Theology behind two Forms of the Roman Rite?



I’m confused about the value of allowing clergy & religious to fulfill their prayer-obligations by using the Breviary of 1962 as a different “Form” of the Roman Rite. The same goes for having two “Forms” of Mass going at the same time.

What I mean is: how does all this actually work, in practice, without ecclesiastical schizophrenia? There are two obviously-conflicting calendars, for instance. Why haven’t both forms of the Rite been made subject to one calendar? How can we say Saint X’s feast day is on March 7 and also January 28, while being exclusive to each calendar? How is that “Catholic”, universal, according to the whole, etc.?

Some day, might there be a combination of these two Forms?


There are actually 3 forms within the Roman Rite, and various other rites within the Latin (Roman) Church. Each holding a specific place within the Church

As for the two forms you speak of eventually combining - only time will tell.


Thank you. I was aware of the “usages” of the Religious Orders and the Rite of Milan. but I did not know that Roman Rite had three Forms. The Milanese Rite is a different Rite from Rome, isn’t it? What is the Third Form of the Roman Rite, then, aside from the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms?

As for the two forms you speak of eventually combining - only time will tell.



According to the site I referenced above -

Anglican Use. Since the 1980s the Holy See has granted some former Anglican and Episcopal clergy converting with their parishes the faculty of celebrating the sacramental rites according to Anglican forms, doctrinally corrected.

The entire quote with regard to your original question is:

• Roman – The overwhelming majority of Latin Catholics and of Catholics in general.
– Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Mass celebrated in accordance with the Missale Romanum of 1970, promulgated by Pope Paul VI, currently in its third edition (2002). The vernacular editions of this Missal, as well as the rites of the other sacraments, are translated from the Latin typical editions revised after the Second Vatican Council.
– Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Mass celebrated in accordance with the Missale Romanum of 1962, promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII. The other sacraments are celebrated according to the Roman Ritual in force at the time of the Second Vatican Council. The Extraordinary Form is most notable for being almost entirely in Latin. In addition to institutes which have the faculty to celebrate the Extraordinary Form routinely, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, any Latin Rite priest may now offer the Mass and other sacraments in accordance with norms of Summorum Pontificum.
– Anglican Use. Since the 1980s the Holy See has granted some former Anglican and Episcopal clergy converting with their parishes the faculty of celebrating the sacramental rites according to Anglican forms, doctrinally corrected.
• Mozarabic – The Rite of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) known from at least the 6th century, but probably with roots to the original evangelization. Beginning in the 11th century it was generally replaced by the Roman Rite, although it has remained the Rite of the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Toledo, Spain, and six parishes which sought permission to adhere to it. Its celebration today is generally semi–private.
• Ambrosian – The Rite of the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy, thought to be of early origin and probably consolidated, but not originated, by St. Ambrose. Pope Paul VI was from this Roman Rite. It continues to be celebrated in Milan, though not by all parishes.
• Bragan – Rite of the Archdiocese of Braga, the Primatial See of Portugal, it derives from the 12th century or earlier. It continues to be of occasional use.
• Dominican – Rite of the Order of Friars Preacher (OP), founded by St. Dominic in 1215.
• Carmelite – Rite of the Order of Carmel, whose modern foundation was by St. Berthold c.1154.
• Carthusian – Rite of the Carthusian Order founded by St. Bruno in 1084.


Praedicare, the present situation is certainly not ideal. I agree that there should be one calendar, at least. It seems that the Church has taken this direction because of the state of emergency in which she finds herself. Pope Benedict explains his reasons in the apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, and adds some salient thoughts in the accompanying pastoral letter to bishops. They are quite short; I encourage you to read them.


This is not the first time that there has been more than one Use of the Roman Rite.

The Anglican Use was created in the 1980s and is growing as Anglicans convert to the Church.

In some parts of Africa, the Zaire Use was and still is rarely used today since the 1970s.

In the 1700s, the Algonquian and Iroquoian Uses of the Roman Rite were created for Indian Missions in Canada and the US. They lasted until Vatican II.

In the past, we also had the:

In England until the 1530s
*]Sarum Use
*]the Use of York
*]Lincoln Use
*]Bangor Use
*]Hereford Use

In Germany there was the Cologne Use which lasted until the 1570s

In Norway, there was the Nidaros Use until the Reformation

In Sweeden, there was the Uppsala Use until the Reformation

In Hungary, there was teh Esztergom Use used from the 12th to 17th centuries.


Yes, there are some quite striking differences behind them, even theologically speaking. For instance difference conceptions of the meaning of “participation,” the value of silence, in the symbolic presentation of the sacred, etc.

As for schizophrenia, there obviously is some in the Roman rite. The two forms are symptoms of the schizophrenia, not a cause of it (else the whole Church would be deranged, with its 23 or so liturgical rites and numerous usages of each).

That said, it seems to me that attempting to force a healing by forcing the two forms together is just a horrid idea. If the rite is, as you say, “schizophrenic,” if there really are fundamental differences and even incompatibilities in the sensibilities of different sectors of the Church, then the two forms serve a valuable purpose in keeping separate those who cannot abide one other. If there is a rift, then time will heal it organically.


The third form is the Ordinariate Use (formerly known as the Anglican Use). Its calendar uses principles based on both the Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form calendars, in that its Sanctoral cycle (proper of Saints) is generally synchronized with the Ordinary Form calendar, but it also resembles the Extraordinary Form in other ways. For example, it’s strict in its observances of Epiphany (Jan 6th), Ascension (always Thursday), Corpus Christi (always Thursday). Its Sundays are “After Epiphany” and “After Trinity” (pretty much like the EF’s “After Pentecost”, but minus 1; this is the Anglican practice).

I find that the calendar is the messiest issue surrounding the three Uses of the Roman Rite. I would probably be happier if the General Roman Calendar followed the scheme of the EF/Ordinariates, (After Epiphany, After Pentecost), but also followed the OF in reducing the number of saints’ celebrations (and retain the current ranking scheme—Solemnity-Feast-Memorial-Optional Memorial). But that’s just me.


I think we’re getting confused over the terms “rite,” and “church.”

A “rite” is a liturgical tradition. A “church” is a group of people.

The Latin Church uses the Roman Rite, the Bragan Rite, the Ambrosian Rite, the Mozarabic Rite, the rites of religious orders, et al. Each of these are different rites, existing within our Latin Church. There is no “Latin Rite” per se.


If you typed that on your iPhone, you deserve a prize!


The Church has always allowed legitimate diversity in celebrating the sacred mysteries. What unites us is “one faith, one Lord, one baptism” (Ephesian 4:5). Regardless of which rite or use is used, the same Lord is present in the one Eucharistic sacrifice which nourishes all of the people of God. The Church determines which essential elements must be present in all Catholic rites, and what can vary.


These are not really theological differences but rather differences in emphasis and expression.


There could be theological implications in some cases…but the Ordinary Form, properly celebrated, should have all of the same essential elements that the Extraordinary Form does. An Ordinary Form mass sung in Latin, with incense, ad orientem is, at least on the surface, far closer to the Extraordinary Form than it is to the Ordinary Form as celebrated in many parishes.


One of those EF/OF combo calendars. (They actually exist.)


There’s been talk of updating the EF calendar. I don’t know the progress on that. A sense of urgent change is not a common characteristic of traditionalists.


Maybe but who would do it?


The Roman Curia or the Bishops.


That would be a nice gift, especially if they also show the Liturgical colors for both the EF and OF on the calendar :smiley:


It seems to me that questions like “What is the liturgy for/about?” are theological in nature. They aren’t matters of dogma/doctrine hence people can disagree about them in good faith, but that doesn’t make them non-theological.

And it seems to me like there is an obvious difference between how the two forms answer “What is the liturgy for/about?” – indeed the whole point of the liturgical reform was that we’d supposedly gotten it wrong.


I would agree that ceteris paribus (everything in Latin, EF1 being used, etc.) there is no real theological difference between the two forms. However, when some vernaculars allow “for you and for all” type translations inter alia (among other things), one can expect the Vatican to act to try to bring them into synch at some point.

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