On the contemporary necessity of the Extraordinary Form

For a number of years, and especially more recently with the promulgation of Summum Pontificum, I have been seeking an answer to this question: If the “OF” Order of Mass in the 2000 Roman Missal were celebrated…

*]In Latin
*]With plainchant and/or polyphonic or other suitable liturgical music
*]With a celebrant and deacons facing the altar (“ad apsidum”)
*]With chanted readings and intercessions
*]Using the antiphons and/or psalms from the Paul VI *Roman Gradual *or Simple Gradual
*]Kneeling for Holy Communion
*]With torchbearers keeping station with use of incense during the Canon

In short…as the Pope does at solemn Masses at St. Peter’s and the Lateran-- presuming you have affection for all I’ve listed :slight_smile:what would be the need for the EF?

Reflections and thoughts on this earnestly sought, especially from friends and members of traditional societies and fraternities.

That is, more or less, how the OF would be everywhere if Sacrosanctum Concilium had not been ignored.

23: "There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them.

“Care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.”

54 “Steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass.”

112: “The musical tradition of the Universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.”

Et cetera

But since Vatican II has largely been ignored, I prefer the EF, because it has developed organically.

This is a great question and a wonderful topic for discussion, in my opinion.

It would seem that your list would need to be longer in order to eliminiate the need for the EF of the Mass. Why not add:

  • Only male altar servers
    -6 candles on the altar for High Mass, and 2 for Low Mass
    -Priest facing ad orientem
    -bring altar rails back
    -Laity gives responses in latin
    -Confession more than a few times a week (which is a huge problem in many parishes)
    -Making sure that the tabernacle is located in the correct place.
    -Using stone altars more frequently to signify that the laity are primarily at a Sacrifice.
    -Making sure that the liturgical vessels are proper for the Mass (Gold, or at least gold plated inside the vessels)
    -Eliminating EMHC (unless they are absolutely necessary, which is supposed to be the norm anyway)

I assure you that if these changes were not made, then many who prefer the EF would be outraged, and would still hold indult EF Masses (with or without approval by the local ordinaries).

This topic is so broad that it would be hard to give a complete position on the subject. In short, one would be hard-pressed to find a reform of the reform that could appease those who prefer the EF (due to theological reasons, and not just for asthetics).

Thing is, what sense would it make to fashion the OF to resemble the
EF so closely ? If the EF is the measuring stick, why clone it and then discard the measuring stick ?

Interesting idea for discussion, but I have a feeling the Roman Rite will continue to consist of two forms for at least the rest of our lifetimes.

The EF is rather the stick from “which new forms should grow organically.” We would have one form, not very much different from the EF, if the reformers had followed the sacred directives of the Second Vatican Council.

That is indeed how the Holy Father celebrates holy mass and I would be satisfied with that arrangement. I do enjoy the expanded Lectionary of the OF (which was one mandate of Vatican II that the reformers did listen to). When an OF is chanted in Latin with the utmost reverence you can actually see the organic continuity with the EF. The Gloria, credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei etc remain in tact - the key “hymns” of the Roman Rite mass… As does the general structure.

If the OF was celebrated everywhere like it is in Rome, I would still seek the Extraordinary Form. The #1 reason I love it is the content of the missal (the prayers). They are so different in the OF, no matter how reverently it is done.

I leave it up to greater men to decide if that means we still need the EF. I pray they decide ‘yes.’

Very true. I feel the same way about the prayers.

Re. KMJL12s post: Certainly, that is a great list, endorsed by the current rubrics and regulations. My list was not meant to be exhaustive, by any means; there are indeed a host of items.

I am not certain I agree with Sts Alive that the OF has limitations in being a “measuring stick;” rather I feel that *Sacrosanctum Concilium *itself must have that role—as any form of the sacred Liturgy cannot sufficiently define itself in objective reference to its development.

I would submit that the provisions in SC, which the overwhelming majority of the Council Fathers voted for, could not easily be “retro-fit” to the pre-Conciliar Order of Mass. (In a sense, it would be like trying to outfit a Navy frigate from the 1900s with twenty-first century radar, launch systems, fire-control, environmental support, etc. Given the technology, a shipbuilder would find it easier to take a basic modern ship design and build the new parts into it.)

Except for the prayers at the foot of the altar (at the start of Mass), and the readings said from the ambo (rather than from the body of the sanctuary), and the elimination of the Last Gospel—the first and last practices being originally part of the priest’s private preparation—as far as the perspective of the congregation, I would suggest that there is relatively little difference. As far as the text of the Ordinary, even in Latin, 90% of the Order of Mass Pope Innocent III (c. 1200), which forms the basis of the pre-Conciliar rites of the last millennium, is intact in the Missal of 1969. Even all the old prefaces have been retained, along with new ones that were added. The greatest difference, which would be missed by the congregation when taken “in secret,” are the presentation prayers for the bread and wine. (Admittedly, there are some differences in the propers, most are identical to the OF, some have been placed differently, and a number have been edited—some good, some WAY not so good.)

On the Latin collects, used in the OF Missal, may I suggest the a very enjoyable read of the excellent work of Dr. Lauen Pristas of Cauldwell College (NJ), some links included in the below link.



She is a devout Catholic and a top-notch scholar who has produced a first-rate series of critiques on the choices made in revising the propers (especially the collects). Many of them were taken from early medieval texts (including Gallican and Ambrosian) and enriched the new Missal, and often with little or no alteration. Others needed to be redone because they were somewhat anachronistic; still others (as Prof. Pristas notes) apparently attempted to “reprogram”-out certain traditional Western theological and spiritual concepts that might make some modern folks….ehh, well, uncomfortable—sort of like the suggested rationale behind the 1970/1974 ICEL translation.

Perhaps this suggests some future fine-tuning for a future edition of the Missale Romanum??

Again, our question: Why use the extraordinary form if the ordinary form of the Mass were offered with every legitimate " tradtional" option programmed into the rubrics?

A blessed beginning of Advent to us all this evening at First Vespers!


I hope the following answers your question:

“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.”

Source: vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20070707_lettera-vescovi_en.html


With all respect, to me, a person who values what the Church has handed down, what has been shared by saints and sinners, in good times and bad, for almost half of Catholic history, your question sounds upside down and backwards.

I think that, had that kind of liturgy been the norm, there would be no EF today. I can’t help but say to people who voraciously hate the EF, “Well, it’s your fault we have it. Blame yourself.” No sarcasm.

Many in the Church have great difficulty in recognizing or acknowleging that, yes, it’s the traditional eternals that organically grew from the beginning that must be kept that icrease oue faith and put us in communion with our Catholic ancestors, but it’s the text, itself, most importantly. Although not heretical, the New Rite watered down to the point that any Protestant would have no objection to it on the doctrinal level. To use an expression, “A gorilla in a tuxedo is still a gorilla”.I’m not saying the Novus Ordo is a gorilla, so no need to get offended and throw the 'schismatic" or “heretical” label my way. It’s the meaning of the analogy.


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