Is the Ordinary Form Mass licit?

I have a friend who goes to the TLM, and according to him, the Novus Ordo is valid but not licit. He’s read past papal encyclicals and done other research, and this is the conclusion he’s come to. He said he used to think that the Novus Ordo was fine, he just didn’t prefer it, but now he’s come to this conclusion. He was told by one priest that this priest quit celebrating the NO because he could no longer do so in good conscience.

He also doesn’t think that Vatican II was a valid council because it was a pastoral council full of ambiguities and contributed to by people with bad intentions, not doing what a council typically does which is to define doctrine and combat heresy. He read quoted some of the documents of Vatican II, and I have to admit that I was disturbed.

Considering all this, I don’t know what to believe. I find it hard to believe that God would allow so many of the faithful to celebrate an illicit Mass. I also don’t really know what to think about Vatican II, particularly since I have to admit that its application was disastrous. I’d like to get other people’s opinions on the matter. What do you all think of my friend’s conclusions? What do you guys think about Vatican II? I haven’t had the time to undertake the research myself so if anyone has undertaken to read the VII documents and read past papal encyclicals I would like to hear from you.

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The Novus Ordo mass is most definitely licit. In his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, Benedict XVI writes, “The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi (rule of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite.” With regards to Vatican II, I’m not a big fan of it either for the reasons you stated. However, I still believe it is a valid council, and I think the aftermath was far more devastating than the council itself. As to why God would allow this, just remember God allows trials to befall us and he allowed the early Church in Rome to suffer extreme persecution, what’s going on right now is nothing in comparison. As always, pray for the Church and its leaders.


Your analysis of his arguments is good. I’ve been far enough down this rabbit hole to know that blaming the Second Vatican Council and Novus Ordo Missæ for everything thing wrong with the Church is a dead end. At a certain juncture I just had to realise I was going away from the Church and Christ and I had bite the bullet and come back up the hole.


I would find it very hard to believe one random guy’s opinion, over the teaching of the Church.


Thanks be to God!

I like Mother Angelica’s approach to it. She called the Vatican II documents “beautiful”, but lamented how some had chosen to corrupt those documents to their own ends. She also noted that that element in the church existed long before Vatican II. Thankfully, the pendulum is swinging back the other way now. Slowly, but surely.



  1. Wasn’t the ‘Tridentine’ Mass banned by Vatican II?
    The Second Vatican Council declared, in relation to all liturgical rites approved at the time, that the Church "wishes to preserve them in the future and foster them in every way." (Sacrosanctum Concilium, #4) A new Roman Rite was promulgated after the Council by Pope Paul VI (Ordinary Form), which is now in general use. But the ancient Latin liturgy (Extraordinary Form) remains also in use, and fully approved by the Supreme Pontiff. It was during Vatican II that the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum was published, which is the Missal still used today for the celebration of the ‘Tridentine’ Mass.

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I’m surprised a priest has the option to refuse to celebrate Mass in what is now called the Ordinary Form. (The Church stopped using the expression Novus Ordo back in the twentieth century.) Are you sure he is a Catholic priest in good standing? It might be worth inquiring.


The ordinary form is licit. If your friend insists otherwise, they are placing themselves in opposition to Church teaching.


I’ll stick with the living current Magisterium, over the personal interpretation of some individual who thinks they understand Sacred Tradition better than the living pope and bishops.


Good idea.

Yes, the NO Mass is licit.

Take a trip back 40 years to 1980, just 15 years after the close of VII, and listen to William F. Buckley and guests discuss this same thing.

Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.: The Fight over Catholic Orthodoxy


Perhaps instead of getting other people’s “opinions”, you might try to get the opinion of the Church. Your “friend” is saying in essence that over 2,000 bishops are off the rails.

Had your friend said the comments to me, my response would be along the lines of “Really??? Ooohhh.” and then I would have moved on to people who are not conspiratorialists - as that is exactly what your “friend” is. Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis - all of them, and the thousands of bishops involved with and since Vatican 2 are all off the rails.

The Catholic Church, founded by Christ and under the protection of the holy Spirit… again I would say to your “friend” Mmmmhhhmmmmm…

then I would find some different friends.

A couple of things to keep in mind: 1) Judas was at the Last Supper; the Church holds that priesthood started there, so Judas was as much a priest as Peter or Andrew - and Judas went out and betrayed Christ. 2) Martin Luther was a Catholic priest - and we all know where that went. When someone says "a priest said (X, Y and/or Z) and that is not what the Catholic Church teaches, one needs to include that priest in their prayers, and continue to follow the Church.

As someone in another thread alluded to, there are plenty of whackadoodles calling themselves Catholic, and deciding that the vast majority of the Church is astray.

It continues to amaze me, having watched the craziness and silliness over the last 40+ years, that people continue to follow someone who is at odds with the Church. I understand that some of the proponents that the OF Mass is illicit, or that Vatican 2 was illicit, or irrelevant, or full of ambiguities, or that it did not define new doctrine or combat heresy (as if there is some magical rule that all Councils MUST do so), or the host of other comments against anything since 1965 often are sourced to people who have degrees in theology. Re-read comments 1) and 2) above.

And as an aside, the implementation of the documents of Vatican 2 were not “disastrous”. There were clear difficulties, largely led by progressives, and most of their radical attitudes and approaches have died out just as they have died out. It also helps to keep in mind that Trent set out a number of issues to change, and the full implementation has been noted as taking close to 100 years after to be fully implemented. There is still work to do with the documents of Vatican 2, so no one should be surprised that serious changes take time

But illicit/ Irrelevant? 2,151 bishops of the world voted on the acceptance of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the document which addressed liturgy and sacraments, and only 4 of them voted against it. It astounds me that we have people wandering around noting how more intelligent and well-grounded in theology they are than those over 2,000 bishops. Truly astounding.

God bless you, especially for coming forward and asking the questions. Pray for your friend, and as a suggestion, find someone else with whom to converse about the Church.


…and today accepted and lived by about 5000 bishops. (There are approximately 5000 Catholic bishops alive in the world today…of those 5000, I doubt there are more than a couple, if that, who strictly celebrate the EF Mass).


Thanks’ I had not caught up with the current count. I suspect that a lot of the increase was due to the long reign of John Paul 2, as well as increases in the Church in other countries.

Yes though the 5000 includes retired bishops and auxiliaries. That also makes a big difference as people live longer now… we have a lot of elderly retired bishops (who are still bishops and still members of the Magisterium).

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Your “friend” is wrong.
With all due respect, you need to stop hanging around “friends” who say such ridiculous things. They will only try to drag you away from the Church and its true and correct teachings.

They’re baloney.

Please kindly do some research yourself and read up about the subject and try to form an informed opinion of your own, so you don’t fall prey to every extremist coming along with an opinion.

Your saying this is kind of like asking the forum to do your homework for you. You need to put in some effort yourself to actually learn about the faith and not just expect everybody here to analyze a huge subject and give you a one-paragraph summary.


Yes, the Novus Ordo is licit.

The question from your friend is absurd. The bishops in union with the Pope established the Novus Ordo. There is no higher ecclesial authority.


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I personally accept it as valid, given scriptural mandate to submit to the leadership of the papacy.

You do need to understand though, that if you trully seek arguments from both sides, in CAF, arguments against NO and V2 will promptly be flagged and removed as blasphemous.

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MariaRita5 your friend may possibly be a Sedevacantist

Sedevacantism is the position, held by some Catholics that the present occupier of the Holy See is not truly pope due to the mainstream church’s espousal of what they see as the heresy of modernism and that, for lack of a “valid” pope, the See has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958.

They also see Vatican II as a mistake and not accurate and anything after that to be incorrect in the church.

Don’t be confused both the OF and the EF Mass are fine.

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