Teaching the Extraordinary Form in Seminaries

Does anyone know if the Holy See sent a letter to seminary rectors saying that seminarians should be taught how to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Holy Mass? I ask because I did hear that our one and only seminary received such a letter which was promptly discarded by the powers-that-be…it was a priest who told me this, but does anyone know anything “official” about such a letter from the Vatican?

I did see on Fr Z’s blog WDTPRS that the Ecclesia Dei Commission responded to a question about the Extraordinary Form in seminaries, stating that all candidates for the priesthood have a right to be trained to celebrate both forms of the Roman Rite. Furthermore, it stated that those responsible for the formation of candidates for the priesthood should provide for the instruction of the candidates in both forms of the Roman Rite. The letter closed with the following: “We expect that these matters will soon be treated in an instruction on the application of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum”. The letter is dated February 9, 2008.

  • So, essentially what I’m asking is, was there, as the letter anticipated, an instruction on the application of Summorum Pontificum with regard to the teaching of the Extraordinary Form in seminaries?

I have a RC friend and he said it’s up to the head bishop as to when. most are going to teach the last form and then teach the revisions to the rites. I guess it’s less confusing this way. and who ever they get assigned to work under can teach them the changes too.

I do not know how it is in the Seminaries, but in the Chicago area the St John Cantius fathers keep workshops how to say the Extraordinary Form. These are usually at the Mundelein Seminary. They also have their website with online tutorial and the collection of the necessary materials


In the good old traditional times there was no class how to say the (on that time only form of the ) Mass. During the 5 years preparation everyone was supposed to learn it by attending daily Mass and following from the hand missal. There was an exam before the ordination, the candidate had to say a dry Mass (without pronouncing the words of consecration) in the presence of a priest.

The FSSP fathers from Sarasota broadcast daily Mass.

I believe I have read that it is very much the wish of the Pope and the Ecclesia Dei commission that the Traditional rite be taught in seminaries, but obviously their powers of enforcement are not very strong. In many dioceses the opposition is still very strong unfortuantely, but as the older generation passes the situation should get better.

Let’s hope so, I am tired of hearing these older people say “I don’t want Latin in my mass”. lol no one is trying to put Latin as main language in the Enlglish mass, but it’s also not our mass, it’s Christ mass.

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary now has a class on the Extraordinary Form which I believe just started recently so that’s a huge step in my book. I’m not sure about other seminaries.

It is the hope of the Vatican that the Extraordinary Form is taught in the seminaries but there are several references in this thread of requiring the study of Latin.

What my local seminary does is to provide opportunites for our seminarians to attend those workshops. It is not mandatory, but I know of at least one recently ordained priest in our diocese who attended those workshops (while a seminarian).

He comes to assist at the EF Mass our parish has when our pastor cannot ( our pastor is another ‘graduate’ of the Cantius workshops ) :thumbsup:

It would be great if EF is or will be once again taught in seminaries. I think it is very important for priests and bishops to know both EF and OF.

Thanks everyone for the replies so far!

I won’t reply to them all individually - but I share the views posted. The Holy Father, as far as I’m aware, shares our views too! In fact, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, the former president of the Ecclesia Dei commission, was quoted in an interview in 2008 as saying that the Pope wants the Extraordinary Form to be a normal part of parish life - surely this can only come about if we are training our future priests to be able to celebrate it!

As to seminaries teaching the Extraordinary Form, those seminaries which do teach it are to be commended, as are institutes and orders who give this formation to their seminarians. My opinion is that all seminarians should at least be taught how to celebrate an E.F. low-Mass, and that extra workshops should be provided for those who wish to have a more in-depth training. Brendan, I would think therefore that what your local seminary is doing is a good start - the difficulty as I would see it, in our seminary (which is the only seminary in the country for all our dioceses) is that seminarians who are seen as traditional (or even faithful to the Church in some respects) are frequently sidelined (a sad but true state of affairs). I would imagine that some seminarians would not take these optional courses for that reason. Perhaps the imminent Apostolic Visitation will change some of this culture…

Incidentally, I asked another priest about the letter to which I referred in my O.P. He confirmed what the other priest had told me some time back - that a letter was sent from the Holy See instructing the powers-that-be in the seminary to provide training in the E.F. was simply ignored… How I would love to see a copy of that letter!

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