Was Tridentine Mass "banned"?

this is my first post in this forum but this is a question I have always wondered about.

When Paul VI promulgated the Mass we celebrate today, was the Tridentine Mass banned completely? Was it ever licitly celebrated between 1968 and the time when JP II asked bishops to allow it?

What was the “formal” status of that Mass for all those years?

No, the Mass as codified by Pope St. Pius V was never abrogated(banned as you say). It has always been the case that a priest could say the Mass privately. The Mass of Pope Paul VI is the ordinary Mass today, while the rite of 1962 is the extraordinary(with the permission of the local Ordinary) for Latin rite Catholics.

so priests have always been able to say it privately and that has always been the case. But it was not allowed to be said publicly without the permission of the bishop. Is this correct?

And then only after the indult of 1984 promulgated by H.H. Pope John Paul II. Before 1984 there was no public mass of St. Pius V that I have seen a record of. Me being only 27 years old, I wouldn’t remember anything first hand anyway. I am doing research on the subject and would love to hear from anyone who does remember from the late 1960’s until the early 1980’s. I hear there was a bit of confusion in the Church then, especially in America.


Tridentine has never been abrogated.


Stickler has consistently defended the position that the Tridentine Mass was never forbidden or suppressed. He believes that the Novus Ordo Mass contradicts the true wishes of the Second Vatican Council, and once told the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales that its movement “has full legitimacy in the Church.”

In 1986, Pope John Paul II appointed nine cardinals (Stickler, Ratzinger, Mayer, Oddi, Casaroli, Gantin, Innocenti, Palazzini, and Tomko) to study the legal status of the Tridentine Mass, specifically whether Pope Paul VI authorized its suppression and whether a priest has the right to freely celebrate this Mass. According to Stickler, all but one of the cardinals decided the Tridentine Mass was not forbidden, yet they unanimously agreed that no priest can be hindered from celebrating this Mass, even despite the orders of his bishop.

Recently, in discussions with Bishop Fellay, Cardinal Hoyos reportedly admitted the legal status of the Tridentine Mass but stated they cannot declare it in public because of the heat they would take from the bishops.


Father Franz Schmidberger of the SSPX related in a February 2001 speech that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos admitted reluctantly that the Tridentine Mass has never been abrogated. According to Father Schmidberger, Cardinal Hoyos said, “Okay, we recognize that the old Mass is not abrogated and is legitimate, but we cannot say it publicly because there will be too much rebellion and difficulties with the bishops. We cannot say it publicly.”

And that would explain why the reported terms of the new motu proprio include a provision that would allow bishops to expressly forbid offering the Tridentine Mass.

There was the Agatha Christie Indult which was granted in places in England. She was one of many on a petition presented to Paul VI to keep the TLM. Isn’t it ironic that many Protestants actually helped to keep alive our beloved Catholic liturgy?

So true. Intellectuals like Christie realized that the Traditional Mass is more than nastalgia-- it’s a cornerstone of Western civilization and cannot simply be done away with. In our own times, too, there are several examples of prominent intellectuals leading the fight for the restoration, or at least the peaceful co-existance, of the Traditional Mass. A few months ago, many intellectuals from Europe penned a letter to Pope Benedict and urged him to issue his motu proprio.

The Pope recognised that England is a special case. The Latin liturgy was associated with penal times, for one thing. Despite or perhaps because of inventing modern methods of factory production, England is the most traditional of all the European countries.

Yes, here it is:


Not exactly. Like so many other instances today the impression was given that the mass was abrogated, but it never actually was. [Edited by Moderator]
Finally, after 40 years the truth is coming out, and those priests who have suffered so much during our present apostacy are now being vindicated.

As mentioned above, the nine Cardinal appointed by John Paul II to study this subject concluded that the Mass was not abrogated when Paul VI published the Novus Ordo. If you recall the interview between Cardinal Ratzinger and Raymond Aroyo from several years ago, when asked, Cardinal Ratzinger said he believed the old Mass was never abrogated. He said this because he was one of the nine Cardinals on the commission who studied it. EWTN, and who those who have claimed for years that the old Mass was abrogated, passed over this in silence, but you can read it in the transcript.

was the Mass publicly celebrated at all from the 60’s until 84 by priests in good standing?

Yes it could be and was in some places. I know of two personally. Both the Priests were elderly and exempted from the requirement to learn the Pauline. Not all Priests were required to learn the Pauline Rite and could lawfully celebrate the Traditional Rite without hinderance as these Priests did…

Looks like it was going on in Green Bay WI since 1967 at least


SSPX was saying it publicly prior to 1984 I believe. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

I wish mods would stop pulling things out of posts they don’t like.

This is a good way to get banned. I for one appreciate the even handed approach taken on this particular forum. I had a post edited and the reason explained. I have wander a few times why others were edited or closed and found out why just by looking through some of the post. Thanks Jean Anthony for your hard work here, It must take some time to go through everything.

And we can thank them for passing on the torch for us. Without them who’d remember how to say it and that’s still a valid Rite.

Having said that, anyone know what exactly brought on the 1984 Motu Proprio? (Quattor annos?) I didn’t even know until well into the 90’s about it.

Are we in the Gulag here? I just would like to see what someone has to say on an important matter without them being censored. That’s all.

Absolutely Yes. I grew up in Southern California during the 70’s and 80’s. I often visited San Fernando Rey Mission de Espana during this time period. As long as I remember, Tridentine Mass has been offered there.

It would not surprise me if other California Missions that currently offer Tridentine Masses have been offering them since before JP II’s indult.

Suposedly, and it is possible that this is not the reason, but it is said that Pope John Paul 11 of blessed memory, wanted to get the SSPX and other divergent traditionalist groups back into the fold. That coupled with the obvious problems that the Pauline Rite was facing at the time plummeting Mass attendance, numerous and grave abuses, rampant experimentation as well as the fact that many people were still attached to the traditional rite., led him to issue the indult. It was hoped that exposure to the traditional rite would re-kindle devotion in the Pauline congregations. However, many Bishops saw this as an assault on their authority by Rome and refused to allow the traditional rite to be celebrated in their dioceses at all or only in some secluded hideaways where they apparently hoped it would die off.

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