the Blessed Mother side of the altar, following the priest in Mass. Within a very short time, I had the Mass memorized in my head ( children can do things like that, you know!) and I understood every word the priest was praying in Latin as we moved through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because I had the English translation memorized in tune with memorizing the Latin. In other words, like any linguistic capability of man ( God made us that way, you know) I could “think” the Mass in Latin or English. (It’s just a matter of repetition, you know…like saying the Rosary). Oh, and besides, I was just a child, and guess what,I liked the Latin more than the English becuse it was a special language that the Church had that we can speak to God in and pray with during the Mass, you know, like putting on a special suit or garment when you go before a King, you know, you just don’t wear your street clothes when you go to pay a visit to a Kind, do you? That’s how I felt about it. It was all quite practical and made good sense to me. I wonder if today’s children are as clever as I was?

  42. Petros says:

    HELLO Rick,you have put it very well.

  43. Thorfinn says:

    During 1956-61 I attended a suburban Catholic parochial school, about 250 children grades 4-8. All students were taught to read Gregorian notation and at daily Mass, yes all of us, chanted the Ordinary and on feast days the Proper as well. Our parish was very >progressive< liturgically so we used the so-called dialogue Mass, 250 children making the Latin responses in unison. As others have mentioned, during this time boys began as altar servers from about age 10 or in some places younger. During religion class we studied what the Latin words meant. I’m sure none of this will greatly surprise anyone here. This tired old argument “it’s too hard for them” has more mileage on it than any other! That’s how we got our current vernacular translations.

  44. Mary Conces says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but it appears to me that the response from PCED does not say that children have a RIGHT to attend the EF., as was asked. Of course, they have, IMO, but all it says is that they are PERMITTED to go, which is nowhere in question, even by liberals.


  45. Kimberly says:

    I have nine children, four of them are boys. We are converts to Catholicism and have only been attending the Latin Mass for the past three years. The four boys serve every single Sunday and occasionally the weekday Mass. They insist. The oldest three know all the responses by heart. My oldest son has already attained the designation of Master of Ceremonies…he is in love with the ancient liturgy and the rubrics of the Extraordinary Form. Prior to attending the TLM, none of my sons served the Mass. Why would they want to? It had become the “girls club” at our former parish. Every Sunday, there were more women on the altar than men. At our current parish (which is not FSSP, SSPX, or ICTKSP…we’re a small inner city parish in downtown Columbus) the altar is flooded with men every Sunday. The children are homeschooled. Yes, Latin is the foundation of our curricula. No, they are not Latin scholars. The children have the intellect and wisdom to see past all the disguises that had hidden the Mass from them. They weep if we try to attend the OF Mass. They can see, hear and feel the difference between the EF and the OF. It is interesting to note that those who feel the TLM is above the intellectual capacity of the average Catholic child, would have no problem whatsoever with that same child attending a Spanish OF Mass. This is ludicrous.

  46. Gavin says:

    Beats the pants off the “Directory for Masses with Children”!

  47. Breier says:


    Are you referring to Thomas Aquinas College?

  48. Bernadette says:

    In the early 1960’s our chapel at the Catholic girls school I attended was packed every morning with children attending the traditional Mass. They were there voluntarily, as attendance at weekday Mass was not required. I, a non-Catholic at the time, was also there every morning as I was struck by the truth and beauty inherent in the TLM. I knew no Latin but quickly learned to follow the Mass in a Missal that a friend gave me. Soon I became very familiar with the Latin and I was no genius. It is so sad that this is even an issue.

  49. Father Z had a post on this last January, but here is a picture of the children’s choir of our small TLM community:


    You can see that they’re quite young, elementary school aged children. On the occasion in question (Gaudete Sunday in Advent), the children’s choir sang the whole Mass aside from propers — the Ordinary (Kyrie, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) the Asperges me before Mass, plus Conditor alma siderum for the offertory, Adoro te devote and Ave verum corpus for Communion, and Alma Mater Redemptoris at the end. As Father Z commented, “Ex ore infantium … perfecisti laudem! And to think some people claim Gregorian chant and Latin are tooooo harrrrrd for children.”

  50. TJM says:

    The children will be fine with the TLM, I was. It’s the doubleknit dinosaurs in their late 50s, 60s, and 70s pining for the 60s that I worry about.
    It’s THEIR problem, not the kids. What officious people some adults are. Tom

  51. MSCatholic Mary says:

    “Obviously there was a pastor or liturgy committee out there who is resisting the expressed wishes of the Holy Father and the Universal Church.”

    TNCatholic – if your Southern diocese and parish are anything like mine, that’s the understatement of the year! ;-) I must stress to many of the posters and lurkers here that you are highly blessed to even be discussing the extraorinary form of the Mass in your hometowns. Be grateful that you do not live in an area which seems to be permanently weighed down with the title of a “missionary diocese.” This is the case in Mississippi and it seems to mean that the faithful here will forever be dominated by crazy-left bishops, sisters and lay ministers who would not ever THINK of TLM or even of Latin in the regular Mass. These things are virtually unheard of statewide.

  52. LCB says:

    “It had become the “girls club” at our former parish. Every Sunday, there were more women on the altar than men.”

    Bingo. Last Sunday we had 9 extra-ordinary ministers + father, and 300 people in attendance. Of the 9 EMs, 7 of them were women (taking their chalices right off the altar thank you so much!). There were “light bearers” (candle carriers), 2 women, 3 music leaders (female), a cross bearer (male wearing a beer T-shirt), a Gospel bearer (female), and two altar servers (one a 7 year old girl, another a 40 year old woman).

    There is nothing manly about the music (especially the clap along Sanctus), and the whole homily was about love, good feelings, sharing our feelings, and what father saw on Oprah. Both at the start of mass AND at the sign of peace we have a hug-fest that continues throughout Communion distribution. The intentions included thanking God for the beautiful flowers. A young man figures out very quickly: he is not wanted and this is not where he belongs. If a young man participated in this fiasco he would be mocked severely by his friends.

    To a young person this doesn’t just make the priesthood and the mass seem irrelevant, it makes the entire Church seem like a waste of time and a bad idea.

  53. Seminarian says:


    Personally, I would prefer to have the readings maintained in Latin, even if they were to be re-read in the lingua vulgaris (for example, just before the sermon/homily). I don’t think that those who know Latin should be deprived of the beauty and the profundity of the Vulgate texts, or be forced to endure the official English translations of the Scriptural passages now if effect (NRSV in Canada; NAB in the US). If the English scriptural passages could be read “unofficially”, I think it would be better, since the priest would not then be bound to use one of these translations.

    Just a thought.

    PS: As an aside, would a priest using vernacular Scriptural readings in the Forma Extraordinaria be obliged to use the official English translations mandated by the national bishops’ conference for that country? Could he use the Douay-Rheims, RSV-CE or another translation instead (or even translate the texts himself from the Vulgate, à la WDTPRS)?

  54. “will help engage the children’s participation in some way with songs or chants.”

    I found this line troubling. Why does “participation” necessarily involve actively doing something? Hasn’t it been rather well established that we can fully participate by being recollected and focused on what is going on at hand? If I can’t sing well, and thus choose not to sing, does this mean I am not participating as much as someone who is?

  55. As an aside, would a priest using vernacular Scriptural readings in the Forma Extraordinaria be obliged to use the official English translations mandated by the national bishops’ conference for that country? Could he use the Douay-Rheims, RSV-CE or another translation instead (or even translate the texts himself from the Vulgate, à la WDTPRS)?

    At least in current EF practice, no one seems uptight about which vernacular translations of the readings are used. Of course, the Douay-Rheims is the English translation most frequently heard, but others are heard occasionally.

    Especially if the Latin readings are read at the altar for the liturgy itself, then what translation is read at the pulpit during the “interruption” in the Mass for the sermon would not logically seem to be an issue. (In the OF, of course, the situation is quite different, the vernacular readings being part of the liturgy itself.)

  56. Emilio III says:

    Now that Baronius Press is proposing to bring back the long-out-of-print Knox Bible, I think that would be the ideal choice for the vernacular readings. I seem to recall that it was commissioned by the bishops of England and Wales for that purpose.

  57. student says:


    Are you referring to Thomas Aquinas College?
    Comment by Breier

    I suppose that not many colleges are having a highschool program right now and also do the EF daily, normally…yes

  58. mike conlon says:

    Someone above made the startling statement that the FSSP read the Epistle & Gospel in the vernacular. That practice is an indult granted in the 19th C. It is not a part of the Mass. For that reason, the priest removes his maniple before going to the pulpit to show that there is a break in the liturgical action. A former FSSP district supervisor who thankfully was recallled to France and who hopefully is working in the obscurity he deserves, refused to even wear the maniple. Showing his disdain for TrueMass. One does not sign oneself when the homilist announces the Gospel, unlike at the Last Gospel. This was the norm in every Catholic church in the U.S. prior to VII. Homilies, typically were not delivered at daily Mass, hence the need to publish hand missals, which was an organic outgrowth of the Liturgical Renewal as envisioned by Dom Gueranger, not co-opted by Beaudoin, Bugnini, et al.
    Thanks to the efforts of the FSCH, who remembers them, we had memorized the Ordinary of the Mass by the time we were 12.
    No big deal here.

  59. Johnny Domer says:

    What I don’t get is why the PCED is answering moronic no-brainer questions like this (OF COURSE kids can go to this Mass) but not issuing any document regarding enforcing SP or correcting misinterpretations of it (bishops enforcing Latin exams, saying that pastors can’t issue it of their own initiative, not teaching it in seminaries, etc.)? As another example, they’ve also clarified the moronic question of “Can a permanent deacon assist at a Mass in the Extraordinary Form?” Well, DUH, of course he can; he’s a Catholic deacon, isn’t he? Shouldn’t they rather be clarifying questions about which lots of people are ACTUALLY confused, or which are actual ABUSES of Summorum Pontificum, or which are things that actually affect how the Mass is celebrated in the here and now, rather than a controversy that is affecting probably only one group of people in one situation in one part of the world?

    For example, why don’t they actually just clarify this annoying point about readings in the vernacular that everyone (liberal, conservative, whatever) has been grousing over ever since SP came out? What is this protocol that just seems so obvious to you, Msgr. Perl, regarding doing the readings in the vernacular? Do you mean just any old vernacular translations of the Latin? Do you mean only translations from the new lectionary? Can the new lectionary be used at the Old Mass without regard to the fact that its readings don’t fit the Tridentine calendar? How is the priest supposed to do the vernacular readings, in terms of where he is standing? If he reads the lesson in English from the pulpit, where does he read the gradual and alleluia, and where does he do the Munda Cor Meum? Does he go back to the altar for them? Can he read the gradual and alleluia in English? Does he have to read the epistle, or can an altar server read it? What if there’s a sequence? Is he supposed to be scurrying back and forth from the altar to the pulpit doing these prayers and readings back and forth in English and Latin? Are we encouraging vernacular readings as substitutions for the Latin readings, or to be done at the same time as the Latin readings, or immediately following the Latin readings (i.e., what everyone does already anyway)? At this point, it’s anybody’s guess what in tarnation they’re talking about, and Msgr. Perl or Cardinal Hoyos or somebody could clear the whole thing up in one stupid letter. They could also clarify stuff like the 2nd Confiteor…

    Father, you worked there…what do they DO at the PCED all day? I mean, obviously they’re not just sitting around just reading WDTPRS (although that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for them to do), but I don’t see why they can’t just clarify some of these points…are they really that swamped with work over there?

  60. Tim Mccarthy says:

    Here’s a little pragmatic thought on the matter. My expertise is I am 60 yrs. old, and while attending St. Andrews Grammar School, we were all required to attend the Low Mass before school each and every day. Depending on our age at that time we were distracted differently as the years went by; sometimes by dinosaurs, picking our noses, or much later by admiring the girls in eighth grade. Yet if you look at the crime statistics in that period you’ll see that by today’s standard it was almost idylic. Here’s my ancient analysis; the children having attended and assisted at mass however imperfectly, received many graces and took them out into the neighbor hood with them. As the changes came and Mass was no longer a daily requirement we descended into the abyss we are in today. Call the kids “the little engine that could”. Secondarily, the “old ladies” that attended several low masses each day and said their rosaries are mo longer there. I personally thought that they were at the foot of Christ’s Cross with Mary and the other women giving comfort and receiving it from The BVM.
    Is it a coincidence? I hardly think so. I will not dissect Vatican II as I am not qualified, but by their fruits you will know them, and as “Jingles” used to say “we are in a lot of trouble Roy”.H.H. Benedict XVI as Fr. Z says has a “marshall plan”and if that is so this is the Berlin Air Lift.

  61. Dave says:

    As the one who posed the question to Msgr. Perl, I can assure all of you that not only am I not stupid (usually…), but also that I knew the answer to the question before I asked, and that I asked with a clear purpose. It was not, as is hilariously mentioned in an above post, an element of some liberal assault on the Holy Father’s intentions for the liturgy, or a diabolic attempt to mire the PCED in unnecessary work, thus stalling their more important efforts in producing the much-awaited clarification, but instead a guarantee that the right of the children to assist at Mass in the EF be respected and fostered over against those who will, I am most certain, strive to deprive them of it. The vitriol in some of the posting has been rather silly, and the “remnant” mentality demonstrated by some writers smacks of an arrogance that has no place in such discussion. God reward all of you who have ALWAYS taken your families to the EF, often in conditions of tremendous sacrifice and marginalization. Let us not forget, however, that millions of our fellows, particularly the young, have never had such a chance. Where the opportunity to enrich their lives with such splendor exists, we ought, I think, do all we can in charity to take advantage of it. The response, albeit affecting only a local situation particularly, was a cause for me of great joy, and, as Father has pointed out, has some broader ramifications. I’m almost sorry now that I shared it. No good deed, I suppose, goes unpunished!

  62. Michael J says:


    It may be true (references would be appreciated) that “the TLM has been said in the vernacular at many points throughout history. There is nothing to say it can’t.”, but I fail to see how this is relevant. Seriously, just because something can be done, does not mean that it should be done. So far, I have seen no compelling benifit to saying the Mass in the vernacular.

  63. It’s funny in a sense that we can expect children to do well in te secular world (take honors classes and all that)…yet some Latin or Greek is “too hard.”

    The releventizing of Liturgy has the oppisite effect. We just need to teach the Truth and let the Holy Spirit work.

    If there’s one thing that I refuse to believe it’s that children are stupid. They are far brighter than we can imagine. If we lift expectations, they will rise to them.

  64. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    Dave, thanks for sharing the letter.

  65. Jrbrown says:

    I don’t think your question was a valuable use of the PCED’s time and efforts when there are many very much DISPUTED issues that threaten the livlihood of the Church and directly affect the SSPX reconciliation efforts. To the extent that the PCED diverted time and effort to answer a question already answer 15 years ago or so (in an official response) regarding the attendance of young people at TLM’s, I think your efforts would have been better directed at better endeavors. I would hope that ANYONE who reads or contributes to WDTPRS and similar sites would henceforth refrain from sending multiple letters to PCED on everyone’s favorite pet topics and instead perhaps send a brief note humbly requesting the long-promised clarification/enforcement document. The SSPX increasingly sees bishops resisting and opposing the MP and it cannot be denied, unfortunately, that this occurs because of ambiguities in the text, loopholes or lacunae that make such actions easier. Only clarifications that are OFFICIAL, and not made in press conferences, can be presented to our bishops and priests.

  66. Patrick says:


    That is the worst post I have ever read on this blog. Who appointed you the arbiter of what should and should not be answered by the Holy See?

    Get over yourself, and congratulate Dave on his good work. If his question wasn’t worthy, then they wouldn’t have answered it.

  67. Breier says:


    That’s silly. Dave, or anyone else, should be able to ask PCED any question they think relevant. He’s not responsible for how PCED choses to prioritize its responses. To blame him for the delay of documents you’d like is not productive. Nothing prevents PCED from setting priorities; is the Pope not able to answer correspondence from head’s of state because he’s getting thousands of letters from ordinary Catholics? Clearly not.


  68. David H. says:

    JrBrown, I think the PCED is ultimate arbiter of what is a waste of time and what isn’t. Unless, you know something that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei doesn’t., I think this is the very reason it exists. Obviously, PCED didn’t think it was a waste of time.

  69. Mark says:

    Kimberly and LCB:

    I’ve enjoyed reading your posts very much. I too have similiar NO experiences, usually when I travel and a TLM or a trusted version of the NO mass is not locally available.

    My diocese (US East Coast) is preparing to institute the “Priestless Sunday” liturgies on a wider scale, where, I gather, what you describe and more will become the norm. Maybe in those dioceses where the priests are becoming as rare as the nuns and the sisters, the NO masses will have to compete with these new lay led liturgies. Let’s fasten our seat belts.

  70. William Marshall says:

    I have to ask you, when did you write your letter. Our Latin Mass Society petitioned Ecclesia Dei Commission back on December 14, 2007 and have never received a response.

    And yet, our Archbishop has begun to move, somewhat, on letting us have a TLM.

  71. Louis E. says:

    William Marshall:
    Msgr. Perl’s reply,as illustrated by Fr Z,refers to the date of Dave’s letter (June 27).Perhaps easier questions get quicker answers?

  72. Dave says:

    I understand your comments, and yet find myself in a particular place in time for which I have some responsibility. I cannot stop doing what I have to do here in order to possibly help facilitate the completion of what is still, quite frankly, a rumor, just as was SP until last year. Additionally, I cannot help but feel that the discussion need be somewhat larger than simply the SSPX and their potential submission to the Holy Father. My “pet issue” directly influenced the attendance at the EF of over 1000 young people. Seems to me, and evidently, seems to Msgr. Perl, as well, that the issue merited response, and a ratehr quick one. Dave

  73. William Marshall says:

    Thanks for the response. We just got back from a visit to BC, Canada. While there we had to go to Mass at the “new” personal parish of FSSP, Holy Family. It was a beautiful Missae Cantata. These folks have a jewel of a church and two (2) wonderful priests, three seminarians and a “bunch” of Altar Boys. They are preparing for a renovation after the retiring NO priest, Fr. Benno Burghardt leaves in November. The rectory is being redone too. They are adding Masses to their already busy schedule. Their Schola is doing great things too. Lets all pray for their continued success.

  74. Mark says:


    Thank you for taking the time and asking this question. It’s helpful to be proactive and anticipate moves by the opposition, plus the answer you received may one day be useful to all of us.

    As for those who may not see the value in sometimes asking for an obvious answer:

    Things that are obvious to us, such as belief in God’s existance or the value of prayer, have at times and places been defined as serious mental aberrations disqualifying such a person from civic and professional life. Those spreading such beliefs were considered subversive elements and dealt with accordingly. It does no harm to be able to defend our faith, even when the attack is objectively absurd. Actually, quite the opposite. Dave was right to ask this question.

  75. Johnny Domer says:


    Sorry if I insulted you or anything…it’s not that I’m necessarily upset about the question being asked or the response to it as much as I feel that there are bigger problems affecting the broader Church that aren’t being dealt with by PCED…sorry, I was kinda in a grouchy mood. I’m glad you got a positive answer.

  76. Johnny Domer says:

    Again, frustration more directed at PCED than at Dave…I actually kinda assumed the question had been put to PCED by a liberal cleric trying to forestall having the Mass for children for some nitpicky reason…ok, yeah, basically I was an idiot, my bad.

  77. Dave says:

    No offense taken at all. You’re a gentleman.
    I actually enjoyed the back and forth. I see why people comment, something I don’t frequently do…Dave

  78. Lee says:

    Well, as much as I am in favor of the Latin Mass, I have to say that although I attended practically every day during grade school in the fifties I managed to graduate without having a clear understanding of the Mass, what the different parts were, what was going on at any given moment.

    The Mass in the vernacular seems a much better tool for teaching children what the Mass is all about, so long as the Mass is not overlaid with a lot of silly and distracting hymns- which, of course, it is. In fact in our parish the weekly Friday 8:15 Mass is thought incomplete without tambourine, snare drum, and eight grade vocalist. Make no mistake, these are often well done productions, sometimes stunningly so. Yet I ask myself how is this compatible with entering into the Sacrifice of the Mass?

    That a child can graduate Catholic school with little understanding of the Mass seems tragic to me. To me that is the one argument for girl altar servers. The more of our children serve Mass the better- from that standpoint- because there is no way to serve without being brought into an understanding of what is going on.

    Also, you are going to have Latin Mass for the children, then you also should have Latin in the classroom.

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