Question on Novus Ordo in Latin

Does a Priest need any permission from the Diocesan Bishop to celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass entirely in Latin for a normal Sunday Mass? (using 1970 or 2002 Missale Romanum)

Does a Diocesan Bishop have any jurisdictional authority to restrict a Latin Novus Ordo Mass during normal Sunday Masses?

A priest does not need permission to celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin.

I presume that means the Ordinary does not have a say in that. Nevertheless, it would not surprise me to learn that many bishops would make life excedingly uncomfortable for any Pastor who did it, especially if on a regular basis.

Any priest can say the NO in Latin without seeking permission from his Bishop. HOWEVER, if the Bishop has already forbidden the saying of the Mass in Latin, then the priest, by virtue of his vow of obedience would not be able to say Mass in Latin without going over the Bishops head - something that is generally not recommended. :frowning:

Any priest can say the NO in Latin without seeking permission from his Bishop. HOWEVER, if the Bishop has already forbidden the saying of the Mass in Latin, then the priest, by virtue of his vow of obedience, would not be able to say Mass in Latin without going over the Bishops head - something that is generally not recommended. :frowning:

Well I know that for private Masses or extra Masses there most likely is no problem at all. But what about those that have been scheduled already?

My understanding is that the public liturgy of the Church is the Novus Ordo in the vernacular, in accord with the documents issued by Pope Paul VI making it mandatory. The faithful have a right to the lawful Mass. If there are several Masses being offered on a given Sunday and if the parish is large enough to be blessed with more than one priest, diocesan permission may be given for one of them to be in latin, but it has to be specified in the parish bulletin ahead of time, and there must be sufficient parishioners who make this request to the Bishop.

In my area, the parishes are rural and one priest must celebrate the vigil mass and the Sunday liturgy in his home church, in addition to a mass in the mission church which he serves. There would be no possibility of doing the main Sunday liturgy in either church in latin in this case.

My pastor had a request from one lady who wanted the Tridentine rite celebrated in our parish, but she had no other supporters who wanted it, so the Bishop did not grant permission.

The vernacular is **not **mandatory, only permitted according to the documents of Vatican II. In fact, those documents state explicitly that the use of Latin should be continued and that each Bishop must ensure that the faithful know at least the basic prayers of the Mass in Latin. If the Latin is not permitted at least once in a while in every parish, how are people supposed to learn it?

The number of Masses has nothing to do with the language of the Mass. In fact, if there was just one Sunday Mass in a culturally diverse parish, Latin would be the best choice. We are talking about the NO here. Whether a Bishop has given permission for the TLM is not relevant. The real limiting factor is that many priests who processed through seminary did so without learning enough Latin to properly say the Mass.

This wording looks pretty mandatory to me, Corki.

Pope Paul VI

Address to a General Audience, November 26, 1969
Our Dear Sons and Daughters:

  1. –snip-- This new rite will be introduced into our celebration of the holy Sacrifice starting from Sunday next which is the first of Advent, November 30 [in Italy].

  2. –snip-- As We said on another occasion, we shall do well to take into account the motives for this grave change**. The first is obedience to the Council. That obedience now implies obedience to the Bishops, who interpret the Council’s prescription and put them into practice.**

  3. This first reason is not simply canonical—relating to an external precept. It is connected with the charism of the liturgical act. In other words, it is linked with the power and efficacy of the Church’s prayer, the most authoritative utterance of which comes from the Bishop. This is also true of priests, who help the Bishop in his ministry, and like him act in persona Christi (cf. St. Ign., ad Eph. I, V).** It is Christ’s will, it is the breath of the Holy Spirit which calls the Church to make this change.** A prophetic moment is occurring in the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church. This moment is shaking the Church, arousing it, obliging it to renew the mysterious art of its prayer.

  4. It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language. No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. --snip–

  5. Understanding of prayer is worth more than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed. **Participation by the people is worth more—particularly participation by modern people, so fond of plain language **which is easily understood and converted into everyday speech.

  6. If the divine Latin language kept us apart from the children, from youth, from the world of labor and of affairs, if it were a dark screen, not a clear window, would it be right for us fishers of souls to maintain it as the exclusive language of prayer and religious intercourse? What did St. Paul have to say about that? Read chapter 14 of the first letter to the Corinthians: “In Church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (I Corinthians 14:19).

  7. But two indispensable requirements above all will make that richness clear: a profound participation by every single one present, and an outpouring of spirit in community charity. --snip–

This is from a speech . I would like to see the official documents, .

Like, maybe Paul VI was kidding, Palmas? Like maybe he meant something totally opposite to his words? I doubt it, and I’m surprised that you would question a statement made to a “general assembly.” This is pretty serious to be stating to many who were gathered if he was not absolutely certain about what he transmitted to them.

But then, it’s a matter of faith, huh? And I know how much of a traditionist you are. So that explains your seeming reluctance to listen.

From Sacrosanctum Consilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) promulgated by Paul VI on Dec 4, 1963

    1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
  1. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.
  1. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.

It would seem from this that the local Bishop has the final say. But, it seems clear that banning the Latin mass would be against the spirit of the Council, and I doubt any Bishop would penalize a Priest for saying the Mass of Paul VI in Latin.

FYI. My wedding mass was the New Mass in latin and no permission was required. If we had chosen the TLM, we would have required the Bishop’s approval.

Apparently our beloved late JP II believed that Latin had not been abrogated:

John Paul II agrees. "Given that the liturgy is the school of the Church’s prayer, it has been considered good to introduce and develop the use of the vernacular — without diminishing the use of Latin, retained by the Council for the Latin rite."32

Vicesimus quintus annus n.10


Take a look at the date of Sacrosanctum Consilium: 12/4/63. Now look at the date of the address: 11/26/69.

The latter takes precedence, especially since the first document was simply a transitional one until the established Commission had opportunity to implement the directives of the Council and bring them back for approval. This was done, and this later statement of Paul VI is the one we need to abide by.

Of course, you may dispute it with your human reasoning, but the Bishops know what is valid and what is not. You and I can conjecture all we wish from our little perusal of website searches, but the final Authority is the Magisterium, to whom we owe filial obedience.

The instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (from the Congregation for Divine Worship) explains it:

[112.] Mass is celebrated either in Latin or in another language, provided that liturgical texts are used which have been approved according to the norm of law. Except in the case of celebrations of the Mass that are scheduled by the ecclesiastical authorities to take place in the language of the people, Priests are always and everywhere permitted to celebrate Mass in Latin.**

A priest may celebrate Mass in Latin, but he must celebrate the Masses already scheduled ‘to take place in the language of the people’ in English - i.e. he cannot decide to celebrate a Mass in Latin when the people have come expecting it to be in English - he cannot force Latin on them.

But he could of course schedule a Mass to be in Latin.

It seems to me that ‘always and everywhere permitted to celebrate Mass in Latin’ indicates that a priest may schedule a Sunday, or any other, Mass to be in Latin [Novus Ordo] and that it’s not within a Bishop’s authority to stop him from doing so.

This was helpful, Trevelyan. The only problem I can see is that the priest is a servant of the people, and if the parish is opposed to having a latin mass, he is pretty much bound to honor that. As I mentioned previously, only one lady in my parish wanted a latin mass, so the pastor had to deny her request for lack of support. To arbitrarily decide on his own to impose this on a congregation that is totally used to the vernacular is not worthy of a pastor, IMHO, and I doubt that any would do so.

I was going to post canon 928 from the 1983 Code but since RS quotes it I won’t bother.

No, it’s his prerogative. The Church is not a democracy. It’s not done because:

A: I think hardly any Priest knows the Novus Ordo in Latin,

B: there are maybe one-tenth the number of Latin Novus Ordo missals than there are Tridentine and maybe 1/1000th of vernacular missals available, making active participation very difficult and costly,

C: there aren’t enough Priests to have enough Masses that could allow for both the vernacular and Latin since there is a requirement for vernacular Masses, and

D: Priests who really love Latin would rather celebrate the TLM (in my opinion) than the NO in Latin.

Billy is right,

So the priest may schedule and celebrate the Mass in Latin, provided, of course, that there is at least one person - as required - who wanted to assist at the Mass.

It may not be practical, however, to celebrate Mass with only one other person, especially if there are other Masses. But it may be done.

I just asked for a document instead of a quote from a speech, thats all. Is that a problem? Is there a document that mandates the use of the vernacular? If so, I would like to see it. It would certainly clear up a lot of the arguments on this and many other forums, wouldn’t it?

People can say all manner of things even the Holy Father, that don’t accurately reflect a position that the Church has.

A Bishop cannot forbid the use of Latin in the NO Mass. A Bishop may forbid (at this point in time, unless something has changed lately) the TLM in his diocese. It would not make any sense for a priest to celebrate all NO Masses in the parish in Latin only, if none of the faithful understand Latin however.

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