“The Latin Mass of years gone by is becoming more popular again”

I think we have to pretty much give up on correct terminology now.  It seems that the bifurcation is nearly complete.  Latin has been isolated from the Novus Ordo, partly because those on the traditional side of thing perpetually called the Extraordinary Form, or whatever we are calling it, “the Latin Mass”, thus creating a conceptual ghetto.

That said…

I saw this at Fox News, though it seems to be from Laura Ingraham’s site,  A lot of the piece is a review of the situation as it stands now, which could be helpful for people who are not as familiar with the state of affairs as regular readers of this blog probably are by now.   But… do have a look…

Celebrating the Latin Mass

Veiled women, incense, Gregorian chants, kneeling, standing, kneeling again, long periods of silence — think all of this is a scene from a Catholic Mass in 1950?

It was then, to be sure — but it is now also happening every Sunday, and in some places every day, in churches all over the United States. The Latin Mass of years gone by is becoming more popular again.


[…]Alfonso DiGirolamo, a lifelong Catholic, started a website, GetTLM.org, to help parishioners bring the Traditional Latin Mass to their own parish. The website includes videos that explain what to expect when attending the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and it shares resources to help formally introduce parishes to the TLM.

DiGirolamo has been attending the TLM in Philadelphia for more than four years. He learned how to serve as a master of ceremonies for it, which means he’s the adult male altar server who responds in Latin on behalf of the congregation during the Mass and helps direct the altar boys. He explained, “Between the reverence, the prayers, and the adoring respect for the Holy Eucharist, it has become an essential part of my and our prayer life, which is just not available, even in the most reverent, in the Ordinary Form.”

His wife, Brenda, also a lifelong practicing Catholic, started attending the TLM with her husband just two years ago. “To be honest, I wasn’t a fan at first, but now I love it,” she told LifeZette. “There is a reverence shown toward the Mass, but most especially toward the Holy Eucharist. Also, it helps me to remain focused and pay attention to the prayers so I don’t get lost.”

A dear friend of mine, Catherine Adair, and her family attend Mass at St. Benedict Center in Still River, Massachusetts. “The first time we attended the Tridentine Liturgy [the TLM], we felt like we were as close to heaven as we could get on Earth,” she shared. “We felt, as a family, so connected to our faith and to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we just felt this is where God truly wanted us to be.”



Read the rest there, and check out the comments.  Some of them reveal some serious spiritual voids, as is usual in the interwebs.  But people are talking.

Finally, again, I contend that no initiative of renewal in the Church will succeed unless there is first and foremost, an ongoing revitalization of our sacred liturgical worship of God.  That is why Summorum Pontificum was such a great gift.  The impact is going to grown.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Great (for a lamestream media effort) article. Brick by brick…kneeler by kneeler…:)

  2. Geoffrey says:

    Am I the only one praying fervently for Mass in the Ordinary Form to be celebrated in Latin?

  3. KateD says:

    It seems to me the arguments of those who don’t care for the Latin Mass spring from a well of ignorance as to what the Mass is. Good pastors, entrusted with the care of these souls, are working diligently to catechize a generation of Catholics. No easy task. There are good hearted Catholics who simply don’t understand and have a very superficial understanding of what’s going on at Mass. I’m not talking about the Nancy Pelosis of the world, I mean real faith filled, God loving Catholics.

    What I’ve seen is this steady progression……A good priest gets assigned as pastor. He starts bible study classes, the tabernacle returns to it’s rightful position, a crucifix is installed on the wall behind the altar. One old lady up front starts wearing a head covering….and recieving on the tongue….and it spreads! And then someone in the choir is inspired to sing the Agnus Dei in Gregorian chant, and then they start becoming nostalgic for the old hymns…..and then men start participating more in serving, and boys replace girls as altar servers….and then….and then….the incense returns…..and they start singing the Gloria and one by one the responses return to Latin. Their hearts are awakened and their souls yearn for something more. It’s a beautiful thing. Holy Mother Church will get there. It is God’s will.

    I am always so delighted when I stop into a Novus Ordo Church and hear people singing, “Agnus Dei, Qui tollis pecata mundi…..” I’m so overjoyed I hardly notice the daisy dukes and smacking of flip flops, because I know their days in that church are numbered :)

  4. Scott Woltze says:

    Fr. Z,

    Have you seen Fishwrap’s latest by Mickens? He fears the next pope will undo his desired liberal revolution: “If it were a Pope Cyprian I or Pius XIII (also known as Cardinal Robert Sarah), the reversal would be swift and uncompromising.”

    Get ready for the pain, Bobby.

  5. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Geoffrey, NO you are not alone. I shall never cease rejecting the phrase “Latin Mass” to describe ANYTHING, and insisting that the new rite is pre-eminently (if far too rarely) offered in Latin.

  6. robtbrown says:

    IMHO, it is a very serious question to ask whether the Novus Ordo is primarily a vernacular mass–and was designed to be so.

  7. Felipe says:

    I pray more churches that celebrate the OF bring back Latin, Ad Orientem, communion rails, confessionals, high altars, crucifixes, Sacred music, beautiful vestments, altar boys, incense, real wax candles, orthodox homilies, the removal of EMHC & altar girls. Is that too much to ask for?! I suppose so..

  8. Simon_GNR says:

    Geoffrey wrote: “Am I the only one praying fervently for Mass in the Ordinary Form to be celebrated in Latin?”

    You’re not alone Geoffrey!! I would dearly love to be able to worship at an Ordinary Form mass in Latin but the nearest one I’ve found (in the midlands of England) is over 50 miles away. Our parish priest, who has been with us less than a year, once told me he sometimes used to say OF Mass in Latin in a previous parish, so perhaps we’ll get it in this parish some day. My attachment is to the Latin language rather than to the older form of Mass but there do not seem to be many priests or parishes who have similar preferences. It is a pity that in most of the Church Latin seems to have been ghetto-ised as a “Traddy” peculiarity.

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    “We are attending the Mass in the Extraordinary Form”. (blink blink, no register)
    “The Latin Mass”.
    “Oh, right”.

  10. robtbrown says:

    There was talk a few years ago of making the Offertory of the EF an option for the OF.

  11. Prayerful says:

    I find Extraordinary Form a bit irritating. The Mass of Ages (I prefer that) isn’t something weird or esoteric. Tridentine Mass is also good. I suppose, though, it is complementary. I find the Novus Ordo Missae very ordinary indeed. TLM is reasonable, although the NOM can be said in Latin. One barrier I think is that many parish priests might see it as a pleasant luxury where they would have not to be saying Masses for five clustered parishes. There probably aren’t too many priests trained to say it now. That said, on no less than two occasions the Tridentine Mass was said by young, just ordained priests. One was connected with Silverstream Priory. The FSSP has zero issues with a greying priestly cohort (average age in the thirties). The Mass of Ages is no silver bullet, but one of the great blessings it gives is how it draws so many ardent young men to serve Our Lord.

  12. In my parish we are blessed with an Extraordinary Form Mass, a Latin Ordinary Form Mass Ad Orientem, an English Ordinary Form Mass Ad Orientem, and for those who are stuck in the past, an an English Ordinary Form Mass versus populum. So saying “Latin Mass” to us is a bit imprecise. Still, nice to see the MSM at least take note of them.

  13. Y2Y says:

    Novus Ordo in Latin? That would be like slapping a Bugatti decal on a ’97 Hyundai……..

    [No, it would not be like that.]

  14. Gregorius says:

    Not that I’m against Latin OF Masses, but to me the Latin used therein makes the discontinuity between the forms even more noticeable, particularly in the readings and other propers. I guess it doesn’t help that all the Latin OF Masses I’ve attended weren’t otherwise really different from the vernacular Masses.

  15. greenlight says:

    Here in St. Louis, we’re blessed to have several EF options (especially the amazing St. Francis de Sales Oratory) and the archdiocesan website lets you do a search of Mass times by language. You can choose “Latin” which will show you the EF options, but just today I noticed they also have an option for “Latin(Novus Ordo/English” which takes you to St. Mary of Victories Chapel downtown. I may give that a try this weekend.

  16. Joseph-Mary says:

    And you can often now find a TLM when you travel! Went to the FSSP in Omaha this morning on my way across country.

  17. Years gone by? Ages gone by and ages to come!

  18. Augustine says:

    In my home country, in order to transition to the new order of the Mass, the old rite was translated into the vernacular and was thus celebrated for 3 years. With this case in mind, which predates my memory, I wonder, if the ancient form of the Roman Mass were celebrated in the vernacular, if then it would be more effective in deepening the Faith (lex orandi, lex credenti) and enriching the Divine worship.

  19. donato2 says:

    I can’t think of a single advantage the Ordinary Form in Latin has over the Extraordinary Form. So I don’t see the point of the Ordinary Form in Latin.

    Articles about the traditional Latin Mass almost never mention the low Mass, which I think deserves more attention in efforts to propagate the traditional Mass. It is a great blessing to have a daily low Mass available — but also, it seems, pretty rare. Personally I think the prayers at the foot of the altar are a poetic treasure.

  20. Absit invidia says:

    If modernists really wanted the EFM to disappear, all they would have to do is introduce the elements of the EFM into the NO: Gregorian chant, Latin, communion kneeling and on the tongue, altar boys, incense and in short time people would no longer have the desire for the EFM. Details do matter. But then modernists really were really never about problem solving. Their real gift is their ability to destroy and dismantle. The modernist movement was never really about building or inspiring, but rather about bullying, belittling, and undermining.

  21. Healingrose1202 says:

    Since attending EF Mass on Easter Sunday for the first time, I have a hard time sitting through any Novus Ordo Mass. My son and older daughter went through the RCIA process a year ago, and my daughters started attending EF Mass and Latin Novus Ordo with me recently. My middle daughter went to Confession the first time a few weeks ago. She came out and said, “You really do feel like a big weight is lifted off!” When she went to the Latin Novus Ordo Mass the next day and received Eucharist kneeling and on the tongue for the first time, she told me she didn’t want to receive it any other way! Glory to God! What a special gift to see a child of ten years show a love for Confession and a reverence for the Eucharist!

    Unfortunately, my mother is almost hostile towards my interest and love of the “old ways” which she describes as oppressive and cold. She goes on about the wonderful changes since Vatican II, but I don’t see the joy and peace in her life that should reflect her description. I wonder that we could be talking about the same Mass. The blessings, joy, and grace that God has shown me since I have been actively seeking Him through the EF Mass is so overwhelming that I cannot put it into words, and it usually just brings me to tears.

    For me, it comes back to need for reverence for the Holy Eucharist. How many Catholics believe in the real presence in the Eucharist? So few believe, why would they worry about offending the Lord by receiving It while in a state of sin? Why would they kneel or receive on the tongue when they think themselves equal to God in so many ways? If Jesus stood as a man before you, would you not drop to your knees to humble yourself? Why should it be any different in front of His presence in the Holy Eucharist?

    I love hearing any Mass in Latin, but I adore the reverence and focus on the Eucharist in the EF.

    Is it considered a sin to disrupt a Mass when it so many people show such disregard for the Holy Eucharist? Sometimes I feel compelled to confront people at the NO Mass as they walk back after receiving so haphazardly, without respect and ask them point blank if they believe it is the Lord they received or just a symbol. Or stand by the doors before Mass and hold a sign, “Confession before Eucharist, when is the last time you repented before receiving?” Maybe instead of signs, I can wear a big button during Mass that says “Catholics believe Eucharist is Christ, do you?” Or “I’d rather be at the Extraordinary Form Mass”
    Let’s get people talking and asking questions!

  22. Kerry says:

    On September 2nd, 4th and 6th of 2015, Father Hunwicke, (LiturgicalNotes(dot)blogspot) wrote “One of the greatest scholars of the twentieth century was a Dutch Classicist called Christine Mohrmann. In a long series of articles and books in all the main European languages, she demonstrated that Liturgical Latin (and, indeed, Liturgical Greek) were never intended to be be vernaculars; that, indeed, they were deliberately designed to be formal, archaic, and hieratic. I will let her speak to you in her own words:

    “Liturgical Latin, as constituted towards the end of Christian Antiquity and preserved unchanged – in its main lines at least – is a deliberately sacral stylisation of Early Christian Latin as it gradually developed in the Christian communities of the West. The Latin Christians were comparatively late in creating a liturgical language. When they did so, the Christian idiom had already reached full maturity and circumstances rendered it possible to draw, for purposes of style, on the ancient sacral heritage of [pagan] Rome … As regards the plea which we hear so often for vernacular versions of the prayer texts, I think … that we are justified in asking whether, at the present time, the the introduction of the vernacular would be suitable for the composition of sacral prayer style. As I have pointed out, the early Christian West waited a long time before adopting the use of Latin. It waited until the Christian language possessed the resources necessary to create an official ecclesiastical prayer language. … the modern, so-called Western languages … are less suitable for sacred stylisation. And yet we must realise that sacral stylisation forms an essential element of every official prayer language and that this sacral, hieratic character cannot, and should never, be relinquished. From the point of view of the general development of the Western languages – to say nothing of the problems raised by other languages – the present time is certainly not propitious for the abandonment of Latin”.

    Neck and neck with Father Z, for readers, should he also be.

  23. Legisperitus says:

    We’re also up against the natural tendency toward laziness/economy in speech: “Extraordinary Form Mass” (8 syllables) versus “Latin Mass” (3 syllables). For maximum economy and accuracy combined, I tend to say “Old Mass.”

  24. un-ionized says:

    Gregorius, I agree with you, having come from a parish that has everything that Felipe mentions above except the Latin. It is important to note that even such a parish can have significant problems with lack of orthodoxy because sometimes you will see this done as a cover. “Well, they do all the traditional stuff, therefore they must be faithful and orthodox.” Not necessarily. Sometimes talking to a priest who you initially believe to be orthodox because of the externals can be jarring when you realize what they really believe or don’t believe. In the aforementioned parish, it was interesting to note the overt hostility some of the priests express toward the “old Mass.”

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  26. robtbrown says:

    If the subject is Missals, then it’s relevant to speak of Novus Ordo Latin Mass.

    On the other hand, if the subject is concrete celebrations, then it has little, if any, relevance–the Novus Ordo in Latin is as common as unicorns. And this is because of a decision by the hierarchy. The project was to rid the Church of Latin liturgy, no matter which Missal was used. I know of no priest who went to his bishop asking to celebrate according to the 1962 Missal who was told, “No, but you can say a Novus Ordo in Latin.”

  27. Nathan says:

    This has become a thought provoking thread! I think one can safely assert that:

    1) The Extraordinary Form (TLM) is being offered significantly more than the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) in Latin.

    2) From a traditional Catholic viewpoint, a reverently offered OF Mass in Latin would be preferable to a reverently offered OF Mass in the vernacular.

    Accepting that, a sincere question (admitting my bias towards the TLM) : in what circumstances would the Novus Ordo in Latin be preferable to the TLM?

    In Christ,

  28. un-ionized says:

    Nathan, I think most people here would say “never.” And some people elsewhere would say, “Any time.” I don’t think it’s a matter of “taste,” as if one were caramel and the other chocolate. But this situation is very complex. I live in a diocese with one “old Mass” and we are lucky to have that much. So I have not much experience anyway, being just a convert. I am considering attending the TLM for a while and see what happens.

  29. Hidden One says:

    Nathan, the Latin OF would be preferable in the situation that people who would never go to the EF would try the Latin OF.

  30. Mary Jane says:

    I have a genuine question (that several others here have already alluded to) – if you’re longing for an Ordinary Form celebrated in Latin (and the priest facing away from the people), why then wouldn’t one want to go straight to the Extraordinary Form? I realize there is less access to the Extraordinary Form (perhaps this is the reason)? But say for a moment that having access to each was the same…is there another reason? I’m not really getting the reason given by Hidden One (people who would never go to the EF would try the Latin OF…?). I think Nathan, above, phrased my question well – in what circumstances would the Ordinary Form in Latin be preferable to the Extraordinary Form?

  31. Mary Jane says:

    Second thought, on the subject of “Latin Mass” vs “Extraordinary Form” vs “TLM” …

    Do Catholics who are not very familiar with anything but the Ordinary Form associate “Extraordinary Form” with “Oh yeah, that other approved Roman rite.”…? Do Catholics who are not very familiar with anything but the Ordinary Form (and not very familiar with recent Church history) perhaps associate “Latin Mass” or “TLM” with “Oh yeah, that such-and-such group that broke off from the pope?”

    What has been your personal experience when talking to others? I use “Extraordinary Form” to refer to the, well, Extraordinary Form, because I am concerned that if I say “Latin Mass” or “TLM” some may think I’m attending mass at a SSPV or “independent” chapel, for example…

  32. un-ionized says:

    Mary Jane, in my neck of the woods, “Latin Mass” means, “That Mass they used to have before they changed it and thank heavens because nobody understood Latin and the priest talked so fast it was over in 20 minutes, etc. etc.” Tedium! (very much not to be confused with Te Deum). Even people at my NO parish with the altar rail and all-male sanctuary, daily confessions, etc. are hostile to the “Latin Mass,” except for a few older people who miss it for the same reasons people on this blog do. For reference, I am in a capitol city in the upper Midwest. I wonder if it is different in other places, say Boston, for example, which has a larger percentage of people who at least identify as Catholic.

  33. sw85 says:

    @robtbrown —

    IMHO, it is a very serious question to ask whether the Novus Ordo is primarily a vernacular mass–and was designed to be so.

    Paul VI seemed to think it was, as witnessed by his general audience a few days before the NO’s introduction, when he said that “No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass” and that “[w]e are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance.” And that we would, in view of the revisions, lose access to the greater portion of the Church’s musical patrimony.

    For the life of me I cannot imagine why anyone would want to attend the NO in Latin except for novelty’s sake or just to make a point. It is a chatty Mass, designed to facilitate participation by instant apprehension of audibly-spoken words in one’s native tongue, and this was achieved in part by deliberately stripping people of the opportunity to participate in other means (e.g., by meditation during long stretches of silence, by long and beautiful compositions of sacred music sung while the priest labored quietly at the altar, etc.). Smuggling Latin into it for Latins’s sake seems rather like trying to sit on two stools at once and just falling between them.

  34. louiseyvette says:

    This is just my experience. I had not often been to a Latin Mass in the past, and never at all in my childhood. For various reasons, it has become practical for me to now attend Latin Mass, which I can usually only do at 8am on Sunday mornings. I am not a morning person! But for various reasons I have really wanted to make a complete switch to the Latin Mass. I found it a bit hard to make the adjustment, to start with, but decided that the best thing to do would be to be like a little child and just sit there absorbing what was going on and getting used to the silence. I had a strong intuition that if I did this every week, or most weeks, I would fairly quickly make the adjustment. This is exactly what happened. Now I’m starting to follow along with the missal a bit. I have been going regularly – most Sundays – since January. Sometimes I have been going back to my OF parish. I definitely prefer the Latin Mass now.

    I do also use a veil or hat and have been doing that for at least a year or more. I like that too. I just don’t think that should ever have changed. Nothing should have changed.

  35. robtbrown says:


    It’s not a matter of what anyone thinks, including Paul VI. It’s historical fact that the Novus Ordo was being said in the vernacular before the Latin Missal existed.

  36. thomas777 says:

    Perhaps, and I mean this in good faith with no disrespect intended, some should count their blessings. I live in a place with 4 priests within a 4 hour drive. 1 is a Teilhardian, 1 recently commented that the church in China was very vibrant but too traditional (they require V2 reteaching apparently), 1 allowed an actual insane/satanic priest/demonic (I leave it to Our Lady’s judgement) to literally oppose his consecration by mocking a statue of the sacred heart and then crossing the church to mock Our Lady, on multiple occasions. (he did not believe in demons, and did not wish to offend the insane).

    A little latin in my mass, what a novelty, that might be nice to see some day. I will put it on my list of things to witness before the second coming.
    Like I said, Count your blessings. If you see the EF on a regular basis even as an option you get to choose. God likes you.

  37. Geoffrey says:

    “I have a genuine question (that several others here have already alluded to) – if you’re longing for an Ordinary Form celebrated in Latin (and the priest facing away from the people), why then wouldn’t one want to go straight to the Extraordinary Form?”

    I for one like the “new” lectionary, the spoken canon, and that the faithful are encouraged to recite or chant their parts of the Mass in Latin, as Vatican II specifically called for. Not every celebration of the EF Mass is hospitable to the people joining in the responses or chants, and joining in the chanting of the Lord’s Prayer is absolutely forbidden. And don’t worry. I am not one who says that the EF Mass must change in this regard, but that the OF Mass must change and become what it was and is meant to be.

    When ‘Summorum Pontificum’ was released, I read an article by a priest who did not lament the motu proprio, but rather lamented that it was not that the Mass of Paul VI had been tried and found wanting, but that it had not been tried at all. Look at an average papal Mass at St Peter’s Basilica. That is how the Ordinary Form should be: Latin, chant, incense, bells, male-only sanctuary. Opus Dei liturgies would be a prime example of this as well. This seems to be the thinking of His Holiness Benedict XVI, the Pope Emeritus, father of the “New Liturgical Movement” and the “reform of the reform”.

  38. Healingrose1202 says:


    Ask your parish priest to offer a OF in Latin or EF. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought if the laity request it, they are supposed to accommodate the request? If they don’t, you can move your request up the chain of command.

  39. Healingrose1202 says:

    Part of the problem is when you try to look online to find out what options are offered and when. There are several churches within a half hour drive offering different Latin options, but it can be so confusing with so many ways of saying slightly different things. Sometimes I can’t tell if: “(Latin)” that accompanies a list of Mass times is for only a specific time or multiple times. It changes back and forth so much from service to service and on different days, how does anyone keep track?

    I prefer EF, but there is a wonderful Latin OF with full orchestra, choir, kneeling during communion, priest facing away from the people, etc.. I admit, I am spoiled by too many options. If only a preferred option was as close by as my home parish, less than 5 minutes away. Being a single mom of three makes driving farther and at very early times much more of a challenge to get to the EF.

  40. robtbrown says:

    Geoffrey says,

    I for one like the “new” lectionary, the spoken canon, and that the faithful are encouraged to recite or chant their parts of the Mass in Latin, as Vatican II specifically called for. Not every celebration of the EF Mass is hospitable to the people joining in the responses or chants, and joining in the chanting of the Lord’s Prayer is absolutely forbidden. And don’t worry. I am not one who says that the EF Mass must change in this regard, but that the OF Mass must change and become what it was and is meant to be.

    What you have described could have been adjustments to the 1962 Missal. And it’s likely that most of the Fathers at Vat II thought that was what the text intended–not a new mass.

    It’s true that not every EF mass is hospitable to the laity joining in, but it’s also true that not every OF mass is hospitable reverence. How many times has there been applause at mass, even in the best Novus Ordo parishes?

    BTW, last week I attended an EF mass–the canon was spoken except for the consecration. It was a Dialogue Mass.

  41. Geoffrey says:

    “What you have described could have been adjustments to the 1962 Missal. And it’s likely that most of the Fathers at Vat II thought that was what the text intended–not a new mass.”

    Oh, I agree. I know of a chapel that celebrates Sunday Mass using the 1965 Missal (Latin), with the new lectionary. Violation of several liturgical laws? No doubt. But it is beautiful.

    And I do not argue about the tremendous lack of reverence at the average OF Mass. This is another way that the EF can and should influence the OF.

  42. PTK_70 says:

    Noble offices, exalted institutions, great events, heroic characters, art of eminent value, landmarks, other tangible and intangible foundations of culture….all demand a certain reverence and respect. Common, plebian speech is somehow inappropriate when elaborating on these things.

    For much the same reason I try to speak of Mass with reverence and precision, following the lead of the beloved pope emeritus.

    As a layman I can’t preside over Holy Mass in a worthy manner but I can aim to speak of it in a worthy manner and that’s what I hope to do, even if it means swimming against the current.

  43. thomas777 says:

    I teach for a Catholic Highschool. I personally know or have met every member of the hierarchy up to and including the bishop. That includes all the major lay staff. No, I don’t know all their secretaries. If His Grace allows Latin to be sung, even as an option, without coming down on the offender like a ton of bricks or shipping them off to a foreign country (assuming he allows the offender to keep said collar) I will consider it a miracle of the highest order. As to the wonderful moto proprio (possibly misspelled my apologies) being actually used in my local. I won’t say it won’t happen. I have been surprised by grace before, but I will say I don’t see it as things presently stand.

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