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


This is useful. I like that it’s all in one place instead of flipping through the Missal. I would like to have the date so that I would know where to go in the Missal, but this could be posted outside in the narthex (lobby, whatever it’s called in specific church buildings).

I think that books like Lamb’s Supper (Hahn) are really nice because they explain each part of the Mass. I know that the EF Mass has a lot of the same liturgical actions as the OF Mass, but it would be good to have it all explained. I think that the book you referenced would probably be a good starting point.

Thanks so much! Enjoy France–my daughter was in Rouen for a skating competition years ago and liked it very much.



Actually there is nothing to change in the rite of the Extraordinary Form since it has been fixed correctly by the Church. But the Church has the authority to make modifications like what happened to the creation of the Ordinary Form, modifying some parts but retaining the substance or the essentials.

The only change that I can think of are additional prayers for newly canonized saints being added to the calendar.

Well if the Church wanted to permit English translation of the Extraordinary Form without changing the rubric, then that would be very welcome.

But the Extraordinary Form itself, I dont think it needs any change at all without the Church’s permission.

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I wish there was a way for the traditional Mass to be done in the vernacular. I would love that.

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I really enjoy this topic but it’s been my experience that many traditionalists do not want to humor any kind of changes to the E.F. whatsoever, and that makes sense given what drove many of them to the E.F. in the first place: suspicion of change for change’s sake. I’m a lot more flexible on the idea in so far as I don’t believe the E.F. should be ossified into the form it was in 1960 (never mind that the Johannine missal is in many ways an affront to “traditionalism” if we’re to consider the Bugnini alterations during the Pio missal.)

Where I will agree with my traditionalist fellows (counterparts?) is in having a grave suspicion of change merely for change’s sake and it’s for that reason I strongly believe that if we’re to tinker with the liturgy we need a damned good reason to do so. There ought to be an identified problem in need of fixing and that can only be addressed by such proposed changes rather than, as is more often the case, a change first desired and then its accompanying problem discovered ad hoc. On top of that we really ought to consider other avenues of addressing the problem before we start messing with our inheritance.

In light of this I’m really interested in hearing your reasons for the changes you suggest. Maybe you intended this to be a more lighthearted thread about raw desires, ala “If I were Pope!”, in which case I apologize for my throwing cold water on it all. :stuck_out_tongue: I’m going to respond to certain points of yours in subsequent posts.

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I want to come barging out of the barn right away with the elephant in the room (I do so love mixed metaphors!): LANGUAGE.

The strength with which some traditionalists cleave to Latin I find to be perplexing. I’ve yet to hear an argument in favor of retaining Latin exclusively that’s stronger than “that’s just how it’s been done, and it’s tradition.” I also just said in my last post just a couple minutes ago that I firmly believe we shouldn’t be tinkering with tradition without a good reason. I think the inability/hindrance/difficulty/what have you, of the faithful to understand what is being said at Mass is in fact a very good reason to alter the tradition of having Mass said strictly in Latin. At the very least the propers of the Mass, all of which are said aloud (except for the Secret and, depending on the congregation, the Communion) and are clearly meant to be heard, and presumably understood by, the faithful.

There are good arguments to be made about keeping the ordinary in Latin, and I do lean toward that. I can’t speak for everyone but I’ve already assisted at enough E.F. Masses that I know the ordinary by heart. I know what’s being said. I could even give you a rough English translation if put on the spot. It might not be identical to my Baronius Press hand missal, but it would be a decent dynamic equivalent. This is also the case already with the O.F.! How many of you O.F. attending Catholics are avid travelers? Assisted at Mass in a country whose language you do not speak? Were you ever confused about what part of the ordinary was being said? For a few months I was going to daily (O.F.) Mass in Chinese. I can’t even tell you whether it was Mandarin or Cantonese because I have no flippin clue. I understood not a single word of those Masses, yet, I understood those Masses! I knew when the Kyrie was being said. I knew when the “Offertory” was being said, I knew when it was time for the Our Father. We have all those other sensory cues in place that are indeed universal in a universal church that I just can’t accept a Roman Catholic telling me that they “don’t understand!” what “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus” means.




So what about alternative remedies to this problem that don’t involve tinkering with the Mass itself? The only real remedies would be hand missals or a translation projected onto the wall or a screen somewhere discreet. Something tells me, though, that given the choice between the propers of the E.F. being in the vernacular and having modern tech like a projector in church any Trad would clamor for the former over the latter (including yours truly).

Finally I’d like to point out something that a lot of people, including many self-professed “Trads” are unaware of: the vernacular is already used in at least some of the propers of the EF licitly. The readings are allowed to be read in the vernacular at the altar in lieu of them being read in Latin! This is allowed only for Low Mass, and presumably to save time since Low Mass frequently occurs on work days and extending the Mass by having to offer a translation is burdensome. Interestingly enough the alternative suggestion of “well that’s what hand missals were created for” apparently didn’t matter when push came to shove in granting this indult. The Holy See saw it worthy to nevertheless diverge from tradition slightly in order to benefit the faithful even though the vast majority of those who attend daily Latin Mass are the aficionados who would most likely own a hand missal anyway!



I agree–heart language. In this day and age, understanding the Good News about Jesus is vital. We live in a sick world that desperately needs to hear about Jesus in their own heart languages. The prayer of the EF Mass is deep and beautiful–why not help people to actually understand it through hearing.

Latin-lovers could always use the Missal in reverse–translate the heart language into the Latin.

Heart language EF would eliminate the need for my suggestion–a better pew Missal for slowbies like me who are totally flamboozled trying to figure out where we are in the current pew Missals.

Keep the Latin for special occasions, but translate the rest so that Holy Mass can be understood by all.

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I don’t think you realize what this sentence implies. Proponents of Latin in the Mass do not believe nor want the laity to not understand the Good News or want them clueless. And their love of Latin in the Mass comes from the heart. Have you listened to Allegri’s Miserere? It was considered to be so beautiful that the sheet music for it was forbidden to leave the Vatican (until allegedly Mozart showed up, heard it, and transcribed it to sheet music by pure memory).

Do I understand every word? No. But I know it’s Psalm 50, and I understand what it’s about. I don’t understand every word, but to me at least, this is pure poetry: it speaks to me. Latin has meaning that is not so easy to translate to another language like English (the word “quotidianum” in the Lord’s Prayer is an example). And there have been terrible translations of Latin in the past used by the Church (“et cum spiritu tuo” translated as “and also with you” as opposed to the present and more accurate “and with your spirit”).

I’m sure you don’t mean it, but saying the vernacular is “heart language” while Latin is is just Latin makes it sound like those who want more Latin in the Mass sound heartless.



The Preces Fideles or the “Prayers of the Faithful”? They’re substantively different.

Why? What does this fix?

Uh! What!? Why? Do you understand what the Asperges is intended to do before Mass starts (the Introit is a proper of the Mass).

Uh. No. The Kyrie was never reduced to this, ever, in the history of the Church. Look at any Kyrie in any tradition outside of Rome. The Modern Rite C is actually a huge aberration.

A new lectionary that is 3 year and totally unlike any of Western Europe’s history, and also that of all of the East? You honestly are starting to sound like all you want to do is Novus Ordoize the EF.

OK, now I know all you want to do is Novus Ordoize the EF. Hard pass.

They already did that. It’s the “new and improved” “I Confess” in the Novus Ordo.

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I can only agree with the the part about saying aloud everything after the Our Father. You want the EF to have an audible CONSECRATION!? You will never get any Trad to agree to that, and I myself think that’s an awful idea. The prepatory prayers of the Roman Canon we can discuss. The consecration? Absolutely not. And honestly as we go on with these suggestions of yours I’m starting to see that you really don’t understand the E.F. at all.

What do you mean? Low Mass is already allowed with just one (or even zero) servers.

I’d actually like the Pope to unilaterally tell priests they can’t say Mass anymore. They have to chant it. Always. We can discuss that separately.

I’m OK with this because we’re already used to it. Otherwise I still agree with the traditionalist argument for the Priest’s sole recitation thereof, that is, it’s a prayer said by Christ and our priest acting in persona christi is acting in his stead.


You mean expect priests to ad lib stuff? No thanks.

No. Bishops are the successors to the Apostles and if you think we’re giving up Pontifical High Mass you’re out of your mind.

Very doable.


This is already said silently. And its the same Gospel every single day. It’s practically like the ordinary. Silent. Latin. No need to translate or say out loud.

[quote] lithe prayers of the priest from the propers (collect, secret and post communion),
The collect and post communion are already chanted out loud for everyone to hear. Put it in English? I’ll agree to that. But say it rather than chant it? Hell no. Go back to your Pauline Mass. Honestly you’re starting to offend me with your “suggestions”. Also the “Secret” is called the “Secret” for a reason. :roll_eyes:

No! Are you aware of the priest’s prayers that are said right before and part of those that he eventually says while blessing us? Mass ends, Father asks God to satisfy his offering, then he blesses us. The offering must be finished (i.e. ite missa est) before he asks God to look favorably on his oblation.Then he blesses us.

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“Heart Language” is a term coined by the Wycliffe Bible Translators, and it means, “the language that you speak everyday, and thus, is familiar and loved by you.”

It in no way implies a lack of love or respect for any language.

Many of the WBT workers love language, thus their interest in preserving every language in the world, even those spoken by relatively small people groups (e.g., Plattdeutsch).

I don’t agree with some of the WBT theology and policies towards Catholics and anti-Catholicism, but I understand their passion for language. My husband has a minor in linguistics and considered working for WBT back when we were Protestant.

Much of your post demonstrates a heart-felt and deep love for Latin, classical music, and the traditional Church, and that’s OK. I chair a Youth Music Scholarship Competition that requires the competitors to perform at least one baroque or classical piece.

But for many people in the U.S., that passion isn’t there. The use of Latin and chant is something that they see only in horror movies (e.g., my husband and I are fans of the TV show “Midnight, Texas,” and the finale featured an evil Mass including Latin incantations and chant.).

Many people in the U.S. have NEVER read the Bible, know NOTHING about Jesus other than what they in movies like “Bruce Almighty” etc., and have NEVER been in any Christian church (or any other church, for that matter), other than for a funeral. And nowadays, even many Christians hold their funerals in the funeral home to save money.

I am not exaggerating. Fifteen years ago, when my daughters were in high school, one of their school mates was killed in a horrific car accident (he was drag racing), and the entire class (small school) attended the funeral at a Catholic Church. NONE of the students other than my daughters had EVER been in ANY church!

And when my older daughter was in Godspell at that same school, she had to teach the students—and the TEACHER/Director!–the song, “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.” NONE of the students or the teacher had ever heard of that song!

So, IMO, it is vital that we present the Word of God, the Good News about Jesus, in a way that people can understand. I think the Latin Mass can be used by God to evangelize, but I think that, for the love of our fellow man, it is VITAL that we provide an easy-to-follow guide to that Mass and the translation of the Latin. Yes, the Mass is beautiful and mystical–and many of the people in this world, especially in the U.S., will equate this with the beauty and mystery of a sunset in the mountains, or a yoga class, or even a really good craft beer. People are so far away from God–we need to help them find their way back to Him and His Church (us).

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I’m not.

It’s a prayer that Christ commanded us to say. Therefore we should be the one saying it. The monition preceding it of course is the priest’s to say: he is taking the place of Christ in commanding us to say it.

“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.[c]
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.

He gave us the words, but clearly Christ intends this as a prayer for us, the faithful, to recite.



Can someone clarify this for me? The bishop is not allowed to celebrate a low mass? The way I’m reading this is that he must celebrate a Pontifical High Mass every time he says Mass? Is this accurate?



It’s not a matter of High and Low Masses, but of a “regular” High Mass and a Pontifical High Mass. Priests can act as deacons and subdeacons for Mass, but a bishop cannot. If a bishop is to be one of the ministers in Mass, it must be as the celebrant, and it must be as a bishop, since, well, he’s a bishop and successor to the Apostles, with the fullness of Holy Orders that those other priests/deacons/subdeacon do not have. It does not make sense for him to serve in a “lower” role. Normally a bishop will sit in the choir so a priest can be the celebrant.



Okay, that makes more sense. Thank you for the clarification.

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The paperback, red book missal does a pretty good job of helping you know where you are. However, yes, I’m sure you are referring to someone perhaps taking the full missal and adding the pictures from this red one.

Regardless, the red missal will help you learn what the priest is doing.




Thanks!! Appreciate your help.



It’s possible I misunderstood the post, but the way I read it Raph was saying that the Pontifical High Mass is ostentatious and needs to be toned down specifically and that a bishop should be able to celebrate the E.F. exactly like a priest does. There are substantive differences between a Pontifical Mass, and all other kinds of E.F. Masses without a bishop (i.e. Missa Solemnis/Cantata/Lecta). As it stands a Bishop cannot forgo the pontifical “trappings” of Mass celebrated by a bishop and this goes for however solemn he can or desires to celebrate. It’s not very well known but there’s actually something called a Pontifical Low Mass. In some ways it’s toned down from its High Mass counterpart (e.g. the bishop can wear a biretta instead of a mitre) but in others the qualities of a Pontifical Mass are retained (e.g. the bishop must still vest in the chancel as part of the Mass).



As I mentioned I could go both ways on this, and it’s not exactly a liturgical hill I’m willing to die on. I see your point, and it’s a good one at that, but I also see how the liturgy is frequently a reenactment of the words and actions of Christ. Insofar as when Christ first commanded us to say this prayer he alone was saying it, for he was in the process of teaching it! Given the context in which the Lord’s Prayer was first said (i.e. the Last Supper) and our belief that the Mass is a replication of that event I think it’s very fitting that the priest say this alone, in persona Christi. We join our voices with our alter Christus at the “Sed liberanos a malo.”

Another thing we need to consider is the ubiquity of the Lord’s Prayer in liturgical action including outside of the Mass. I can’t speak to the Liturgy of the Hours (or the Monastic Breviary, for which I will graciously defer to your expertise) but I know in the Roman breviaries at least post-Trent there are distinctions made on how the Pater Noster is to be said depending on if the office is being recited by a priest or layman. My Diurnale Romanum actually mentions in the rubrics of all the hours except Matins that the Pater Noster is to be said en secreto if by a layman but aloud if by a priest, and in the case of the former it only becomes audible again at “Et ne nos inducas…”, presumably so that the other laymen not serving as the hebdom in that office know that it’s time for the communal response (just as it is in the Mass) “Sed liberanos a malo.”

I bring this up because there is clearly some kind of continuity here liturgically and the priest’s sole recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the Mass isn’t some kind of liturgical accident of history. Maybe it ought to be said by everyone but if that’s the case then the Office and any other pre-conciliar liturgies where the Lord’s Prayer pops up needs to be similarly liberalized.



The Rule of St. Benedict states that the Pater Noster is to be recited in its entirety at Lauds and Vespers by the superior, and at the minor hours, the Kyrie Eleison is to be recited instead and the Pater in secreto, but over the years, the Pater was recited in secreto at the minor hours with the superior or hebdom intoning “Pater Noster”, then in silence until “et ne nos induces in tentationem” with all replying “sed libera nos a malo” all preceded by the Kyrie. So the same as what you cite in the Roman Office. This all comes from a tradition that the Pater should only be chanted aloud in its entirety three times a day (at Lauds, Mass and Vespers).

But here’s the rub: until clericalism started to creep into the Church, it was not required for the abbot or prior to be ordained. In fact, St. Benedict himself was never ordained, as far as we can tell. Eventually Benedictines made it a requirement for the superior to be a priest. But if we really are to go back to the traditional roots, it wasn’t necessary for a priest to intone or chant the Pater Noster, only that it be the community’s superior.

Which makes sense as the abbess in a women’s monastery could never be a priest, but can and should chant the Pater for her community, as the chaplain might not have been on site for Lauds and Vespers!

My own personal preference, is the non-clericalist approach, though I belong to a very clerical congregation, which in spite of that, I love dearly :wink:

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