Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy


I should start out by saying I don’t mean for this thread to spark an EF vs OF battle, I’m just hoping for some explanation and guidance here.

I just read the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy last night and found the document to be really beautiful and insightful, the problem I came across is that it describes a Mass that I’ve never seen.

It says things like Latin is to be preserved in all Latin rites, but I’ve never been to an OF Mass were any latin was used. It talks about the use of Gregorian chant, but I’ve never heard any chants at Mass either and there are several other examples.

So am I reading the wrong Vatican II document that describes liturgical changes, was there another one that came after this?

If this is the right document, why does it seem that major parts are ignored?

Are there any parishes or Dioceses around that celebrate is this way?


Essentially you are describing a reform of the reform sort of liturgy.


You can find different places that have the mass with both latin and english as described by Vatican II, but they don’t advertise it so it can be hard to find. Also it may not always be done that way. I know that EWTN often celebrates mass this way (it may depend on the priest).

I think I heard that there is a seminary or diocese in California that is also using more Gregorian Chant in their liturgy as well. Sorry I don’t have more/better information on that.

It’s just my opinion, but if they revise the General Instruction of the Roman Missal I suspect that some of these changes will be encouraged to bring it more inline with Vatican II. It’s my understanding as of now that the priest/bishop has the option to not use any latin and so most choose not to.


Bear in mind that the OF of the Mass was promulgated in 1969, six years (I think) after that Constitution. However, here in the Kansas City (MO) diocese, Mass in English was instituted in June 1963. My mother- and father-in-laws’ wedding was in English, much to their surprise - they found a week before and had to reprint their programs.

In 1969, I can only surmise that the pope and his advisors (such as Msgr. Bugnini) were concentrating on encouraging “full, active participation” in the Mass by the laity. As such, Latin and Chant were perhaps viewed as “distractions” as it were from that participation. I believe the intent was that encouragement of such participation would draw some folks to the Church who had not previously considered it because they thought the Church too parochial, too mysterious, too priest-centered.

I am not convinced the OF achieved the goals sought, if indeed the intention was to increase Mass attendance, encourage participation and enlarge the presbytery. I do not believe however, that it was solely responsible for the subsequent drop in Mass attendance either.

May God bless you.


It should have been a surprise to many, especially right after Pope John XXIII wrote an Apostolic Constitution essentially banning the vernacular in religious settings.


Of course, June 1963 was several months after the promulgation of Sancrosanctum Consilium, which did allow (in theory) the vernacular. However, the Missal was not revised until 1969. The diocese should never have allowed a vernacular Mass, but Kansas City (MO) has been on the “bleeding edge” of the progressive Church since the 1930’s. Bishop O’Hara was the head of the National Catholic Welfare Council, which after Vatican II morphed in the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (now merged with the USCCB).

May God bless you.


There are some inaccuracies here and in your previous post.* Sacrosanctum Concilium* was not promulgated until 4 December 1963, so your timing is a bit off. No liturgical changes in the Order of Mass were made until fall,1964, when the decree* Inter Oecuminici* was promulgated, detailing what those changes would be. The reason that much of the nuptial rite was in the vernacular at your relatives’ wedding in 1963 had nothing to do with Vatican II or any of its liturgical reform. Since the 1954 edition of the Rituale Romanum, which is where the texts of the rite of marriage are found, had been promulgated, the Holy See began allowing limited use of the vernacular in the administration of the sacraments. Permission was given for this in the USA at that time, though the use of the vernacular in the administration of the sacrament varied by diocese. In 1961, with the increasing use of the vernacular when administering the sacraments, especially marriage and baptism, the Collectio Rituum for the USA was promulgated. This book was essentially a collection of the more commonly used forms of the larger Rituale Romanum, more clearly laying out what was required to be said in Latin, and what could be said in the vernacular. So in some dioceses, this practice started in 1954, while in others it was not until 1961. However, again, all of this was before Vatican II and before Sacrosanctum Concilium.

The Order of Mass was reformed several times between 1964 and 1969, so it was not a matter of the 1969 promulgation of the new missal suddenly replacing the unreformed Tridentine rite. That was a process that unfolded incrementally over a five-year period. Still very rapid, to be sure, but not what you seemed to have suggested.


Also for the record, Pope John XXIII, who issued the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Veterum, essentially banning the vernacular, never signed any of the Vatican II documents, which opened the use of vernacular where it would (“haud raro”) be advantageous to do so.

Subsequent allowance of the all-vernacular was perhaps misunderstood too, since the same Pope who seemingly allowed it, also wanted to see to it that Jubilate Deo, in keeping with the Vatican II documents, would be widely if not universally used in the liturgy.


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