Why the New Mass? Why not Tridentine Mass in vernacular?


Why was the Novus Ordo Missae created in the 1960s after Vatican II? Why was not the Tridentine Mass simply translated into English, French, Spanish etc and all of the ceremonies kept the same? Why was a completely new Order of Mass drawn up by the Consilium?


Good question. I’m a recent convert and just now learning the TLM…and it is so much more beautiful than the NO. Was part of it the modernists wishing to appeal to the Protestants? And maybe that is also why the priest faces the people instead of Ad Orientem? But I do like your question and would be interested in the answer by those more knowledgable.


I’ve seen plenty of masses conducted in the ordinary form that have been done with high reverence and beauty, and I’ve seen masses celebrated in the extraordinary form that were rather plain. A lot of it is how the priest and community approach the mass and what the spiritual needs of the parish are. At the time the current ordinary form was drafted, it seems the general opinion is that the way the Tridentine form was being celebrated was itself lacking in many communities.

But that said, I personally would love attending an extraordinary form celebrated largely in the vernacular, if it was permitted.


Then read this:

There are several key passages in Sacrosanctum Concilium from which we discover the Council’s meaning in this seminal phrase. The most succinct may be at SC 48 which tells us what both what this participation is not as well as what it is:

And so the church devotes careful efforts to prevent Christian believers from attending this mystery of faith as though they were outsiders or silent onlookers: rather, having a good understanding of this mystery, through the ritual and the prayers, they should share in the worshipping event, aware of what is happening and devoutly involved. They should be formed by God’s word, and refreshed at the table of the Lord’s body; they should give thanks to God; they should learn to offer themselves as they offer the immaculate victim – not just through the hands of the priest, but also they themselves making the offering together with him; and, as each day goes by, they should be led towards their final goal of unity with God and among themselves through the mediation of Christ, so that finally God may be all in all.



Check out the Anglican Ordinariate. That’s for English. I don’t know about the other languages you mention.


I just had to do it


If you take a look at the so called transitional missal of 1965, that’s essentially what you have, though some Latin was retained. I would consider myself a semi-traditionalist since while I prefer the TLM at this junction of my life, I believe that the NO can be celebrated beautifully. That said, I’ve often wondered if a mostly vernacular EF Mass would be the way to go. I say “mostly” because I think that at least some of the chants of the Ordinary should always be in Latin (or Greek as appropriate), and preferably the words of consecration as well if not the entirety of the Roman Canon. Everything else could follow the approved vernacular translation already present in the missal. Add in the option for the priest to say aloud any prayers said while the schola/cantor is not singing, and for the people to make any and all responses with the choir and servers, and I think you have a Mass that could potentially satisfy everyone after the initial shock wore off. Some more contemporary hymns could even be allowed at the recessional, as sometimes happens even currently in the TLM.


The creators of the New Mass wanted to create an ecumenical service by removing everything that offended Protestant sensibilities. This is also why the committees charged with producing the Mass invited Protestant observers. When the New Mass was first promulgated, Cardinal Ottaviani analysed it and found that it was a striking departure which was theologically ambiguous. Read the Ottaviani Intervention for yourselves. Ottaviani’s criticisms were acknowledged as correct but the actual Mass was not altered; for this reason, his points remain valid.


My understanding is basically the same as Saxum’s. You can read up on Bugnini and Paul VI, but it is such a depressing topic, and one with a lot of rabbit holes- I would tread with caution.

God provides, and the opportunities for a TLM are growing. I hope you are in an area with access to one.


I agree. It’s a depressing topic but one that I think is VERY important. Catholics ought to know the history of their rite. They ought to know that the Ordinary Form goes beyond what Vatican II called for. It’ll also explain why Pope Benedict XVI called it a ‘banal, on the spot product’ and why he liberated the Extraordinary Form. Pope Benedict XVI wanted the OF and the EF to exist side by side because he hoped that they would eventually influence each other - and the Church would be left with what Vatican II actually wanted.


I attend a NO mass that makes me weep with the reverence with which it is conducted. It doesn’t have to be clown masses and ecumenical stupidity.


I also attend a very reverent NO Mass. The priest knows the ars celebrandi because he also celebrates the EF. This is why Father Z says that a priest who learns the EF will find that he celebrates the OF far more reverently. This is exactly the sort of thing Benedict XVI wanted.


That’s interesting. I believe my church also has had an EF Mass in the church over the past few months. It’s a very reverent place, I know I am very lucky to have landed there given what I read about in other places.


That first text revision used English but retained the Canon in Latin, but later the Canon was translated to English. At that point we had an English version of the Extraordinary Form. However other practices changed such as kneeling for Communion and what was said at reception of Communion (I think this was in 1967).


And yet it didn’t create any uptick in conversions to Catholicism at all, nor did the Catholic and mainline Protestant churches band together to successfully cause (or prevent) any kind of social change, nor for anything else. How could they have got it so wrong? How could something that turned out to be such a dead end have been such a driver? And how is it that still to this day, ‘ecumenism’ is an almost compulsory purr word despite us being further away from mainline Protestants than ever due to new issues like female ordination, gay marriage and gender, and despite it STILL having achieved nothing of significance.

I find the whole thing quite unfathomable.


Indeed. The success of the liturgical reforms are questionable at best. It is my personal opinion that the reforms of 1965 sufficiently implemented the Council. I think Pope Benedict XVI liberated the EF Mass so that the OF Mass would become like the '65 Missal. Benedict XVI had the authority to make changes but had no desire to repeat the devastation caused by rupturing the organic development of the liturgy. Most agree that there must be a period of stability in which the OF can organically change. Remember the talk a few years ago about the possibility of using the older offertory prayers in the OF? These kinds of development would be a step in the right direction.


It exists. It’s called the Anglican Use Liturgy. Good luck though as it’s harder to find than the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.


I’d go to the Anglican Use Liturgy permanently if one was available to me. I think it’s absolutely fantastic. I also love Anglican evensong! I’ve often told my Anglican friends that their liturgy is more reverent than our OF liturgy and that I wish it was available to more Catholics.


I think either this will happen, or we’ll just get to a point where most parishes have both forms of the rite, or the diocese is split between neighbouring parishes offering one or the other. It’s either mutual enrichment or liturgical apartheid. The only thing that is not an option, is the tradition genie that Summorum Pontificum has let out of the bottle, going back in.


I wholeheartedly agree. I remember back in 2007 when I first came back to the Church through the Traditional Mass. Priests said I was ‘weird’ for preferring ‘that Mass;’ others said I was ‘rigid’ and ‘nostalgic.’ They insinuated that I was disobeying or rejecting Vatican II. The hatred towards Tradition was palpable. I was definitely made to feel like a black sheep.

Then came Summorum Pontificum. Pope Benedict XVI vindicated my preferences and told all and sundry that the Traditional Latin Mass had never been abrogated. This was huge! In one fell swoop he singlehandedly put to bed all of the lies and distortions that had been said about the ‘old Mass’ being cancelled or that Traditionalists were schismatics for preferring the Old Rite.

Thanks to Summorum, the Extraordinary Form has flourished in the face of severe opposition. The priests I know who celebrate this Mass get a lot of hassle and ridicule from their Bishop and brother priests. Despite these pressures, I’ve personally helped two priests learn the TLM by getting Missals and vestments etc. There’s no chance that tradition genie is going back into the bottle.

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