QUAERITUR: Can the congregation sing the Our Father at a TLM?

From a seminarian reader:

Can the faithful chant the Pater Noster with the priest in the extraordinary form?

This will provoke strong reactions from the camp which holds that no one in the congregation should say or sing anything.

But… yes… I think the congregation can sing the Our Father and some other prayers during a sung Mass.

BUT… it depends very much on the sensibility of the community.

We have dealt with this many times on WDTPRS already.  Perhaps some readers can dig up old links out of the ASK FATHER category.

Long before the Council it was clarified by the Holy See that the people could in fact do more than remain silent and participate through the singing of the choir/schola and the responses of the servers/sacred ministers. 

At the time of this writing I am at Mater Ecclesiae in New Jersey, where the whole congregation sings many of the prayers, the whole Ordinary, though they do NOT sing the Our Father. 

I have been to many places where the TLM is celebrated, and the congregation remains silent. 

I don’t think that the congregation should either be dragooned into singing, nor repressed into silence.   This is something congregations have to work out with their priests.

There are good arguments on both sides of the issue, as we have seen before on WDTPRS.

But, the bottom line is yes, even before the Council the Holy See said that the congregation could sing the Our Father with the priest during a sung Mass.

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  1. TJM says:

    Do the 1958 rules on the Missa Dialoga provide guidance? I may not be remembering this correctly, but I seem to recall the congregation
    generally only sang the “sed libera nos a malo” but somehow I recall when we had a low Mass that we all said the Pater with the priest. I may
    be mistaken. This was over 40 years ago. Tom

  2. TJM, It was my understanding that the recitation of the whole Pater by the people applied to dialogue Low Mass, but not to sung Mass. But I may be wrong, and here Fr. Z. seems to hold that recitation was permitted at both.

  3. Ken says:

    If the schola or acolytes or, in this question, congregation, are to say/sing the Pater Noster, then why is there a response “sed libera nos a malo” at the end of it?

  4. Joshua says:

    De Musica Sacra did not permit the people to sing the Our Father with the priest. It did permit, as an option to any one of the four forms of dialogue Mass for a low Mass that people recite the Pater Noster with the priest, all saying Amen aloud at the end (recall there were three dialogue forms of High, not one of which included the Pater Noster).

    That is not to say that it was not permitted. But It was not permitted by De musica sacra. However, the PCED did permit it, and many other later elements.

    I am staunchly against it, though strongly for the people chanting the ordinary. Ever since the Pater Noster was moved to before the fractioning it has been the priest´s prayer, and seen in a rather different light than in other rites, where its placement is after the fractioning.

  5. puella says:

    This brings back happy memories of Bootcamp: Fr. Tim (aka His Hermeneuticalness) was offering a TLM for us and started the Pater Noster. Of course we had no idea and jollily joined in – until the server (who DOES know better!) turned around and put his fingers to his lips. We hurriedly shushed ourselves and then tried not to collapse into giggles.

    We figured that we’re allowed to make mistakes!

  6. Richard says:

    De Musica Sacra par. 32 permitted congregational participation in the recitation of the Pater Noster:

    “32. Since the Pater Noster is a fitting, and ancient prayer of preparation for Communion, the entire congregation may recite this prayer in unison with the priest in low Masses; the Amen at the end is to be said by all. This is to be done only in Latin, never in the vernacular.”

    Par. 2b of PCED Protocol no. 40/97 (dated March 26, 1997) stated that people may sing the Pater Noster together with the priest during High Mass:

    “b) This Pontifical Commission sees no difficulty in the entire congregation’s singing of the Pater Noster in all sung Masses.

    With regard to all opf the above matters, this Pontifical Commission has already made similar provision for the Conventual Masses celebrated in the Benedictine abbeys in France which have been granted the use of liturgical books in force in 1962. We…believe that it may be readily applied to parochial situations as well.”

    The Protocol from PCED does not obligate the people to sing with Father; it only gives them an option. In this case then, the direction for the people to respond with “sed libera nos a malo” is directed to those who choose not to sing with the priest the Pater Noster except the last part.

    However, it appears that the singing of the Pater Noster by the people during High Mass is a break from tradition, since PCED cannot cite any prior legislation that allowed this practice. Personally, I have mixed feelings about this. I like to sing the Pater Noster myself at Latin Novus Ordo Masses, but at a TLM sung Mass I choose to remain silent at the Pater Noster except for the last part, out of respect for the sensibilities of the people around me. The people singing the Our Father/Pater Noster together with the priest is so associated with the Novus Ordo that any perceived benefit that may be derived from active congregational participation in the singing of the Pater Noster at a TLM is far outweighed by the damage it will bring to the sensibilities of those who come (and there are many of them) to the TLMs to escape from the Novus Ordo.

  7. At my parish we do not sing the Pater Noster, just the sed libera nos a malo…(though I myself do sing quietly)

  8. “If the schola or acolytes or, in this question, congregation, are to say/sing the Pater Noster, then why is there a response “sed libera nos a malo” at the end of it?”

    There was, and in the books it is still listed that way, for the manner in which it was formerly universally applied, and for when there was no option.

    Unfortunately, this is one of those subjects, where people will assume there is no legitimate authority on what is okay and what is not okay, and they’ll fill in the imaginary blanks, either by one group or parish trying to “out-traditional” the other group or parish, or ascribing masonic conspiracy theories dating to the 1950s, or ascribing ill motives and “creeping Novus-Ordoism” — really, I’ve heard that term — to certain priests, all without a shred of evidence. The fact is, Rome has spoken on the matter of outward participation of the faithful in the Traditional Mass, as seen in some of the answers above. (De musica sacra in 1958, the PCED clarification in 1994, etc.) Some of us need to stop acting as though they have not. Back in the late 50s and early 60s, these things were properly implemented to one degree or another by the local bishop. I was there. I remember. Now, of course, we don’t have the benefit of that, and so it’s left to the discretion of the parish or priest, or (if they care enough to decree as much) even the diocese.

    There is a case to be made either for or against the faithful joining in the Pater Noster. (Personally, and for those respective reasons, I could go either way.) Places accustomed to the Novus Ordo in Latin (such as where I serve in northern Virginia) would do it out of habit. Most other places will not. Bottom line, there is a legitimate authority, and whatever a priest or a parish decides to do for a TLM, their decision should be grounded in that authority, so that a spirit of good will can prevail from one locale to another.

    Let Rome be Rome.

  9. Richard says:

    I think it’s in the rubrics of the 1962 Easter Vigil rite that the laity sing the Pater Noster along with the priest.

  10. Calleva says:

    Well they do at Farnborough Abbey over here in the UK. The Benedictine community now only has Mass in the EF, and I’ve been to several Sunday masses. The Masses are always sung, and the congregation may join in the Kyrie, Credo, etc. However, it’s quite difficult to do so as although we have chant books on the pews, no one tells us which one is being used, and there is a wide variety.

    I imagine that this is so because a religious house has its own traditions. The abbey church is Pugin and they have just installed a new high altar, which is quite magnificent. I recommend a visit!

  11. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Funny you should mention this question. This past weekend, I attended a local Gregorian Chant Workshop led by [world-renowned] Scott Turkington of the CMAA. The parish holding this workshop regularly sings the Our Father with the priest. The attendees told Scott that Father would expect us to sing the Our Father at this EF Mass. Since we were in a workshop singing what we had just been taught, Scott insisted that we not sing the Our Father. Scott gave me the impression that congregational singing of the Our Father was not the norm. Since about 75% of the attendees had never before seen an old Mass, Scott wanted it this way I think.

    After Mass, the Master of Ceremonies expressed surprise to me that ‘we were singing all by ourselves up there!” [Father and David the CM are well-steeped in the OF Mass.] David mentioned that permission to sing was given in the 90s.

    I typically experience the silent congregation at the EF Our Father, so I guess it is considered the norm. But obviously congregational singing is allowed.

  12. Al says:

    I did this when I attended my first TLM. Ooops.

    Trouble is it’s one of my favourite chants – it never fails to lift my spirits. I was so carried away it took me several lines to realise I was the only one singing.

    Having said that, I usually find I’m the only one singing…

  13. Mila says:

    If I recall correctly, when the reforms for the liturgy of Holy Week came in 1956, the faithful were supposed to join with the priest in singing the Pater Noster during the Solemn Service of Good Friday.

    I remember praying the Pater at our boarding school where, because it was an all-girl school, there were no servers, so we girls were left to provide all the responses…as well as pray the Pater.

  14. Although there have been recommendations (papal or otherwise) from time to time, there have never (so far as I know) been any official rubrics or norms prescribing lay behavior at a TLM; the 1962 (and earlier) rubrics deal only with clerics. Indeed, the idea of micromanagement of lay participation appears to be a post-Vatican II OF thing.

    On the one hand, I feel some affinity for the idea of the priest “standing alone before God representing his people” in singing the Pater Noster, as was the general practice before Vatican II in English-speaking countries, though I’ve heard it was otherwise in some European countries.

    On the other hand — in regard to the alleged goal of mutual enrichment between the two forms of the Roman rite — there are obvious contributions the extraordinary form might beneficially make to ordinary practice, but the sung Pater Noster may be the only worthy contribution of the ordinary to the extraordinary form that comes readily to mind.

  15. Ken says:

    Al wrote: “Having said that, I usually find I’m the only one singing…”

    And you continue to do it? Regardless of one’s view on this, I think nearly everyone agrees that one person in the congregation should not be doing his own thing. It reminds me of a crazy lady who thinks she should stand during the entire singing of the Credo, and does so while the other 350 people sit. Things like this usually happen the week I have brought a guest to her first traditional Latin Mass.

  16. “And you continue to do it?”

    It would appear that he confessed to feeling out of place for doing it. One might conclude that he doesn’t “continue” after all.

  17. Jonas says:

    The entire community is supposed to sing Pater Noster on Good Friday

  18. Sieber says:

    I attended a monthly EF Missa Cantata at a California Mission for over 20 years. It had begun in the early 80s. We sang the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus (seperated from the Benedictus)as well as the various sung responses. The chants were from the Jubilate Deo. On occasion one or more more of these was replaced from the repetoire of the wonderful choir. The only question that arose was whether or not to stand at the Pater Noster. I called an FSSP priest in Northern California who affirmed that one stands when the Pater Noster is sung.

    Another Mission, which I have attended, remains silently seated. One of the priests celebrates the EF in the Dominican Rite. The only congregational participation is the Domine non sum dignus.

  19. Sacristy_rat says:

    Is there a way we can get a copy of the PCED ruling on this (40/97)? As mentioned above.

  20. fxavier says:

    If I remember correctly, Msgr. Gamber stated that the Western Church (and I think this included St. Augustine in Northern Africa) has always practiced the sole recitation of the Pater Noster by the celebrant alone, up until recently.

    That said, I prefer the congregation participate in the singing of the ordinary chants, and the propers if they can. As for the Pater, I prefer the ancient Roman practice.

  21. Richard F. says:

    At the back of the book “The Order of the Mass” (Michael Sternbeck) issued by Ignatius Press, you will find a reprint of two decisions of the PCED, including the provision for the Conventual Masses in the Benedictine Abbeys, where in par. 7 the PCED ruled “Pater noster ab omnibus simul cum celebrante cantetur.”

  22. Mary says:

    My ’58 Missal, St Joseph Daily (c) 1959, has in red ‘The faithful may chant the entire Our Father with the priest, but only in Latin.’

  23. patrick f says:

    I think it alot of times comes down to the tradition of the community (if there is a religious community providing the mass.)

    For instance, I go to St Gregory and St Augustine, which is a personal parish that sits within literally, St Anselm Parish. St Anselm is a a part of St Louis Abbey. The good monks there are Ampleforth Benedictines. So the benedictine tradition of the our father is very much a part of there way, in that at compline, the our father is chanted by the Abbot, and only at “Deliver us from evil” does the rest of the community respond. likewise, in the TLM that is at the oratory, they go by the rubrics in that the only response from the faithful is just that , in latin of course.

    I think the Lord’s Prayer done in this way, like so much of the TLM, beautifully reminds the faithful of their active participation, The priest is the Presider and leader, He leads us in the our father, we compliment his prayer with our response.

    Now, the singer in me comes out. I also know from a different TLM community in town, that the Our Father was chanted by all. I like this, IF IT IS BEING CHANTED. That was kinda the whole purpose St Gregory had with chant, so the faithful can easily and actively participate. PLus I have to admit, chant is cool, because ANYONE can do it, and its super easy to follow, unlike some of the newer more “congregational” music that is borderline concert level.

    I think it should depend on the way the Our Father is handled. If its chanted, sure, everyone join the chant. If its spoken, then the traditional Benedictine way of doing it

  24. A copy of the 1996 PCED statement can be found online here…


    …which has a protocol number in the text, thus making it easy to verify.

  25. EJ says:

    Traditions of the community aside, the decision of the PCED seems to be binding. It’s not a question of whether you like it or not. Father has it right, the intention here is neither to impose nor forbid certain things upon the faithful. Common sense and respect should both be the rule of thumb. At a solemn high Mass at a suburban parish last year, celebrating the TLM for the first time in decades, the pastor had hired a full orchestra for the occasion, and wrote in the program that the congregation was NOT to sing or make any of the responses. I truly feel that this priest had no right or authority to do so. This decision has not been further clarified or abrogated by the Holy See, so isn’t it safe to assume that the current PCED decision stands? I commend the gentleman above for being so inspired by the liturgical action that he cannot help but sing. Youth are being drawn more and more to the Traditional Mass, they develop a deep interest in the Latin language, and an even deeper appreciation for the our great heritage as Roman Catholics. They come to this Mass, excited about being able to pray what they are learning, only to be hushed, discouraged and made to feel out of place and unwelcome at the very Mass where a true Roman Catholic could not be more welcome. I live in the DC area, and I know of two very different TLM communities, in one about 85% of the congregation sings the parts of the Mass which they are able to and which correspond to them, and at the other, about half make a hushed attempt to sing or reply while the other half is too busy making sour faces at you. Whenever this topic comes up, Thomas Day’s excellent book “Why Catholics Can’t Sing” comes to mind – it provides very interesting explanations behind the cultural trends in American Catholicism, and the extremes on both sides.

  26. “I live in the DC area, and I know of two very different TLM communities, in one about 85% of the congregation sings the parts of the Mass which they are able to and which correspond to them, and at the other, about half make a hushed attempt to sing or reply while the other half is too busy making sour faces at you.”

    Hopefully, this won’t be the face of the Catholic restoration.

  27. Ken says:

    EJ wrote: “Traditions of the community aside, the decision of the PCED seems to be binding.” Not so fast.

    Motu proprio: “Summorum Pontificum”
    “Art. 5. § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962…”

    “We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as ‘established and decreed,’ and to be observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.”

    A good case can be made that the 1996 shenanigans by PCED on the Pater Noster, since they are not in the “Missal published in 1962,” are “to the contrary.” The sole change to the 1962 missal after the motu proprio was the Good Friday oration.

  28. David D. says:

    The PCED document seems only to permit the option of having the congregation recite the entire Pater Noster; it clearly does not grant to the congregation an absolute right to do so at every Mass.

  29. Ken: A good case can be made that the 1996 shenanigans by PCED on the Pater Noster, since they are not in the “Missal published in 1962,” are “to the contrary.”

    It might help to clarify your meaning here — and would certainly be a contribution to this discussion — if you could cite something in the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum that pertains (one way or the other) to the question of whether the congregation can or should or shouldn’t recite or sing the Pater Noster with the celebrant.

  30. Ken says:

    The rubrics from the 1962 missal speak of “the celebrant” or “the priest” and “the minister.”

    See section X:

  31. The PCED has the authority to make emendations or clarifications affecting the Traditional Mass. Some of them are based upon options which were already in force by 1962. This would include, for example, the option (as opposed to a requirement) for the faithful to recite the Pater Noster with the priest during a Low Mass, regardless of whether it was a “dialogue Mass.” The Holy See is within its rights to make subsequent adjustments to its own disciplinary rulings, overrruling those previously in force, as would be expected of any legitimate lawgiver. Referring to this department’s legitimate work as “shenanigans” is reckless and irresponsible, and gives rise to assigning ill motives to priests and congregations who rightfully avail themselves of these provisions. Such culumny has already occurred in this forum in the past year (which can be proven). It wasn’t tolerated then; it won’t be tolerated now.

  32. Michael J says:

    Will the PCED *always* exercise its authority wisely,justly and correctly?
    If not, how should one refer to a hypothetical ruling made by the PCED that is reckless and irresponsible? “Shenanigans”, it seems to me, is rather mild.

  33. Michael J:

    “Will the PCED always exercise its authority wisely, justly and correctly?”

    We pray that it does. But if we believe that it doesn’t, the burden of proof is on us, not them. Maligning priests who legitimately and licitly celebrated the Traditional Mass, because you don’t agree with a prudential decision, or because they’re not as “traditional” as you imagine yourself to be, is most assuredly anything but mild. It is a sin against them, and in the long run, damaging to the very cause being advocated in this forum.

  34. Ken: Yes, in all respects the 1962 rubrics appear to speak exclusively of what the priest and/or ministers and clerics within the sanctuary are to do. I don’t recall any instance in which they speak of what the people in the congregation will or will not do.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, norms for the behavior of the people are apparently a Novus Ordo thing, the behavior of the people in the TLM seemingly left to custom or local choice.

  35. ….the behavior of the people in the TLM seemingly left to custom or local choice.”

    Relatively speaking, this is true in some areas. The greatest is in postures. People watching the funeral of President Kennedy in 1963 were shocked when Charles DeGaulle stood up immediately after the consecration. Variations in active participation, by the 1950s, varied from one part of the USA to another. Misunderstandings have arisen as a result of these variations, over the course of reviving the Traditional Mass. It’s hard to tell how much of an issue this is without the benefit of having witnessed it first-hand, or reviewing the accounts of those who have.

  36. Chris says:

    I know many people, including priests, that find responses very distracting. And it wasn’t left to local custom before the ’50.

    I’m reading a wonderful book circa 1948 called The Mass in Slow Motion. Chapter three talks about the responses to the priest. He says, “The priest says Dominus Vobiscum. You respond, Et Cum Spiritu Tuo (mentally of course).”

    In that, he makes a blanket statement: say the responses to yourselves. The altar boys are saying them for you.

  37. David: The greatest is in postures ….. Misunderstandings have arisen as a result of these variations, over the course of reviving the Traditional Mass.

    Indeed. For instance, I recall a pretty learned parish bulletin discussion by an FSSP pastor (and seminary professor), an obvious expert on traditional liturgical history and practice, explaining why he had instructed his parish that the faithful should stand through the singing of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei at high Mass — despite the fact that none could recall ever doing this sort of thing before (and some of them evidently had said so).

    If they were at all amusing, some of these fly-in-amber types would be downright laughable. Those who think they remember precisely how everything was done before Vatican II — despite, in some cases, plainly being too young for this to be possible — and are dogmatically certain that no way but theirs is acceptable under the rubrics, of which they seem to have little knowledge.

    In my case, I was there before Vatican II, in a number of different parishes in three different areas of the country — southeast, midwest, and northeast — and observed firsthand some variances that some now loudly (and even boorishly, on occasion) insist did not exist.

    In regard to responses and the like, I recently read somewhere that the “silent low Mass” — of which I personally am fond and find wonderfully un-distracting — was originally an Irish phenomenon; they had to be quiet at Mass to avoid being caught there. It was then exported to other places like the U.S. where Irish Catholics in many places dominated local practices, and now some Europeans say they regard the silent low Mass as largely an American tradition.

  38. Michael J says:


    I presume that in your response to me you used the pronoun “you” in the general sense. Certainly, nothing in my question or anything else I have posted could lead you to those conclusions about me specifically.

    Just so that there is no mis-understanding, I offered no opinion about the 1996 PCED decision you referenced previously. I was simply commenting that if one believes that this decision is unwise or damaging, referring to it as “Shenanigans” is mild. I fail to see how you can consider this to be “maligning” or “reckless and irresponsible” or “calumny”. In short, for what its worth, I believe that you over-reacted.

  39. The rubrics in the missal (1962)says that the people say the Pater Noster along with the priest.It is also permitted for the congregation to stand when singing the Kyrie,Gloria,Credo,Sanctus,Agnus Dei(according to Fortescue).I am the pastor of theparish that hosted the gregorian Chant wokshop and I take offense at Tina of Ashburn remark that I am “steeped in the OF” whatever that might mean.The workshop concluded with a Missa Cantata (Usus Antiquior).About 95%of the 100 participants were not of this parish.There were 13 dioceses represented and one from Canada.Theyy did not chant the Pater until the end.I srtongly believe that when you attend a TLM you should follow the custom of place.In the case of the worshop they shoud have followed the custom of chanting the whole thing.

  40. Chris says:

    Father, you said they should follow the customs of the parish. What if the customs are novelties? What if the customs are lay readers, or the priest comes outside the sanctuary for the sermon, or the priest incorporates a “procession of gifts” to the altar? Should the Faithful follow these abuses as well? I’m not comparing them to singing the Pater, but I do believe that can be where some end up, and I don’t see how everyone at a church can be compelled to actively take part.

  41. Michael J:

    The “you” in my response to yourself was a general remark, but I was originally addressing the person who made the remark. I stand behind my description of the history of such remarks, and my reaction to them. I assure you they have occurred before.

  42. “In regard to responses and the like, I recently read somewhere that the “silent low Mass”—of which I personally am fond and find wonderfully un-distracting—was originally an Irish phenomenon…”

    While the area where I grew up (Cincinnati) had a large Irish population, the Catholics in the region were mostly German. The Germans tended to be more active in the “liturgical movement” of the early- and mid-20th century, and outward responses were more common. They also popularized vernacular hymns during the Low Mass for many years before that, even though the practice was officially (as I am to understand) “verboten.”

  43. “I’m reading a wonderful book circa 1948…”

    …when the role of the congregation was not as vocal as in later years. Even then, the “dialogue Mass” was already popular in Europe. Pius XI had personally encouraged it as early as 1940. Your statement, “In that, he makes a blanket statement: say the responses to yourselves. The altar boys are saying them for you.” does not universally apply to the 1962 Missal.

  44. Chris,Are we talking about the EF or the OF? Customs should be followed but that presumes they are legitimate.The EF gives the priest 3 choices for the place of the homily,the OF would allow one to preach outside the sanctuary.Come to thnk about it the EF might also-at least for bishops at confirmation.Lay readers are allowed in the OF.And offertory processions are allowed (this has been discussed previously)in the EF-there is an elaborate one at canonizations. So to make mysef clear-legitimate customs should be respected.

  45. Chris says:

    Fr. McAfee: “And offertory processions are allowed (this has been discussed previously)in the EF-there is an elaborate one at canonizations.”

    Father, with all due respect, I’d love for you to show us even one single example of where an offertory procession ever took place before Vatican II (excluding one example with a pope close to the Council).

    It’s a stretch at best and clearly a novelty.

    And parishioners should never be forced to participate in such a novelty.

  46. Chris, you wrote: “Father, with all due respect, I’d love for you to show us even one single example of where an offertory procession ever took place before Vatican II (excluding one example with a pope close to the Council).”

    I hope you don’t mind if I answer for him. Would you settle for two examples?

    A book entitled “The Mass of the Future” by the Jesuit Father Gerald Ellard, features two photographs of a elderly couple presenting the offertory gifts to the priest, at one Corpus Christi Parish in New York. The book was published in 1948. The title can be misleading, and must be understood in the context of its times, as the text of the work, as most of the liturgical movement of the time, was very deferential to Sacred Tradition.

    There is also a quotation from Pius XII in his 1947 encyclical “Mediator Dei”: “First of all the more extrinsic explanations are these: it frequently happens that the faithful assisting at Mass join their prayers alternately with those of the priest, and sometimes—a more frequent occurrence in ancient times—they offer to the ministers at the altar bread and wine to be changed into the body and blood of Christ, and, finally, by their alms they get the priest to offer the divine victim for their intentions.”(90) Notice the Holy Father, who otherwise warned against the trend toward “antiquarianism,” refers to the practice in the present tense.

    Personally, and as a master of ceremonies, I would find difficulties with this practice, especially in the context of the Solemn High Mass, where the Subdeacon has a specifically defined role in presenting the gifts. There is also the matter of the presenters themselves amidst the congregation. In the one scenario with which I am familiar of late, the parties were inappropriately dressed for a Traditional Mass. The women were usually wearing slacks, and their heads were uncovered, while the men rarely appeared in coat and tie. But the question raised here, would appear to be whether this practice was a direct result of the liturgical changes following Vatican II, legitimate or otherwise. The physical and written evidence exists to show that it was not.

  47. Emilio says:

    Chris – the Supreme Authority of the Church aside, with competence over practices restored to the Sacred Liturgy, you might want to search for another word other than “novelty” when describing the offertory procession. Its presence in the Roman Liturgy is hardly a “novelty,” as there is a historic reason behind the “gap” after the “Dominus vobiscum” at the start of the priest’s offertory prayers. You can make your point across better without historical innacuracy I think. Furthermore, the celebration of the EF at Fr. McAfee’s parish is simply unmatched on a variety of levels, as was the OF there before. It is the only EF celebration in this country (that I’ve been to) that does without the “fly in amber” approach to the EF, truly a “Spirit of Summorum Pontificum” oasis. His little church “in the round” is without a doubt the Brompton Oratory of the Washington Metro Area, and I make the 60mi r/t drive gladly as a “stowaway” from another diocese when I’m able to. I really think you owe him an apology.

  48. Chris says:

    Slow down there Emilio and read what I wrote.

    I don’t know the good father and I’ve never been to his church. And I never criticized anything he’s doing because I don’t know what he’s doing. Where I differed with him is where he said people should assume the customs of the place. That’s it. So let’s actually read what people say before demanding apologies.

    And in terms of this “fly in amber” criticism, just because people hold true to tradition, and don’t believe a “living liturgy” means you can add and subtract as you like, rather that it is “living” like a tree is living yet not moving its roots at the same time, doesn’t mean we’re stuck in a time warp.

    I’m done replying to this as I can see Fr. Z. coming back with a rabbit hole comment or shutting off comments altogether.

  49. Ken says:

    “The rubrics in the missal (1962)says that the people say the Pater Noster along with the priest.”



  50. Jay says:

    You may only pray the Pater Noster aloud with the priest on Good Friday.

  51. “Where?”

    In any hand missal published from 1960 onwards, and before 1964. You will not find it in the text linked here. That is from a translation of the rubrics by Father Dennis M Duvelius. At the parish where I work, we have found a few errors. This is one of them.

    And for the record, St John’s in McLean, Virginia, scrupulously conforms to all liturgical norms currently in force regarding the Traditional Mass. In the rare event that we discover an error, we correct it. The priests of that parish, and those who assist them, frequently resort to the most authoritative material available, and consult regularly with priests of the Fraternity and other orders, who specialize in the training of priests for the Traditional Mass.

  52. Ken says:

    So, handmissals are more accurate than a respected translation of the official 1962 missal and rubrics? Where is the error in that translation?

    Say the black, do the red, right?

  53. David: A book entitled “The Mass of the Future” ….. The book was published in 1948.

    Rummaging through this same book on the liturgical reform movement well before Vatican II, I see photos of various bishops with captions in which they are saying things like:

    –“To induct the young into the liturgical assistance at holy Mass, we recommend the practice known as Dialog Mass.”

    –“A need of our times is social or communal praying, to be voice under the guidance of the pastors, in enacting the solemn functions of the liturgy.” (Pope Pius XI)

    –“The voices of all the congregation should be incorporated into this enobled expression of praise, so that the voice of the people becomes the voice of the Church lifting up her soul to the throne of her divine spouse.”

    –“It is to be regretted that little progress has been made in our parishes in attaining the broader object of the pontifical documents, namely, restoring the voice of the people by means of Gregorian chant.”

    Referring to Popes Pius X, XI, and XII, apparently. But these goals for active participation in the liturgy go back at least to medieval times. In a chapter entitled “Medieval Pleas for Mass Reform”, we read that in 1435 the Council of Basle castigated and ‘abolished’ the abuse in northern Europe whereby “low Mass is said in so low a tone that it cannot be heard by those attending them.” And “They do not permit anyone to make the responses, except the servers, and no one else”. Whereas it is added in a 16th century comment that the southern rule, on the contrary, was that the priest so pitch his voice that all may hear so as to understand and that all make the common responses together.”

  54. “So, handmissals are more accurate than a respected translation of the official 1962 missal and rubrics? Where is the error in that translation?”

    The question of the faithful’s role in the Pater Noster, with respect to the 1962 Missal, has been asked and answered more than once in this forum. The matter of the “respected translation” has been answered. What remains begs the question: where is the error in the handmissals which were published at a time when this change was not such a bone of contention?

  55. “Comment by Henry Edwards — 22 October 2008 @ 10:18 am”

    Nice to see you have the book.

  56. Joshua says:

    The question of the singing of the Pater Noster is an odd one. Certainly it was not allowed, in writing at least, in 1962. The option was only for a low Mass (De Musica sacra). I find that claim that handmissals said to do it odd, because I have many handmissals from 1958-1965, and only the 1965 ones says that. Not the Baronious, Angelus press, New Marian, ad nauseam. So Mr. Alexander, I would also add that the Latin rubrics do not mention the faithful singing the Pater either.

    Yet we know that the PCED permitted it, and it seems logical extension of the permission for it at low Mass (unlike many other this they permitted, like concelebration), so much so that even in 1962 I think one could have thought it tacitly approved

    Fr. Z posted above about a ruling contrary to this, and another commentator mentioned a ruling that previous PCED decrees were made null by Summorum Pontificum. However, we have only seen the one permitting it. Granted, it has the character that it applies, legally, only to the one receiving it, but there is a good presumption, based on its very wording, that anyone would get the same response, under which case permission can be presumed. I supposes if there were good reason to think previous decrees made null, then such permission could not be presumed.

    Now I don´t like the practice, but until it is made clear that the previous decision no longer applies, a congregation that joins in with the Pater Noster is in line with the law.

    Likewise, Pius XII mentioned offertory processions in Mediator Dei. Again, I would oppose introducing that, both because it offends the sensibilities of many traditionalists, and perhaps more important I cannot see that it would generally not be done in the sloppy manner it usually is. If Fr. McAfee has it done in a way that is befitting the liturgy, then I would not have a problem with it, and I presume he does so. My issue would be that in general, as we have seen in the OF, that is not the case.

  57. Joshua:

    I am not at home, so I don’t have my handmissals with me. The ones I do have from that period do state that the recitation of the Pater Noster with the priest is an option for the Low Mass. This would be the case as of 1962. I certainly wouldn’t force the issue at a parish, and at the one where I work, sometimes they join in, and sometimes they don’t. Personally, I could make a case for or against it.

    To settle any rubrical issues, we normally use the 14th edition of Fortescue’s “Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described,” as edited by O’Connell and Reid. This until recently was the latest edition in print, and incorporated all the changes made up until 1962. There is also “The Celebration of Mass” by O’Connell, the last edition of which was issued in 1964, which also incorporates the 1962 rubrics, and which has been faithfully reprinted in recent years. These two volumes, and decrees issued by the PCED, also in recent years, have been the basis for what is okay or not okay at the parish where I work.

    There is no offertory procession for the TLM at St John’s in McLean, Virginia, where Father McAfee is pastor. There was one for the first several months, but it was discontinued. My earlier remarks about the practice reflect my understanding of the issues that gave us pause. Personally, I can agree to it in theory, but I really don’t support it in practice.

    Most people who invest as much as they do to implement the TLM, genuinely want to do the right thing, and go out of their way to ensure that the right thing is being done. They tend to eschew chat rooms and internet discussion groups for more authoritative sources. I have found that priests are often inundated with complaints from people who say, oh you’re not doing this or that right, or that’s not how my Auntie Betty remembers it, that’s not how we do it at Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility Parish in Lake Woebegon, Minnesota — stuff like that.

    Once we had a guy from out of town walk into our sacristy, and complain to me as the MC that something was askew on the altar. This was seven minutes before Mass was to begin, and the celebrant was right there vesting and saying his prayers. Father had his back turned, and when the guy left and the he turned around… well, it was a good thing I got to the guy before the priest did. The guy was correct, but only up to a point, and it could have been dismissed as an honest mistake, which in this case it was.

    Things like this have been a major headache for some priests, to the point where they give up celebrating the TLM altogether. I am in a position to hear such stories. I think that’s very sad, when the very people who have clamored for years, for that to which they have been entitled, become their own worst enemy. This has been an issue that Father Zuhlsdorf has addressed on more than one occasion. All of us need to reflect on that as we consider the details of our sacred worship. I can tell you that in the past year, except for Holy Week, I have not attended a liturgy in the Ordinary Form. Not on Sundays, not on a weekday, not when I’m out of town. Part of the Catholic restoration, is the restoration of ourselves. How we go about our work, then, matters as much as what we go about in our work.

    At least it seems that way to me.

  58. Joshua: I would also add that the Latin rubrics do not mention the faithful singing the Pater either.

    True, but perhaps misleading. Since none of the 530 rubrics in the 1962 missal mentions (one way or the other) the behavior of the people in the congregation (i.e., outside the sanctuary) — with regard to either posture or vocal participation — would it not be more accurate to say that the 1962 rubrics are neutral on the question of the people’s chanting the Pater Noster, their standing for it, etc?

    Perhaps some of our European readers can comment on whether it was common in France and Germany (for instance) for the people there to sing the Pater Noster at high Mass. If so, that would suggest further that the practice was not excluded prior to Vatican II.

  59. Joshua says:

    Actually that is not quite true

    272. Of its nature the Mass demands that all those present take part in it, after the manner proper to them.
    A choice must be made, however, among the various ways in which the faithful may take part actively in the most holy sacrifice of the Mass, in such a way that any danger of abuse may be removed, and the special aim of the participation may be realized, namely a fuller measure of worship offered to God and of edification obtained for the faithful.
    This active participation of the faithful has been dealt with at greater length in the Instruction, Sacred Music and the Sacred Liturgy, given by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on September 3, 1958.

    The fact that ever since its introduction to before the fractioning the Pater Noster was recited by the priest alone (St. Augustine mentions this), puts the onus on those insisting it was changed. Now it might be reasonable to think that the permission only explicit for low Mass was in practice extended to High Mass, and perhaps too that this was tacitly approved at the time, but the rubrics are not neutral. They do give direction.

    Indeed one actually does not follow the rubrics in the Missal when the laypeople join in, with regards to the priest saying Amen quietly. Instead, De Musica has them all say it aloud.

  60. Joshua says:

    Mr. Alexander, I can sympathise. For a year I put most of my free time in trying to get the TLM to run smoothly. The priests´ were not all of one mind and that did not help. Much of my time was explaining to people either that there were legitimate differences, or the priest made a mistake and is aware of it (one of them almost always asked me after Mass what he did wrong. It was not like he was not trying), or that there were bigger fish to fry, or that they had it wrong. I even got notes in my mailbox \”correcting\” me for my posture at Mass (since other people followed me), printed off from some random website.

    Between the schola, the separate priests, etc it was a workwout. And I used the exact books you did and stuck with them as best as I could (yielding of course to the priests´ when there was disagreement, and sometimes to some other servers, who had done it longer but were not what doing it as I had seen or by the book, so to speak). Indeed disputes between servers were the hardest (three of us had stepped in to train the others, the other two had several different views, and I tried mediating through reading various authorities, and the priests usually let us figure it out).

  61. Dear Ken,Probably nothing will change your mind but it is worth the try.Rubrics in hand missals especially those printed in 1958 or 60 are usually faithful tothe rubrics or else they would not be published with ecclesiastical approval.The fact is you are wrong.THE rubrics allowed it.Inany case the Commission Eclesia Dei allows it .You cannot place Suumorum Pontificum at odds withthe commission the author of the MP has gaven the authority to implemnt it. ps.for your benefit the 1962 missal states the following before the Pater Noster “Celebrans ,item iunctis manibus,et OMNES PRAESENTES prosequuntur” emphasis added.

  62. Martin says:

    I was born in 1947 so I do remember the EF very well. I have two questions which, although they don’t pertain to the reciting of the Pater Noster, do pertain to other issues that have been commented on here. Perhaps these questions may sound silly but I really do want to know the answers.
    Firstly, regarding the Offertory procession: It was the custom, at both my parish church and all the other churches I attended in my Diocese, that after the collection had been taken up following the Creed, two ushers would process up the main aisle with the collected offerings in two baskets and offer them to the celebrant who was awaiting them at the opening in the communion rail. Was this not a form of Offertory procession?
    Secondly, regarding the priest not being allowed to leave the sanctuary for the homily. Many churches had elaborate pulpits away from the sanctuary. The one in my old parish church was built high up on one of the pillars dividing the nave from the side aisles. There were five rows of pews in front of the placement of the pulpit. Even after the introduction of the 1962 Missal, that pulpit was still used for the sermons. Was this an abuse of the rubrics?

  63. “Secondly, regarding the priest not being allowed to leave the sanctuary for the homily… Was this an abuse of the rubrics?”

    No, in fact such was common in Europe. This is why it was necessary for the priest to remove his chasuble and maniple before leaving the sanctuary for the pulpit. A remnant of this practice is retained, when the priest removes his maniple, and either leaves it at the altar, or hands it to the MC, before ascending the pulpit, even if it is in the sanctuary.

    “The fact that ever since its introduction to before the fractioning the Pater Noster was recited by the priest alone (St Augustine mentions this), puts the onus on those insisting it was changed.”

    …an onus which has been met — repeatedly, authoritatively (and most recently, in Latin), in this forum. That said, you’re right about the burden of proof.

    By the way, Joshua, I have found that with some training material for servers, there are little areas of disagreement; everything from which one takes the water and basin for the Lavabo, to which server switches the book from the Epistle to the Gospel side. All kinds of stuff like that. It’s one of the reason I’ve been pushing for training workshops for MCs as well as priests. It could happen in the next year if I’m successful. If it does, I’ll be reporting it on my blog. Stay tuned…

  64. Ken says:

    Handmissals should not be considered a reliable source for rubrics. Often the rubrics in them are paraphrased, and sometimes they are wrong. For instance, the Father Lasance handmissal (one of the most popular) has the bell rung at the Quam Oblationem instead of the Hanc Igitur.

    The rubrics for the Pater Noster from this well-respected altar missal are on page LXI:


    I still would like to see rubrics from an altar missal allowing or directing the congregation to say/sing the Pater Noster.

  65. “Handmissals should not be considered a reliable source for rubrics.”

    Neither is a website with a vernacular translation, but that didn’t stop you, did it? Father was right; you don’t listen too well. He just got done quoting you the rubric in the authoritative language, and stating the proper authority in the matter at present, and you’re still not satisfied.

  66. joshua says:

    Neither the Rubricae Generales nor the Ritus servandus in the 1962 Missal say what Father said. The former says nothing to answer the question,

    I quote from the Ritus Servandus X

    Celebrans, cooperto calice adoratoque Sacramento, erigit se, et manibus extensis hinc inde super altare intra corporale positis, dicit intellegibili voce : Per omnia sæcula sæculorum, et cum dicit : Oremus, iungit manus, caput Sacramento inclinans. Cum incipit : Pater noster, extendit manus, et stans oculis ad Sacramentum intentis, prosequitur usque ad finem. Responso a ministro : Sed libera nos a malo, et a celebrante, submissa voce : Amen

    When he says Pater Noster he extends his hands and standing with his eyes toward the sacrament, continues even until the end. The response by the server: Sed libera nos a malo, and by the celebrant, in a subdued voice: Amen

    In fact it should tip us off that Father misquoted, because the rubric he quoted said that the priest had joined hands, but his hands are extended during the Pater

    Celebrans ,item iunctis manibus,et OMNES PRAESENTES prosequuntur

    The Celebrant, again joining his hands, and all present continue

    So I looked for the quote. There is nothing that says that, not even the ordo. It merely says

    Reponit hostiam, calicem palla cooperit, genuflectit,surgit, et dicit intellegibili voce vel
    cantat: Per omnia saecula saeculorum

    Tells him to join hands, then say or sing the preface (Praeceptis salutaribus…) then he extends hands and sings the rest. It was a R. symbol before the sed libera nos part, and as before says to say the Amen quietly. But we know that the Amen is aloud with the people if they recite it.

    I looked and quoted from an actual altar missal, with the letter from the SRC dated July 23 1962.

    I hate to put Father on the spot, but the quote is just not in the 1962 Missal. Rather, it is in the 1965 Altar Missal I have.

  67. joshua says:

    I retract, sort of. It is in the 1962 Missal, but only for Good Friday

    Totum vero Pater noster, cum sit prefatio ad Communionem, omnes praesentes, clerici et fideles, una cum celebrante, solemniter, graviter et distincte recitant, lingua latina addito quoque ab omnibus Amen.

    Celebrans, iunctis manibus, dicit solus:
    Oremus. Praeceptis salutaribus moniti et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere:

    Celebrans, item iunctis manibus, et omnes praesentes prosequuntur:

    Note, this rubric is contrary to the rubric in the regular Mass. It stands as an exception for Good Friday, for normally the priest extends his hands, but on Good Friday they are joined.

    Note too, the Pater Noster is not chanted on Good Friday (in the post 1955 version), but recited by all.

    Maybe Father could have made it clearer that he was quoting from the liturgy for Good Friday, that would have helped others find the quote. But I fail to see how that pertains to the question of chanting it at a Mass? Now the PCED document answers that, so in practice yes it is permitted, but as a matter pedantry I must point out that this rubric does not serve the purpose for which it was quoted.

  68. Ken says:

    David — Did you even click the “website” I listed? It’s a scanned 1962 altar missal. The other website I linked to was simply an electronic version of an existing book (Fr. Devulius translated rubrics). Neither had new content.

    Joshua — very nice job quoting from other direct sources. This debate is only interesting when people stick to the facts, rather than saying it’s so, then getting upset with anyone who presents evidence to the contrary. I commend you for raising the bar by doing research.

  69. Chris says:

    Ken, sticking to the facts, you are right.

    I have looked through a number of missals (I collect them). Missals from the 1800s, turn of the century, ’45s, ’60, ’61 and ’62s. NONE of them instruct or give an option for the Faithful to join in with the Pater.

    Trust, but verify.

  70. “David—Did you even click the “website” I listed? It’s a scanned 1962 altar missal.”

    I’ve had it on file for over a year, Ken, and I refer to it as part of my work.

    But it doesn’t really matter. You have challenged a legitimate authority in this forum when it doesn’t suit you (calling their actions “shenanigans”), thus demonstrating a willingness to play loose with the facts. The authority over the missal you cite from 1962, is the same authority which altered some detail therein in 1996. What difference does it make what you cite from that authority, if you are determined to be the final arbiter of its legitimacy anyway?

  71. “Comment by Chris — 23 October 2008 @ 10:53 am”

    I have a hand missal in my library, the “Layman’s Daily Missal,” published by Helicon Press in Baltimore, Maryland, and Maison Mame, “publishers of the Sacred Congregation of Rites.” In the Ordinary of the Mass, on page 878, it says as follows: “When the Mass is sung, the Lord’s Prayer is sung by the celebrant alone, as far as Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, the choir or people respond Sed libera nos a malo and the celebrant concludes it with Amen silently. At low Mass the whole prayer may be recited aloud, in Latin, by the people with the celebrant, all adding the Amen.”

    The same authenticity used for the publishing of altar missals is used for hand missals as well. In order for this to have been published under the authority stated above, the rubric would have had to be correct.

  72. Michael J says:


    Ignatius Press recently – on its own authority – included a selection of Prefaces from the 1970 Missal and stated that they “are permitted for use in the Extraordinary form.”

    True, Summorium Pontificum hints that this may be allowed in the future, but at the time of publication, no such allowance was made.

    The whole point of this is that it is not inconceivable that other publishers could have made a similar and good faith error, so I would not rely too much on explanatory notes in a handmissal. As Chris states, “Trust but verify” seems to be the wiser course.

  73. Joshua says:

    Michael, Mr. Alexander´s handmissal is correct though, per De musca sacra. Such permission existed for low Mass then. That has been well established. The question concerned High Mass. It seems at this point clear that no provision was made for singing it together in 1962. However, the PCED did make such provision, and until it can be shown that

    1. They clearly overstepped authority
    2. They have rescinded that decree (or SP made it null)

    Then the state of question is to answer, yes it may be done. I don´t like all the provisions the PCED has made, and wouldn´t use many of them, but they exist

  74. “Comment by Michael J — 23 October 2008 @ 1:21 pm”

    It was my understanding that the PCED had at one point permitted certain prefaces not included in the 1962 Missal, but which were published in the 1965, to be used. I would have to look into it. Further, that Ignatius Press made some kind of error in 2008, does not prove an error by a publisher for the SCR in 1962.

    “Comment by Joshua — 23 October 2008 @ 2:00 pm”

    Concerning one point you made, last night Father McAfee wrote: “You cannot place Summorum Pontificum at odds with the commission the author of the MP has given the authority to implement it.”

  75. Michael J:

    I have taken the opportunity to review the letter of the PCED dated 26 March 1997 (Protocol #40/97), on the matter of additional prefaces. A scanned copy, referred to earlier in this forum, can be found here. Here is the relevant paragraph:

    “This Pontifical Commission sees no difficulty in the use of the prefaces which Your Lordship has indicated since they were once permitted by indults of the Congregation of Rites. Furthermore, the very rich prefaces of the Missal of Pope Paul VI could equally be used for the appropriate Masses in teh 1962 Roman Missal. Even though the original Indult Quattuor Abhinc Annos of 3 October 1984 insisted that ‘there must be no interchanging of texts and rites of the two Missals’, this Pontifical Commission has consistently argued that in the light of the ‘wide and generous application of the directives already issued … for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962’ (Ecclesia Dei 6, c) such usage would be fully acceptable.”

    I would be curious as to which “indults of the Congregation of Rites” the PCED was referring. I would guess it means the so-called “Agatha Christi indult” for the 1965 Missal, which existed in England and Wales for many years.

    Speaking for myself, and even though it appears to be permissible, I would avail myself of this provision rather guardedly. Those which were included in the Missal in 1965 were, as I understand, of considerable historical value — If I remember correctly, we used one for Advent which was originally from the Gelasian Sacramentary — and this would be a point in favor of their use. I would be even more reluctant to use those in the Missal of Paul VI, unless it could be demonstrated that their lineage and authenticity was equivalent to those already published in the 1962 Missal.

  76. Daniel Latinus says:

    I recall Fr. Phillips at St. John Cantius saying that something was being done to obtain permission for the congregation to sing the Pater Noster at the TLM. Is there any movement on this front?

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