QUAERITUR: can all daily Masses be TLMs in a regular parish?

On ZENIT there was a question put to their resident liturgical expert, Fr. Edward McNamara, of the Legionaries of Christ.

Frequency of the Extraordinary Form

And More on Habit-Wearers

ROME, SEPT. 29, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: I am confused about the permission given by our Holy Father regarding the celebration of Mass using the Tridentine rite (the extraordinary form). Can a parish substitute for all daily Masses throughout the week the "Tridentine form" instead of the "ordinary form"? I understand Sunday Masses must be of the ordinary form, with perhaps the exception of one Tridentine Mass. — D.F., St. Clair Shores, Michigan

A: The most relevant document regarding this point is probably Article 5 of "Summorum Pontificum":

"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, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church.

"§2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held."

Canon 392 refers to the bishop’s overall right and duty to oversee and enforce the observation of ecclesiastical laws within his jurisdiction.

While the papal document certainly allows some leeway, the fact that it asks pastors to ensure that the celebration of the extraordinary form harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care would suggest that a parish should not habitually substitute all daily Masses for the extraordinary form. [Okay… there are some rather vague things going on here, "leeway… harmonizes… suggest… habitually".]

A parish with more than one priest could have daily Mass in both forms[Well… probably a parish with a single priest could also.]

Likewise, in areas where churches are in close proximity, the bishop could allow one parish to celebrate a daily Mass in the extraordinary form for the faithful from several parishes. [It rather sounds as if Fr. M is applying Ecclesia Dei adflicta.] Other possibilities include rotating the celebration of the extraordinary form during the week among two or three nearby parishes.

If the need arises, the papal letter issued "motu propio" (on his own initiative) also foresees the possibility of the bishop establishing a special parish, thus Article 10:

"The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with Canon 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law."

As is obvious all celebrations in such a parish or chaplaincy would be according to the extraordinary form.

The above document says that it is important to seek positive and charitable solutions to the needs of all the faithful so as to avoid discord and to favor the Church’s unity.

It is obviously not a bad think to have all daily Masses (or the only daily Mass) in a parish be in the Extraordinary Form, or there would not be the possibility of parishes where only the older books are used.

So, in all other parishes, it is a matter of working out the "pastoral" exigencies for how to use the TLM in a parish.

I cannot imagine a priest, facing things as they are today in most parishes where the older form hasn’t been used in years, would be able to change all the daily Masses to the TLM in anything like an irenic manner.

I guess this could come up in a parish where there is one priest with one daily Mass scheduled. 

You would think that if everyone who went to daily Mass at a parish, and the priest himself, really wanted the TLM rather than the Novus Ordo, and there were requests along those lines and consultation with the regulars, there is little reason why the priest shouldn’t use the TLM for the daily Mass.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Ioannes Andreades says:

    The answer to the question is simply to cite one line from S.P.: “Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII may take place on working days.” The rest of the answer is irrelevant.

  2. MikeJ9919 says:

    The only problem I see with your answer, Father, is that the same argument could be made for Sundays: “You would think that if everyone who went to [Sunday] Mass at a parish, and the priest himself, really wanted the TLM rather than the Novus Ordo, and there were requests along those lines and consultation with the regulars, there is little reason why the priest shouldn’t use the TLM for the [Sunday] Mass.” Except SP clearly provides for only one Sunday (and feast day) TLM. Since few churches have only one Mass on Sunday, isn’t the clear implication that (except in personal parishes) the TLM and NO will be celebrated together? Couldn’t such an implication be extended to the weekdays? That is, the Holy Father has clearly given permission for TLM on weekdays, but would prefer that both forms of the Rite be celebrated?

  3. ssoldie says:

    For the ‘Gregorian Rite Mass’ of 1500 years, to be allowed to only certain days of the week is redundant, as long as the priest can pray the T.L.M. and wants to, and the laity is there. I find no right reason to restrict the Mass of all time thus, to only certain days of the week. I would very much welcome to have a ‘personal pasish’ here where I live. Sincerely:

  4. Jack Hughes says:

    There is one Parish in Clifton (I won’t say where in case the priest gets in trouble) where the TLM is offered nearly every day, also I know a Prison Chaplin who only celebrates the New Rite on Sundays. Brick by Brick.

  5. moon1234 says:

    I see no problem with daily TLM at all. We have daily TLM at 6:30am and NO at 8am. The TLM has three times the people show up. Sunday has the N.O and the TLM.

    Do people forget about all of the societies that say only the TLM? Some have three or four TLM on Sunday. I also don’t see a problem with more than on TLM on Sunday if needed. A missa privata that is TLM on Sunday and not on the normal schedule would be just fine. It all depends on the needs of the parish.

  6. Ruth says:

    I am 100 percent sure this is my parish as I doubt there are any other parishes in the Detroit area that have Tridentine Masses on a daily basis. All I can say is it is great! The parish offers 2 or 3 daily Masses (sorry I can’t remember) and I wish I was able to get there every day of the week. When Father first started Celebrating the EF at his daily morning Mass there was, as far as I know, only one individual who complained. I haven’t heard of anyone else. But how many parishes offer 2 daily Masses and confession? At first only the morning Mass was to be EF but pretty soon the evening Mass congregation began asking for the EF as well. Now, I am not sure the 7PM daily Mass is always in the EF but it may be. In any event no one is forced to attend so what’s the problem?

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