Pope to the Bishops of France

Strong words on Summorum Pontificum

It is never too often said that the priesthood is indispensable to the Church, in the very own interest of the lay faithful. Priests are a gift from God to the Church. Priests must never delegate to the faithful [those] functions which are related to their own mission.Dear Brothers in the episcopacy, I ask you to remain desirous to help your priests live in intimate union with Christ. Their spiritual life is the foundation of their apostolic life. You shall exhort them gently to daily prayer and to a dignified celebration of the Sacraments, particularly of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation, as Saint Francis de Sales did with his priests. Every priest should be able to feel glad to serve the Church. At the school of the Curé d’Ars, son of your land and patron of all priests of the world, do not cease to repeat that a man can do no greater deed than to give the Body and the Blood of Christ to the faithful, and to forgive sins.

Liturgical worship is the supreme expression of priestly and episcopal life, and also of catechetical teaching. Your mission of sanctification of the faithful people, dear Brothers, is indispensable for the growth of the Church. I was prompted to detail, in the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the conditions for the accomplishment of this mission, in that which relates to the possibility of using both the missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) and that of Pope Paul VI (1970). The fruits of these new dispositions have already seen [the light of] day, and I hope that the indispensable pacification of the spirits is being accomplished, thank God.

I comprehend your difficulties, but I do not doubt that you will be able to reach, within reasonable time, solutions which are satisfactory to all, so that the seamless robe of Christ is not torn anymore. No one is excessive within the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never rejected. God, who loves all men and wills that no one be lost, entrusts us with this mission of Pastors, making us Shepherds of His sheep. We can only give Him thanks for the honor and the confidence He places upon us. Let us endeavor to always be servants of unity.

Benedict XVI
Meeting with the Cardinals and Bishops of France,
Hémicycle Saint Bernadette, Lourdes
September 14, 2008

Latin Mass to return to England and Wales

By Damian Thompson

The traditional Latin Mass – effectively banned by Rome for 40 years – is to be reintroduced into every Roman Catholic parish in England and Wales, the senior Vatican cardinal in charge of Latin liturgy said at a press conference in London today.

In addition, all seminaries will be required to teach trainee priests how to say the old Mass so that they can celebrate it in all parishes.

Catholic congregations throughout the world will receive special instruction on how to appreciate the old services, formerly known as the Tridentine Rite.

Yesterday’s announcement by the senior Vatican cardinal in charge of Latin liturgy, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, speaking on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI, will horrify Catholic liberals, including many bishops of England and Wales.

The Pope upset the liberals last year when he issued a decree removing their power to block the celebration of the old Mass. Yesterday’s move demonstrates that the Vatican intends to go much further in promoting the ancient liturgy.

Asked whether the Latin Mass would be celebrated in many ordinary parishes in future, Cardinal Castrillon said: “Not many parishes – all parishes. The Holy Father is offering this not only for the few groups who demand it, but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist.”

The Cardinal, who heads the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, made his comments as he was preparing to celebrate a traditional Latin Mass at Westminster Cathedral yesterday, the first time a cardinal has done so there for 40 years.

In the traditional rite, the priest faces in the same direction as the people and reads the main prayer of the Mass in Latin, in a voice so low as to be virtually silent. By contrast, in the new rite the priest faces the people and speaks audibly in the local language.

Cardinal Castrillon said that the reverent silence of the traditional rite was one of the “treasures” that Catholics would rediscover, and young worshippers would encounter for the first time.

Pope Benedict will reintroduce the old rite – which will be known as the “Gregorian Rite” – even where the congregation has not asked for it. “People don’t know about it, and therefore they don’t ask for it,” the Cardinal explained.

The revised Mass, adopted in 1970 after the Second Vatican Council, had given rise to “many, many, many abuses”, the Cardinal said. He added: “The experience of the last 40 years has not always been so good. Many people have lost their sense of adoration for God, and these abuses mean that many children do not know how to be in the presence of God.”

However, the new rite will not disappear; the Pope wishes to see the two forms of Mass existing side by side.

Such sweeping liturgical changes are certain to cause intense controversy. At a press conference, a journalist from the liberal Tablet magazine, which is close to the English bishops, told the Cardinal that the new liturgical changes amounted to “going backwards”.

Following last year’s papal decree, liberal bishops in England and America have attempted to limit the takeup of the old Mass by arguing that the rules say it should only be reintroduced when a “stable group” of the faithful request it. But Cardinal Castrillon said that a stable group could consist of as few as three people, and they need not come from the same parish.

The changes will take a few years to implement fully, he added, just as the Second Vatican Council had taken a long time to absorb. He insisted that the widespread reintroduction of the old Mass did not contradict the teachings of the Council.

A critical turning point in the life of the Church

by George Neumayr, editor of CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT

Summorum Pontificum marks a new era of liturgical seriousness.

The forces in the Church most responsible for dividing Catholics from magisterial teaching are the quickest to use the word “divisive” in any controversy. A “divisive moment” is the Catholic left’s euphemism for any papal action that seeks to unite Catholics to the actual teachings and traditions of the faith.

So it goes with Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which authorizes wider use of the traditional Latin Mass. “Any liberalization of the use of the Tridentine rite may prove seriously divisive,” British prelate Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, said to the Telegraph shortly before the Motu Proprio’s release. “It might send out an unfortunate signal that Rome is no longer fully committed to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council…”

No, what it signals is a welcome new era of liturgical seriousness and the beginning of the end to the demoralizing liturgical chaos and distortions of the last four decades. In Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict has not only revived a venerable liturgical tradition but supplied a catalyst to reform the new liturgy.

By making the traditional Latin Mass and the new Mass two uses (extraordinary and ordinary) of “one and the same rite,” Pope Benedict is fostering a climate of healthy coexistence, perhaps one could even say healthy competition, in which false innovations may fall away and a sense of the sacred can be recovered.

In his letter to the bishops explaining Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict writes:

the two forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The Ecclesia Dei Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality, which attracts many people to the former usage.

Far from ignoring the “needs of our time,” as he is often accused, Pope Benedict is responding to the most crucial one: the hunger for holiness, the simple desire for a transcendent, God-centered liturgy. Ordinary Catholics have asked for bread and been given stones, and the Holy Father is correcting the injustice:

Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

Never too concerned about the trauma these arbitrary deformations caused in the faithful, the liturgical innovators now give voice to their own. “I can’t fight back the tears. This is the saddest moment in my life as a man, priest and bishop,” Luca Brandolini, a member of the liturgy commission of the Italian bishops’ conference, said to La Repubblica, reported Reuters. “It’s a day of mourning, not just for me but for the many people who worked for the Second Vatican Council. A reform for which many people worked, with great sacrifice and only inspired by the desire to renew the Church has now been cancelled.”

This reaction would only make sense if the Second Vatican Council had decreed a hostility to tradition. But it didn’t. All Summorum Pontificum cancels is the misapplication of Vatican II and mindless contempt for tradition, which resulted in a “fabricated liturgy,” as Pope Benedict has said previously. The Catholic left’s game of driving a wedge between Vatican II and previous councils-of treating Vatican II as in effect a mandate to start a new religion from scratch-now appears over.

By shaking up a failing status quo, Pope Benedict has performed a great service for the Church. It is abundantly clear that postconciliar attempts to make the Mass “relevant”-which were often nothing more than a pretext to smuggle secularism into it-has rendered the liturgy increasingly irrelevant and catechetically destructive, as declining Mass attendance and gross ignorance of the faith confirm.

And he deserves great praise for having the courage to address an act of self-mutilation which treated a long and fruitful liturgical tradition as something “forbidden” or “harmful”-an act that appears all the more perverse in light of the fact that many of those who endorsed it were simultaneously using the new liturgy to advance bewildering innovations alien to the traditions of the Church.

Summorum Pontificum represents a central piece in the overall project of this pontificate: to arrest a culture of self-worship and restore God to the center of life. Many years hence, historians will likely see it as a critical turning point in the life of the Church-the moment the liturgy moved away from functioning like the invention of men and regained its splendor as the work of God.


The Traditional Latin Mass Overflows into the Narthex in Carmel, Indiana

St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Carmel, IN - Inaugural Traditional Latin Mass

What do you do when 152 people show up for the inaugural Sunday Traditional Latin Mass and you can only seat 98 people? Father Gerard Saguto, FSSP had no thoughts of sending anyone home and in the true spirit of Summorum Pontificum said “stack’em in”. They were able to fit another 13 seats in the packed day chapel and the remaining 41 people stood and sat in the narthex outside the entrance door.  Of course, the Hamilton County Fire Marshall has now issued an arrest warrant for Father Saguto.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Carmel, Indiana

Una Voce officers and board members designed and constructed portions of the altar onto an existing altar. A frontal cloth, gradines and tabernacle canopy were constructed from scratch and installed with no damage to the existing altar. Also, a dual communion rail with continuous kneelers was also built and set into place. Missals were printed and stapled together. Chapel veils were made and provided.

TLM St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Carmel, IN

Two young men, Masters Brown and Golightly, veteran altar servers came from Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Indianapolis to help. Several other attendees came from as far away as Alexandria, Muncie, Lafayette and Kokomo. The organist drove all the way from Metamora.

The beautiful organ music was provided by Maestro Christopher M. Sedlak.  The Maestro has held several music positions within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  Presently, he director of music at SS Philomena and Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church in Oak Forest, Indiana.   

After the Mass, a potluck was served and many people ate while making new acquaintances and many friends chatted.

Father Andreas Hellmann, Prior, Vice-Rector of Christ the King Shrine, Chicago, Illinois
The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

The next Traditional Latin Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton will be on Sunday, April 20th at 5:00 pm. Offering the Mass will be Father Andreas Hellmann, Vice Rector of Christ the King Shrine in Chicago, Illinois from The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.  For more information or if you can help please call (317) 581-0315.



Click below to listen, however, first, please pause the background music from Sonific SongSpot below and to the lower left on pause before clicking to listen.

Latin Mass finds home in Newton, Massachusetts


By Erica Noonan

Globe Staff / March 2, 2008

Stepping into the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish church in Newton at Sunday noontime feels like stepping backward in time.

Hundreds pray solemnly in Latin, rising and kneeling frequently, as reverent Gregorian chants echo off the sanctuary’s soaring stained-glass windows.

The air is thick with incense, women wear chapel veils, and everyone – parishioners, altar servers, and the Rev. Charles J. Higgins – prays facing the church altar and the large crucifix hanging above.

This is the Tridentine Mass – known more familiarly as the Latin Mass – that for 40 years was an endangered species of worship in the Roman Catholic Church.

After the Vatican decreed in the mid-1960s that local parishes could conduct Mass in their native languages, the old rites fell out of favor among mainstream and progressive Catholics. But a small, loyal following among the faithful clung to the old rites, some even worshiping covertly with a sympathetic priest rather than attending English-language Sunday Mass.

But the traditionalists are back, buoyed by new support from the Archdiocese of Boston and a controversial decree last April from Pope Benedict XVI that parishes could, with a willing priest and congregation, hold the Latin Mass without seeking approval from their regional bishop.

The old rite’s arrival in Newton has brought a sea change for the small Upper Falls parish church known for its European-style liturgical art and architecture.

Mary Immaculate had been on the Archdiocese of Boston’s parish closure list for three years, and its days appeared numbered. Then, a few months before Benedict’s decree, archdiocese officials announced that they would permanently transfer its primary Latin Mass from another endangered church, Holy Trinity in Boston’s South End, to Newton.

Overnight, the move added more than 200 congregants to Mary Immaculate, including Dottie Fresolo, 70-year-old Cambridge native and a lifelong enthusiast of the Tridentine rites.

“God deserves the very best we have to offer,” she said. “The sanctity, the silence, the respect, and the dignity of the service is the best we have to give.”

Christine Higgins is another Holy Trinity member who has become active at Mary Immaculate. Like nearly all Latin Mass advocates, she describes a feeling of spiritual peak during the service that cannot be replicated by a more conventional, Novo Ordo Mass.

“I think the appeal is that we are all looking for something reverent and holy to take our minds off ourselves,” she said. “There is a sense of worshiping together, and that something big is happening.”

Many traditionalists travel hours – some from New Hampshire or Maine – in search of Tridentine rites. They share facilities with the Mary Immaculate congregation of more than 300, who worship in English with Higgins in the parish’s other services. 

Right now, it is two very different Catholic churches under one roof, the priest acknowledged.

“I think it is working out and the church is full, and we thank God for that. But I would like to see the neighborhood parish feel more ownership and feel that the Latin Mass is part of their parish life, and feel at ease visiting one once in a while,” said Higgins.

Higgins admired the Latin rites so much as a young man that he taught himself how to perform them.

“People who attend a high Latin Mass get a very strong sense of being part of an ancient religious tradition, and that can be a very soothing and uplifting experience,” he said.

Ancient religious tradition was what some Catholics hoped would be left behind when the Tridentine Mass was widely discarded after the 1965 modernist Catholic movement known as Vatican II.

Many considered the rites archaic, inaccessible to all but a few, and even anti-Semitic, citing references in some ancient Latin texts that said Jews live in “darkness” and “blindness.”

But since Pope Benedict’s decree, more Boston-area Catholics have been attending old Mass at Mary Immaculate, as well as less-formal Latin rites at St. Columbkille parish in Brighton and Sacred Heart in East Boston.

Many have young children born decades after the old rites fell out of fashion, who are embracing the rituals.

Last year, Mary Immaculate confirmed 55 children and adults in a Tridentine ceremony – including eight from the Mary Immaculate parish. Two others decided they would prefer Novo Ordo rites and were confirmed at St. Joseph’s in Needham, Higgins said.

Religious education classes for children are held separately for the Tridentine families – their First Communion pupils learn some Mass customs differently, such as accepting the wafer directly onto their tongues, never in outstretched hands.

Colbe Mazzarella of East Boston, a former Holy Trinity parishioner, brings five of her children to weekly Latin Mass in Newton.

“It’s more reverent and holier. I like it better,” said her daughter Catherine, 16, during a crowded coffee hour after last week’s service.

Allen Maynard, a director of Una Voce America, an international group formed after Vatican II to advocate for the Latin Mass, said one of its challenges was to reintegrate with mainstream Catholic life.

“We may be traditionalists, but we don’t seek to be separate,” said Maynard. “But after 40 years in the wilderness, there is a divide, but we try to fit into parish life as best we can.”

Latin Mass advocates do not want to impose their form of worship on Catholics who prefer modern services, he said.

“Contrary to popular belief, we don’t want to take over the world,” Maynard said with a smile.

It’s hard to determine how many people attend Latin Mass, but Una Voce said it has seen an renaissance, at least anecdotally, and that about 120,000 copies of the Latin-English missal translation used by most churches had been sold over the past year.

Una Voce has so far trained about 100 American priests in the rites and hopes to teach more, said a spokesman, Jason King.

“This is the Mass that has bought us so much solace since the time of Christ,” he said. “It is a unique and critically important part of our Roman Catholic faith.”

Matters of Faith is a series of occasional articles examining religious life in area communities.

Traditional Latin Mass Returns to the Archdiocese of San Francisco

On Sunday, March 2, 2008 (Laetare Sunday), the traditional Latin Mass will be celebrated publicly in theholy_mass2.jpg Archdiocese of San Francisco, California for the first time in perhaps decades.

Fr. William Young, a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, will celebrate the weekly 11:30 a.m. Mass in the extraordinary form at the Holy Rosary chapel of St. Vincent’s School for Boys. The school is located at One St. Vincent Drive, San Rafael, California.

To reach the chapel, take Highway 101 and exit at Marinwood/St. Vincent’s Drive (Exit 457). Turn right at the stop sign and proceed east along St. Vincent’s Drive toward the bay. The chapel is located 0.2 mile down St. Vincent’s Drive.

At 7:00 p.m. on the First Friday of each month, Fr. Lawrence Goode, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church in East Palo Alto, will offer a Mass according to the extraordinary form. St. Francis of Assisi Church is located at 1425 Bay Road in East Palo Alto. For more information, call the parish at (650) 322-2152.

The intention for Fr. Goode’s March 7 First Friday Mass will be the repose of the soul of Msgr. John J. Sweeny, pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Peace Shrine in Santa Clara. March 7 will be the two-year anniversary of Monsignor’s passing. Monsignor Sweeny offered a monthly Traditional Latin Mass at Our Lady of Peace from 1994 to 2004. His prayers and influence continue to benefit those strongly attached to the traditional usage of the Roman Rite.

Submitted by Doug Zeitz
Una Voce Palo Alto
(510) 760-3033

The Traditional Latin Mass at Georgetown University

Campus Ministry Endorses Celebration of Latin Mass

Tridentine Mass Held Biweekly in Copley

By Elizabeth Blazey , The Hoya

archbishop-sheen.gifIn response to student requests for the Tridentine Mass, a traditional Catholic Mass said in Latin, the Office of Campus Ministry has agreed to regularize its twice-weekly observance in Copley Crypt. 

Students first submitted a formal request to campus ministry that the Mass be celebrated weekly in Dahlgren Chapel in September, but lack of archdiocesan regulations on the Mass delayed campus ministry’s response.

“We wanted to make sure we were cooperating with the Archdiocese [of Washington, D.C.], which was assessing how it wanted to move with this rite among all the parishes,” said Fr. Timothy Godfrey, S.J., director of campus ministry. “We received word that the archbishop would release directives regarding the Tridentine rite, so we wanted to progress slowly as well.”

Copley Crypt was chosen over Dahlgren due to its architecture and the placement of the altar, said Fr. Stephen Fields, S.J., one of the priests who say the Tridentine Masses.

The Mass is celebrated on campus according to directives outlined in Pope Benedict XVI’s letter “Summorum Pontificum” last year. “The Archdiocese of Washington is working on other norms to be followed for the celebration of this form of the Mass, and our celebration of it will fully comply with these,” Fields said.

The Tridentine Mass is now celebrated in Copley Crypt on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. Fields and Fr. William Farge, S.J., currently preside over the Mass, and Fr. John Siberski, S.J., and Fr. James Duffy, S.J., are training in order to be able to celebrate the Mass in the future.

“The Mass is offered as an outreach of the Jesuit community for the pastoral care of those students who requested it and who are interested in attending,” Fields said.

Some students said that they would support eventually celebrating the Tridentine Mass in Dahlgren Chapel instead of Copley Crypt.

“In the beginning the group was small so the crypt was fine. However, it will only take a few more students coming to make the crypt inadequate, so I would support it being moved to Dahlgren,” said Lauren Funk (SFS ’10).

The Tridentine Mass was widely celebrated until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. It declined in popularity over the past few decades, but has gained new life after the release of “Summorum Pontificum,” which gave parishes greater freedom to celebrate the Tridentine liturgy.

Fields said the Tridentine Mass offers a unique way for Catholics to worship.

“It revitalizes a form of the Mass that nourished countless numbers of people for 400 years,” he said. “It cultivates contemplative silence before God, and it makes full use of the beauty of Latin, incense, and chant to elevate the heart and mind in prayer.”

Funk said the Tridentine Mass has a different tone than more contemporary Masses.

“I like to attend the Tridentine Mass because it feels much more reverent and God-focused than some of the other Masses on campus,” she said.

In addition to the Masses said on campus, at least seven parishes in the D.C. area recently added Tridentine Masses, including St. Mary, Mother of God in Northwest D.C.

“I feel that since community is an essential element of the Church, it would be difficult and almost detrimental to the faith of students if they were forced to continually move around to different churches to fulfill their spiritual needs,” Funk said.

Nice Turnout Last Sunday Night!

 Thank You

Thanks to everyone that attended our first speaker’s series, Culture, Convenience and Catholicism with Father Gerard Saguto.  Everybody was very brave to weather the temperatures that were in the single digits with sub-zero wind chill factors.  And again, many thanks to Father Saguto who drove over an hour to get back home.  On a warmer note, we are looking forward to our next event that will soon be announced.

All the best in Christ,

Una Voce Carmel

Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI, 7 July 2007


 Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI

on the celebration of the Roman Rite according to the Missal of 1962

[Original : latin, unofficial Vatican Information Service translation]

      Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, ‘to the praise and glory of His name,’ and ‘to the benefit of all His Holy Church.’

      Since time immemorial it has been necessary – as it is also for the future – to maintain the principle according to which ‘each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church’s law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.’ (1)

      Among the pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to ensure that the new peoples of Europe received both the Catholic faith and the treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by the Romans in preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the sacred liturgy as celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of Mass and the Divine Office) be conserved. He took great concern to ensure the dissemination of monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St. Benedict, together with the announcement of the Gospel illustrated with their lives the wise provision of their Rule that ‘nothing should be placed before the work of God.’ In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.

      Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this task more effectively. Outstanding among them is St. Pius V who, sustained by great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of liturgical books amended and ‘renewed in accordance with the norms of the Fathers,’ and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.

      One of the liturgical books of the Roman rite is the Roman Missal, which developed in the city of Rome and, with the passing of the centuries, little by little took forms very similar to that it has had in recent times.

      “It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that the rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and when necessary clarified. From the beginning of this century they undertook a more general reform.’ (2) Thus our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, St. Pius X (3), Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII all played a part.

      In more recent times, Vatican Council II expressed a desire that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman pontiffs have operated to ensure that ‘this kind of liturgical edifice … should again appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony.’ (4)

      But in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms. These had so deeply marked their culture and their spirit that in 1984 the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a concern for the pastoral care of these faithful, with the special indult ‘Quattuor abhinc anno,” issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted permission to use the Roman Missal published by Blessed John XXIII in the year 1962. Later, in the year 1988, John Paul II with the Apostolic Letter given as Motu Proprio, ‘Ecclesia Dei,’ exhorted bishops to make generous use of this power in favor of all the faithful who so desired.

      Following the insistent prayers of these faithful, long deliberated upon by our predecessor John Paul II, and after having listened to the views of the Cardinal Fathers of the Consistory of 22 March 2006, having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with these Apostolic Letters we establish the following:

      Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the ‘Lex orandi’ (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same ‘Lex orandi,’ and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church’s ‘Lex credendi’ (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.

It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents ‘Quattuor abhinc annis’ and ‘Ecclesia Dei,’ are substituted as follows:

      Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.

      Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or “community” celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.

      Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may – observing all the norms of law – also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.

      Art. 5. § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.

§ 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.

§ 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.

§ 4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.

§ 5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.

      Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.

      Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 õ 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.

      Art. 8. A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission “Ecclesia Dei” to obtain counsel and assistance.

      Art. 9. § 1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it.

§ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it.

§ 3 Clerics ordained “in sacris constitutis” may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.

      Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.

      Art. 11. The Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, erected by John Paul II in 1988 (5), continues to exercise its function. Said Commission will have the form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign it.

      Art. 12. This Commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions.

      We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as “established and decreed”, and to be observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.

From Rome, at St. Peter’s, 7 July 2007, third year of Our Pontificate.

Benedictus PP XVI


(1) General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd ed., 2002, no. 397.
(2) John Paul II, Apostolic Letter “Vicesimus quintus annus”, 4 December 1988, 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
(3) Ibid.
(4) St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Motu propio data, “Abhinc duos annos”, 23 October 1913: AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter “Vicesimus quintus annus”, no. 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
(5) Cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Motu proprio data “Ecclesia Dei”, 2 July 1988, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.