Do we have to say Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form?

I noticed every time someone types “Novus Ordo” a bunch of people are quick to correct him or her.

Should the fact that our Holy Father referred to the Extraordinary and Ordinary forms of the mass be understood to mean those are the names we are to use now? He didn’t say, the Traditional Latin Mass, henceforth to be called, the “Extraordinary and Ordinary forms” did he?

When I first became Catholic, I visited Father Rutler’s church in NY and I had heard that there was a Latin mass. I wasn’t sure if it was a traditional latin mass, so I asked a choir member if the Sunday Latin mass was in the Extraordinary form. She looked at me blankly.

I said, “You know. The traditional latin mass… The Tridentine.”

She said carefully, you’re asking if it is the Mass of Paul VI? I’m not sure.

So much for Extraordinary and Ordinary form.

So again, does the fact that he used those terms to describe what is ordinary and what is extraordinary mean those are the terms we are to use from now on?


Most people in “the real world” (as in the non-CAF world) don’t use those terms, despite what I’ve had posters here tell me. I once told a friend that I would like to attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form and he said “The Tridentine?” He has a theology degree from a Catholic university.

I don’t believe the Vatican has ever used the phrase “novus ordo.” The preferred formulation seems to be OF and EF.

That said, the Vatican often talks in ways we normal people don’t. :wink:


Please note I started this thread because I am really trying to understand if It is the case that our Holy Father wants us to use those terms from henceforth or if he was using them in a descriptive way. The Novus Ordo is in fact, the ordinary form of the mass because it is the normative form. There are less Masses according to the 1962 missal around, so they are extraordinary, right?

Maybe I should email “Ask an Apologist”.

I think you should Ask an Apologist because I foresee…something…in the future…for this thread…:slapfight:…:blackeye:


I know this isn’t what you’re asking, but my personal philosophy on the matter is…I don’t go ballistic when someone says “novus ordo”…I don’t go ballistic when someone says “Eucharistic minister” instead of “EMHC”…honestly I just try to choose my battles.

Okay. I think I will ask.

In working on my parish website recently, I realized that on the dedication plaque outside of the church doors we are a “Parish”, on the website we are a “Catholic Church, all sacraments performed in the Extraordinary Form”, and on our big sign outside of our church, we are a “Latin Mass Catholic Church”. I’m going to have to get some clarification from the priest before I can redesign the site header. :slight_smile:

And the only place I’ve ever heard the terms EF and OF are on the board - at my parish (church? Latin Mass church?) I only hear the terms Novus Ordo and Latin Mass.

While those terms have become politically correct among a vocal segment of members here, I haven’t seen any evidence that Benedict favors them. He uses a variety of terms to describe the two forms, and these terms and phrases all seem to be descriptive rather than actual titles.

In addition, while you capitalized the adjective and left the noun lowercase, the Holy Father’s documents capitalize the noun and use lowercase for the adjective. I think he’s got fellow Germans doing all the editing. :shrug:

‘Novus ordo’ is often seen as pejorative, rightly or wrongly, when it’s used by traditionalists. Official Vatican documents always avoid this term. The terms ‘extraordinary form’ and ‘ordinary form’ are interchangeable with ‘Tridentine mass’ and ‘Pauline mass’. The former seem to be used more on here but in the real world, as mentioned above, the latter are probably more common. ‘Latin mass’ is also common but is imprecise, as many parishes celebrate an ordinary/Pauline/novus ordo mass in the Latin language.

Interesting. You wouldn’t happen to have a link or two of the Pope using different terms interchangeably would you (not as Cardinal)?

I think the problem comes when someone uses the “NO” Mass. Not when they type out the words. That is because many here use the “NO” Mass as a derogatory term.

Hence the popcorn guy showing up. He is waiting for the fight.

Letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum

Summorum Pontificum

You’re correct in terms of how “NO” is often used here. In addition, the majority of Catholics now alive have never known a Mass other than the OF, and I would think continuing to refer to the OF as the “new” Mass makes no sense to them. Further, how many decades need to pass – 4? 5? 10? – before something isn’t “new” any longer?

I believe not too long ago on CAF, the moderation staff requested that the terms OF and EF be used rather than NO and TLM. I could be wrong, but I remember seeing something to that effect.

I doubt the pope meant to dictate what terms we need to use for these things. Call them whatever you want. I’d recommend:

*]Don’t freak out if someone says Novus Ordo or “the NO Mass.” He probably means nothing negative at all, and is simply used to calling the OF by that name.
*]For the same reason I’d recommend calling it the ordinary form (or the Mass of Paul VI) over calling it the Novus Ordo, but it’s really no big thing.
*]Don’t just call the extraordinary form the Latin Mass. The Latin Church’s Mass is Latin in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms. Someone earlier said that he talked to a choir member in real life who wasn’t sure which sort of Latin Mass was being celebrated soon. I take that as a reason to eliminate the ambiguity as often as possible in my own speech.
*]I don’t really like calling it the Tridentine Mass either; my understanding is that its specific rubrics weren’t really directly from Trent, and of course its most recent Missal was published under John XXIII. It’s not really inaccurate; it’s the Mass from the “Tridentine era,” so to speak, but I still don’t like it. “Traditional Latin Mass” is good, as is “Mass of John XXIII” or some permutation thereof.

But really, I think it’s fine to call them whatever you want. The only terms for the ordinary form that make me raise my eyebrows are “the Bugnini liturgy” and “the New Mass” (with a capital N).

I completely agree with everything you said here. This is exactly how I feel.

It was probably never used as the official title, but Pope Paul VI even referred to it in this speech:
“Novus Ordo promulgatus est, ut in locum veteris substitueretur post maturam deliberationem, atque ad exsequendas normas quae a Concilio Vaticano II impertitae sunt.”

I find the EF/OF terms to be cumbersome. Besides, they’re relative and only seem to describe a given liturgy’s prevalence. The TLM was the OF for centuries, now it’s the EF, and I pray that it once again becomes the OF. But I’ll still object to using those terms in ordinary conversation :shrug:

It’s understandable that Paul VI would announce it that way since he was promulgating a new order of Mass. I could announce that I bought a new car and use “novus currus”. It won’t remain ‘novus’ for 45 years.

I use OF/EF in conversation simply because it’s more accurate than Latin Mass/English Mass and less of a mouthful than “Mass in the vernacular” “Traditional Latin Mass”. For the most part, if you’re talking to someone under forty they won’t have any idea what you’re talking about anyway because for them there is only “Mass” – they’ve never experienced anything but the OF.

Old rule: Know your audience — use appropriate language and concepts for.

I can spend a good five hours talking to a scholar about Post Modern historical theory and the various categories of thought. We both speak that language. My neighbor, on the other hand, would think I was speaking in tongues or talking pure gibberish.

The meaning of OF and EF is pretty clear for discussion purposes. I do not use the dreaded NO abbreviation because of certain connotations. :shrug:

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