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Busting the Myth of the “Tridentine” Mass

Mass of Saint Gregory the Great by Master of Portillo (1520-1525).

Far too often these days liturgical discussions pertaining to the Roman Rite start with the popular myth that the Traditional Latin Mass only dates back to the sixteenth century and the Council of Trent (1545-1563). While some make this claim simply due to a lack of catechesis, there are unfortunately others who perpetuate the myth to diminish the very antiquity of the ancient rite. Let us remedy this by busting the myth of the “Tridentine” Mass.

First a note on terminology. The Tridentine Mass is simply another name for the Traditional Latin Mass, also called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite since Summorum Pontificum was issued by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.

Now for the history. Following the Council of Trent, Pope St. Pius V issued the papal Bull Quo Primum regarding the Mass. It is important to note that Pius V did not promulgate a new Mass (as Paul VI did in 1970), but rather consolidated and codified the Roman Rite already in existence. He also extended its use throughout the Latin Church, granting exception only to those rites demonstrating continuous usage of more than 200 years, such as the Ambrosian Rite found in Milan.

Since the 1570 Missal of Pius V was issued in the wake of the Council of Trent, the ancient rite has often been referred to as the Tridentine Mass. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this term, it can (and has) been used by some seeking to diminish the ancient rite by implying that it only dates back to 1570.

This, of course, is a myth.

Writing 50 years before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the promulgation of the new Mass of Paul VI (1970),  Father Adrian Fortescue discussed the very antiquity of the Roman Rite in his classic, The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy (1912):

Essentially the Missal of St. Pius V is the Gregorian Sacramentary; that again is formed from the Gelasian book which depends on the Leonine collection. We find the prayers of our Canon in the treatise de Sacramentisand allusions to it in the IV century. So our Mass goes back, without essential change, to the age when it first developed out of the oldest liturgy of all. It is still redolent of that liturgy, of the days when Caesar ruled the world and thought he could stamp out the faith of Christ, when our fathers met together before dawn and sang a hymn to Christ as to a God. The final result of our enquiry is that, in spite of unsolved problems, in spite of later changes, there is not in Christendom another rite so venerable as ours.

And this of course is the point. Not that the Mass didn’t develop organically, because it had. Nor that there were no further revisions to it, since the Missal of 1962 used in the Extraordinary Form today incorporates (as one example) the Holy Week revisions of 1955. But rather, that the Traditional Mass dates back to the oldest liturgy of all “without essential change”, to use Fr. Fortescue’s phrase. When referencing this Mass, we are speaking in terms of millennia, not centuries.

Indeed, some have referred to the traditional liturgy as the Gregorian Rite, or the Gregorian Mass, in deference to the ancient sacramentary bearing the name of that sixth century saint; a pope and liturgy which preceded Trent by one thousand years.

As liturgical discussions move forward within the Church, and both forms of the Roman Rite are studied and considered, let us hope that (at a minimum) we can finally bust the myth that the Traditional Mass is a product of the 16th century. If we are truly to restore all that has been lost for so many, we must first begin with correct information and intellectual honesty.

Originally published at Reprinted with permission. 

123 thoughts on “Busting the Myth of the “Tridentine” Mass”

  1. The two biggest myths out there are that the Mass is the same from time immemorial (yes, I have had that said to me many times) and that the Mass ought to be adapted to the ‘current’ times (ugh, that actually happened). Both are incorrect. The essential elements of the Holy Mass are the same, but their have been many additions and subtractions throughout the ages, however without disrupting what is the essential order and elements of the Roman Rite…until

    …The Novus Ordo and is not that, it is the erasure of the Essential Form of the Roman Rite and the whole sale formation of a “new order’ that borrows bits and pieces from the Traditional Roman Rite and cobbles them together with Protestant and semi-Jewish liturgical elements. If you Offer the Novus Ordo in the Most reverent way possible it can be very beautiful, however that does not mean that it isn’t still severely deficient in it’s very structure (especially with options, options, options everywhere!) because it is.

    And when it’s offered as it usually is, it’s banal at best, mostly a group hug around the Eucharist.

    And when it’s offered in an even more poor fashion than the usual banal ‘community focused’ horrible Christian entertainment group psychotherapy session it is out rightly blasphemous.

    If it received the reboot that Cardinal Sarah propsed (under Francis that will not happen, Sarah shall be shown the door) it would help it tremendously (I’m speaking of the NO, not TLM, so put the daggers back in there sheathes) and will eventually draw more people to the TLM for it will introduce them to even more elements of the TLM (prayers at the foot of the cross, Latin, Traditional Offertory, more quite prayers by the priest, Ad orientem, altar rail, kneeling for Holy communion on the tongue) especially reverence and the return of the understanding of the Priest as Sacerdot (offerer of the Holy Sacrifice) instead of presider/entertainer/clown/communist agitator/etc…

    • Latin is or was an interesting source to cling to for traditionalists. Today, we have folks who barely speak English well, or read it well. Sure, some inner city schools have re-introduced Latin to improve one’s English language skills. However, a decent English translation is fine with me and the guitar based worship music is okay too.
      Some folks drive 140 miles to attend the Tridentine Mass instead of celebrating Eucharist with their local parish. Okay, that is their sacrifice and commitment to their holiness. Jesus is the same species whether celebrated in Latin or English.

      • “Jesus is the same species”?

        You make Him sound like the subject of an African safari documentary.

        A valid Sacrament is the very minimum that the Mass should be.

        I wrote a three-parter on the Mass but was told by IP5 that it was “unnecessary”. Yet this article has been deemed necessary …

        • A valid Sacrament is the very minimum that the Mass should be

          I grow tired as well, GS, of being told by neo-Catholics to simply “offer it up” and suffer through liturgical abuse after liturgical abuse, as “the Mass is still valid.” Clearly, we should be striving for more than just the bare minimum, now, shouldn’t we? Or does the God who devoted chapter after chapter in the Old Testament to how He desires to be worshiped no longer care?

          • Apparently not. What is important is that the dumb, mindless Collective gathers together under the banner of the lowest form of popular culture and inanity.

            Lovers of beauty, desirers of silence, those in need of transcendence, those who intuitively identify with the Church’s glorious history and together with it, with Salvation History overall, feeling themselves to be part of a great flow through time, can just piss off.

          • Speaking of beauty, I have found myself rediscovering the beauty of sacred Renaissance polyphony over the past few months, music I hadn’t really listened to since my first semester music history class in undergrad. Victoria, Palestrina, Tallis, Josquin . . . their music is what every Catholic choir should be singing, not the insipid drivel heard in most parishes.

          • You are just too kind in your rant of “beauty, silence, and transcendence.” The Mass, such as it is, is a “Collective” of souls to celebrate heaven on earth for a brief period. I am well aware of the Church’s “glorious history,” which shames me somewhat to read parts of it. I have enjoyed the revelation in the Church’s history regardless of its failing guardians, at times. Christ is still in it’s Mystical body wherever it gathers and prays in whatever language. Just don’t tell me there is ONLY one preferred language.

          • Just please consider that it is at least odd that Latin has been almost entirely eliminated in the Latin Rite of the Church. Once again, Vatican II while giving permission for the vernacular, also said that the faithful are to able to make all the responses in Latin and that it was not supposed to be eliminated.

          • Right on.

            I need to jump in here, if only because the issue you touched on is a practice that DEFINES THE MODERN CATHOLIC CHURCH.

            Have a doctrine, rule, order or guideline AND THEN UTTERLY REFUSE TO PROVIDE THE DISCIPLINE NECESSARY TO ENFORCE IT. So in effect, what happens is the Church appears then NOT to have the doctrine, rule or order in the first place. Thus we have a Church that appears to stand for nothing, will defend nothing and will fight for nothing. In short, a Church that believes nothing.

            I’ll repeat it again for the millionth time. I believe this philosophy is not limited to liturgy, but permeates the handling of doctrine, preaching & practice on the following well-established past “teachings of the Church”:

            EENS, homosexuals, indissolubility of marriage, adultery of “remarriage”, just war, contraception, Real Presence, responsibility of the prelature/Pope to defend the faith, religious indifferentism, Islam, Protestantism, Luther, Communism, death penalty, relationship of husband and wife in marriage, unity of the Faith/”synodalism”, etc.

            Anyone who studies the Catholic faith by examining the documents of the Church for all time till V2 KNOWS what the true teachings are on these topics but if you expose yourself only to the culture of “Catholicism” today you could not be criticized for having utterly no idea WHAT the Church REALLY has taught about all of these issues and you could hardly be blamed for confusing the Catholic Church with the Episcopalians. In fact, in a year or two in the absence of a truly miraculous change, I don’t think their will be louses nit’s worth of difference in the functioning of the Catholic Church and Anglicanism on these issues.

            Those who affirm the true teaching of the faith appear to be a small minority today. In a few years they will be tiny indeed, and the basic picture the “Catholic Church” presents to the world will be as an institution that not only doesn’t teach what it used to teach, but rather is an institution WHOLLY AT ODDS WITH WHAT USED TO BE TAUGHT.

            When John XXIII opened Vatican 2 with his infamous “the Church will no longer condemn but only affirm” message, he wasn’t kidding.

            And if this isn’t the pervasive apostasy of the Church so warned about even in the CCC {para 675} I have no idea what it could be.

            Fr RP: How many Bishops out there will stand up and sharply condemn liturgical abuses? How many will name names among their fellow Bishops and fight those who are actively undermining the faith? How many will condemn not with parsed and gentle admonitions but with the tone and clarity of Jesus and St Paul the individuals and institutions of life that are at war with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church’s TRUE teaching?

          • I have no idea how many bishops will stand up for correcting liturgical abuse, most of seem to not have the Liturgy (life blood of the Church)on their minds and if they do, it’s on how to make it more accommodating to the Luke warm. That’s my take and it’s based on experience and reading a lot…reading a lot. Even less would name names, because they have been brainwashed via an all pervasive/invasive concept of ‘collegiality.’ that isn’t really collegiality but the sin of human respect. And the same goes with any condemnations of what actually should be condemned, meek and humble has been warped into effeminate and accommodating.

          • They were sort of rhetorical questions, to be sure.

            IMHO, this is the great obstacle to a truly massive expansion of the Church. This “culture” MUST go!

            I think it is merely human nature that men avoid those who appear uncommitted to a cause that in its face obviously demands commitment. I don’t think this is exclusive to the Church. I mean, it is simply common sense not to take something seriously if the guy fronting it doesn’t take it seriously, either.

            Look at the secular world. Imagine if Billy Mays got on the TV and said: “Here’s some Oxy-Clean. I guess it’s OK, but I don’t know. It’s got a nifty package…I guess” or what if Vince Offer said about “Sham-Wow”…”Well, here’s this rag. It costs some money. Buy one if you want to”………?

            I really believe that if fired up Bishops stood strong for the teaching of the Church on ALL moral issues today we would actually see massive growth, probably even among Evangelicals who wouldn’t necessarily agree with the “Catholic Church” but would be impressed with the zeal and courage and would inquire…and be won.

          • If anything, this only goes to show that the Lord is truly the one in control and that we’re unable to, in the greater scheme of things, defeat the demons in their own game.

            I don’t mean to sound all apocalyptic and what not but the Lord spoke of discerning the signs of the times and the CCC says the Church must follow her Master in death and resurrection.

            It’s almost as if this has all been foretold and is now been fulfilled.

            I sometimes wonder if the fullness of the gentiles has been reached and if the time has now come for something important to take place.

        • Your article, while it contained much of value, was, on the whole, more of a strong polemic than a persuasion piece.

          We have many readers here still attached to the NO, because it’s all they’ve ever known. There are plenty of anti-NO polemics elsewhere. We try to take a different approach, while still keeping the same goal in mind.

          • Yes, therein is the fault. Those of us who were children, raised in the Latin traditions, then young adults post-Vatican II screwball history where everything had to change. What a mess. Have we recovered yet?

          • Thank you Margaret, but there will be no changes. Steve is well within his rights – it’s his site.

            Yet to say it was a polemic is a gross injustice. Full of quotes, historical fact and citations, it has been very well-recieved by those who have read it, including at least one major contributor of articles to this site.

            We are well past the time when we should pussy foot around Novus Ordoites. I simply cannot understand the reticence. The ‘homo Church” has unveiled itself publicly; the Pope is certainly a heretic; Muller admits things have fallen apart altogether yet so many still flirt with the “conservatives” and even accept the progressives as fellow Catholics.

            What will it take for the truth to be heard?

          • Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, but my editor and I both agreed that it came across brusquely, despite the many worthwhile points you made. Some favor that approach, but I’ve intentionally taken a different tack here because that niche in the tradosphere is well-established already. (And of course, we usually leave editorial discussions private.)

            As for this: We are well past the time when we should pussy foot around Novus Ordoites. I simply cannot understand the reticence.

            You’re speaking about me until I was 24, and most of my extended family to this day. Among them I find some of the most faithful people I’ve ever known. My grandparents modeled the faith for me in a way I’ll never forget, and which set me on the course I travel now, and both attended the Novus Ordo until their death. I have an uncle who I have always looked to as an example in how to be a faithful father and patriarch of a large family. Also Novus Ordo.

            These people matter. Many like them read here, although few of them comment. It wouldn’t surprise me if they avoided it because they’d prefer not to tangle with sentiments like yours.

            I appreciate your passion and candor, but however obvious it may seem to us, it wasn’t always. I know because of the other essay you wrote for us that you were for “many years being at least partially lapsed”. I know that I had to be beaten over the head with the TLM before I was able to see it for the treasure that it was, lost as I found myself in the ideology of reforming the NO. My wife recognized it the first time she saw it.

            I don’t believe God’s done calling people to the fullness of His truth. I don’t believe He’s done waking people up. We can tell the truth firmly, but we don’t need to hammer them with it just because we’re fed up. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen anyone browbeaten into conversion.

          • When I say I was “beaten over the head with the TLM,” I don’t mean *I* was browbeaten. I mean I had to be exposed to it again and again, to force myself to study texts I was sure would be wrong, etc. etc. I just couldn’t get it at all the first few times. My programming had to be undone.

          • In his book “The Monk of Mount Athos,” one Archimandrite Sophrony poses a question that could probably be asked of every so-called sola scriptura Christian:

            If by some unprecedented instance of spontaneous combustion every Bible on the face of the earth were to suddenly burst into flame and turned to ashes, would that be the end of Christianity?

            His answer was that, no, because the lived faith of every living and faithful Christian would allow the saving truths of the Faith to be

            I’ll take it one step further: what if every Christian Church on the face of the earth—Catholic or not—was razed to the ground and turned to rubble; what if every Church document, every copy of Canon law, encyclical, pastoral letter, Apostolic exhortation—every last written testimony of faith suddenly ceased to exist (and every trace saved to cloud got sucked into the cyberMuda Triangle) —would THAT be the end ofthe Faith?

            The Mass and the Sacraments are all helps to salvation.

            What are the saving truths? (Are they not found in the Apostle’s Creed?) What is the saving Truth? (Is it not He Who is also the Way and the Life?)

            The Novus Ordo is a wounded, defective Mass. But it is “a far cry from dead.”

          • I can testify that GS’s three-part essay was chock-full of stunning facts and damning quotations. I recommend it to all readers. That it was hard-hitting is true. But facts are stubborn things.

          • I’m going to email you for your article. So please check your spam box if I don’t show up in your inbox. (You previously posted your email and I saved it. ????).

        • Only in perception. The reason for the Mass is to share the Eucharist and the Word of God, simplistically speaking. There is a lot of other STUFF that gets added and over time subtracted.

      • You do realize that there are more fundamental differences between the classical rite and the Novus Ordo than the language, correct? A Novus Ordo Mass, even in Latin, is nothing like the classical rite, as it lacks:

        –Prayers at the foot of the altar (Psalm 42, the full Confiteor [the Novus Ordo Confiteor is significantly shortened] said by both priest and servers)
        –Mandatory recitation of all propers, including Introit, Offertory, and Communion antiphons, which are entirely optional in the NO
        –Orations (Collect, Secret, Postcommunion) that refer to the following: damnation, sin, God’s justice, judgment, fasting, etc.
        –A completely different lectionary
        –An entirely different sequence of Offertory prayers that in no way refer to the hosts and wine as sacrifices about to be offered
        –Mandatory use of the venerable Roman Canon
        –The words of institution as defended by such luminaries as St. Thomas Aquinas, particularly in the removal of the Mysterium Fidei from the consecration of the wine
        –The solemn kiss of peace among the sacred ministers at Solemn Mass (replaced in the NO with banal hand shaking and high fiving)
        –The triple Domine, non sum dignus before priest and laity communicate
        –The traditional text stated by priests (and only priests) as they distribute Communion to the laity
        –The Last Gospel at almost every Mass

        It’s not just about the language. The entire rite has been fundamentally impoverished in the Novus Ordo.

        • I cringe when I hear the words, “It will become for us our spiritual drink.” Gatorade is a drink. Grape juice is a drink and the Protestant ‘eucharist.’ What an abomination!

        • Yes, I know it’s not only the language. The influence of the bare-bones Protestant is apparent and is slowly replaced by these circular monstrosities that boast of a baptismal pool, a resurrection icon on the wall, and no tabernacle insight. Seldom kneelers in some places … I know, I know it’s my nature to wonder, being caught between the old and the new, and now a renew.

        • I agree with everything you said. However, there’s one thing I don’t understand. Why IS the Mysterium fidei in the words of consecration when they are not in the Synoptic Gospels nor in 1 Corinthians by St. Paul? In the Divine Liturgy, The words of consecration do not have Mysterium fidei, but it’s still a valid consecration.

          • As far as I can find in my research, the “mysterium fidei” was most certainly within the formula for the consecration of the wine no later than the seventh century in Rome (and all other rites influenced by Rome). According to St. Thomas, the “mysterium fidei” was said by Christ at the Last Supper but not recorded by the evangelists: “The Evangelists did not intend to hand down the forms of the sacraments, which in the primitive Church had to be kept concealed . . . The words added, namely, “eternal” and “mystery of faith,” were handed down to the Church by the apostles, who received them from our Lord, according to 1 Cor. 11:23: “I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you.” (Summa Theologica III Q. 78 a. 3).

            Innocent III explained that the “mysterium fidei” refers to “here what is believed differs from what is seen, and what is seen differs from what is believed. For what is seen is the appearance of bread and wine and what is believed is the reality of the flesh and blood of Christ and the power of unity and love.”

            The phrase, as you rightly pointed out, never was found in the Eastern rites; its removal from the Novus Ordo smacks of an attempt to introduce Eastern elements into the Western Church in the name of ecumenism so fashionable in the ’60s.

          • Thank you. That’s the best explanation I’ve heard so far. Your post is going into my second favorite 1P5 posts file.

        • Regarding the Last Gospel: it is omitted after the Third Christmas Mass (daylight) because historically Benediction would take place after this Mass (the Last Gospel is omitted when a liturgical function takes place immediately after Mass). It’s omitted after the Palm Sunday Mass with the preceding procession, and if no procession takes place the Processional Gospel is substituted for John 1:1-14. It’s omitted after the Easter Vigil Mass because technically the Lauds of Easter take place immediately after the Post-Communion.

          • Wouldn’t the Gospel of Epiphany have been said as the Third Mass of Christmas, as the Gospel of the Mass IS John 1:1–14? That’s what all my research into the pre-Pius XII rubrics seems to indicate; Fr. Dupré (FSSP) in Sarasota went ahead and said this Gospel after the Third Mass of Christmas 2015, even though technically it’s supposed to be omitted entirely according to the 1962 rubrics.

            Another pre-Pius XII practice was that the Last Gospel would be the Gospel of the Sunday if a feast of greater rank fell on that Sunday. This year on August 6, for example, if we were following the Pius X rubrics, the Mass would be of the Transfiguration, with commemoration of the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (as well as the orations pro tempore) at the Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion, with the Last Gospel being the Gospel of the Mass of the Ninth Sunday.

            The complexity of these rubrics, even with Pius X’s elevation of Sundays per annum above most feasts, demonstrate just why the “reformers” wanted to simplify the rubrics, but the principle of only one set of orations at sung Mass (save for the rare “privileged” commemorations [e.g., ferias of Advent and Lent]) and no more than three orations total at low Mass and the suppression of all proper Last Gospels except for low Mass on Palm Sunday went much too far in my opinion.

          • My comment was on the Last Gospel, but yes on preceding liturgical activities the Introit starts the Mass according to the 1962 Missal, prior editions prescribe the Mass starting as usual. I did not know that the the Sunday Gospel would be the Last Gospel when a feast displaced the Sunday. Only the Proper prayers of the Sunday would be commemorated on displaced Sundays.

          • Only the Proper prayers of the Sunday would be commemorated on displaced Sundays.

            Yes. But, in an even further wrinkle in the 1962 rubrics (that makes absolutely no sense), the Sunday isn’t even commemorated if the superseding feast is a feast of Our Lord. So to take the August 6, 2017 example I mentioned above, the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost isn’t commemorated at all, as the Transfiguration is a “feast of Our Lord.” But if, say, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist falls on Sunday, the Sunday IS, in fact, commemorated. It’s maddening to try and keep all the exceptions straight in one’s mind, and it’s obvious that the 1955/1960/1962 rubrical changes were rushed without proper consideration as to just how they would work in practice. (Supposedly, I read somewhere, they wanted to cut out the Octave of Pentecost in 1956 along with the Octaves of Epiphany, Ascension, Corpus Christi, etc.), but they didn’t have time to write new texts for each weekday in the octave, as they each have a proper Mass and Office, so they kept it until 1969/70. They did, however, excise the Pentecost Vigil ceremony that mirrors the Easter Vigil pre-Mass, which leads to the oddity of a proper Hanc Igitur and Communicantes during the Octave of Pentecost in which the priest refers to those who have been baptized, yet there is no longer any corresponding ceremony within the octave.)

          • I despise the fact that, if one follows the 1962 rubrics to the letter, the prayers at the foot of the altar are eliminated entirely if a procession or some other liturgical action (e.g., distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday, blessing of candles on Candlemas, the Mass itself of the Easter Vigil) precedes the Mass, with the celebrant immediately saying the Introit once he has changed from cope to chasuble and maniple. Thankfully, many priests, such as the FSSP priests in Fribourg, gloss over these rubrics and go ahead with the preparatory prayers anyway.

          • “FSSP priests . . . gloss over these rubrics”???? gloss over as in disobey, disregard, do-their-own-thing? not right. let’s be consistent. if this were done in a novus ordo Mass, most posters here would be yelling bloody murder.

          • It’s not “doing your own thing” if it’s something that has been used in the Mass for literally more than 1,000 years. Tradition, even small “t” tradition, trumps law in such circumstances. The PCED has allowed the use of the Confiteor prior to the distribution of Communion according to local custom, so your argument doesn’t really amount to much here.

          • The FSSP Constitutions include more than a couple pre-1962 elements and the use of the 2nd (aka 3rd) Confiteor is nearuniversal unless it’s local custom to NOT do it, as one example.

          • I’ve also rarely gone to a High or Low Mass (mostly a diocesan church) where the server does not say the Confiteor before Communion. Silly changes made out of some false sense of regularity, depriving the Roman Rite of the sense of antiquity which comes from repetition and a deliberate redundancy, can be licitly ignored. The diocesan TLM in Dublin has operated on a scheduled basis (as opposed to a nomadic existence until then) since JP2 clearly restored legality (although it never was illegal as Vatican study found) to the Mass of Ages in the early eighties, and there are clearly local Irish customs. Now if only De Profundis, as a prayer for the dead and victims of persecution could be restored, having ceased by order of the Irish bishops on 15th November 1960.

            Anyhow these small divergences, if they hadn’t been licenced, pale in comparison to NOM celebrations where at minimum elements of the ordinary and propers are modified by priests in shapeless plain or tasteless vestments to make them less ‘sexist,’ changing any mention of ‘men’ to ‘people’ or some generic collective noun like ‘all.’ That is eunuchery to anyone except a certain class of middle aged professional offence takers who have colonised many parish councils.

        • Your point is well stated. However, the famous, “in the spirit of …,” Vatican II still rings in my head, as I saw the Catholic Church savaged because it was too Catholic for the move toward “ecumenism.” With the Protestant celebration of Martin Luther’s revolt, the academia in Catholic Universities and those who would marginalize the Marian celebrations, took charge of advancing a minimalist approach to worship, stripped the Church of what you find essential, I see lost to history’s dusty library.

        • The Confiteor as shortened for the Novus Ordo Missae is almost, or is, word for word identical, to the Anglican, or for Americans, Episcopalian form of the prayer. The NOM lectionary, in its periscopes might cover more over the multi-year cycle, but the compilers of Concilium removed ‘difficult’ texts covering fasting, repentance and sin, and in other respects seemed to aim at making the entire liturgy as beige and monotone as possible.

          • The Confiteor as shortened for the Novus Ordo Missae is almost, or is, word for word identical, to the Anglican, or for Americans, Episcopalian form of the prayer.

            Yes, because it’s all about “ecumenism” and not offending people, ’cause asking them to ask for Ss. Peter and Paul, St. John the Baptist, and St. Michael to intercede for us . . . well, we can’t have that, can we?

          • The most glaring excised “difficult” text (to me, anyway) is the following verses from Chapter 4 of the Second Epistle of St. Paul to St. Timothy, when that epistle comes up as the Second Reading of a number of consecutive Ordinary Time Sunday Masses in one of the three years of the Ordinary Form cycle of readings: namely, “The time will surely come, when men will grow tired of sound doctrine, always itching to hear something fresh; and so they will provide themselves with a continuous succession of new teachers, as the whim takes them, turning a deaf ear to the truth, bestowing their attention on fables instead. It is for thee to be on the watch, to accept every hardship, to employ thyself in preaching the gospel, and perform every duty of thy office, keeping a sober mind.” (2 Timothy 4: 3-5)

        • When mass is Latin, it’s understood around the world. No masses for English, Spanish, Vietnamese as it is in our parish.

        • Also interesting to note in the source sited (Fortescue’s the Mass, a Study of the Roman Liturgy) that many elements we think of as essential in the TLM are Gallicanisms not part of the original Roman Rite, which was very austere and relatively simple especially compared to the elaborate Eastern Rites. St. Gregory the Great did not use any incense, there was no blessings of the congregation at the end, nor would he have done any elevations nor was there a Last Gospel…

          Other elements he would have done have disappeared for other reasons, such as the Fermentum and Sancta (additional commixtios) with a particle reserved from the bishop and/or Pope’s Mass in the priest’s chalice as a Inter-Communion and from the previous Mass respectively…

      • guitar based worship music is okay too

        Head hits table. Again. And again. And again.

        Seriously, why? Do we not care that the organ is the only instrument (with the exception of occasional orchestral Masses) formally approved for use in the Church’s liturgy? Or that, without question, the greatest composers Western civilization has to offer have recognized this and written brilliant compositions for the organ to be used during the Mass?

        Or are we simply catering to the lowest common denominator now?

        • Not every rural Church has a talented musician to play such and instrument. Keyboards and acoustical guitarist abound. It works.

          • In the Byzantine Tradition, we sing a capella. Musical instruments are verboten. As St. Augustine said: “He who sings, prays twice.”

            I’m a lay cantor in my parish and have to be at all divine services.

          • Acapella is very nice. So is Gregorian Chant. However, Latin Rite is the point of this discussion, not the beauty of the Byzantine Rite.
            Comparatives are nice too.

          • Unaccompanied Plain Chant is far more uplifting that those instruments and was designed for the Sacred Liturgy specifically, and according to Vatican Two Gregorian Chant is to have pride of place in the Sacred Liturgy. Every parish could learn it, it isn’t difficult. The difficulty lies in personal preference and attitudes of entitlement.

          • When I used to go on retreat, the priests, staff and retreatants would sing Compline. I still know my “Salve Regina, Simple Tone”. Full disclosure: I’m Ukrainian Greek Catholic.

          • Absolutely. Square notation is actually easier to learn than modern notation. The more one sings chant, the more one enters into the prayerful beauty; it is the purest form of sung prayer, as the music fits the words rather than the other way round as with hymnody and other modern musical settings.

          • I have not heard it sung since I played a CD of such Chant from a classical choir. Is it necessary to learn it for ordinary worship? Really? Is not God listening to even the folks who are not versed in the classical? “Personal preference” is at play in most parishes. Entitlement? Not sure I follow. It has been a long, long time since Vatican II was applied to the Church ordinary (folks in the pew). The academia did a masterful job at interpreting it as, “in the Spirit of Vatican II”, then all sorts of deconstruction took place. No wonder most folks do not like change or revert change.

          • If one can play a keyboard, one can play an organ. I was at best an average pianist and played frequently at Mass in junior high because there was no one else willing.

          • Not for Gregorian chant is doesn’t. We don’t necessarily require an instrument other than the voice for this sacred music.

            But I guess, in order to appreciate the solemn beauty and nature of this sacred music one would normaly attend a Traditional High Mass. If you are a Conciliar Catholic and only attend the Novus Ordo services then I would imagine, sadly, that all this is lost on you.

      • Surely you jest. When PJPII died, I followed the funeral Mass on TV with an old Latin missal that once belonged to a priest who knew our family.

        As I followed the Mass on TV, I kept saying to myself: “Wait a minute…This prayer is missing…The Confiteor is changed…that prayer is too short…” (You get the idea.) In short, they’re NOT the same.

        As I’ve said before, if I couldn’t attend the Divine Liturgy, I’d go to the TLM.

        • The only prayers that cannot change are the Consecration, the Welcome, the final blessing. All other prayers can change. Popes and Bishops have introduced and subtracted prayers, associated with Sacred worship since the Apostles. The fixations we boast are what divides us.

          • Whoa, hang on there. Added prayers and texts for new feasts and saints, yes. Completely rewritten a rite as received from their predecessors . . . that’s an innovation only the Novus Ordo can claim. The Canon, for example, was considered so sacred and unchangeable that it was truly shocking when John XXIII added St. Joseph’s name to it.

            You’re trying to compare grafting limbs to a healthy tree to chopping the tree down altogether and starting from scratch.

          • What is your source for Gregory “adding” the Hanc Igitur to the Canon? Every source I can find in a cursory Google search (Fortescue, a summary written by the ICKSP, etc.) states only that he joined the “diesque nostros” (which some scholars speculate already existed) to the already existing Hanc Igitur prayer.

            Either way, Gregory’s contributions were fixed circa A.D. 600 or so. So for more than 1300 years, the Canon was fixed and immutable.

          • Thank you. I’m sure you’re right. I don’t recall my source, and couldn’t find it when I looked. I think I must have misremembered. What St Gregory did was modify the Hanc Igutur, not change it, as you say.

            In a way, though, as you allude to, it strengthens even further the argument of the Roman Canon’s antiquity and stability.

          • “subtracted prayers, associated with Sacred worship since the Apostles.”

            Tell me what prayers in the Gregorian/ Tridentine Mass were ever subtracted. Over time, prayers were organicaly added but to my knowledge never subtracted.

            The Novus Ordo Mass,however, was a complete fabrication. A Catholic-Protestant hybrid with a false notion of ecumenism in mind that has led to a humanistic, priest, community centred ecclesia.
            The crisis in the Church is a crisis of the liturgy. Lex orandi Lex credendi.

      • P.S. Your last sentence is theologically and ontologically incorrect.

        “Sight, taste, touch in Thee are each deceived,
        The ear alone is most safely to be believed…”

        Pange Lingua

      • They drive hours and miles away to the TLM because it’s a matter of dogma. If the N.O. were never issued then everyone would still be attending Sunday Mass in their territorial parishes.

      • What you’re overlooking is that the Mass is about what we offer before any consideration of what we’re there to receive. Our degree of comprehension (always finite anyway when the mystery of the Eucharist is considered) is not that important. The Mass is addressed to the Father, who understands Latin just fine.

      • Missals were always available with translations of the Latin Mass to the local Language, and the Latin ensured where ever Mass was said, it was the same throughout the world. This also prevented the introduction any personalised rubrics based on local tradition.

          • Oops. You’re right. Mea culpa.

            I still don’t understand your Latin reply, though, which translates in English: Is, is, is!!!!!!!

          • Latin verbs aren’t usually preceded by pronouns. The context tells one that in this instance ‘est’ means ‘it is’.

          • “Est est est” is a classical Roman way of saying “This! Right here! This is the real deal!”

          • The Romulus comment below has it right but he didn’t identify the object of ‘the real deal.’

            Ancient Roman history has it that as the Roman army was slogging its way across Gaul anyone who found a good wine was instructed to label it ‘est,’ meaning what Rimulus said it means. Someone found what he thought was an exceptional wine and labeled it ‘est, est, est’! I thought Fr. RP’s comments on the Mass were exceptional.

    • If the liturgy is changed under Francis it is far more likely to be further protestantized. Whatever the merits of Cardinal Sarah’s proposal, it’s a non-starter under this pope.

    • Please correct if I’m wrong but the elements mentioned in the last paragraph, along with the use of a liturgical/universal language are part of our hebraic roots/heritage.

      In studying second temple era judaism, specially when considering the descriptions found in mishnaic texts and josephus (among others), it becomes apparent that these are the outstanding elements of the temple worship (and are inexorably linked to proper Eucharistic adoration).

      It’s as if God transferred the sacramental system to the ecclesia at the last supper so that when we were to loose the Temple we would still have a temple in each country/nation.

      When I see that these are the very elements that are always targeted, I feel that I’m onto something.

      Since I’m no historian or theologian, I would like to asku…am I out of my depth here, father?

    • I became a convert as a young teen. My heart being with the Latin Mass, I am so distressed that mass has become a bit of an Evangelical Protestant show. I want to be able to be overcome and involved with what is taking place. That’s a quiet place for me and in my heart. I don’t want to give the peace sign because that’s not why I’m at this holy event. Please give me back my Latin music. Please give me back my church……I pray this will happen. Amen

  2. The “novus ordo” is never licit. Go ahead Cdl. Sarah and try to “fuse” them, I won’t be going, I’ll be down to the nearest independent chapel which will be completely valid and licit at that point because the Church provides. They’re never going to be able to make the Novus ordo licit, any more than an elephant can sprout wings and fly.

  3. Good. I have had to repeat the above countless times here. There is always one or more poster who makes the claim that the True Mass only goes back a few centuries.

    I do wish though that the writer had written more: about the Canon, for instance, which has been traced back to the end of the first Century.

    The ‘Tridentine’ Mass is in fact Apostolic, while the Novus Ordo’s true inventors were two heretics, Cranmer and Bucer.

  4. This is an excellent article in that it effectively shatters the myth that the Latin Mass started with St. Pius V. Great job! The old Mass is 15 centuries old, yea, 2000 years old.

    The ancient Mass wasn’t even the doing of Pope Gregory the Great, but of Saints Peter and Paul, which is why Pius V said that anyone seeking to tamper with the Mass formula from Trent would incur the wrath of the Apostles Peter and Paul. It was known in the early Church as the Liturgy of St. Peter when the Mass was first said in furnished living rooms, before marble churches were built.

    As a music graduate, I can also tell you that Gregorian Chant did not begin with Pope Gregory, but began in the catacombs. St. Pope Gregory simply established this as the official chant of the Church at the end of the 6th century as part of his plan to better unify the Church.

    • Don’t forget that the antiphonal singing of the Antiochan Syriac Catholic Tradition influenced the Latin musical tradition.

      Conversely, Pope Gregory the Great is considered the author of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts that we use in the Byzantine Tradition.

      True trivia tidbit: Pope Gregory the Great was the apostolic delegate to Constantinople before he was elected pope. He was acquainted with the Byzantine Tradition. So when the patriarch of Constantinople asked for assistance, Pope Gregory took the service of Vespers, the Communion portion of the Divine Liturgy, and added in his own composition for the Presanctified part.

      When I was little, we had a Byzantine version of the Stations of the Cross. In the 90s, we were told that we had to return to our own Tradition and start having Presanctified Liturgy during the Great Fast. At first, I didn’t like it (all the kneeling and prostrations!). Now, I love Presanctified Liturgy and look forward to it every year (especially on Pure Monday, the first day of the Great Fast).

  5. Just a note: the Liturgy is a hot button topic and peoples passions can run hot fast. Let’s keep the knives in their sheathes…some people may have a different opinion or understanding than other’s do and others may be much better read and informed on the subject, but lets not reduce things to striking each other on the head with different Missals…

    This article is seeking to educate, lets’ do the same.

    • With the internet we get all the information almost instantaneously from around the world. They may have fooled my parent’s generation back in the 60’s but it’s impossible today so I say to them and their new mass, good luck, show us what you got, I’m sure all the blue hairs will love it.

      • Not all of us who were young in the sixties were fooled and many of us put up a very good fight. It was a tidal wave of desacralization, condensation for
        believers and doctrinal aberrations….and very difficult to stop. Lord knows we tried.

  6. My brother’s wedding was NO but (at his request) it had all the Propers chanted, an Introit instead of a processional hymn, Latin chants for the Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, was offered ad orientem and communion under one species only was distributed to the Faithful (except for the Bride and Groom).

    The priest also left the kneelers upon which the couple had knelt out for communion so we could kneel to receive. It was interesting to see people who I know do not regularly kneel to receive communion do so simply because a kneeler was there in front of them.

  7. Question:

    Were those priests who accompanied the Crusaders on campaign, back in the Middle Ages, likely to have observed all of the niceties of Divine Liturgy rubrics?

    What of those missionary priests who accompanied the Iroquois, the Hurons or, like Father Paul Le Jeune, the Montagnais on their months long hunts?

    The Irish priests who, along with their flocks, were driven out into the open countryside by Scots Presbyterians who confiscated their land and their properties saying ad hoc Masses under makeshift conditions?

    So long as a priest is validly ordained, intends to make Christ present through consecration, uses wheat unleavened bread and grape wine…and speaks the words “This is My Body….” and “This is My Blood”—in any language—you are attending a valid Catholic Mass, however illicit.

  8. O. K., . . . so, let’s bust this Myth:

    The so-called “Tridentine Mass” is as “Tridentine” as it is historically “Roman.”

    It is a truncated and (in places) changed form of the ancient Roman Office. It was the liturgy of choice for the — overworked? just lazy? — clergymen serving in the Curia who eschewed the longer and more involved Roman forms.

    Alas, the Franciscans, believing that the Curial ceremonies were the “true” Roman Rite, assumed them as their own, bringing them beyond the Alps and into the rest of the Continent.

    Luckily, Gallican Christians added some beautiful elements from their own liturgical customaries to the Curia’s decidedly unbeautiful and boring form of liturgical celebration — y’know, the so-called “sober” Roman Rite (which was actually never so sober).

    Until — whoosh! — back down to Rome, where this Gallo-“Roman-not-really-Roman” liturgy was lately imposed on the whole of the West after Trent.

    Such is the history, in sum, of the Messe du toujours that everyone so dearly loves!


  9. Sorry, I never have and never will consider this ‘novus ordo’ as legitimate . . . it’s a totally man-oriented protestant farce. Fatima (1917) predicted a satanic council and Vatican II sure filled that bill nicely.

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