Bishop Gracida's letter on the Tridentine Mass in the vernacular

OK, so this is interesting. It might be old news to some, but this is the first I have seen of it.

[quote=THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT]: If one interprets Summorum Pontificum in the context of Vatican II, could the Extraordinary (Tridentine) form of the mass be celebrated in the vernacular language (English, Spanish, French, etc.)? One bishop thinks so. You can read his letter below…

Letter with some commentary:
The Bishop’s letter only:

The letter was written in 2007 so obviously, it has been a few years and nothing seems to have come of it thus far. Personally, I think this could be a very good thing if the good Bishop is correct and this is actually allowed, providing that it does not take away from those Catholics who worked so hard to get the EF and their ability to have it celebrated in Latin as they obviously prefer.

I think it would be terrible, and besides, the PCED Instruction Universae Ecclesiae makes it quite clear that, at least for the time being, the 1962MR is absolutely staying in Latin.

UE § 26 authentically interpreted Summorum Pontificum article 6 as meaning that the Readings can only be replaced by the vernacular at a Low Mass. At a Sung Mass (whether Missa Cantata or Missa Solemnis) the Readings must always be sung in Latin, and may, if desired, be repeated in the vernacular. The letter of the Bishop Emeritus is, thankfully, quite outdated and no longer in line with subsequent authentic interpretations of the Holy See.

A link to that would be helpful if you have one. I’m not doubting the accuracy of your claims, but I am interested in reading it directly.

Secondly, I am curious as to why you would not wish to allow this. I mean, I can understand why you would personally not wish to attend, but as long as it did not take away from your ability to attend the EF of the Mass in Latin, what would be the issue? What would you rather see, Catholics who prefer more traditional liturgy but cannot make the leap to the EF due to language getting this, or them attending the OF?

All Masses are not going back to the EF in Latin, no matter what some would prefer (I’m not saying you as I have no idea of your thoughts on this matter). Would this not be more in line with what many who prefer the EF have been saying all along in that the Mass should have developed organically rather than making a wholesale change as was done with the OF?

Universae Ecclesiae 28:

Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.

I wouldn’t mind if the readings were only in English but if you want the rest in English, might as well go with the OF.

You are not an expert on any of this at all. thanks OP for the link and the thought.

Mhm, I flip flop on this one. I can see where His Excellency is coming from, however, at the same time, the EF is special due to the antiquity of the language being used. I don’t know where I would stand on this one. I like the idea personally, but how could it work practically?

If you are correct in that one might as well go to the OF rather than have an EF in the vernacular, why not get rid of the EF all together and just celebrate the OF in Latin? You see, that argument cuts both ways.

Or, would you instead agree that the EF in English would still be dramatically different than the OF in English? Catholics who prefer the EF to the OF have been telling people for years when discussing the changes in the Mass that it isn’t just the language, but rather the prayers which are said, the reverence shown, use of altar rails and the high altar, etc. So I cannot help but ask, is that true or not? To me, it would seem that the differences between the EF and the OF amount to much more than language, which is what I have heard many traditionalists argue for some time now.

Please understand, that I am not talking about taking away the EF in Latin for anyone at all. I would certainly not support such action.

Also, thanks for sharing the link.

Thank you for posting the links. This would be a wonderful way to share the beauty of the prayers with those who are intimidated by the Latin language. :thumbsup:

I concur with keeping the E.F. available in Latin as well.:thumbsup:

The biggest hurdle would be that there are no official translations into the languages mentioned. I don’t anticipate the Vatican having the time or the desire to go through and approve/revise translations into multiple vernacular languages. Personally I would rather them take the Anglican use and make that the ordinary form, but doubt that would happen either.

Really the easiest thing would be to tighten up the rubrics in the OF to remove things that give multiple options or where lose wording allows for wiiiide interpretation. That being said I believe the reason EF masses appeal to certain people is not so much the form as that the priests and congregation have a great love of the liturgy and therefore they care that the liturgy be done beautifully. If everyone at an OF mass loved liturgy as much I suspect that those celebrations could be every bit as beautiful. That is not to say that there aren’t those that love liturgy in the OF, but rather it is not as important to the majority of mass goers and how they worship.

thoughtful insight, thank-you. :thumbsup:

I cannot argue any of that. I spent last weekend at a Benedictine Monastery for the Easter Triduum and their liturgy was breathtakingly beautiful. All OF, mostly English but with liberal use of Latin in the responses, and heavy use of chant, etc. If I could have that all the time, I would be quite content.

However, I might argue which would be a faster or easier process in terms of tightening up the OF world wide or translating the EF and making it available in the vernacular. :smiley:

In addition though, I do feel it is important to state that proponents of the EF of the Mass have been saying for a long time that it is not just about the language or even the beauty. They have made arguments that the change in the prayers from the EF to the OF were problematic. They have also made arguments that the changes to the readings were problematic. I am not suggesting that I endorse such views, but for the sake of discussion, even if all OF Masses were as you describe above, which I wish they were, those perceived issues would still exist.

These videos on the EF of the Mass from the FSSP would suggest to me that it is about far more than the language, or simply the reverence with which it is celebrated, though I agree the latter is a big part of it.

*]Part 1 -

*]Part 2 -

*]Part 3 -

*]Part 4 -

*]Part 5 -

*]Part 6 - NO VIDEO AVAILABLE (No material is missing, though, so they might have been incorrectly numbered by whoever originally posted them)

*]Part 7 -

*]Part 8 -

*]Part 9 -

Why not do this? A few reasons:

  1. The idea that the EF would still be available in Latin is probably just wishful thinking. I estimate that a good majority of diocesan EFs would go vernacular if it were allowed.

  2. This would alienate the people attached to the EF.

  3. This would ruin the “interior reconciliation” that was spoken of in SP.

The trad community feels very threatened. Not as much as in the past, but still very threatened. They have trust issues, and rightly so, I tend to agree with this aspect. I don’t deny that the trad community is reactionary: it is. It is very reactionary.

When you say “as long as it did not take away from your ability to attend the EF of the Mass in Latin,” you have good intentions, but I’m afraid this simply isn’t the likely reality. The trad community’s goal isn’t to get more people into the trad community. The trad community’s goal is to preserve what it has. I think the trad community is, in large part, not ready to make the foray into more change.

I don’t make any claims that the liturgical situation will change. I know it probably won’t. So I’m content with what I have.

It would be interesting to attend an EF in English. It’s hard to picture or to get a sense for the feeling and ambience it would create. I don’t know about you, but when I attend an EF Mass, I try to follow on the English side, listening for telltale clues in Latin to tell me where I should be. It can be a bit disconcerting at times, for example, when prayers for the particular day are especially long, I get lost, wondering if I am in the right place. Maybe if I attend more of them it will become easier. Also, I trust if they did it in English, they would use a literal translation, not a loose translation in today’s modern English. The latter I think would spoil it.

And if it were not trad communities who were being asked to celebrate them, but regular diocesan priests who might not have been interested due to the language, but would be open to it if were in English? What if the FSSP, ICKSP, etc. were left out of it all together?

I can understand them wishing to defend what they have. Many of them have fought long and hard to get it.

The good bishop’s letter at most conveys a theoretic possibility. It poorly cite’s SP, where Pope Benedict stated that the readings alone may be recited in the vernacular. It then cites passages from Vatican II which theoretically give permission to translate the liturgy, and provides an example of a modified liturgy that includes substantial passages in English.

However, these provisions of Vatican II no longer seem to be in effect. As another poster pointed out already, SP** specifically allows the use of the unmodified 1962 missal, which only included the Latin. If an authorized translation of the readings in the vernacular exists, then it may be used, according to SP.

The 1964 translations of the entire missal into English were authorized to made, according to the letter, but the bishop never specifies whether these translations were approved or remain approved for liturgical use. The bishop must specify that these translations remain in good standing for them to be use, otherwise they must be approved, or a new translation into English must be prepared and approved before they could be actually used.

To briefly address the Catholic Knight’s commentary, the Anglican use missal is very similar to a vernacular translation of the EF. I do not know if the commentary was made before or after the approval of the Anglican ordinates.

Well, what if, what if… if it happened exactly as you say, then I’d have no problem. My point is that I don’t think it would happen that way.

There should be more OF’s in Latin so people can make that choice.

Makes sense. It seems it just wouldn’t be cost effective to formulate the language needed to vernacularize the EF into various vernaculars. Besides the rubrics require certain prayers to be prayed silently so why vernacularize them?

Latin is essentially to the EF. Wishing for an EF in the vernacular is like wishing for an EF versus populum guitar Mass. Okay, maybe not quite but not that far off.

Those who’d enjoy the EF in English wouldn’t miss much with an OF in English done in the style of the EF. I.e., ad orientem, Roman Canon. Sure, it wouldn’t be the same but I don’t think it would be different enough to warrant a new translation of the EF.

The one reason that appeals to me is the idea of making those prayers more easily available to the general public. Spoken or silent, the prayers are beautiful and i wish everyone could have the chance to read along with them at a mass. We have three Latin masses available in my area (each an hour commute away) and the idea of having these prayers said/read in every local parish holds strong appeal.
We have the side by side missals at our E.F. so that reading along in English is always an option, but for those who might never get to a Latin mass, being exposed to the richness of the prayers in their local parishes could be such a blessing.
I agree about the cost issue; I was assuming an English translation rather than the myriad of vernaculars used in the U.S. these days.:o Mea culpa.:o

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