Concerning rumors of dramatic changes to the Extraordinary Form

I have had some questions about a rumor going around that dramatic changes are going to be imposed on the older, traditional Form of Roman Rite.  Someone thinks that the new Lectionary and calendar will be imposed on the 1962 Missale sometime in 2018.

I respond: Piffle.   Even, bull piffle!

No.  Won’t happen.

In addition, I checked with my various peeps.  No.  Won’t happen.  Can’t happen.

So, you can relax and stop sending me mail about this.

The moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AnthonyJ says:

    People are flipping out over this completely unfounded rumor. I saw it on one blog with absolutely no sources to back it up. Fake news fever strikes again.

  2. majuscule says:

    When I saw that rumor being put forward I did not even think to “Ask Fr. Z”. I did not see any citations. It appeared to be opinion to me. Or just plain old lady gossip (I can say that because I am an old lady).

    But so many people got into a tizzy in the comboxes…! Thanks for your calming opinion, Father.

  3. Jon says:


    I understand why, given the confidence of your sources you might say it “won’t happen,” but what do you mean by it “can’t happen?”

    [Such a change would eradicate fundamental elements of the rite.]

  4. Deo volente says:

    This apparently appeared in a story on a site called “Tridentine Malta” or some such. I saw it yesterday quoted by someone. It sounded to me like agitprop from the Fish Wrap!

  5. anilwang says:

    I did a google search and interestingly enough most of the references for the “dramatic changes to the Extraordinary Form” including a new lectionary were in 2013!

    From a practical standpoint, this rumor is nonsense. In order for a rollout for such a massive change to happen by the end of 2018, the new GIRM would need to be pushed this past summer so that the new lectionary could be printed early next year so priests could be trained over the following year. The rollout of the relatively minor literal translation of the NO took much longer.

    My guess is that there will be some minor updates, similar to the ones introduced in 2011, and in the worst case, some NO options introduced into TLM, and mandate for a native language version of TLM to be created as an option.

    Modernists prefer options to outright imposition. With imposition, there’s a possibility of backlash, especially among priests who have already had to endure much to preserve TLM. But with options there’s a higher likelihood of fragmenting the opposition. If such an option were produced, Priests considering TLM might feel more comfortable using a native language version of TLM with some NO options, and thus not go full way into TLM. TLM would fragment.

  6. CradleRevert says:

    The story sounded bogus to me from the start. It’s funny how one, little, unfounded blog post can set people off on such a tizzy.

  7. Mike says:

    What gives this rumor a whiff of verisimilitude is that, as was pointed out in this blog a few months ago, no less than Cardinal Sarah has floated the notion of injecting NO elements into the TLM. Nothing need be added to Fr. Z’s comments on the matter.

    That said, hard-line neo-Catholicism (they who bray loudest about ‘Mercy!’) fears and hates the timeless, organically developed traditional liturgy. Manipulators in the mold of Bugnini are capable of trying to wreck it by any means—including rattling the tradisphere, as here, and then coming in with a liturgy-distorting feint once we’ve let down our guard. All this points to the need, not to hyperventilate, but to support the TLM, the priests that offer it, and the communities that celebrate it.

    A copy of Fr. Jackson’s Nothing Superfluous, frequently recommended in this blog, should be at or near the top of any well-informed Catholic’s reading stack.

  8. Prayerful says:

    This is fake news even if the Maltese blog is sticking to it. The weak three year NOM lectionary couldn’t fit into the traditional Mass. Thematic unity with the propers would be broken too. The Temporal and Sanctoral cycle are one year in length with Epistle and Gospel that form a unity with the ancient propers. Each NOM periscope was also edited to remove ‘pastorally difficult’ passages on sin, repentance and Grace. I think this is highly implausible. Marriage was the target this year, Next year will likely be Humanae Vitae, or some other idea that involves sending short, erroneous communications to ‘Episcopal Conferences’ which allow subversion of Catholic teaching. Lectionary revision involves extraordinary hard work, and I cannot see that as a trait of the present occupants of the Vatican. Pope Francis may have never taken a holiday, but I cannot see him expending so much effort of something he holds in little regard.

  9. Riddley says:

    Not very long ago Cardinal Sarah said repeatedly in a speech that nobody was going to take the TLM away from us (or words to that effect ).

    I doubt His Emminnce would have said that so firmly if something like this were on the cards.

  10. JesusFreak84 says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Saints like St. Padre Pio being added to the calendar, (and that one in particular, I don’t think I’ve met a trad who *would* object!) or St. Theresa of Calcutta, but, even if that much did happen, I can’t imagine it happening without a LOT of warning in advance, because new collects and propers may have to be written/selected, (I mean, you COULD use the common and just insert the names, but I would hope not…) etc. etc. etc. The rest of the rumors, though, sounds like the EF would cease to be the EF if any of them happened.

  11. Amerikaner says:

    Things are bad enough as they are to keep us busy with prayers. No need for folks to grab at rumors.
    Those against Christ, in spiritual warfare, want us to get distracted.

    Keep Calm and Rosary on!

  12. Bthompson says:

    The biggest reason why I think this is a non issue (Besides being a spurious rumor): It would make very little sense for a pope who is, so far as I can tell, uninterested in the EF to make an alteration to how it is celebrated. To change rubrics and prayers of the extraordinary form is to make it a more promininent living reality in the Church. E.g. Pope Benedict XVI changed that one prayer on Good Friday *because he intended it to be used.*

  13. jskelley says:

    Though I may be speaking out of ignorance, would it not be a decent form of mutual enrichment that the EF introduce post-conciliar saints at the very least, and slowly transition towards a single compromise on lectionary, Calendar, and Office?

    [I’m pretty sure that virtually all of us would welcome propers for the 1962MR for new saints. I would!]

  14. Tom A. says:

    Won’t be the first time.

  15. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Won’t happen, because since Summorum, too many people realize that the TLM was never suppressed because no Pope has such power–which Paul VI knew. He contented himself with creating the IMPRESSION that the TLM was forbidden.

    Even if such an act of vandalism were to be attempted, this time around it would be ignored.

  16. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    These comments would be comforting except for a couple of points. One, the rumored changes would be items that already exist, a calendar and lectionary. These could be imposed with a finger snap and very little preparation would be necessary. Two, the idea that the Modernists would not wish to impose anything for fear of a backlash is belied by what happened with the Novus Ordo. They obviously did not fear a backlash with that one and for the most part they didn’t get one. The SSPX remains a relatively small thorn in their side and the vast majority of bishops, priest, and laity are happily wallowing in NuChurch.

    Lastly, although I agree with our gracious host that the rumored changes would “eradicate fundamental elements of the rite,” I take no comfort in that. I think that is exactly what the Modernists want to do. The classic “biological solution” has not worked because instead of dying off we are having more children, so now they will simply take away what is holding us together, the Liturgy. It might be done in several steps but it will be done, or at least attempted.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    I wish I could say I feel totally comforted, I don’t, but I appreciate the effort, Fr. Z. The days of comfort are all but over, these men have intentions, and I believe everything is on the table with them, even the inconceivable or to us the “impossible”. If they get around to it, they will. There is very little holding them back, certainly not any worries about what is too much.
    I love new saints as well, but would not want to see them added for that reason, once you let them tinker, tinkering is going to be done, until neither you nor I recognize the old Mass. They will put a gaudy evening gown on that old gal and paint her up.
    I hate to say it, but right now we are like mice shivering in the corner. They know where we live, and sooner or later, they’ll come. There is naught there to stop them, and they have shown a propensity for punishment.
    Sorry to be, Debbie Downer once again.

  18. Hank_F_M says:


    I do not think this is a good report

    The general opinion of the “progressive wing” is on the TLM is if it can’t be banned, it should at least be discouraged.

    From their point of view this sort of change would make it more assessable to the faithful. The one thing they do not want to do.

    We may disagree with them but they are not stupid.

  19. Mike C says:

    Injecting the New Lectionary and the Calendar to the EF would be damaging the rite.

    But…. what about the other way round? Abolishing the New Lectionary and the Calendar, let the Novus Ordo adopt the Old Calendar, that is the bring the Reading and Calendar in line. At the same time bring the new saints into the Calendar.

    How about that?

  20. Tristan says:

    Apologies if rabbit hole, but..
    “TLM was never suppressed because no Pope has such power”

    Isn’t the EF oft referred to as “Tridentine” because Council of Trent did suppress other rites (but maintain the TLM)? Wouldn’t that mean the Pope can suppress some rites in favor of others?

  21. Austin says:

    I truly hope that this is an ignis fatuus.

    So far in this pontificate, every distressing rumour has turned to be not only true, but worse than threatened.

    I have begun “reading Francis through Thomas Cromwell.”

  22. Riddley says:

    A possible sidelight on this question is to be found here:

    Speaking to Indian Catholics (whose three different rites will now be governed by their own respective bishops) the Holy Father emphasised the importance of looking after liturgical traditions, and said that having different rites does not undermine Church unity.

    That’s not a bad position to apply to the TLM, methinks.

  23. JonPatrick says:

    Tristan note that the Council of Trent suppressed rites that did not have at least 200 years of use. It was more a suppression of variations that had sprung up over the years.

    Of course we also have a de facto suppression of the Extraordinary Form in many dioceses anyway.

    Personally I don’t think these dramatic changes will happen because as noted above that would take a lot of work by people who have no interest in the TLM and might actually make it more accessible to people which they would want to avoid.

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