Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | April 29, 2010

Traditional Missal only or both forms of the Missal?

I thought I’d give you an insight on what particular things that I’ve been discerning as far as vocation to the priesthood goes.

a. Traditional Order vs. Orders that do both forms.

I have the blessing of being able to assist at a Mass in the Extraordinary Form each Sunday at my parish of St Therese. The mystery, the transcendence, the Latin, the verticality of the Mass, no Liturgical Abuses, are all wonderful. I totally see the point of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the liberation of the “de facto” suppression. The Catholic Identity is obvious in the expression of the Liturgy, in the precision of the rubrics, and the number of times things are done. Being able to assist from the altar on various occasion has spurred my possible vocation to the priesthood, and has changed my perspective on the Ordinary Form of the Missal.

As much as I love the traditional orders FSSP, ICKSP, etc, one thing has always put me off about them. They do not publicly say such a position and even in their writings, and their constitutions, you will not see this.  Both of these (and all traditional orders in union with the Church) for that matter accept the Missal of Pope Paul VI, the fact that they celebrate only the traditional Missal de facto puts the Tridentine Missal above that of the Missal of Paul VI. (Not intentional of course). This is not the mind of the Church, both forms have been given equal weight under the law. There is supposed to be mutural enrichment between the two forms.

As I say on the Vatican II Liturgy page at the blog, none of the changes envisioned by Vatican II have been applied in my humble opinion comparing the Missal in current use. Do the people know the parts of the Liturgy in Latin and vernacular? No. Is Gregorian chant being used in Liturgies? LOL! NO! Is the Liturgy being taught to the faithful? What a joke, no! Now, we’ve made improvements in these areas, but hardly what the 2nd Vatican Council called for.

I’ve assisted at my fair share of Eastern Rite Divine Liturgies, and if you read the 2nd Vatican Council documents and go to the Eastern Rite Liturgies, you can get a sense of what the 2nd Vatican Council was calling for when it talked about “actual participation.” A point that I didn’t make on my Vatican II Liturgy page, is that when the congregation is participating externally, it should flow like a tapestry, and not be something that’s “forced”  This forced participation comes off a ton in the “Responsorial Psalm” in the modern liturgy. I think that if we return to traditional Catholic psalmody, the responsorial psalm would work better in terms of a Liturgical context, or even better, going back to the Gradual Psalm in psalmody form, that’d be the schola, or choir chanting the frist half of the gradual, the congregation responding with the 2nd half. It gets the congregation learning about the Liturgy as well as more external involvement as envisioned by the 2nd Vatican Council. The 2nd Vatican Council was called for a reason, it’s not the devil’s device, it’s not to blame for all the Church’s problems. (blame modernism). Much of what you see at Mass as our Holy Father has talked about many different times was NOT envisioned by the council.

A priest is ordained in the Roman Rite to offer the Roman Mass, he is not ordained to offer one set of books. But to offer the Roman Mass, plain and simple. Perhaps my thinking can be considered ‘modernist” but it’s rather simple, we have 2 forms of the Roman Rite, let’s use them both, and offer the Mass with the most detail to the rubrics, in line with tradition of the Holy Faith, and let Christ be the true actor of the Liturgy. Both forms can be transcendent, mysterious, and convey the Catholic Faith. Unfortunately we here in the English world haven’t seen the effects of Vatican II in the rest of the world, Nigeria, Asia, the Faith is growing. What I believe our Holy Father wants is what Vatican II ACTUALLY said to be applied to the Traditional Missal, and to make the Missal of Paul VI better reflect the Faith. The new translations will help a ton in this regard.

Pretty quickly I came to the conclusion that if God wills that I be a priest that I will offer both Masses. God knows how many people do NOT get to see a Mass offered by the rubrics in the mind of the Church in person in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. St Michael’s Abbey in Orange County does the Novus Ordo Missal in perfect line with the mind of the Church, I encourage everyone to go at least once (if you’re in Ca), I imagine if the current Missal were offered like it is there, that we wouldn’t have such hatred of the Missal that some of the traditionalist groups do.

I am neither traditionalist, nor liberal, I’m just Catholic, period. I wish to think with the mind of the Church. I follow the Holy Father and Holy Mother Church, in her Liturgy, her teachings, everything. I do my best to be a humble servant. I pray for the grace that I’m able to serve the Church well.

Pax Vobis



  1. You’re last paragraph says it all. Reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: one should seek to be neither liberal nor conservative, but orthodox.

  2. Exactly! Fidelity to the Holy Father, fidelity to Mother Church, it’s real simple, orthodoxy in everything 🙂

  3. The constitutions of the Eccelsia Dei communities have been approved by Rome for a long time. So if they are okay with, I don’t see why we should have to question the character of priests belonging to these traditional societies.

    Secondly, the whole reason why these traditional societies were set up (particularly the FSSP) was due to former SSPX priests wanting to be in visible communion with Rome but still maintaining a traditional priestly ministry. To impose the celebration of the Novus Ordo on them would not do any good and would just entrench those, who were considering coming back, to stay where they are.

    Thirdly, there are thousands of priests who celebrate the Novus Ordo exclusively. Are they being disobedient too? I believe the traditional mass is far superior but I also acknowledge that we can’t force priests to celebrate one form of mass only – that was done in 1969 and the rest is history as they say. Time will tell whether there can be two forms of the Roman rite or whether it will be the traditional rite that survives and becomes the normative again.

  4. Hestor, thank you for your comments.

    As I’ve stated on this post, that when a priest is ordained in the Roman Rite, that he’s ordained for the whole Roman Rite, not just parts of it. Priests ordained int he Roman Rite should offer both forms, it works both ways in my book

    I’m not attacking them personally, those that choose to offer only the Traditional form of the Mass, these are my reasons for God willing if I get ordained to offer both forms of the Roman Missal.

    I offer these points as someone who believes that the Traditional Missal has a better expression of our Catholic Faith. It can be argued objectively that the Traditional Missal expresses our Faith better than the Missal of Paul VI (Though the Missal of Paul Vi still expresses our Faith, just in a weaker way). This has been corrected by Pope John Paul II in the 2002 Edition of the Roman Missal with more sacrificial language making clear that Calvary is made anamnesis on the altar. (as well as more votive Masses from the old Missal) This is the version that’s being translated and going to be ready for Advent 2011. Not the 1970 Missal 🙂

    One thing you’ll notice that I did NOT say the Missals were theologically equal, (they’re not), but both have been given equal weight under the law (Summorum Pontificum)

    Obviously you can’t force priests to offer one form of the Mass only. Their rights and dignity would be violated because of this. However, that said, priests are ordained for the Roman Rite, so they should know, love and serve the rites that have been given to us by Holy Mother Church. In this case the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite. Priests are servants of the Liturgy, the Liturgy is not at service to the priest.

    That said, i don’t think 99% of people get to see a Novus Ordo truly done by the rubrics with introit, graudal, offertory, communion verses, and Ad Orientem. When these things are done, I believe that the NO expresses the same transcendence as the TLM (I’ve been to a few of these NO’s). Why? Because it’ is the same Sacrifice made ananmesis. 🙂

    Interesting thing, I have a friend who is ICKSP priest, who will assist at a NO and come take Communion, so even though he doesn’t celebrate the NO, he does support Holy Mother Church, since he is ordained for the Roman Rite.

    For myself, I can’t see myself only doing the TLM…I will however offer Mass according to the rubrics and options in line with Tradition for both forms of the Mass.

  5. While both Novus Ordo and the Tridentine mass may somehow express the same “transcendence” on a superficial level (even that is a bit of stretch) they are certainly not equal in terms of weight and I would argue efficacy. A good article written by Fr. Ripperger FSSP illustrates this point well (without calling into question the validity of the newer form of mass)

    I still don’t see the logic of being ordained for the Roman rite means de facto, that you must offer both, because 90% of priests ordained in the Novus Ordo will never (unfortunately) offer the Tridentine mass.

    Secondly there are good reasons that a priest may in conscience not offer the Novus Ordo, because of what he knows he will be put through: communion in the hand, women on the sanctuary, extra-ordinary Eucharistic ministers, etc not to mention theologically ambiguous prayers that have been praised by some of the worst enemies of the church – the Augusberg Lutheran church was one of the first to praise the Novus Ordo and said that it would be theologically possible for its ministers to use the actual Novus Ordo!

    • To be fair none of what you say is prescribed in the Missal. A priest does not have to allow women in the sanctuary, hand communion or applause…

      • Or emhc’s all can be forbidden by a priest if he so chooses.

        A priest is not ordained for one set of books. He is for a particular rite. For example Byzantine priests are ordained for the Byzantine rite…which consists of 2 liturgies…St John Chrysostom and St Basil. Likewise the Roman Rite has the OF and EF…certain days the OF should be used and some the EF.

        What I share is my own personal discernment in deciding what Mass I would offer. I seek to give everyone a chance to experience the liturgy the way the Church intends it…at too many parishes there are abuses and the mysteries aren’t made transcendent

  6. But how many priests actually even bother to do this? What about a new appointed priest where all this has been going on for ages? How would he go about this without having a witch-hunt for him? Does it not strike as odd that these things are legally proscribed in the Novus Ordo, even if the priest is not obliged to use them? What does say about the whole spirit of the reform?

    Did you manage to read the article on the merits of mass in either rite? This is not about what we can give to the people in the pews but whether we are giving the best to God. If we fail to do this, then something is seriously wrong. I would maintain that the traditional mass is the best we can give to God and therefore by default, the one which priests should aim to offer.

    My point is this: it is possible to be exclusively dedicated to the ancient form of mass and still be in visible communion. The Ecclesia Dei societies are proof of this.

    • Yes I did read the article…but this is not my point…me offering both forms was something that I discerned…(I’ve talked with both traditional orders)…as I’ve said over at other blogs I love the traditional orders; however that charism does not fit me…always offer to God the best worship possible. It is His Son that is being offered God is well pleased because of that. 🙂

      There’s more to this entry then I could write…these are brief thoughts on my vocation…I would not mind discussing further in private…

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