Did Mass before Vatican II have readings from the Old Testament?


Was discussed at my Bible study group Sunday.

Was the Mass before Vatican II the same as “the Latin Mass”?

Lastly, what Mass liturgical format does EWTN follow? Why don’t they follow the normal Mass liturgy on TV?


It occasionally had readings or prophecies from the Old Testament.


They use the Novus Ordo, if that’s what you mean. I don’t know what you mean by “Why don’t they follow the normal Mass liturgy on TV.”


The “Novus Ordo” Mass is decades older than you. It is older than me. When the Tridentine Mass started in the 1500s, did the Catholics who had different liturgical rites call it “Novus Ordo”?

It is the current Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite Mass.


Pope Paul VI called it the Novus Ordo Missae, the New Order of Mass multiple times. I’ll use the same.


Well, when it was introduced when Paul VI was Pope, it was new.

Paul VI died in 1978. It had replaced the TLM almost entirely by then.


Yes, the Tridentine Mass have some reading from the Old Testament, but they only appear occasionally, as said above.


Pope Benedict

"In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question.

"This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.

“As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level. Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. 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.”


Well, it was then. However, since that was in 1969, it’s not really “new” anymore. It’s more properly called the Mass of Paul VI, the Pauline Mass, or the Ordinary Form of the Mass.


I’m still going to use the term Novus Ordo. I’m accustomed to it.


Well, as they say, “You do you.”


The EWTN Mass is from a Franciscan monastery. This may account for small liturgical differences.


Did the Mass always have Old Testament readings?

Of course. The Catholic Bible has always included Old and New Testaments.

Was the Mass before Vatican II the same as the Latin Mass?

The 1962 Missal was used before Vatican II, the same missal used for Traditional Latin Masses today. Note that the current Latin rite missal has many approved translations, but the typical edition is still Latin. A “Latin Mass” may use either the current or the 1962 missal.


Mass Lectionary readings prior to the Second Vatican Council.


I read a blog every day that contains The Latin Mass propers. Today there was a reading from Proverbs. Yesterday from Sirach. I’d post the link but I read somewhere on this site that no blog links are allowed.


Answering your question about OT readings at Mass prior to Vatican II:

Fr Felix Just’s website gives this table (link below) of all the readings listed in the 1947 edition of the Roman Missal. Unless I’ve missed something, only about 20 of the 46 OT books appear on the list, and some of those with just a few verses. For example, on the Ember Wednesday in September, the first reading consisted of three verses from Amos followed by ten verses from Nehemiah. No other verses from either Amos or Nehemiah were ever read at all.

The book of Psalms, of course, is not included in the “Readings.”



“Novus ordo” is fine.


That’s what I’m saying.


Agreed. The liturgy being decades old doesn’t make it not new, in comparison to the Tridentine form and other Rites. The Tridentine liturgy is really really old. Just because it was codified in a sense by Pius V doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist before then(which it did, with the corpus of the Mass being the nearly the same everywhere).




No. While the term “Latin Mass” is colloquially used to refer to the EF Mass, using this appellation just leads to confusion, as the OF Mass is also a “Latin Mass”. The source language of the Roman Missal is and remains Latin. It is regularly said in Latin in many places in the world. “Latin Mass” should be used to refer to any Mass that is said in Latin. That includes all of the EF Masses, and a number of OF Masses.

Using the term to refer to the EF Mass only will lead to confusion among the uninitiated who happen upon an OF Mass in Latin. They will wonder why it is different.

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