What changes would you make to the Extraordinary Form, if you could?


I began practicing the Catholic faith I was born into in adulthood, and it only took me a few days to figure out the Missal. I’ve seen others pick it up faster, while others require a little more time. This is inevitable, as everyone learns at different speeds. I don’t think this discrepancy, which varies from individual to individual, warrants a wholesale revision.

The current Missal is already designed to be “Protestant friendly”; Pope Alexander VII condemned vernacular Missals and threatened their owners with excommunication, but the 17th century French episcopacy saw them as a useful catechetical tool with which to familiarize Protestants with the Catholic liturgy, and chose to disregard the Vatican’s injunctions for that reason. You can read about the history of the first vernacular Missal here:


My SSPX missal is fairly new (historically speaking) and it doesn’t seem any more confusing than my OF missal is. The structure of both books is very similar. I’m not sure what you mean by new EF missals then, as both the SSPX and FSSP missals are “new”.

To be clear, I use the SSPX one because I like the format it uses for the Mass more. Plus it has commentary in the margins.


Agree. 1) Make what the priest says audible, and 2) give us a bi-lingual script to follow.



I would recommend you get yourself a different copy of an EF missal. I possess several and none of them are printed in a script I find illegible.

If you are attending an EF Mass and finding it a challenge to follow do some preparation. It may take you some time initially but it will enable you to follow the Mass better. There are resources online that can teach you about the EF Mass, the Latin used in it, etc. There are also online ordos which will tell you what Mass is to be celebrated on a specific date. I have not provided any link because I do not know where you are. I live in the UK and we have a Latin Mass Society with many useful online resources to help people learn the EF Mass.


I kind of like it as it is, but I’ll play along.

  1. Allow the Ordinary and Propers to be chanted during the Low Mass if a cantor or schola is present, at least in a simpler Gregorian tone.

  2. Allow the priest to pray audibly in a Low Mass any of his parts that he would sing in a High Mass (although I’ve already seen this done).

  3. Let priests choose whether to sing or recite their parts in a High Mass. I think that some priests who are aware of not having a pleasant singing voice may be reluctant to celebrate the EF at least partially for that reason, though I have no actual evidence of that.

  4. I know this will be controversial, but give the priests an option to recite the Offertory and Canon audibly. I understand and appreciate the reasoning behind the silence, but I think that some people will profit more by actually hearing the words spoken.

  5. Allow the people to join in making all the server responses and singing the Ordinary.

That’s pretty much it. I used to think that certain parts of the EF Mass should be permitted in the vernacular, but more and more I think that the Church should focus on teaching all the faithful basic Latin in Catholic schools, sacramental preparation classes, RCIA, as well as “listen and repeat” style instruction during the Mass for those beyond school age. Every Catholic college and university should also require at least a semester of Latin for all students as a gen ed requirement.


What changes ?



Yes! I find fancy, artistic, and old-fashioned fonts very difficult to read. My dyslexic daughter finds them impossible. Reading is hard enough for her, without having to decipher a fancy font.


I like the simple form of the Latin Mass.

The biggest problem I see is the congregation rattling off prayers too quickly. The words are important.

“Hallowed be thy name” is a BIG idea, for example, not just a stepping stone to the next phrase, until we run out of breath.

I would skip the general intercessions. I don’t think they have panned out to be what they were supposed to be. They’re too politically correct and often read off too quickly.

I was at Mary Queen of the Universe Church around Orlando FL. One of the general intercessions was “for more devotion to Mary.”’ Do you understand that? We’re praying to GOD for more devotion to Mary? That may satisfy somebody’s level of spirituality but I think it’s an odd intercession. I heard an identical prayer on EWTN at about the same time. I don’t understand the logic of it.


I don’t understand why you have a problem in asking God for more devotion to Mary .

There’s only one road true devotion to Mary will take us along , and that’s straight to God .

Pope Francis said that having a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary isn’t just something that is nice or good to do, but is an obligation in the life of a Christian.


I’m glad you had no problems figuring it out. I do. At this point, I will not attend a Latin Mass unless I am hired to play organ. I don’t do things that I don’t understand. That means that I will not be able to pick it up after a few times, because there won’t BE a few times. I love my OF parish and the Mass that is done is reverent and liturgically-correct, and I see no reason to abandon it.

Yes, I’ve been online plenty of times to learn about the Latin Mass, and watched Latin Masses online (we don’t have cable, so no EWTN for me unless I’m in a hotel.). It didn’t help me. At one point, I found a wonderful handout online that explains everything in the Latin Mass–28 pages long! I printed it out, but found it awkward to use in the actual Mass, especially when I’m trying to pay attention to my organ music.

Just because YOU understand something doesn’t mean that others understand it. I’m sure I’m not the only Catholic who totally fails to understand the “order of service” in the Latin Mass, and would appreciate a simplified version of the Missal so that we can follow along. As I said, Evangelical Protestant converts and other converts who did not experience a “liturgical worship service” growing up should be recruited to help Catholics create a Missal that is useful and edifying for not only ex-Protestants, but Catholics who did not grow up in a traditional Latin Mass parish. We would cut through the sentiment and be willing to say straight out, “That doesn’t make sense me, let’s fix it and make this Missal usable.”


Yes but that T in “Te igitur” has to be a long classic. :slight_smile:


I would advocate for the larger set of Scripture readings used in the Lectionary cycle, similar to what is used in the OF.


Deleted because I replied too quickly


I don’t understand this remark. The Novus Ordo is also a valid Mass, and consequently exceeds our reasoning, no different than the TLM.

What I do or do not understand is of very little importance, and received scarce mention in my post for that reason. More relevant is the fact that missals have been handed out to Protestant converts since the 17th century, none of whom saw fit to complain about them for all that time, hence my inclination to believe that the defects of the Missal are being overstated.

If you have grand-children, perhaps you could purchase a children’s Missal and go through it with them? This would offer a combined opportunity for family time and catechesis while serving to acclimatize you to the Missal’s structure.


No grandchildren. And I have a Children’s Missal that one of my best friends gave me.

My husband and I are the only Catholics in our family.

So the Missals were handed out to Protestant converts since the 17th Century and none complained? How do you know they didn’t complain? How do you know that many people just sat and didn’t worry about understanding anything? Many people in the past were illiterate! They learned from conversation with others, which is something that no one in the Latin Mass parish seems willing to start up, even though I have asked!

I grew up with Protestants, and I knew very very few who converted to Catholicism other than for marriage, and most of those couples stopped attending church and came to the Protestant church once the wedding was done and they were back from their honeymoon. OTOH, I have known and still know HUNDREDS of ex-Catholics who converted to Evangelical Protestantism, and one of the main reasons is UNDERSTANDING and COMPREHENSION. There are tens of thousands of Catholics in the U.S. who don’t even understand the OF of the Mass–that’s one reason why Catholics like Scott Hahn sell books and offer speaking engagements that explain the Mass! HE gets what I’m saying. Perhaps I should write to him and suggest that he write a book dissecting the EF of the Mass! I think that more than anything would increase attendance at these parishes!

So all the other Protestants have understood the Missal? And I don’t? Sigh. It’s a wonder that I can figure out how to play the organ and piano, and work in a hospital in a high-tech position, isn’t it?

J_Reed, I know you mean well and I appreciate your concern for me and your suggestions, but I feel kind of down because I think you’re calling me intellectually disabled.

My husband has a very high IQ and works in a high level in his company (computer). He also plays musical instruments, and does several high-tech hobbies and reads professional journals for fun. Finally, he minored in Linguistics in college and still keeps up his studies–he loves languages! And HE does NOT understand the layout of the Missal in the Latin Mass parish and can’t find his way around the EF! He won’t attend voluntarily anymore, even if I’m playing.

Folks, those of you who love the Latin Mass would do well do listen to those of us who have problems trying to figure it out rather than assuming that we’re just deficit in brain power. Listen to what we’re saying and rather than telling us to “look harder”, maybe consider making some of the changes that we would like to see (e.g., publish an “Order of Service” and pass it out to those who need it— see an old Protestant bulletin to see what than means, or look at a Broadway musical Playbill). This does not change anything about the EF of the Mass or disrupt the liturgy in any way–it just makes the EF Mass more accessible. There is no rubric against understanding.


In England, in the 17th century, the literacy rate was approximately 30% for males. Which means 70% couldn’t read a missal if they wanted to.

Not surprising they didn’t complain, they couldn’t read!!!


The link I previously posted is quite clear; bishops found them so useful that they went so far as to ignore a decree of excommunication in order to continue distributing them to converts. It would be quite senseless to risk one’s eternal salvation for something that wasn’t in demand or appreciated, wouldn’t you agree? Furthermore, all the critiques from that period (and shortly afterwards—I am thinking of Dom Guéranger’s indictment of vernacular Missals in particular) highlight the fact that the Missals were too easily understood by and accessible to the laity—Dom Guéranger’s concern, and that of other liturgists, was how to repair the liturgical veil, as it were, which had been torn by the introduction of the Missal. (for those who wish to read Dom Guéranger’s reasoning, it can be found here: https://sicutincensum.wordpress.com/2018/07/17/dom-gueranger-on-translating-the-missal/).

There are many books which explain the rich symbolism in the TLM; a comprehensive, recent title I highly recommend is Rev. James W. Jackson’s Nothing Superfluous :


I originally wrote,

I’ve seen others pick it up [the Missal] faster, while others require a little more time. This is inevitable, as everyone learns at different speeds.

If you want to interpret that as a derogatory statement, that’s your choice, but I think we’re all familiar with the reality that personal aptitude varies from person to person and is not in anywise reflective of intelligence. For example, you can easily play piano and the organ, whereas when I try to do the same I struggle very much to make my hands do two different things at the same time, leading to deplorable results. I do not feel ashamed or handicapped for that reason, and if I were to suggest, “Let’s simplify the piano so that it can be played with one hand”, my expectation is that you would rightly retort that the issue lies not with the piano, and that I should resign myself to having to make a little more effort than those possessing God-given talent in this domain.

With regards to your proposal of a reformed Missal, the main difficulty I see is that TLM parishes are rather modestly sized and do not enjoy access to the same funds as other parishes; whether there would be much demand is an important consideration. The TLM I attend, for instance, is almost entirely populated by cradle Catholics. Creating a brand-new Missal and printing copies for a handful of members simply wouldn’t be financially feasible.


It doesn’t have to be an expensive, fancy project. Just get the priest and a few devoted members of the parish who love the Latin Mass (including those Evangelical Protestant converts) together, with some eats and drinks, and spend a few hours hammering out an “Order of Show”–a one or two page description of the Latin Mass from entering the nave to leaving the nave.

The translations are already in the Missal–what the committee needs to do is put everything in an easily-comprehensible order. They could even just write out the “program” in such a way that directs the inquirer to the correct page in the current Missal–in order, and giving cues that direct the inquirer clearly when it’s time to turn the page.

At most, your description should take two pages, and one page would be better. Just a “programme,” or “order of show” or “order of worship”. Not a whole book–leave that to Scott Hahn and CA speakers! (Or as you have posted, there are are already whole books–thanks for the referral!)

Here’s what I have in mind:

Start with a few definitions.

Nave - the place where the worshippers sit. Sanctuary = the place where the altar is located. The worshippers are not permitted to enter the sanctuary.
etc. any definitions you think are important to know to understand the EF Mass.

Then write out what is happening in the EF Mass, like so:

Upon entering the nave, do the following: (list things that the worshipper should do, such as genuflect, go to confession, etc.

Upon finding a seat, open the Missal to page ____. This is called the ______.

Next, _________ will happen, and the worshiper should do ____________. This is on page ______ of the Missal.

Next, __________ will happen, and the worshiper should do ___________ This is on page _______ of the Missal.

and so on, until the Mass is completed and the worshipers are sent forth.

No big deal–just a simple guide. Pretend you are narrating the Latin Mass to a friend of yours who is visiting. Obviously, you wouldn’t be talking him through it during the Mass, but you might whisper to him/her, and also show him/her the proper page in the Missal.

Just do that, only write it out. Easy. Cheap. And so useful for newbies and people who are visiting. Slap a few beautiful illustrations onto it if you wish, but it isn’t necessary because the church already has beautiful art work to look at, and of course, the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!.

You don’t even have to print it out if you don’t wish to (save money). Just put it online and post the site at the entrance to the nave. I hope you WILL print out some copies for all of us who don’t have i-phones ,and for all of the people who feel that using a phone just doesn’t seem appropriate during Mass.

So–how about it?


Would it resemble something like this?


I think the above is at least close to what you’re looking for; admittedly, it’s missing the Propers, but I know some TLM parishes print those out. If need be, you can find the Propers in printable form online, on these websites for example:



If your idea were to be implemented, I believe this would occur first in the United States, where there is a sizeable pool of Protestants converts who can discover the TLM. As for me, I live in France where there are very few Protestants, and near what may be called an ultra-Catholic environment (traditional Catholic school, a nationally touring choir—the works); all the students around the ages of six or seven own and use their own hand missal, so if I were to approach a priest with your proposition I’d more likely than not get a quizzically raised eyebrow in response!

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