New opportunity for traditional Ambrosian Rite Masses

I don’t have time to translate this.   Maybe one of you will to the honors.

The upshot is that there is a new opportunity for people to attend Masses in the older form of the Ambrosian Rite, one of the Latin Rites. 

There has been a lot of controversy about use of the older Ambrosian Rite.   The head of the Ambrosian Church (so-called after St. Ambrose of Milan) is the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Tettamanzi.   Some officials in Milan have claimed that Summorum Pontificum applies only to the Roman Rite and not the Ambrosian Rite.

Card. Castrillon of the PCED doesn’t agree.  Summorum Pontificum seems to apply to all the older Latin Rites which were/are in effect.  

I think we can wager that the upcoming clarificatory document will say something about this.

In any event, many thanks to the very good work of the intrepid Andrea Tornielli for this.

Schusteroktettamanziok 1Come preannunciato lo scorso agosto, inizia ad essere celebrata stabilmente una nuova messa in rito ambrosiano antico nell’arcidiocesi di Milano. Domani, sabato 18 Ottobre, alle ore 17.30, nella chiesa di S. Ambrogio, in via S. Ambrogio a Legnano (zona pastorale IV), si celebrerà la messa cantata in rito ambrosiano antico. Il cardinale Dionigi Tettamanzi, capo rito, ha accolto la richiesta di un gruppo di fedeli animati dal Movimento Liturgico Benedettiano, che si propone di portare avanti la “via ambrosiana” al motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.  A partire dalla settimana successiva, la messa antica sarà celebrata a Legnano, ogni domenica e festa di precetto sempre alle ore 17.30 (secondo l’edizione del Missale Ambrosianum del 1954 edito dal beato Schuster). Il celebrante sarà monsignor Attilio Cavalli Penitenziere emerito della chiesa cattedrale.  La messa di Legnano si affianca a quella già da molti anni esistente in Milano, alla chiesa del Gentilino. Sappiamo che ci sono state resistenze verso il motu proprio. Questa notizia sta però a significare che se il documento papale non viene brandito come una rivincita-rivendicazione, e i fedeli attaccati all’antico rito si muovono nell’ottica della comunione ecclesiale, è possibile ottenere ciò che si chiede.

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  1. Thomas says:

    Marvelous news. As far as I can tell from reading. My only exposure to Italian is 4 years of French, 1 year of Spanish, and 2 years of self-study in Latin. For some reason, I have a love of “other” rites, though to them the Roman Rite is “other,” I suppose. But it is all the same Mass, which makes any differences even more beautiful. I will stop so I do not ramble.

  2. Maureen says:

    As announced last August, a regularly scheduled Mass of the old Ambrosian rite has begun to celebrated in the Archdiocese of Milan. Tomorrow, Saturday, October the 18th, in St. Ambrogio Church, on Via S. Ambrogio in Legnano, pastoral zone IV), we will celebrate a sung Mass in the ancient Ambrosian Rite. Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, head of the Rite, has accepted the request of a group of the faithful inspired by the Movimiento Liturgico Benedettiano (the Benedictian Liturgical Movement), which seeks to update the “Ambrosian Way” to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

    Starting next week, the antique Mass will be celebrated in Legnano every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation at 17:30 (2:30 PM), using the Missale Ambrosianum of 1954, second edition, edited by the Blessed Schuster. The celebrant will be Msgr. Attilio Cavalli, penitenziere emeritus of the cathedral church. The Legnano Mass takes its place alongside those already in existence for many years, at the Gentilino Church in Milan.

    We know that there was resistance to the motu proprio. But this news means that if the papal document is not brandished like a proclamation of vengeance, and the faithful attached to the ancient Rite get moving inside the communion of the Church, you can get what you request.

  3. Federico says:

    Quick and dirty.

    As had been announced last August, a new Mass in the ancient Ambrosian rite will begin to be celebrated in a stable way in the archdiocese of Milan. Tomorrow, Saturday, 18th of October, at 5:30 PM, a sung Mass in the ancient Ambrosian rite will be celebrated in the church of St. Ambrose, in Via S. Ambrogio in the town of Legnano (fourth pastoral zone). Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, the head of the rite, has received positively the request of a group of the faithful moved by the Benedictine Liturgical Movement, which proposes to increase the “Ambrosian way” in the context of the motu proprio Summorum pontificum. Beginning from the following week, the ancient Mas will be celebrated in Legnano each Sunday and holy day of obligation at 5:30 PM (in accord with the 1954 edition of the Missale Ambrosianum of 1954 edited by the blessed Schuster). The celebrant will be monsignor Attilio Cavalli, the penitentiary emeritus of the cathedral church. The Mass in Legnano will thus be paired with the Mass in the church of the Gentilino, already in place for many years. We know that there has been resistance to the motu proprio. These news, however, show that if the papal document is not wielded as a revenge, and the faithful attached to the ancient rite move within a perspective of ecclesial communion, they are able to attain what they request.

  4. don Jeffry says:

    As preannounced last August, a regularly scheduled Mass according to the Ancient Form of the Ambrosian Rite will be celebrated in the Archdiocese of Milan. Tomorrow, Saturday the 18th of October at 17:30 in the Church of St. Ambrose on via S. Ambrogio a Legnano, (pastoral zone IV) there will be a sung Mass in the ancient Ambrosian Rite. Dionigi Cardinal Tettamanzi, Capo Rito, has welcomed the request of a group of faithful animated by the Benedictan Liturgical Movement, which proposes to carry forward the “via ambrosiana” or “Ambrosian Way” according to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Starting next week the ancient Mass will be celebrated in Legnano every Sunday and holy days of obligation always at 17:30 (according to the Missale Ambrosianum of 1954 edited by Beato Schuster). The celebrant will be Monsignor Attilio Cavalli, Penitenziere Emerito of the Cathedral Church. The Mass at Legnano will happen along side of that existing already for many years in Milan in the church at Gentilino. We know that there has been some resistance to the motu proprio. This news signifies, however, that if the papal document has not become brandished as a challenge or a demand, and the faithful who are attached to the ancient rite move within the point of view of the ecclesial communion, it is possible to obtain that which one asks.

  5. don Jeffry says:

    “…to carry forward the “via ambrosiana” or “Ambrosian Way” according to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.\”

    I find fault with this statement. The Archdiocese is not treating this, to my knowledge, according to the MP SP but treating it rather according to the indult, i.e., giving permission according to the Cardinal\’s good will and pleasure.

  6. Mark M says:

    Fr. Z. / Don Jeffry:

    Interesting. I discussed a similar situation, viz. using the older Dominican Rite, with a Priest who says it.

    He stated that his authority to do it stems not from the Motu Proprio, but from a rescript he has (i.e. an indult) to say it. On that basis, I understood – as did many – that the Motu Proprio covers on the Roman rite (which it, itself, says).

  7. Patrick says:

    I agree with don Jeffry that the archdiosese is not excited about the MP. My
    wife and I were not permitted to be married according to the old Roman Rite
    in Monza (Roman Rite, but within the archdiocese of Milan) even though we requested it from the Archdiocese.
    Let’s hope that this signals a change in policy, if not in attitude.
    Grazie a Dio

  8. don Jeffry says:

    “My wife and I were not permitted to be married according to the old Roman Rite
    in Monza (Roman Rite, but within the archdiocese of Milan)”
    From the SP: “For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages…”

    Are you already married?

    don Jeffry

  9. John Enright says:

    I’m not entirely persuaded that the MP applies directly to the venerable Ambrosian Rite. The rite is different from the EF in some notable areas and yet similar in a number of other aspects. I tend to think of it as a Romanized form of the Gallican Rite.

    That being said, I think that Summorum Pontificum applies at least indirectly through analogy.

  10. Flambeaux says:

    Perhaps this is one of the matters to be treated in the forthcoming clarification. Oremus.

  11. Mark M.,

    I have at Dominican Liturgy blogspot (click my name for the link) a longish essay on the canonical status of the Dominican Rite. You can get it by clicking “Canonical Status of the Dominican Rite”on the left sidebar. Your informant is correct about authority to grant permissions on the Dominican Rite, it predated Summorum Pont. and I do not think the motu changed the discipline for us.

  12. don Jeffry says:

    “I’m not entirely persuaded that the MP applies directly to the venerable Ambrosian Rite.”

    I am absolutely persuaded.

  13. Mark M says:

    Thank you, Father Augustine; I was actually talking about you!

    Don Jeffry: this is the reason I am not persuaded. Besides the motu proprio itself only talks about the Missale Romanum.

  14. Daniel Ou says:

    I went to the one church currently offering the Ambrosian rite when I was last in Milan. The place is rather out of the way, but the congregation was – and apologies to any traditionalists who might take offence at this – strikingly normal, if not terribly big. It looked like most of the people there were locals attending the nearest church rather than die-hard traditionalists. Which leads me to suspect that whatever Cardinal Tettamanzi’s own attitudes, there is probably not all that much demand in the archdiocese.

  15. Daniel Ou says:

    I should clarify: the above refers to the traditional Ambrosian rite.

  16. Maureen says:

    If people haven’t been exposed to something, how do they know whether they want it or not? And if a lot of badmouthing of the ancient Ambrosian Rite goes on, or the Ambrosian Rite period, as some sort of provincial creaky holdover instead of one of the glories of the Church, how would you expect people to respond?

  17. don Jeffry says:

    This is why the SP refers to parishes and gives the authority to parish priests. The Archdiocese of Milan is the largest in the world. Small attendance at that Mass doesn’t mean that there aren’t many people who desire the Mass in the Archdiocese. There was a petition given to the Archbishop indicating circa 500 names.
    Bishops who say that the needs of the traditionalists is being met simply do not understand their language nor the document SP. It is providing for future needs as well for both priests and the faithful. I am a bi-ritual priest, Roman and Ambrosian.

    Explanatory Letter: “As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.”

    Using the term “consequently”, is not logic in effect? It was never juridically abrogated so it follows that… it was always permitted. I see that the Ambrosian Mass is still permitted in Milan to this day, so, in principle, it IS permitted, so, in principle I have the right to say it. Very best…

  18. A Random Friar says:

    If you look at Fr. Augustine’s excellent article, you can see how SP could be applied by analogy to the Dominican Rite, and by extension, the Ambrosian Rite, but it is only analogous (i.e., the spirit of the encyclical would seem to encourage the broad availability of venerable rites). However, at the same time, as Mark M pointed out, SP is specifically mentioning the Roman Latin Missal. It seems to me that the Holy Father did not do this without thought. He seems to be encouraging, but not as forcefully, the option for the other venerable rites. Just my 2 cents.

  19. Melody says:

    How much can we assume older rites are allowed? The Norbertine Fathers near me are still taught the Norbertine Rite of mass but refrain from having these masses in the public chapel because the motu proprio specifies the 1962 missal. It would be extremely fortunate if they were to receive official permission to the have the older form of the Norbertine Rite of mass.

  20. Patrick says:

    Don Jeffry,
    Sorry, I should clarify that we were married 8 days before SP came out, so the Archdiocese did not give us the proverbial time of day.

    My wife and I have gone to the Ambrosian Rite Mass in the San Rocco al Gentilino in the past, and there just were not that many people there. It’s an out-of-the-way location and the church is not pretty at all. People do not go there unless they want the Ambrosian Rite.
    The gentleman singing had a wonderful voice and we thought he was the choir director
    of the nearby church, as we saw him directing the choir there at another time.

  21. fedele ambrosiano says:

    Unless otherwise explained by competent authorities, the motu proprio SP applies to the Roman Rite. Public celebrations of the traditional Ambrosian rite are regulated by the Ambrosian “Capo-Rito” according to a modus procedndi which is more in line with the motu proprio of 1988 than that of 2007; and that is the juridical situation now. Faithful attached to the traditional rite will be well received by those who have the responsibility to care for their flock. Virtual and anonymous signatures without faces, be they 50, 500 or 5000 will not achieve anything, but traditionally minded faithful who make a request will succeed, as shown in Legnano. Remember father Z’s rules for engagement (I think they were called)? Politeness, the magical word “please”, no ranting, presenting your desire to the men (put by Providence) in charge … The Ambrosian diocese is adapting to the motu proprio!

  22. Salisbury says:

    I beg the unabashed Romanists here would consider the hypocrisy of their agitating for the emancipation of the Ambrosian liturgy while not simultaneously urging that such liberal latitude be applied to the ancient liturgies of the British Isles. Trent expressly permitted the using of such liturgies, but due to the penal legislation enacted by HMGs in the British Realms, prospective priests had to be formed in continental seminaries, where they were taught the Roman liturgy. Urgings to restore the ancient native liturgies were all resisted by the Catholic Establishment at the start for fear it would further antagonize the government and induce hostility by implying that the Catholic Church was the apostolic successor to the pre-Reformation Church. Later when Catholics became more confident in the security of their religious rights the population had become so used to the Roman liturgy that liturgical restoration was thought unnecessary and as a result such liturgies were confined to High Anglican churches. Given that English Catholics are no longer acquainted with the Roman usage, perhaps the liturgical reformers would see it pertinent to restore the extinct native liturgies instead of intolerantly insisting upon the usage of foreign rites.

  23. John Enright says:


    I share your love for the ancient rites of the British Isles, but you have to recognize that the Sarum Use was suppressed by Trent. Thank Henry VIII for that. Nevertheless, I would gladly support restoration of the Sarum Use since it is a well documented and beautiful liturgy. Of course, we in the USA already have a version of the Sarum Use in our Anglican Use personal parishes. Unfortunately, most of them are in Texas which is pretty darn far from Philadelphia.

  24. Tim H says:

    The Sarum was never suppressed by Trent, but merely fell out of use among Catholics as several generations of priests were trained on the continent rather than in England.

  25. Matt Q says:

    Any of the rites before the Bogus Ordo are covered under Summorum Pontificum by default. Splitting hairs over which one is or isn’t included is just gerrymandering with the fact of trying avoid reality. These coots just don’t want to let go, do they? I think it’s like various places which still don’t want to recognize the Civil Rights Act. I wonder what it would be like if they were allowed to drag their feet in implementing it. “Don’t think that applies to my lunch counter. We’ll just let them in for Christmas and Thanksgiving.”

  26. Jordanes says:

    Matt, my anti-spam word was “THINK THEN POST.” Good advice for you, I think, the next time you’re tempted to mock the ordinary use of the Roman Rite as you have done. The liturgy is sacred and like all holy things must never be sneered at.

  27. Johnny Domer says:

    NLM has a story up that says Msgr. Fisichella (whom Fr. Z has praised numerous times on this blog, I believe) is being mentioned as the possible successor of Cardinal Tettamanzi. That would be a pretty spectacular appointment for those dedicated to the Ambrosian Rite, I’d bet…heck, maybe he’d even be a future papabile…

    Of course, the current head of the Apostolic Signatura would look pretty darn good in white too…

  28. Matthias says:

    “I share your love for the ancient rites of the British Isles, but you have to recognize that the Sarum Use was suppressed by Trent.”

    Trent did no such thing. Mary I ‘s reign was well after Trent and when she restorsed Catholicism to England she restored the sarum use as well. Theoretically, the Sarum use is still a legitimate option for priests in England.

  29. Mark M says:


    Why then was Abp. Conti and/or Merton College rapped over the knuckles for celebrating it? (I forget the details, you see.)

  30. Jordanes says:

    Matthias said: Trent did no such thing. Mary I ’s reign was well after Trent and when she restored Catholicism to England she restored the Sarum use (sic) as well.

    Correct, Trent did not suppress the Sarum Rite. It was one of the rites old enough that it was not covered by the decree suppressing those rites and variations of the Roman Rite that were younger than 200 years.

    However, Mary I reigned 1553-1558, whereas the Council of Trent sat 1545-1563, so she obviously did not reign well after the Council of Trent.

    Theoretically, the Sarum use is still a legitimate option for priests in England.

    Correct, it is, in theory anyway.

    Why then was Abp. Conti and/or Merton College rapped over the knuckles for celebrating it?

    Probably for the same reason bishops have been, as Father Zuhlsdorf says, finally enacting Ecclesia Dei adflicta now that Summorum Pontificum is in force.

  31. John Enright says:

    Tim H: In 1570 Pope Pius V promulgated Quo Primum which permitted the continuation of any rite which had been in continuous use for 200 years:

    “This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom.”

    By that time, the Sarum rite had already fallen into disuse, hence the old English rite was abrograted because of a lack of being “continuously followed”. Since Trent expressly left it up to the Pope to standardize the liturgy, Quo Primum is the result of the Council.

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