Time of Traditional Mass

I thought the Traditional Mass was to be celebrated according to the old rules. Now I see that the Traditional Mass is being celebrated in the evening…before Vatican II Mass had to be said before noon. So whats going on? Either your going to be traditional about ALL the faith or is the Traditional movement as pick & choose as the NO group? Don’t even get me started on how the Traditionalist folks don’t follow Traditional fasting!

Well, yes, it’s preferable that the EF be offered in the morning, (and AFAIK, for the most part that is the case), but there is no longer a hard-and-fast rule about it. When Mass is offered at an “odd hour” it’s usually because of what amounts to scheduling considerations for the celebrating priest. Many places cannot or will not “replace” a scheduled OF with the EF, so the only option is to offer the EF as an addition to the schedule, and that often means after 12 noon. Personally, I prefer the “old rules” with Mass in the morning, but if the only choice for the EF is otherwise, I’ll take it and keep my mouth shut. Better the EF at an “odd hour” than no EF at all.

Hello ciero,

Yes, in general, the “old rules” still apply but there are exceptions when the 1983 Code of Canon Law has something to say about liturgical matters.

The Mass, whatever the form or rite, is to be celebrated according to the rubrics contained in its Missal. However, there are some regulations which are contained in the Code of Canon Law and these supercede what is in a Missal. The 1983 Code contains changes to the prior discipline and the Code’s liturgical laws govern any form/rite of Mass celebrated in the Latin Church. So, the current liturgical discipline that is in the 1983 Code is to be observed, no matter the form/rite. That discipline says Mass can be offered at any time, on any day (except Good Friday/Holy Saturday). If there are options in the 1983 Code, then “picking and choosing” is perfectly fine.

By the way, there were relaxations/dispensations from the 1920s onwards on the time of Mass and the fast. There wasn’t an abrupt, out-of-the-blue change after Vatican II or with the 1983 Code.

Thanks for your time.

We will be celebrating an EF Mass once a month on a Sunday afternoon. It is the only time we can get a priest as they have duties in their own parishes. We were able to convince two priests to share the duties at our little parish. So we will have an alternating schedule with them.

We’ll settle for this for now.

Also, Pope Pius XII, in 1953 and 1957, gave and extended permission for evening Masses. At the same time the Holy Communion fast was reduced from midnight to 3 hours from eveything except water. I can’t remember the names of the documents in which this was legislated for, but if you search on the Internet, you should be able to find them.

I worry that the time is comming when we may be lucky to get any Mass at all; rather than wasting time discussing how to tinker with the Mass we should be looking at who is to say the Mass in the future. How satan must be enjoying all the time spent quibling about this when the real Mystery of The Mass the Eucharist and the bigger issue for the church is to ensure we can have enough Priests to celebrate the Mass.

I wish all these in church pressure groups would see the wood for the trees; If they could they would see the real dangers and focus in Unity on the real and present dangers to the Church.

When the first Mass was celebrated there was nothing fancier than a passover meal something that took place in every house that day in Jerusalem. If you are a real Traditionalist then surely thats where you go. The Church grows and changes with time and that is how everything in Gods creation works; even the rocks change. The only Golden Age for the Church is in the Future as we all Trust in Christs second comming. Until then we should move forward to that future not backward to some mythical golden age that didn’t exist.

I distinctly remember there being a Mass around 5pm on Sundays in my parish when I was growing up in the 50’s and early 60’s. I don’t think it just started with Vatican II. But I don’t remember the fasting requirements, since when I was very young it was from midnight, but I don’t think people fasted all day. Later, it was change to 3 hours, and then 1 hour.

:thumbsup: :clapping: :tiphat:

Very well said, Thank You!!

The 3 hour fast was up till the time of the Mass. The fast might as well have been from the night before for the early morning Masses. People would have had to complete their breakfast before 7am to receive communion at the 10 am Mass. I don’t think that happened that often. This partly explains the infrequency of reception prior to the 60’s, but also gave it more meaning IMO.

The 1 hour fast is up till the time for communion, which translates to less than half-hour before Mass time. Almost no fast at all.

Yes, but what I was saying was that there were 5pm Masses before Vat. II and before the fasting requirements were changed, but I don’t know how long the fast was for them, since I don’t think people fasted all day long before attending a late afternoon Mass.

This is such a beautiful and thought-provoking post. I will try to remember to pray more often for vocations. Thank you.

The principles for Mass at non-standard hours, and the 3-hour Eucharistic fast, were first formalized by Pius XII in the Apostolic Constitution Christus Dominus of 1953, and expanded by the Motu Proprio *Sacram Communionem * of 1957.

The practice of the evening Masses started during WWII. The RAF bombed at the morning, the Air Force at night, so there was a little break at evenings. On that time people believed that life precedes over the rules; bishops allowed the evening Masses, and together with that changed the Eucharistic fast to three hours for these masses.

The Masses were popular and the indult was kept, so in the fifties Pius XII extended it to the whole world, and changed the Eucharistic fast to three hours for the morning masses too.

A related even is that some traditional churches celebrate Starurdy evening anticipated masses to fulfill the Sunday obligation, This is only from 1970, codified only in 1983; but proves as a principle that the form is independent from the Canon Law.

I didn’t mean to counter you. I since have found this:


The 1-hr fast was introduced around 1964. Here Fr. Z makes an argument for lengthening it to the 3-hr fast:


can’t say
what did the proclamation that either gave the indult for your parish to have the TLM, or that of B16 that gave us the EF, actually say about allied practices–time of Mass, fasting, the old calendar and so forth?

If those documents did not say “stick to the old calendar, stick to the old fasting discipline, stick to the former canon law on the rest of these topics some people use as a benchmark” then they are not required. Please produce you documentation before allowing your peace at Mass be disturbed by what may be non-essentials.

If you are speaking of the EF, the practice should be that in universal force in 1962 using that missal, calendar and so forth (3 hour fast from midnight for instance). In the wording of that document B16 seems to be warning against the tendency to “mix” former canons and missals at the whim of the celebrant.

We have to be very careful here. What has been preserved is the form of the mass. The laws regarding fasting before mass or the time that the mass is celebrated is not part of the form. Those were the canons that existed in 1962.

The Church keeps the form, but not the canons. The Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1983 is what any priest must follow, regardless of which form he celebrates.

I’m wondering if the confusion comes from incorrect use of language. I’ve noticed on many posts on this thread that people refer to the “traditional mass” as a “rite”. It is not a rite. Is is the Roman Rite. Therefore, it follows the laws that govern the Roman Rite.

Rites do have their own Canon Laws. Forms within a rite do not have their own Canon Laws. They have their own rubrics. Rubrics and Canon Law are not the same thing. You can celebrate the Extraordinary Form in the evening or even as an anticipated mass on Saturday. There is nothing in Canon Law that forbids it.

There is also a matter of pragmatics. The celebration of the EF is voluntary. In other words, it can only be celebrated when a priest volunteers to do so. We have to accommodate to the priest’s availability. In addition, the introduction of a mass in the Extraordinary Form into a parish schedule cannot upset the schedule and the routine of the parish. That was not the intent of Summorum Pontificum. Even if you have a priest willing to celebrate it, the priest must work with the pastor on matters of scheduling. If he is a religious, he works with his superior. There are going to be times that are more convenient or less convenient.

In my own community, we have very few priests. We ordain only 10% of our population. Therefore, there is a low number of men who are willing to celebrate the EF. However, our brothers are often asked to do so. They have to work with the schedule. The superior does not allow an ordained brother to drop an OF in order to celebrate the EF. The brother-priest has to adjust to the schedule. In some places, you have an OF that has a low attendance. It just happens to be in the morning, usually very early. You can use that slot for the EF without upsetting the schedule. The few people who attend mass at that time will either attend the EF or move over to another time. Then there are places that have packed OF masses all morning. You can’t pull an OF that has 800 people and insert an EF for 50. You find another time slot for the EF. That may be in the afternoon or evening.

Since Church law allows mass to be celebrated in the evening, this becomes a non issue. You place the additional mass in the evening, if that’s the only slot available or if that’s the only time that the priest is available.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Br JR, yes, that is the reality. But at the same time there will be those who will use that bit of information to show how the EF doesn’t attract people, where in fact there are instances where the EF has saved parishes from closing. In the Chicago/Rockford area, there are at least three such churches, including St. John Cantius.

It also works better in bi-lingual communities. An all-English community attracting 500 in all its Masses may not suit the EF very well at this time, even if they reduce the number of Masses, which is becoming not that uncommon these days.

That is an unfortunate side effect of Original Sin. People tend to give some meaning that is not there. If there are only 40 people who can attend the EF at 7:30 am, that is not a reflection on the EF. To use that data in such a way is dishonest. I don’t agree with using numbers that way.

When I was superior, my logic was to make changes that would cause the least amount of inconvenience. That’s why I used the example of the mass that has a low attendance. It’s reasonable to change that one than to change the one that has a full house.

where in fact there are instances where the EF has saved parishes from closing. In the Chicago/Rockford area, there are at least three such churches, including St. John Cantius.

If it has such a positive result, praise the Lord.

It also works better in bi-lingual communities. An all-English community attracting 500 in all its Masses may not suit the EF very well at this time, even if they reduce the number of Masses, which is becoming not that uncommon these days.

That’s interesting. I’d like to hear more of your idea as to why it would work better in a bi-lingual community. I’m genuinely interested, because I work in a diocese that has three languages almost equally spoken. But let’s not go wayyyyy off topic.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

In two of the closest EF to me, the parishes are both Spanish-English. The one I attend used to have a low-attended EF at 1pm, the Spanish at 9:30am. The pastor simply traded the two Masses and found the TOTAL number of attendees increased. Also on All Souls Day he had a Solemn TLM with a bilingual homily which attracted like 800. It was one of the few parishes in Chicago which experienced an increase in attendance last year (something like 15%) and the Cardinal even wrote a letter to the pastor recognizing him for his work. It’s quite possible the (presence of) TLM even attracts more to the English OF, but I don’t have proof of this.

A Catholic of traditional leanings cannot simply follow what you have stated in your last paragraph since you’re descending into the heresy of antiquarianism:

On the other hand, we must continue to cherish our traditions that were once an important element of our liturgy in the Roman Rite.

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