Traditional non-Tridentine Rites in Vernacular

On another forum I have been talking with a former Episcopalian (now Catholic) who formerly attended a samll but vibrant Anglo-Catholic parish that used the “Anglican Missal” - essentially an attempt at rendering the Tridentine Mass in Elizabethan English.

He admitted that he actually missed this beautiful liturgical expression and came up with a question I was not sure about… He asked if there was any interest or development of the old rite in the vernacular.

(he knew of the Anglican use parishes here in the US, and of some movements in the Orthodox world that allowed for “western rite” BUT…)

Have any of the traditional non-Tridentine Rites of the Catholic West (Benedictine Rite, Carmelite Rite, Cistercian Rite, Dominican Rite, Franciscan Rite, etc.) been offered in the vernacular?

Have there been any proposals for the old rite in the vernacular? To my knowledge no, but I thought folks here might have a greater idea.

I know that what I’m about to say will “light up” many of the viewers and contributors to these pages but I going to say it anyway.

If any of the old Rites were said in the vernacular they would cease to be the “old Rites”.

I will agree with some posters that if the NO had been just the vernacular translation of the old Rite, the church fathers would not have had quite so much dissension within the laity and even the priesthood. It would have fit the description of the now popular saying, “organic developement”. But as it was a novelty and a new creation (as per our Pope’s writings as a Cardinal), then what could the church expect? People do not just lay down and let others run over them any more. At least not in my neighborhood.

The Old Rites are loved because they are in the old language and are so reverent and God centered.

Oh, I forgot to mention; in about 2 hours I’m off to the Old Dominican Rite with sung Gregorian chant. (Feast of St. Joseph).

And hey, last Saturday night I got to attend the Feast of St. Patrick. It was NO, all Latin, and sung sacred polyphony/chant.
Even had the communion rail re-installed. One old priest and one altar boy with paten gave communion to about 500 (kneeling/on the tongue). It was magnifiscent!!!

So the NO can be done reverently!

But personal opinion; it can’t match the beauty of the TLM.

I am taking it to mean that you are using a bit of hyperbole to establish that your devotion to the old rite is as much over the language as the prayers?

The Mass, whether, Tridentine, or Dominican, is made up of the elements of language, music and prayers. And architechture. By the correct placement of the various elements and their proper use the Mass can achieve spectaclur beauty. Its when we begin to short cut on the elements that mediocrity occurs.

That’s not to say that the NO Mass is not valid. Its just devoid of many of the elements of beauty. Some TLM’s are more beautiful than others. But even the most plain of the low Masses are beautiful because of their prayers and language.

Surely this has been thoroughly addressed and will continue to be discussed. I appreciate your sentiment and affection for that rite and form, but it is a little off the mark on the very topic of this post.

The question of my post remains:

Have any of the traditional non-Tridentine Rites of the Catholic West (Benedictine Rite, Carmelite Rite, Cistercian Rite, Dominican Rite, Franciscan Rite, etc.) been offered in the vernacular?

Have there been any proposals for the old rite in the vernacular?

The old rite was permitted in the vernacular by permission of the Holy See in several situations and countries over the centuries.

I would be interested in learning more about where that has been the case.

I guess my question was incomplete - are tehre any currently to be found in the church that anyone here knows of?

“Since, in most countries, the language used in that period for celebrating Mass was exclusively Latin - apart from a few short phrases in Greek - most people consider the use of that language to be an essential element of what constitutes the Tridentine Mass. However, there was even then a long tradition of celebrating the Mass in the Church Slavonic language in what is now Croatia.[1] Other languages in which the Tridentine Mass has been celebrated, at various times and places, include Classical Chinese, Classical Armenian, Ge’ez, Syriac and Koine Greek.”

I don’t know of any currently, no.


It is true that in the past indults were given for Mass in the Tridentine Rite to said in the vernacular, although to my knowledge only the Proper Prayers were allowed in vernacular- the Ordinary of the Mass would have remained in Latin. Of course these indults were given solely by the Holy See, not the local ordinaries, and were few in number before the 1950s. Also, such indults would have been limited to private or “Low Masses” as in the Solemn forms of the Classical Roman Rite the Liturgical chant is in Latin of course (except the Kyrie, which is Greek…).

Today however any religious order or secular institute using the Tridentine Rite would not consider using vernacular since that would contradict their attachment to tradition.

But I dont see what is wrong with an Anglican-use parish in this case. They use a Missal very similar to that of the Classical Roman Rite, but in very formal and antiquated English (and some Latin as well I think). And these parishes are 100% Roman Catholic, in full-communion with Rome. Stay away from the so-called “Western-rite Orthodox” churches since they are not Catholic, and are essentially in schism with the Eastern Orthodox as well.

In addition: Paleoslav, Czech, Croation and Slovenian (but I’m not fully sure to what extent, I think it was limited with regard to the Mass), Estonian, Georgian, Arabic and Glagolitic

[quote=Ceasar]But I dont see what is wrong with an Anglican-use parish in this case. They use a Missal very similar to that of the Classical Roman Rite, but in very formal and antiquated English (and some Latin as well I think).


The Anglican Use unfortunately do not use either the American Missal or the English Missal or the Anglican Missal which would be of the type you describe. The Book of Divine Worship is a mixed Anglican-NO thing but there translation of the Roman Canon is superior to the ICEL one. For some mysterious reason though all the other wordings taken from the Roman Missal are ICELese. A beautiful liturgy, lest anyone interpret my comments to the contrary and many people on this board have recommended attending.

ASimpleSinner: This was the decree allowing the use of Chinese. Unfortunately though translations was made there was some problem and eventually it fell through, and was even later I think prohibited (butI will check) until there was another decree in 1949 authorising it.

**Feria quinta die 26 Martii, 1611. **

In generali Congregatione Sanctae Romanae, et universalis Inquisitionis habita in Palatio Apostolico apud Sanctum Petrum coram Sanctissimo Domino nostro Paulo V. … Item permisit Sanctitas sua iisdem Patribus, ut possint transferre sacra Biblia in Linguam Sinarum, non tamen vulgarem, sed eruditam et litteratorum propriam, illisque sic translates uti, et simul mandat ut in translatione Bibliorum, adhibeant summam et exquisitam diligentiam, et translatio fidelissima sit, ac in eadem lingua Sinarum possint a Sinis celebrari divina officia Missarum et Horarum Canonicarum. Denique permisit ut ineadem lingua erudita Sinarum, possint a Sinis Sacramenta ministrari, et aliae Ecclesiae functiones peragi.

In a General Congregation of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition held in the Apostolic Palace at St. Peter s in the presence of our most holy Lord Paul V. … His Holiness gave leave to the Fathers to translate the holy books of the Bible into the Chinese language, not into the language of the people, but into the learned language distinctive of educated men, and to make use of these books thus translated ; at the same time commands that in the translation of the Bible the Fathers show every conceivable care and that the translation be most faithful, and he gives leave for the Divine service of the Mass and of the Canonical Hours to be said by the Chinese missionaries in the same Chinese language. Finally, he gave leave for the sacraments and other Ecclesiastical rites to be administered by Chinese missionaries in the same Chinese language of learned men.

Have there been any proposals for the old rite in the vernacular? To my knowledge no, but I thought folks here might have a greater idea.

There were always proposals but even the people then did not dream so high contenting themselves with asking for vernacular missals (whcih was granted only in the latter part of the 19th century)

The feeling of most which actually was one of those that even lead to petitions to Rome to ban all translations of the Latin books (refused) was that if people came to know what was happening they would lose their respect and wawe for the mysteries. An excessive emphasis on the numinous, and today of course, we are at the other end with an excessive emphasis on didacticism.

The Tridentine Mass in vernacular could work. Look at the Divine Liturgys of St Basil and St John Chrysostem. Done with an Elizabethian style English. Hence why we Orthodox :highprayer: like KJV, RSV, and NKJV translations. The Greek Orthodox mix Greek with Elizabethian English. Could work by using the Douay Rheims translations for the English parts. I had a similar thought:newidea: . Best of both worlds. It would be very beautiful. But unfortunately, Rome has never gave it a thought. They just conscentrated on how to water down and create a people, hand clappen, banjo, playen mass. :thumbsup: “In Jesus Name”:amen: :extrahappy:

My suspicion would be that the only possibility is the Ambrosian rite; I don’t really know of any of the old rites getting translated, but since the Ambrosian would be one of the most used in parish life (being a secular, not religious, rite) I find it hard to believe that the Archdiocese of Milan has continued to this day with solidly all-Latin liturgies.

The religious orders for the most part abandoned their particular rites when Pope Paul VI requested that they adopt the NO, so if and when they do celebrate the traditional rites I think all of these are still untouched in Latin. Anyone wanting a vernacular liturgy can just use the NO.

Thank you for all of the great replies.

My friend who is now Catholic showed me a video recording of his old Anglo-Catholic parish in the south (he lives in OH now) conducting a liturgy that was very nearly a translation of the Tridentine Mass into Elizabethan English. When I saw the reverence of it and great care taken by the minister and congregation to celebrate it with solemnity - it almost made me want to cry. If the Roman Church had wanted to adopt the vernacular universally, that would have been a beautiful way to do it.

(In fact we Byzantine Catholics in the parish I grew up in have been celebrating the ancient Greek rite in English for 50 years…)

It made me appreciate my convert friend’s choice even more. He likes to make light and say “I sacrificed beauty for truth.” VERY sad that the beauty of the vernacular Latin-rite liturgy as translated and widely celebrated in the US does not compare to the beauty of the truth of the Catholic faith. He was missing his old Anglican missal, and having seen the recording of his former parish’s litrugy, I can surely see why.

The Ambrosian Rite was “revised” after the NO came out, from which it is now almost indistinguishable except for a few parts :(. Prior to Vatican II, the Ambrosian Rite, like the Roman Rite was in Latin (except for a few Greek parts, namely the several Kyrie’s throughout the Mass).

Depends on what you mean by “work” and for how long?

Take this prayer in Old English: “Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum; Si þin nama gehalgod to becume þin rice gewurþe ðin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum. urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soþlice”

How often did that need to be changed so that you could recognize it as the “Our Father?”

Yet I’ll be willing to bet the Pater Noster that we say today is not much different that in much earlier Church times. In other words, we don’t have to change the words in Latin.

On the other hand, the vernacular needs to be changed all the time, and for a whole lot of reasons, and you are always at risk of invalidating the Mass.

But who would attend it? Not the happy-clappy liberals, and certainly not the traditionalists.

I would attend over a Novus Ordo even if it were in Latin and ad-orientem, and if there were no other Old Rite Masses.

But the offertory and canon in the old rite are already silent…and with missals being able to be cheaply printed, and literacy finally common, and being able to read the propers in the vernacular during the sermon part…why bother getting rid of the Latin? Who would it help? No one. What I definitely DONT want, however, is mixing the two languages and switching between them. I went to a church that every other line switched with spanish and english (and maybe even some polish) and it was just silly. Just as incomprohensible to all three groups as having it in Latin. But at least in latin, everyone can have their missal, and it is fine.

Well it’s pretty safe to say that the NO is here to stay, and the Tridentine Mass will always be a thing of the past. Only remembered, when we listen to our Gregorian Chant cd’s, or classical music. The Roman Catholic Bishops and Archbishops in this world could care less, and will only allow it in certain churches very infrequently to cater to a few. The liberal Roman Catholics, who have the money to feed into the church have the say. What they want they get!. Like I have stated before The Orthodox Church and the Divine Liturgy is a blessing for those of us who can only dream of the Roman Rite of the past but want to worship God today in a very sacred, and mystical way.:highprayer:

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