ASK FATHER: Using the traditional offertory prayers in the Novus Ordo. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

traditional-latin-massFrom a reader…

I know a who uses the Old Offertory Prayers when he says an Ordinary Form Mass. Is this okay for a priest to do? Is it a liturgical abuse?

The legislation which covers the use of the Extraordinary Form spells out that there is to be no mixing of the two rites (I say “rites”, because I don’t think that they are, liturgically, the same rite… juridically there are two “forms”, but liturgically and in many points theologically there seem to be two… but this is a digression).

Yes, I think it is an abuse to use the older offertory prayers in the newer form of Mass.

Is it okay?  Not really.

However, that brings up the question of how the desired “mutual enrichments” which Benedict XVI aimed at is to take place unless there are these “mutual enrichments”.   In the short term they are illicit.  In the long run they become legitimate developments.  That said, the present legislation says you are not to do things like this.

Another point to add is that in the approved rite of Holy Mass for Anglicans who have come into union with the Church through Anglicanorum coetibus have the older offertory prayers.  This is now a rite of the Catholic, Latin Church.  Mutual enrichment.

The substitution of the traditional offertory prayers in the Novus Ordo was a monumental change that went against the mandates of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

The Council Fathers said that, in reforming the liturgy, there should be no change unless the good of the faithful surely required it.  The change to the offertory prayers in no way was required for the good of the people and the the people have not in any way benefited from that change.  As a matter of fact, it has undermined over decades understanding of what is about to happen during the Eucharistic Prayer.  Sacrosanctum Concilium 23 says (my emphasis):

That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress Careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised. This investigation should be theological, historical, and pastoral. Also the general laws governing the structure and meaning of the liturgy must be studied in conjunction with the experience derived from recent liturgical reforms and from the indults conceded to various places. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.

No one will deny that the Offertory Prayers in the Novus Ordo are innovations.  They are dramatic innovations.  As Fr. Aidan Nichols, OP, wrote in The Catholic Herald (3 July 2009),

“the most striking textual difference between the Mass of St Pius V and the Mass of Paul VI will be the Offertory prayers of the former with their reiterated concern with the Sacrifice being offered or about to be offered.”

Did “the good of the Church genuinely and certainly” require these dramatic innovations?  I can’t see how.

The Offertory prayers used in the traditional form of the Roman Rite, the Extraordinary Form, are not from the time of the ancient Church, but are rather from the medieval period.  So, they had a pedigree of over 1000 years.

The post-Conciliar prayers, based on Jewish blessings, were pasted together by experts.

In the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass there are two distinct prayers for the host or hosts and the chalice.  They developed into something like the modern forms by perhaps the 8th century.

Over the host the priest prays (in translation):

“Receive, O holy Father, almighty and eternal God, this spotless host, which I, thy unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my living and true God, for mine own countless sins, offenses and negligences, and for all here present; as also for all faithful Christians living and dead, that it may avail both for my own and their salvation unto everlasting life. Amen.”

This prayer evolved over a long time and under many influences.  By the time it was codified in Pius V’s 1570 Missale Romanum, the Roman way of worshiping was polished under the influence of the theologically clear Council of Trent.  The prayer over the host expresses specific intentions and the priest’s characteristic recognition of his sinful nature and humility.  There is a clear reference to our salvation, the reason why we are at Mass in the first place.

In offering of the chalice in the Extraordinary Form the priest prays:

“We offer unto Thee, Lord, the saving chalice, beseeching Thy clemency: that it may go up with an odor of sweetness in sight of Thy Divine Majesty, for our and the whole world’s salvation.  Amen.”

The prayer over the host is in the first person, “I”.  This new, innovation prayer has the plural “we”, which might reflect that the deacon, who had prepared the chalice, traditionally said the prayer together with the priest.  In the prayer for the chalice, the reference to rising sweetness is biblical, found in the Old Testament and New (cf. Gen 8:20-21, Eph 5:2).  There is, again, the clear and all-important reference to salvation.

For the Novus Ordo it was decided to jettison these millennium-plus-old prayers in favor of new compositions.  They are based on Jewish blessings taken not from the Old Testament, but rather from the 5th century Babylonian version of Talmud (T.B.), a central Jewish text which codified oral law and teaching.

Jews were/are required to pronounce many blessings, well over a hundred, in the course of a day including the famous Shema of Deuteronomy 6 and, more controversially now, the three blessings, “Blessed art thou … for not having made me a gentile (variously “godless”) … a woman… a am ha-aretz (slave, or ignorant rube)” (T.B. Menahoth 43b).  They were also – laudably – “forbidden to enjoy anything in the world without saying a blessing” (cf. T.B. Tractate Berekoth 35a).  Thus, if they put on a piece of new clothing they said a blessing, if they saw lightning they said a blessing, if they studied they said a blessing, etc.  There are bewildering variations in the spelling of the Hebrew words, due to different forms of transliteration and possibilities of vowels.  You might see in your own research forms such as Berakhot, Brachot, Brochos, Berakhah, Bracha, Brokhe, Birkot, etc.

The Novus Ordo Offertory prayers are based on the Berekoth in the category of “enjoyment blessings” or B. HaNehanin (again with variants): HaMotzi said when eating bread and HaGafen for wine.  They are among the most frequent uttered and are used during the Sabbath meal Kiddush.  After washing his hands the head of the household raises two loaves of bread, challah, and says the HaMotzi blessing.  Two loaves of challah are used because the Lord’s manna didn’t fall on the Sabbath when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness.  Instead, a double portion fell on Friday (cf. Exodus 16).
The Novus Ordo Offertory prayers were cobbled up from these Berekoth:

Baruch atah Adonai eloheynu melech ha-olam ha-mo-tzi lechem min ha-aretz … Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth” and “Baruch atah Adonai eloheynu melech ha-olam bo-ray p’ree ha-gafen … Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.”

These blessings are perhaps inspired from Ps 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (cf. 1 Cor 10:26) and also Ps 115(114):16: “The heaven of heaven is the Lord’s: but the earth he has given to the children of men.”  Humans make bread and wine, but ultimately they came from God.

I suspect the liturgists who assembled the Novus Ordo of Mass under the aegis of the Consilium and Fr. Bugnini, et al., hoped these prayers, obvious innovations, would remind us of our “Jewish roots” so to speak, and inspire a mental connection with the Passover and Exodus which foreshadowed the Paschal Mystery of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection.

If we were to remain focused on the literal meaning of the innovative Offertory in the Novus Ordo, one could conclude that all they express is an offering of the bread and wine which will become the “bread of life”, and “spiritual drink”.   If we use John 6 as an interpretive lens for these new prayers we can bolster them a bit.  “Bread of Life” can certainly be taken as a Christological title.  Christ said “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35).  “For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.” (6:56).  On the other hand, it is sadly possible to take these new prayers as merely referring to bread and wine we might eat and drink each day.  “Bread of life” is not unlike the famous description of bread as “the staff of life”.  “Bread” is sometimes used by metonymy to mean all food in general.  After the Original Sin of our First Parents, human beings ever after would eat their “bread” by the sweat of our brow (Gen. 3:19).  The little insertion what it would become “nobis… for us” has its own problems, since in it some have recognized in it the hint perhaps the consecration of the elements may in some way depend on the spiritual disposition or faith of the one who receives it.

Before the imposition of the Novus Ordo innovations in 1969, there was enough concern on the part of a not inconsiderable number of bishops and theologians that adjustments had to be made to it so that it would express at least at key points adequate and clear theological distinctions about what Holy Mass is.  In 1967 a Synod of Bishops was held in Rome.  The newer form of Mass was celebrated in the Sistine Chapel for the first time in the presence of the bishops of the synod.  Afterward, these bishops were asked to vote about its implementation.  The vote was 71 Yes, 62 Yes with reservations, and 43, or a third, voted No.  To assuage the concerns of those who were troubled by the newer Mass, two of the priest’s quiet Offertory prayers from the older, traditional form of Mass were incorporated back into the order, but not the prayers for the bread and wine.

Before the official release of the Novus Ordo, two important Roman Cardinals, Alfredo Ottaviani (+1979) and Antonio Bacci (+1971) lent their support in 1969 to a group of theologians protesting the theological problems they perceived in the Novus Ordo.  In what is now usually called the “Ottaviani Intervention” the new Offertory prayers were thought not to express adequately the “ends of Mass”:

“The three ends of the Mass are altered; no distinction is allowed to remain between Divine and human sacrifice; bread and wine are only “spiritually” (not substantially) changed… Not a word do we find as to the priest’s power to sacrifice, or about his act of consecration, the bringing about through him of the Eucharistic Presence. He now appears as nothing more than a Protestant minister.”

The French liturgist and converted Protestant minister Louis Bouyer (+2004), who was a key figure in the liturgical reform, wrote in his work Eucharistie that the old prayers were abandoned in order to situate “the words of institution of the Eucharist back into their own context which is that of the ritual berakoth of the Jewish meal.”

So, you can see why some priests would want to say the older, traditional Form of the Roman Rite and also use the older, traditional Offertory Prayers during the Novus Ordo.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Benedict XVI, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Wherein Fr. Z Rants and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Stephen Matthew says:

    If, however, a priest were to silently pray these prayers, as a purely private devotional (even in vernacular translation), in addition to praying audibly the prayers specified in the current missal, it would seem not especially objectionable, and impossible to prohibit practically.

  2. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: Jews saying blessings over everything –

    The early Christians notoriously blessed themselves with the Sign of the Cross on every occasion, whatever they started doing. But that’s a lot simpler and easier to remember!

  3. Catholic Granny says:

    Hi Father,
    If you could please clarify 2 points for me:
    1) How can you possibly not call these 2 ways of offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice the same liturgical rite? For those of us who love the Novus Ordo Mass when celebrated beautifully by Holy and devote priests, I am confused and a bit saddened by your words. [Don’t be confused or sad. There were enough significant changes to the rites – and to the content of the prayers – to constitute the NO as a different rite. For example, the Braga Rite and the Domincan Rite are quite similar to the Roman Rite, but they are different rites. So too the NO. That doesn’t mean that the NO is invalid. So, relax.]
    2) You bring up many valid points regarding the traditional offertory prayers and invalid substitution with the Norvus Ordo offertory prayers, but why do you not personally feel [not feel… think!] it is not OK to substitute the beautiful traditional offertory prayers? And why is it an abuse? If parts of the TLM could gradually become part of the Norvus Ordo Mass, why is that wrong? [Read the post again. The present legislation says that the Forms should not be mixed.]
    God bless you Father and thank you for all that you do.

  4. Michael_Thoma says:

    Are the OF, the EF, Anglican Use, Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Zaire, etc variations of the Latin Church actually different “rites”, or more properly different “uses” of the same Rite (more likely, in my opinion)?

    ‘Rite’ differences that must not be mixed are, for example, between Latin and Byzantine, or Chaldean and Ethiopian – many Eastern Churches were/are latinized for so long that many non-scholars (or purists like we should be), including priests and bishops, don’t realize that their Rite was improperly latinized. Take the Maronite Rite of the Maronite Syrian Catholic Church, for example, which should be indistinguishable from the Syriac and Malankara-Syriac, but is today commonly much more Latin looking.

  5. ProfKwasniewski says:

    I agree with Father Zuhlsdorf entirely that, at this time, it is not permissible (and would be an abuse) to SUBSTITUTE the old offertory prayers for the new ones or audibly ADD the old offertory prayers alongside the new ones.

    Nevertheless, it would be difficult to see why a priest could not devotionally (in silence) pray some of the prayers of the old Missal while he celebrates Mass, taking into account the possibilities afforded him by the music and ceremonial of the place he is celebrating. This would seem to be no different from praying “My Lord and my God!” while elevating the host and chalice, [There were once directives which forbade the priest from doing precisely that. I don’t have the reference at the moment.] or reciting Psalm 42 on the way from sacristy to altar, or reciting the Prologue of John’s Gospel on the way back.

    Some ideas along these lines are presented here:

  6. ProfKwasniewski says:

    Admittedly, back numbers of Notitiae can be found that discourage every manner of devotion, gesture, or element of continuity. But the level of magisterial authority belonging to Notitiae is surely on the low end, and in any case, time has rendered much of that content nugatory and peripheral.

  7. In Munich I sometimes heard the Eucharistic Prayer n.1, which seems to be almost the old Roman Canon. I found at least two slightly different English versions, can anyone of you explain the differences?

  8. Among the seemingly excellent suggestions in the article “Imbuing the Ordinary Form with Extraordinary Form Spirituality” that Prof. Kwasniewski links is the following one that is pertinent here:

    Alongside the recitation of the prayers at the Preparation of the Gifts, [the priest might] add some or all of the old Offertory prayers as a private devotion — a practice that would be no different, in principle, from silently exclaiming “my Lord and my God” at the elevation of the host.

    When I attend an OF Mass as a layman, I feel free to pray silently these older offertory prayers—e.g., the Suscipe, sancta Pater, the Offerimus tibi, Domine, and the Suscipe, sancta Trinitas–as a private devotion during the celebrant’s Preparation of the Offerings.

    Question: Would it be essentially different for the celebrant to similarly say these prayers “unofficially” as a silent private devotion, in addition to praying “officially” the prescribed Novus Ordo preparatory prayers. Can there really be a directive somewhere that prohibits the priest offering any silent mental prayer of personal devotion during the Mass? Really, a directive not to pray!?

  9. William Tighe says:

    “The French liturgist and converted Protestant minister Louis Bouyer (+2004), who was a key figure in the liturgical reform, wrote in his work Eucharistie that the old prayers were abandoned in order to situate ‘the words of institution of the Eucharist back into their own context which is that of the ritual berakoth of the Jewish meal’.”

    It is hard to tell from this quotation what Bouyer’s attitude towards this change is, whether favorable or unfavorable. In recent weeks, however, I have been reading his memoirs (Louis Bouyer, *Memoires,* with preface and notes by Jean Duchesne; Paris, 2014: Les Editions du Cerf), which were published nearly ten years after his death in October 2004. In them, Bouyer is absolutely scathing on the liturgical “reform” in general; indeed, at one point (p. 200) he writes of “l’avorton que nous produisimes” (“the abortion which we produced”) to characterize it, although he also writes of “nombre d’elements excellents … comme des perles egarees” (“some excellent features … like stray pearls”), instancing “un bon nombre de prefaces magnifiques” (“a fair number of fine prefaces”), which he hopes will be preserved at the revision which will come, he states, sooner or later. He is fairly dismissive about the competence, or at least good sense, of most of the members of the liturgical reform commission, and it is clear that he regards Fr. Bugnini as a blackguard of the worst sort, characterizing him as a “scelerat doucereux … aussi deporvu de culture que de simple honnetete” (a “smooth-tongued villain, as lacking in culture as in simple honesty” – p. 198) and “meprisable” (“contemptible” – p. 199). The book is available only in French; the cheapest copies, relatively speaking, are to be found at (there are none listed at

  10. mamamagistra says:

    Speaking of Notitiae, have a look at these two from 1970 that very arrogantly speak of how superior the offertory rite in the Novus Ordo and how deficient the old prayers are [1970-137 and 1970-138]!! Anyway, I sure would like to see with my own eyes that one Fr. Z is referring to here regarding forbidding mental prayer of the priest during Holy Mass. It seems that and the other suggestions at Prof. Kwasnieski’s link would be among the first “mutual enrichments” Benedict XVI might have had in mind. I know that I, at least, can no longer hear a Novus Ordo Mass without trying, in my head, to fill in the missing in parts.

  11. Elizabeth D says:

    There are two distinct types of liturgical abuses, the kind we do not like and which must never be done, and the other kind.

    Affectionately yanking your ferraiolo.

  12. Giuseppe says:

    Dear NO priest,

    I pray that you are creative and that you are inspired by the Holy Spirit with each mass you celebrate.

    That creativity should manifest itself in a beautifully pre-written 5-7 minute orthodox homily. Inspired by the word of God made manifest in the readings, the psalm, and the gospel, may you preach to us as Christ would to a crowd hungry for His every word.

    May your creativity end there, and may you take comfort in knowing that the most perfect words and rubrics of the holy mass will allow you to serve in the persona of Christ, ever obedient to His Father’s commands.



  13. jameeka says:

    Thank you Fr Z, this explains a lot for people like me who go to the NO, but have often reasoned that something very vital is missing.

  14. aquinas138 says:

    We read a lot about “organic development” in the liturgy, and how that is desirable, and how that its absence is the biggest failing of the NO. But how in the world can “organic development” even occur in the liturgical world we’ve lived in since the Counter-Reformation? Virtually every aspect of the liturgy is dependent on Rome and her authorization; since Trent, a bishop has needed the approval of the Holy See to enter feasts into the calendar of his own diocese, apart from the few provided in the rubrics (anniversaries of dedication and feasts of title). Things are perhaps slightly more relaxed today, but not really.

    I am genuinely asking: how can organic development actually occur if any changes require the authorization of Rome? Rome decreeing changes for churches outside of Rome, even changes in the direction of Tradition, hardly strikes me as “organic” in any meaningful sense of that word. It’s hard to see how a desire for genuinely organic development and the excessive centralization of the Roman Church can really coexist. Of course, the present moment might be the worst possible moment to push for decentralization, given the number of theological and liturgical dingbats that still haunt dioceses around the world…

  15. NoraLee9 says:

    Salvate omnibus!

    I have been in the Traditional movement since 1994. I am now 55 and have at times thought that there wasn’t much that I didn’t know about the reform, etc, etc. There is a reason Pride is at the top of the 7 deadlies. Father, this post was brilliant. I read you every day, and you’re always good, but this one was stunning. I did not know that the Offertory in the NO came from the Jewish Book of Blessings. As an NYU graduate, I learned plenty of the Blessings in College, including one that my friend Mitchell G used in order to get his third-hand car to start.
    Even today’s comments were instructional. I had never heard of this Louis Bouyer fellow. Wow. I snickered so obviously at the comment about Bugnini that my husband asked me “Whatever are you doing over there?”
    Great stuff. Keep teaching and preaching, Pater. There’s still room on my hard drive yet, evidently.

  16. Brooklyn says:

    Father, you seem to be in disagreement with Pope Benedict XVI who wrote the following in Summorum Pontificum:

    “In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.” [Yes, I disagree with that statement. Summorum Pontificum was clearly a juridical settlement of the disputed question of whether or not priests could use the older Missal. It doesn’t settle the liturgical and theological questions.]

    We may like the prayers of one form over the other, but Jesus Christ is present in both, and that is all that really matters. If Our Lord honors the OF, we should also. [Nice little speech. On the other hand, the content of the prayers, EF and OF parallels compared side by side (which I have done for a couple decades) are at times strikingly different.]

  17. John Nolan says:

    Arguably the most important of the Offertory prayers is the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas; in the Sarum and Dominican Uses it accompanies the (simultaneous) offering of Host and Chalice and is in the first person singular. Incidentally, if the reformers had simply wanted to shorten the Offertory rite they could have adopted the Dominican model.

    The much longer Offertory of the Tridentine rite has the Suscipe (in the first person plural) between the Lavabo and the Orate Fratres. If a priest wants to say it inaudibly, I see no reason why he shouldn’t. Pope Benedict used the old incensation prayers when celebrating the Novus Ordo, and priests after 1970 no doubt continued to say the Aufer a nobis and Oramus te when approaching and venerating the altar, out of habit.

    When, in 1967, the final blessing was placed before the Ite Missa est (thus making it part of the Mass, which why it is sung in the OF but not in the EF), it was recommended that the priest said the Placeat to himself as he left the altar.

    The Offertory and pre-Communion prayers started out as private devotional prayers and only came into the Missal later, which explains why they show wide variations in the different Uses of the Roman Rite. I get the impression that the more archaeologically-minded in the Consilium wanted no Offertory prayers at all, apart from the Super Oblata.

  18. Brooklyn says:

    Father, if we can reject any part of Summorum Pontificum, as you do, then we can reject it all, and it holds no authority over anyone. Have you ever let your readers know that you do not accept all of Summorum Pontificum?

    [Nice try. First, you do not understand what Summorum Pontificum is. It is a juridical document. It can be found HERE. What you referred to, with that bit about the two rites, is not Summorum Pontificum. It is an accompanying letter to bishops issued by Benedict XVI at the time of Summorum Pontificum. HERE I disagree with something in that letter, not with something in Summorum Pontificum. Benedict’s letter does not conclusively settle the question of whether or not the EF and the OF are the same rite or different rites. Benedict’s juridical document settled the juridical issue of whether or not a priest with faculties to say Mass could use also the 1962MR. That doesn’t settle the other questions, which will take a lot longer to figure out. And, for your nasty crack at the end, you won’t be commenting here for a while. Your disagreement, compounded by your confusion, is one thing. Nasty is another. Not in my living room!]

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    I can help but think that the NO offertory has a bit of the free range chicken in it – getting out a bit and wandering around.

    The Chicken

  20. robtbrown says:

    Aquinas 138

    How is Organic development of the liturgy distinguished from inorganic development of the liturgy?

  21. robtbrown says:

    Brooklyn says

    We may like the prayers of one form over the other, but Jesus Christ is present in both, and that is all that really matters. If Our Lord honors the OF, we should also. 

    Of course, Christ was present in the Eucharistic celebration before the post Vatican 2 liturgical changes. If that was, as you say, all that matters, there was no reason for any liturgical changes.

  22. ProfKwasniewski says:

    Our Lord would be really, truly, and substantially present in a Mass said in deplorable prison conditions with a scrap of bread and a drop of wine, and with prayers being said as best one could, given the physical conditions and mental strain. But we do not celebrate our liturgies based on desperate, unusual, or minimalist conditions. Rather, the Church over the ages celebrates the divine mysteries as beautifully and fully as she can. This is what was so shocking about the liturgical reforms from 1948-1970 and beyond: they were moving away from the rich inheritance of the Church’s public worship to something increasingly minimalist, banal, rationalistic, and sterile. That is the rupture that will take centuries to heal. [Yes. And Summorum Pontificum was a huge step in the right direction.]

    As regards organic development, some good points have been made here. Presumably, there was a time when a priest or group of priests began to recite Psalm 42 on the way to the altar, or the Prologue of John on the way back. No one told them they could not pray these Scripture passages, and the custom caught on until it was eventually endorsed from above and spread abroad. If there is ever to be a re-start on the organic development of the Novus Ordo, it will have to take place in a similar fashion. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  23. Michael_Thoma says:

    I suppose, for the Traditionally aware like those on this blog, the primary concern isn’t whether the EF prayers can be used (silently, privately or whatever) within the OF since such a practice would almost always add to ‘greater solemnity’, the more likely concern is if an errant or irreverent celebrant of the EF supplement(?, or better said the antonym of ‘supplement’ in this context, perhaps “degradation” is too harsh) with OF practices. Fr.Z has already addressed concerned blog readers with EF celebrants distributing with the OF “Corpus Christi” instead of the proper EF form, imagine if each celebrant supplemented, mixed, addended, etc as they wished – chaos, worse than some odd OF celebrations.

  24. ProfKwasniewski says:


    What you are describing would certainly be against the EF’s own rubrics, because it spills over into the external words and ceremonies of the liturgy, which ARE specified to be done in this or that way. In like manner, if someone substituted the EF language for communion (“Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam, Amen”) at an OF Mass, this would be a liturgical abuse, even though the formula is far better and ought to be restored.

    The other factor here that makes your scenario improbable is that the EF –> OF reform almost always tended in the direction of stripping away elements from the old, not adding new ones. I suppose that if there were a priest who really loved a certain phrase from the Novus Ordo and wanted to pray it silently while doing something at the EF (presuming that he wasn’t supposed to be praying something else at that very moment), there couldn’t be anything wrong with his doing so. It’s just very hard to imagine what exactly that would be, since the OF is so stripped down compared to the EF. The enrichment is so much easier to see going in the opposite direction.

  25. Priam1184 says:

    Whenever the modern world (the Church included) hears something like: ” there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them,” they take that to mean that it is open season for innovations, and they will come up with a reason that the good of the Church requires them later.

    We need a return to highly specific and extraordinarily precise language and an end to even a little bit of vagueness. “Yes” needs to mean yes, and “no” needs to mean no. Maybe the days will return when there can be a bit of latitude again but these are not those days. All of the wiggle room needs to be gone.

  26. The Masked Chicken says:

    “How is Organic development of the liturgy distinguished from inorganic development of the liturgy?”

    Well, organic development is based on carbon life-forms making gradual changes, whereas inorganic development is based on the transmutation of one form to another by bombarding it with Newtrons.

    The Chicken

  27. robtbrown says:


    Unlike your two examples, I seriously doubt that those liturgical changes made to accommodate Protestantism or its cousin Secularism can be said to be Organic Development of the liturgy.

    The liturgical changes, proposed some years before Vat II, were, IMHO, part of a larger plan to change the Church so that form of life in the Church (esp. the Eucharist and Priesthood) would closely resemble Protestantism—all the while maintaining Catholic content. The easy and obvious example is the liturgy, but it can also be seen in the exaggerated pastoral understanding of the Priesthood.

    It was all justified by Ressourcement, In fact, as JRatzinger pointed out, it rejected any use of the Medieval Sources. What emerged was the Romance of Archeologism combined with German Existentialism. We can see how well it worked.

  28. robtbrown says:

    The Masked Chicken says:

    . . . organic development is based on carbon life-forms making gradual changes, whereas inorganic development is based on the transmutation of one form to another by bombarding it with Newtrons.

    And so the former refers to the Living Faith. There is nothing new, however, with those Newtrons. They were plucked from the decaying corpse of Protestantism.

  29. Per Signum Crucis says:

    “But we do not celebrate our liturgies based on desperate, unusual or minimalist conditions.”

    Prof. Kwasniewski, I know what you are saying and wouldn’t want to tarnish your Gold Star from Fr. Z but, even today, there are probably still places and occasions where Mass is celebrated (whether routinely or otherwise) in the type of circumstances you mention.

  30. Widukind says:

    This may be somewhat off-topic:
    “Another point to add is that in the approved rite of Holy Mass for Anglicans who have come into union with the Church through Anglicanorum coetibus have the older offertory prayers. This is now a rite of the Catholic, Latin Church. Mutual enrichment.”

    So just who may use this “Anglican Use Mass”? Can any ordained priest of the Latin Rite of the Roman Church make use of it to celebrate Mass?

  31. gjp says:

    Confitemini Domino,

    I did not see where someone responded to you, so here is a quick explanation.

    The English translation of the liturgy is handled by a group called ICEL. In theory, they translate Latin into English and then that English is used in all the English speaking countries.

    Your link to the website is the translation of the 2nd Edition of the Novus Ordo. Without going into detail, this was a poor translation. It used many simplified phrases and in many ways changed the meaning of what the Latin conveys.

    Your link to the is the translation of the 3rd Edition of the Novus Ordo. This translation was much more faithful to the Latin. Here in the United States, we have in the past few years transitioned from the 2nd Edition translation to the 3rd Edition. I have to admit that the transition has gone very well in all the places where I have travelled and been to Mass.

    Back to the original post — I had no idea where these prayers came from, and this article has been fascinating. I learn something new every day. I wish this information was made known in a wider way to everyone in the Church. Perhaps other people do not find it as interesting as I do, but I think on this website most people probably feel as I do.

  32. WYMiriam says:

    Prof. Kwasniewski:
    “I suppose that if there were a priest who really loved a certain phrase from the Novus Ordo and wanted to pray it silently while doing something at the EF (presuming that he wasn’t supposed to be praying something else at that very moment), there couldn’t be anything wrong with his doing so. It’s just very hard to imagine what exactly that would be, since the OF is so stripped down compared to the EF. The enrichment is so much easier to see going in the opposite direction.”

    Agreed! In the last few years, I’ve been privileged to attend the EF about twice a month. I’ve come up with exactly one example of a phrase from the OF that I would dearly love to see added to the EF — the line added to the Ecce Agnus Dei: “beati sunt qui ad cenam Agni vocati sunt.” I add it (privately, of course) after we’re finished with the Domine, non sum dignus.

  33. Thank you so much, gjp!

Comments are closed.