Frequently Asked Questions

Changes coming soon to this page given the Moto Proprio released on 7/16/2021, "Traditionis Custodes

What is the Traditional Latin Mass?

The Traditional Latin Mass refers to the classical form of the Roman Rite, promulgated by Pope Pius V in 1570 and revised by John XXIII in 1962.

Why is it called the "Traditional" Latin Mass?

As Father Christopher Young explains, “Pius V did not make up his own Mass in the 1500s. He codified the Roman Rite as it came from Apostolic times and removed abuses.” Editions of the Roman Missal published occasionally between 1570 and 1962 made gradual, organic changes to a ritual affirmed by Holy Mother Church as expressing “the pristine form and rite of the holy Fathers.”

What other terms refer to the Traditional Latin Mass?

The Traditional Latin Mass is also called the Mass of Saint Gregory the Great, who ordered that the Roman Rite be “defined and preserved”; the Tridentine Mass, after the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which ordered its standardization; the Mass of John XXIII, who promulgated its most recent edition; the Extraordinary form of Roman Rite, as directed by Benedict XVI; and the usus antiquior, because it preserves a more ancient form of the Roman Rite.

How does the Traditional Latin Mass differ from the newer form of the Roman Rite?

Some notable differences include that the Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated entirely in Latin (with a few Greek and Hebrew phrases); that the priest, with the people, faces God; that some prayers are recited in a low voice (while others are spoken audibly or chanted); that the ritual is longer, contains fewer optional features, and is suffused with Scripture; and that feasts, readings, and variable prayers are drawn from the ancient Roman calendar.

Who can benefit from the Traditional Latin Mass?

Pope Benedict XVI noted that many persons who did not grow up with the Traditional Latin Mass have “found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.” He also taught that the traditional liturgy should be “duly honored” by “all of us” “for its venerable and ancient usage.”

Is the Traditional Latin Mass still permitted?

Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that the Traditional Latin Mass “was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.” “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden.”

Who is responsible for allowing public celebrations of the Traditional Latin Mass?

Pope Francis has given bishops charge of authorizing the public use of the 1962 Missal and overseeing the “pastoral and spiritual care of the faithful” attached to this form of worship.

What is the best way to participate in the Traditional Latin Mass?

“The most important thing to do when attending the Traditional Latin Mass is to open your heart to God, fully trusting that He will show you what you need to be closer to Him through this venerable liturgy.” For more advice, see Fr. Young’s blog.

What further resources are there for understanding the Traditional Latin Mass?

A superb introduction to the theology and practical participation in the Traditional Latin Mass is Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass

Mass of the Ages is an inspiring documentary about people whose faith has been enriched by the traditional liturgy. Many other resources are available for those desiring to explore the treasures of the Church’s ancient modes of prayer, which have informed generations of intellectual and cultural achievements—and most importantly have “inspired countless saints in their spiritual life.”