Revising and updating the 1962 Missale Romanum

Sandro Magister at Chiesa has in interesting piece about the activity of the Holy See.

Here is a little bit of what he offered.

VATICAN CITY, September 19, 2011 – “The activity of the Holy See” is a hefty volume that gives a year-by-year account of the actions of the pope and the Roman curia. It is an “unofficial publication,” as specified on the frontispiece, but in spite of this it contains not a little information, sometimes rather unusual, that cannot be found in other Vatican sources.

To verify this it is enough to leaf through the latest edition, on the activities of 2010, which has just been printed by Libreria Editrice Vaticana (1343 pp., 80.00 euro).

In it we learn, for example:


– that a joint commission was set up, with experts of the commission “Ecclesia Dei” and of the congregation for divine worship, for the “updating” of the commemorations of the saints and the “possible insertion of new prefaces” into the preconciliar Roman missal of 1962, to which Benedict XVI gave full citizenship in 2007.


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  1. jbas says:

    It would give many of us a moral boost if we could say we are using the 2012 (or whenever) edition of the extraordinary Roman Missal. A new edition would be a further step towards solidifying the permanent rejuvenation of the Roman liturgical tradition.

  2. Dr. K says:

    I’d like to see some additional readings/Gospels for weekdays inserted into the 62 Missal.

  3. Cristero says:

    Deo gratias. I was wondering when something like this would be done. I have an old Mexican Missal from 1926 with an insert from 1951 that had the new propers for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Can’t wait for a new insert for my Missal!

  4. Andy Milam says:

    The only “clarifications” to the ’62 Missal should be to the Canon of Saints…they are necessary…I think that it should not be frivolous though. Time should be taken to ensure that they are given the proper class.

    This should be the only addition made. To do anything else would be to compromise the integrity of the Missal, this would include new prefaces. They simply are not necessary and would just be innovation.

  5. Inigo says:

    An insert with the pre-Pius XII Hebdomada Maior would be nice too. Not exactly an updatre, rather a “downdate”(?) if there is such a thing…

  6. Bryan Boyle says:

    I welcome this…as long as it doesn’t make the 1962MR look too much like the OF. Revisions and updating are necessary…fossilizing it in 1962 (an old priest friend, long retired, related the aggida that the 62 revisions (minor, in retrospect) caused) is not useful. Making it look more like 1969 isn’t either.

    The genius of the Church is that as the guardian of her patrimony and Sacred Tradition, she CAN revise (as we’ve seen with the 3 revision of the post V-II missal) the corpus of her books. I don’t think we’ll see the wholesale change that 69 implied, but, time and tide have flowed on…and there are new saints to add, additional good scholarship and understanding of scripture that is not out of sync with what already exists…so, as long as it’s done with tact, scholarship, and a good sensus fidei of the organic whole…why not?

    IMHO, long overdue, and with SP, necessary in and of itself.

  7. Giambattista says:

    I totally agree with Andy Milam.

  8. danphunter1 says:

    I have no problem with the addition of saints to the calendar as long as the Ordinary parts of the Mass are left alone.

  9. irishgirl says:

    I agree with Andy Milam, too!

  10. Just as saints were added before 1962, so prefaces were added: Sacred Heart, Corpus Christi, etc.; and in the Dominican Rite: St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, etc. There is no reason not to add new prefaces in a revision of the 1962 missal. In fact, the apparent origin of the “common preface” was a medieval template for creating new prefaces.

    I would like to see a separate volume of ferial weekday readings prepared on the model of the weekdays of Lent. The repetition of the Sunday readings on weekdays was from the beginning a makeshift and presupposed that there are no homilies during the week. Of course, this volume would have to have the integrity and cohesiveness of the Lenten readings, not just lectio continua of some Epistle unconnected to lectio continua of some Gospel–the current lectionary model. I suspect it would take a good bit of time to prepare such a lectionary. It would also probably be good to leave its use optional so that the altar missal not become overly bulky, esp. when used by those traveling.

  11. Geoffrey says:

    It’s about time!

    “I’d like to see some additional readings/Gospels for weekdays inserted into the 62 Missal.”

    I recently came across the rare ritual edition of the optional Ferial Lectionary that came out just after Vatican II in a used bookstore. It’s in English and uses the First Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. I hope the Holy See utilizes this… in Latin, of course!

  12. Mike Morrow says:

    None of these suggestions for improving the 1962 Missal have any discernible value other than merely giving vent to the creativeness of a few. Hasn’t that worked out really well in the past half-century!

    The only positive attribute to come from the suppression of the Mass by the Bug-nini crowd is the protection of the Mass from modern innovation. Why squander that hard-earned quality?

    I envy my Protestant friends, for whom the King James Bible has been sufficient without addition of “creative” invention for 400 years.

    The 1962 Missale Romanum needs no “improvements”.

  13. albinus1 says:

    but, time and tide have flowed on…and there are new saints to add, additional good scholarship and understanding of scripture that is not out of sync with what already exists

    I wonder if some of this would involve replacing the traditional Vulgate text of the readings with the Nova Vulgata text. There are places where the traditional Vulgate text has serious textual problems — one in particular that I look forward to every year, because we discussed it in a class in graduate school, is the Epistle for Low Sunday, which is the “three witnesses” passage of 1 John.

  14. ipadre says:

    Addition of saints and prefaces is nothing unusual. In the history of the Roman Rite, there have been these changes throughout our 2000 year history – it is called continuity. Thank God for Benedict XVI. I wait for his next addition of the Roman Missal (OF). I would also like to see a common calendar for both forms of the Roman Rite, maybe a return to the previous Liturgical Calendar, with some minor tweaks.

  15. Y2Y says:

    Never open a can of worms unless you have a valid fishing licence……

    IMHO, given the negative experience of the past half-century, no changes to the TLM should be contemplated until every person who was alive in 1980 has died. Otherwise, we’re back on the same slippery slope which led to the Bugnini Mass.

  16. Supertradmum says:

    Yes, needs revising, especially with the addition of so many martyrs, such as those of England, Scotland and Wales. However, I do not want the old liturgical calendar set aside, either. A combination of the two would be great.

  17. “I’d like to see some additional readings/Gospels for weekdays inserted into the 62 Missal.”

    This suggestion–referring to the fact that the 1962 has no weekday readings corresponding to the 2-year cycle for weekdays in OF ordinary time–is often heard. Most of those who repeat it likely are unaware that it would have practically no effect in the everyday practice of the EF. (So this is an extreme example of the gap between theory and practice.)

    The reason is that the Sunday readings are essentially never repeated on a weekday, because essentially every weekday EF Mass is a votive Mass or a feast of Mass of a saint or martyr, and all these Masses have own readings that are integrated with the intention and proper prayers and antiphons of the day–as the OF weekday readings are not.

    To make this tangible, think of the color of the vestments you see at daily Masses. In the OF you frequently see green vestments, signaling a weekday Mass in ordinary time. In the EF, green vestments on a weekday would signal that the preceding Sunday’s readings are being repeated.

    However, this occurs so rarely that the typical EF Mass attender likely cannot remember the last time he saw green vestments on a weekday. The reason is that so many more saints, martyrs, and feast days are celebrated as Masses in the EF than in the OF.

    So at an EF Mass on a weekday after Epiphany or after Pentecost (corresponding to OF ordinary time) one virtually always sees white or red vestments, or violet on a penitential day such as the vigil of a solemnity or one of the ember days this week, or black for a weekday Mass for the Dead (though this is not so common now as in the old days).

  18. wolfeken says:

    Adding some saints without disturbing the status quo, as well as adding special prefaces such as for Advent, will likely be accepted by all. That is apparently what the Vatican is doing, as Pope Benedict has written about these two issues for years.

    The left-leaning suggestions, though, in some of these comments, would create division. There is no reason to create “weekday” Mass readings. This month, for example, the only ferial days without saints commemorated are September 6th, 7th and 13th. If someone doesn’t like the Sunday Mass repeated on those three days, then a Mass for the Dead, or one of the many votive Masses (Mass for Peace, Mass to Beg for Fine Weather, Mass for Rain, etc.) can be offered on the fourth class days. I don’t see this as a problem or an avenue for tinkering. We need less, not more, novelty in this world.

  19. Jon says:

    Forget the prefaces. St. Padre Pio and the English Martyrs certainly deserve the Mass they celebrated and knew. Forget a revised lectionary.

    Now give it a new imprimatur and print date. Put Benedict XVI’s name there in the promulgating document.

    Viola. No longer a “museum artifact,” but part of the living patrimony of the Church. Just leave the tinkeritis out of it.

  20. Y2Y says:

    The 1962 Missal already contains its own method of dealing with new saints: the commons. [Insufficient. In the centuries after 1570 the Missale Romanum was updated with saints according to the times. Or would you prefer that none of the propers for any saints canonized after 1570 be used today?]

    Adding options and variations to the TLM is completely alien to its character; the entire thrust of the TLM leaves as little as possible to the Priest’s discretion. Inserting a set of optional prefaces dilutes that character, to the detriment of the rite.

  21. Andy Milam says:

    While there have been times in history when new things were added to the Missal (speaking mainly to the Reverend Fathers), those additions were not made in a time of liturgical ambiguity and outright liturgical anarchy on a global scale.

    In my opinion, there has not been enough Sacramental theology taught in the last 40 years to justify any sort of change. The sheer lack of scholarship in this area deems that it would be imprudent to add more prefaces. If you doubt me, look at the prefaces in the Novus Ordo. They are liturgically and Sacramentally devoid of any real theological depth. [?!? Piffle.] This is all that would come from any addition to the ’62 Missal.

    I am not saying that we can’t get back to this, but it is a difficult process and one that would need to take time. To add anything other than an expanded Canon of Saints (with the necessary study and prudence), would simply be innovation.

    Perhaps after an extended period of prayer and reflection in a traditional Benedictine Monestary, there can be fruitful discussion, but give it 100 years or so….that way a return to authentic liturgical and sacramental theology will have passed and the appropriate scholarship will have taken place.

    [Your blunt, and just plain wrong, statement above irritates me not a little. Consider, just for one example, the Preface “de sanctis” – (De gloria Sanctorum) in which we hear: “…et, eorum coronando merita, tua dona coronas….”. This is from Augustine ep. 194, 19 – read this out loud): “What, therefore, before grace is man’s merit, by which merit he receives except by grace and since God crowns nothing other than His own gifts when He crowns our merits?” The Preface – quoting the Doctor of Grace – gives us an entry to the Church’s profound theological distinctions about condign merit, awarded because it is fully deserved and our action was proportioned to the reward, and congruent merit, awarded by God’s generosity toward our imperfect works. The Preface communicates in terms both clear and eloquent that Christ alone merits anything in the strictest sense. Man by himself does not merit supernatural rewards (cf. CCC 2007). That seems like theological content to me. And it is in a Preface. One might be able to argue that the EF doesn’t need additional prefaces. But your blunt claim that the Prefaces in the Novus Ordo don’t have theological content is absurd. And that is just one example.]

  22. There are only two changes that should happen if any:
    1) Updating the Saints. There are new ones including some of the venerables (c’mon you know JPII will be celebrated in the Church worldwide, and maybe Benedict XVI in the future as the modern patron of the EF if he dies and causes miracles to happen!)

    2) If anything, apply the modern OF liturgical Calendar’s 2 reading schedule to the EF, however do not change the EF epistle (usually 2nd reading) if it is the same or has a few more verses vs. the OF. What doing the 3 year cycle will allow to do is give more OF readings in the Mass. However this will require both the Missals to need a major overhaul or new ones to be created entirely (possibly spanning 2-3 volumes like the best OF missal series) and something liturgucally/ritually with the EF because there’s processioning, incensing, etc. that takes place before a clergy member reads the missal in higher masses.

  23. I would say without hesitation leave it alone! With this environment all that would happen is to make the Missal more “modernist” more liberal and so changed that it would not be much different from the Novus Ordo. [That sounds a bit hysterical, considering this is all based on a sentence or two in a news item.] We want the Tridentine Mass, [A misnomer. What we have today is not the “Tridentine” Mass, though that is a common nickname.] because it is Traditional and NOT the New Mass. Why change something for the sake of changing it, just because you can? [I don’t think that was the motive behind the Conciliar reform. They had objectives.] Would you take hammer and chisel to Michelangelo’s David, to “update” it to reflect David’s Judaism (The artist failed to depict the Covenant with Abraham)? How about the Mona Lisa, her dress is a little out of date? If not, then why tamper with the TLM and it’s Missal. [Sorry. You are comparing apples and giraffes.] No good could come from it with these people, who want to destroy it and suppress it. [Are you clarivoyent?] Or, they could just change it, like they did in 1970, but then they already did that they called it the Novus Ordo. [I can sympathize with your position, but you need better arguments.]

  24. Oneros says:

    New Saints, sure.

    New Prefaces…why? The Novus Ordo prefaces may be poetic Latin, but they’re arbitrary and unnecessary. To have every week of Easter have a separate preface randomly is against the “noble simplicity” of the traditional Roman Rite which doesn’t have random options and variations like that to no purpose. There is one preface for every “type” of day that needs one already. A bunch of newly composed extras does nothing. I’m all for using the so-called “Gallican” prefaces, that expansion was logical and maintained the simplicity of traditional categories. All the Novus Ordo prefaces do not.

    As for a ferial lectionary, that was already done in 1967. The results weren’t terrible:

  25. An update to the 1962 Missal is long overdue if its use is to be continued. The Church did not die in 1962, and the idea that an embalmed Missal should continue in use doesn’t strike me as being right. I have long said that “preserving the use of Latin” in the Roman Rite should not mean preserving it with formaldehyde. A living Church needs a living Missal, and one important sign of life is change. Some prudent changes to the 1962 Missal could make it more palatable for folks such as me who try to look for the middle ground.

  26. Rellis says:

    While I think Henry Edwards is correct about how the OF lectionary makes no sense in the EF if you have the Common or Votives dictating the readings, I think Fr. Thompson is thinking of the way the OF treats the readings. In the OF, the ferial readings are used even on most saint days. I don’t want to speak for him, but that seems the only way that what he is proposing can even be used. And we (I’m a tertiary aspirant) Dominicans love the new Lectionary almost as much as the Rosary or Aquinas, so I think we can give him a bit of consideration here considering all his good work on the Dominican Rite.

    There’s really no reason not to update the calendar of saints. That’s what has happened as long as the Church Triumphant has been churning out saints. No reason to stop now, and the 1962 missal is a current form of the Roman Rite, a living and breathing pillar of the Church’s liturgical life.

    The prefaces are a different matter. Some might merit inclusion, and others may not. For this, we need time. This should not happen anytime soon, and if and when it does, it should be purely voluntary. There need to be books, articles, arguments, etc. Slowly. Organically.

  27. Mitchell NY says:

    Can anyone buy a Missal with the expectation to use it for life and perhaps pass it down in the family? Add the prefaces and Saints and the new prayer for the Jews that the Holy Father issued, stamp it and let’s call it a century.

  28. “If you doubt me, look at the prefaces in the Novus Ordo. They are liturgically and Sacramentally devoid of any real theological depth.”

    Actually, Andy, I don’t think this blanket statement would survive a serious look at the OF prefaces in Latin. Only in their obsolete English “translations”, where I think the prefaces suffered from the original ICEL “treatment” even more than the collects (whose dilution Father Z has documented so fully).

    Among the new prefaces are some which certainly are of theological depth comparable to the EF prefaces, and of a liturgical style that would be consistent and fitting to the EF. It is arguable from a fully traditional liturgical perspective that some could make substantive contributions to the EF–for instance, for use on feast days that now must use the common preface, but perhaps deserve their own.

    Many may not realize that perhaps the most inorganic revision of the traditional Roman missal in history may have been that of Pius V. During medieval time there were hundreds of prefaces used in different place, almost every feast day having its own. In the interest of uniformity, Pius V ruthlessly pared this rich diversity down to just 14 prefaces, and arguably something of value was lost.

    My main hope would be that any additions now would not be made in such inorganic fashion, such as simply adding at once perhaps dozens of new prefaces to be used ad libitum. This would introduce into the EF the kind of “optionitis” that has been the downfall of the OF. [Good point.] And by providing options to exercise, would dilute the vital ethos of the EF in which the celebrant is the servant of the liturgy rather than its master.

  29. jrotond2 says:

    Rather than add a Ferial Lectionary in the 1962 MR, the use of the Divine Office should be promoted further among the laity. The Office of Matins provides the perfect and substantive complement of Scripture during these long periods of the Per Annum season.

    If the 1962 MR were to incorporate proper readings for every Feria during the year, one of three things would happen (besides an extremely bulky Missal):

    1. The Ferial Mass would become the preferential option over the plethora of saints’ days whose rank is “Commemoration”. This would have the effect of rendering most of the week bare and sterile akin to the Novus Ordo.

    2. The Ferial Office per annum would have to be raised in rank to Third Class to equal the rank of Advent and Lenten Feriae such that the Ferial Masses would be celebrated over most saints. Then, we would essentially have a Novus Ordo sanctoral calendar.

    2. Nothing – as already stated, every Saint’s Mass is taken from the applicable common or proper, so Ferial Masses would still be rare and then there would be tomes of assigned readings never utilized.

    The Mass doesn’t need an additional Lectionary; that is what the Office has been and continues to be for. Pray the Office if you don’t think you get enough Scripture at Mass!

  30. Bill Foley says:

    from Bill Foley
    I must admit that I am becoming more disenchanted with this blog. Comments are allowed with no correction from Father Z. Too often comments attack the Holy Father and the Second Vatican Council; furthermore, there is too often an elitist attitude regarding the EF of the Mass. as if the OF of the Mass should be barely tolerated. My wife, who died in May 2009 and who was the most Christ-like person that I have ever known, was a daily communicant since childhood; moreover, she attended the OF of the Mass for the past 40+ years, and this certainly did not stunt her spiritual growth. The holiness of my spouse has been attested to by many friends and acquaintances–even by a young Jewish woman who told her mother that she loved her but that even she was not like Kathy Foley.

    [At the time of this writing there are 270,599 approved comments on this blog. There are hundreds in the course of a day. I am physically unable to watch all the comments. Sorry. You, however, have a voice in the combox as well. By your comments perhaps you can bring people around to a different point of view. For a long time people who prefer the EF were permitted no forum, allowed no voice, shown no respect, even though John Paul II commanded in Ecclesia Dei adflicta that respect be shown for their legitimate aspirations. It is hardly a surprise that now, in this period of healing after their long frostbite, some promoters of the EF will have a hard time exercising self-editing skills. Mutual comprehension is needed.]

  31. wolfeken says:

    Moreover, Mr. Foley, your allies still command most of the Catholic media. America, Commonweal, U.S. Catholic, Catholic News Service, Our Sunday Visitor, and so on. Even the so-called “conservative” Catholic media, such as EWTN and the Wanderer, are not traditional, although they have been allowing traditional Catholics air and print space over the past decade.

    So, I fail to see how, Mr. Foley, the novus ordo is not getting fair and balanced coverage. Perhaps the mood is changing based on results over the last 45 years?

  32. Paul says:

    Bill Foley, if you don’t mind me asking, what is your wife’s first name? I would like to say a prayer for her soul. My sympathies for your loss.


  33. Andy Milam says:

    Fr. Z;

    “One might be able to argue that the EF doesn’t need additional prefaces. But your blunt claim that the Prefaces in the Novus Ordo don’t have theological content is absurd. And that is just one example.”

    Thank you for your fraternal correction. I will take this to prayer and meditate upon it.

    @ Henry_Edwards,

    I will defer response to you. I will simply accept your statement as another form of fraternal correction. Thank you.

  34. Sam Schmitt says:

    The preface is more a part of the proper than the ordinary of the mass, notwithstanding the fact of the “default” preface in the EF. At the very least there should be prefaces for the commons (e.g. of martyrs, virgins, confessors, etc.) just as there are introits, collects, etc. for these commons. These certainly existed in older missals, including those from the Middle Ages. Just to say that the “EF needs no improvements” is to block any organic developments in the rite, something that certainly isn’t “traditional.”

  35. Bill Foley says:

    from Bill Foley

    One commentator accused me of being in alliance with dissenting publications. I consider myself a true son of the Church–totally faithful to the papal magisterium; in fact, in 1965, when I was on a military pilgimage to Rome, I made a vow to God during a papal audience that he would give me the grace to be always faithful to his Vicar on earth. I still pray for this grace every day. I embrace the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council; I adhere to the teaching in Rerum Novarum and in Humanae Vitae. I have suffered for many years.from clerical disobedience in matters of doctrine and liturgy. If the Holy Father decides tomorrow to convert the language of the Holy Sacrifice to Greek, Hebrew, Latin, or whatever, I will adhere with all my being.
    What the Church needs now–as does society–is holiness. If one prefers the Mass in Latin, fine; if another wants to attend the Mass in English, fine also. The important thing is to go to Mass–daily if possible–and then live it.

    Thank you to the commentator who offered to pray for my wife, Kathy.

  36. Paul says:

    Offering a prayer for Kathy, “Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May they she rest in peace. Amen.”

  37. Here is one change I would like to make to the Missal, if I could: [And thanks be to God, you can’t.]

    At the Consecration of the Precious Blood, try replacing “for you and for all” for “for you and for the Church”. [No.]

    Also, replace “behold the Lamb of God” becomes “behold the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine”. A bit verbose, but at least there will be no confusion as to what Transubstantiation really means. [Pious ideas. Not … no. just no. Let’s stick to the Scriptural references and the texts we have prayed for a very long time.]

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