Whose Mass is it Anyway?


Thought I’d share this informative piece. :slight_smile:

A Plea to Father Z: It’s “The Mass of Pius V”
by Deacon William T. Ditewig, Ph.D.

In 1570, following the decisions of the great Council of Trent, Pope Pius V promulgated a new editio typica of the Roman Missal. This became known, then, as the “Mass of Pius V.” In fact, I have open on my desk at the moment an 1896 printing of the Roman Missal, and the title page states: “Missale Romanum, ex decreto sacrosancti concilii tridentini restitutum, S. Pii V Pontificis Maximi”. Ah, “but Deacon, but Deacon,” you’re probably saying, “St. John XXIII came up with his own typical edition in 1962!” Let’s continue, and all will be made clear.

Following that first typical edition of the so-called “Tridentine Mass”, many subsequent popes made changes to the Mass of Pius V, and some of these popes issued their own typical editions: Clement VIII in 1604, Urban VIII in 1634, Leo XIII in 1884, and Benedict XV (reflecting much of the work of his immediate predecessor, St. Pius X) in 1920. In 1951, Pope Pius XII issued a number of significant changes to the Missal, especially involving Holy Week, but none of these changes were placed into a new typical edition. Finally, in 1962, St. John XXIII published the last of these typical editions. Now, here’s the point: at no point in all of this history did we as a Church change the attribution of the name of the Mass. When Clement VIII issued his typical edition, we didn’t start calling it the “Mass of Clement VIII”; when Urban VIII issued his in 1634, we didn’t call it the “Mass of Urban VIII”; when Leo XIII issued his, we didn’t. . . , well, you get my point. It was ALWAYS, even in 1962, referred to as the “Mass of Pius V.”

Read it all: billditewig.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/a-plea-to-father-z-its-the-mass-of-pius-v/ :thumbsup:


Grab some popcorn, folks. Fr. Z replies…



Here’s Father Z’s response:


And as someone pointed in the comments(which I verified by checking my copy of Summorum Pontificum) Pope Benedict is also guilty of this error then.:shrug: Of all the inane things to argue about…


St Pius V didn’t write it, either.


This seems to be a true non-issue.


The good deacon got it handed to him.



The good deacon’s response:



Actually he does have a point. Why DON’T we call the current 2002 Missal the Mass of St. John Paul II?


It’s a case of demanding consistency where there need not be any. You can call the current missal, the “Missal of St. John Paul II,” if you’d like. There is no error in doing so as the deacon erroneously insisted. You can also call it the “current missal” without having to call the 1962 missal the “previous missal.” You can call it the “21st century missal” and call the 1962 missal the “pre-Vatican II missal.”


In one sense, true, but in another, quite false.

See, things have proper names. That is, the name that is most correct. For books, that’s the full title, including subtitle, on the title page.

Saying that the proper name of the missal issued by Pope Pius V is the “Tridentine Missal” is wrong. It’s the “Misale Romanum Ex Decreto Sacrosancti Concilii Tridentini Restitutum, editio typica” (assuming I transcribed it correctly). Even “Roman Missal restored by virtue of decree by the Sacred Council of Trent” isn’t actually correct, but is pretty much a reasonable translation of the full proper title.

The Pauline missal, properly, the “Missale Romanum, editio typica,” of 1969, bears the Regnal Name of Pope Paul VI on the title, as the responsible party…

But fundamentally, none of these missals belonged to the issuing popes. They belong to the church, and so it’s really not quite right to refer to them by the Pope issuing them, especially the 1969 and 1570 missals. The 1969 is the Mass resulting from the directives of the Second Vatican Council, in the same way that the 1570 was resulting from that of the council of Trent, and the popes were acting as agents of the Church as a whole, as expressed by the will of the council fathers set forth on signed documents.


Quite accurate. Nicely done. :thumbsup:


Things have multiple names. If we were putting together a library catalog of missals, we would probably want to use the long form proper name. But on blogs, we’re free to use whatever accurately conveys the message.


In the end, most of us end up with just calling it the Latin Mass.


I’m not sure there is any real answer to this because there is no technically and absolutely correct title for any of the Roman Missals except, well, Roman Missal or, more precisely, Missale Romanum.

Missal of St. Pius VI is a descriptor. Extraordinary form is a descriptor. Same for Missal of Paul VI/ordinary form. Latin Mass is a descriptor. None of these are actually titles.

In Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict writes “forma ordinaria,” not “Forma Ordinaria.” Etc.

So if somebody wants to call the older Missal the Missal of St. Pius V, okay. If somebody wants to call it the Missal of (now St.) John XXIII, whatever, doesn’t bother me. Most people know what is meant. In a technical conversation we are more likely to refer to editions anyway. If you want to talk about the differences between the Tridentine editions it is easier, imho, just to talk about the years. So the 1570 versus the 1634.



But this one I have to take issue with, because a parish I frequent has a weekly Mass in Latin, but it’s the Ordinary Form.

People seem to forget that it’s perfectly legitimate to celebrate the OF in Latin. The word “Latin” shouldn’t automatically mean the Extraordinary Form.


Right. Sometimes in discussion they just say the “old Mass.”



I am almost out of popcorn; have we solved it yet?


Sure, if you can accept divergent solutions. :slight_smile:


The most academically correct shorthand is probably “The Typical Edition Roman Missal of (year)”, shortened to “The missal of (year).” It is both concise and accurate.

The issuing pope for a given missal edition (or amendment without a typical missal) is pretty much irrelevant - save for the actual permissions to use it. Not a one was personally editing them. They are always the work of a group of clergy, and usually, a group of religious and laity assisting them. And, in the case of the 1570, that pope altered the missal twice more (but not issuing a new typical edition) before his rebirth into eternal life. With a year citation, we can distinguish those. And the 1951, 1955, 1965, and 1967 alterations vs the 1920 and 1962 typical missals; remembering those 4 were those for which the additions were approved differences for publication, but without their own typical edition.

After all, it’s very much a truth to talk about the Mass of 1951-1954, both as done, and as called for by Rome.


This is an interesting answer coming from a Byzantine Catholic whose Church uses two liturgies that are always invariably attributed to the saints who inspired or promulgated them.

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