Rorate Caeli

FIUV Position Paper: Liturgical Pluralism

Today I can present to the public FIUV's 6th Position Paper, on Liturgical Pluralism and the Extraordinary Form. Many people seem to be uncomfortable with the idea of a plurality of liturgical forms; they seem to think that if all Catholics are not saying exactly the same Mass and Office each day all over the world, this wounds the unity of the Church. There is an example of this attitude in last weekend's Tablet (the world's least Catholic 'Catholic' periodical) in which Robert Mickens complains that the new Ordo for the Office produced by the PCED doesn't use the term 'Ordinary Time' and has saints on different days. This means, he says, we are 'not praying from the same page'. This attitude is not limited to wilder fringes of progressive publications, and deserves a reasoned response. 

As this paper shows, the pluriformity which has always existed in the Church was affirmed at the Second Vatican Council as legitimate and positive, and Bl. Pope John Paul II placed great emphasis on the way in which liturgical plurality does not undermine but manifests unity. The same truths manifest themselves in different ways in different historical and cultural conditions, because they are not dead, but alive.

Legitimate liturgical variety continues to be fostered by the Church, as witnessed by the calendar approved for the Ordinariate, as well as the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum itself. 

A curious side issue revealed in the preparation of this paper is the widespread error on the internet in the translation of a key passage of Pope St Pius V's Bull Quo Primum (1570). New Advent has it right, other sites have got it wrong. Let's hope that the transparency of the web will enable truth to drive out error.


The Dominican Rite in Oxford; more about this Mass here.


The next paper will be published on 1st June, on Latin as a Liturgical Language.

Comments can be sent to positio AT

Pdf of this paper here. Full set of papers, including the introductory disclaimer, can be downloaded from the FIUV website.

FIUV Positio 6: Liturgical Pluralism and the Extraordinary Form

Pluralism in Liturgy and Harmony in Faith
       Without entering into the question of the future development of the Ordinary Form, the question to be addressed by this paper is whether the existence in the Latin Rite of an extra, ‘extraordinary’, ‘Form’ of the Roman Rite is problematic, and therefore something to be overcome if possible, in the short or long term, perhaps by the creation of a single, amalgamated, Form of the Roman Rite.

       While the coming into existence of two ‘Forms’ of the Roman Rite can be described as accidental,[1] a multiplicity of liturgical forms in the Church is in itself neither abnormal nor regrettable. It is noteworthy that in Quo primum (1570) Pope St Pius V made a strong presumption in favour of the preservation of venerable rites,[2] and the Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium affirms,
in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.[3]
Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not implicate the faith or the good of the whole community;[4]
Speaking of the multiplicity of Rites, the Council’s Decree Orientalium Ecclesiaum affirms that ‘the variety within the Church in no way harms its unity; rather it manifests it’.[5]

      This principle has been manifested historically in the Latin Church with a rich variety of Rites and Usages, both geographically defined (notably the Ambrosian and Mozarabic Rites) and those specific to religious orders. Just as in the Middle Ages the Franciscans used the Missale Seraphicum (closely related to the Roman Rite) in areas with local usages, so in modern times (before the Council) Dominican and Premonstratensian parishes maintained their proper liturgical traditions in areas accustomed to the Roman Rite. Today the Eastern Churches are to be found throughout lands ‘prevalently of Latin tradition’;[6] far from this creating a problem, Bl. Pope John Paul II saw in this an opportunity for Latin Catholics to learn about the Eastern Rites.[7] Most recently, Pope Benedict XVI has set in motion the creation of a new Use for members of the Anglican Communion who have been received into full communion with the Holy See. The purpose is
to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.[8]
As Bl. Pope John PaulII wrote, referring to the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio:[9]
we find the strength and enthusiasm to intensify the quest for harmony in that genuine plurality of forms which remains the Church’s ideal.[10]

       The harmony of faith which underlies the plurality of liturgical forms is emphasised by Pope Benedict XVI in relation to the two forms of the Roman Rite.[11] He immediately goes on to affirm the value, as well as the orthodoxy, of the Extraordinary Form:
What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behoves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.[12]

The Value of Pluralism

       Pluralism is the ‘ideal’ for two notable reasons. First, as the Instruction Il Padre, incomprehensibile expresses it, echoing Orientalium Ecclesiarum[13] and the Instruction Varietates Legitimae (1994),[14] different Rites incarnate the faith for differing conditions:
This multiformity of the Eastern liturgies does not harm the unity of the Church at all, but rather reinforces it, allowing it to sink its roots in the concrete reality of a determined time and space.[15]

       Secondly, Unitatis Redintegratio reminds us that different theological traditions, which have their own liturgical expressions, give rise to complementary theological insights.
In the study of revelation East and West have followed different methods, and have developed differently their understanding and confession of God’s truth. It is hardly surprising, then, if from time to time one tradition has come nearer to a full appreciation of some aspects of a mystery of revelation than the other, or has expressed it to better advantage. In such cases, these various theological expressions are to be considered often as mutually complementary rather than conflicting.[16]

        Pope Benedict has written of the 1962 Missal as a valuable affirmation of particular truths:
The possibility of so celebrating [sc. using the 1962 Missal] constitutes the strongest, and thus (for them) the most intolerable contradiction of the opinion of those who believe that the faith in the Eucharist formulated by Trent has lost its value.[17]

      Certain valuable features of the Extraordinary Form are shared with the Anglican Use,[18] and some with the Eastern Rites. The Eastern Rites’ appeal to the ‘whole human person’ in his totality[19] has already been discussed in Positio 2;[20] another feature is fidelity to tradition:
Today we often feel ourselves prisoners of the present. It is as though man had lost his perception of belonging to a history which precedes and follows him. This effort to situate oneself between the past and the future, with a grateful heart for the benefits received and for those expected, is offered by the Eastern Churches in particular, with a clear-cut sense of continuity which takes the name of Tradition and of eschatological expectation.[21]

Pluralism and Church Unity

       A different kind of value is represented by the importance of both the Eastern Churches’ liturgical traditions, and the Anglican Use, for ecumenism. With this in mind Bl. John Paul II demanded
total respect for the other’s dignity without claiming that the whole array of uses and customs in the Latin Church is more complete or better suited to showing the fullness of correct doctrine.[22]
The Instruction Il Padre echoes Orientalium Ecclesiarum[23] in making ecumenism an important consideration in the development of the Eastern Rites.
In every effort of liturgical renewal, therefore, the practice of the Orthodox brethren should be taken into account, knowing it, respecting it and distancing from it as little as possible so as not to increase the existing separation…[24]

     Again, there is an analogy here with the Extraordinary Form. Pope Benedict XVI speaks urgently of the importance of respecting the Church’s ‘ancient Latin liturgical tradition’ to overcome, if possible, divisions in the Church.[25] These divisions relate not only to groups, but countless individual Catholics who found themselves alienated from the Church following the liturgical reform. As Pope Benedict XVI has written:
I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.[26]

 .  The significance of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite for ecumenism in relation to the Orthodox churches should also be mentioned. The late Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow remarked, referring to Summorum Pontificum, ‘The recovery and valuing of the ancient liturgical tradition is a fact that we greet positively.’[27]


      Liturgical pluralism in itself is not, and never has been, a source of embarrassment for the Church, but is on the contrary a source of vitality. It demonstrates the response of faith to different conditions, and it represents a treasury of theological and spiritual insights which complement each other. The plurality of Rites and Usages has been affirmed and further developed by the Holy See right up to the present day.

    As well as the Eastern Rites, the Church has always fostered Rites and Usages of venerable origin within the Latin Church, and made special efforts to preserve them, when they seemed likely to disappear, or to be unduly influenced by the Roman Rite. As well as the Usages of religious orders, already mentioned, the Mozarabic Rite is an example of a Rite whose historical and theological value is such that, however limited the use of its liturgical books may have become, the very fact that it continues to be celebrated in particular places is something to be treasured and preserved. However limited, or however wide, the usage of the Extraordinary Form may become in time, it too will have a value for the whole Church by representing, as a living tradition, a rich source of spiritual and theological insights, and a deep connection to the liturgical patrimony of the Latin Church.

      The value of the Extraordinary Form is affirmed by Pope Benedict XVI. Like the Eastern Rites, it will maintain and develop this value, for the whole Church, only if it remains true to itself, its spirit and its traditions. This integrity is also necessary for its value in the cause of Church unity. There is a lesson to be learned from the fate of the Eastern Rites in former centuries, in which the Holy See approved changes which can now be seen as regrettable.[28]

     The words of Il Padre, applied to the Eastern Churches, but equally applicable to the Extraordinary Form, are relevant:
For historical and cultural reasons, they have maintained a more direct continuity with the spiritual atmosphere of Christian origins, a prerogative that is ever more frequently considered even by the Occident not as a sign of stagnancy and backwardness but of precious fidelity to the sources of salvation.[29]

[1] Pope Benedict XVI ‘Letter to Bishops’ accompanying the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (2007): ‘At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal.  Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level.  Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite…’
[2] The adoption of the Roman Missal in preference to a different Rite Usage is only permitted with the unanimous consent of a cathedral or community Chapter and in addition the agreement of the bishop or superior. Pope St Pius V (1570) Quo primum: The Roman Missal, in the revised edition of 1570, is to be said in all churches ‘saving only those in which the practice of saying Mass differently was granted over two hundred years ago simultaneously with the Apostolic See’s institution and confirmation of the church, and those in which there has prevailed a similar custom followed continuously for a period of not less than two hundred years; in which cases We in no wise rescind their prerogatives or customs aforesaid. Nevertheless, if this Missal which We have seen fit to publish be more agreeable to these last, We hereby permit them to celebrate Mass according to this rite, subject to the consent of their bishop or prelate, and of their whole Chapter, all else to the contrary notwithstanding.’ (‘nisi ab ipsa prima institutione a Sede Apostolica adprobata, vel consuetudine, quae, vel ipsa institutio super ducentos annos Missarum celebrandarum in eisdem Ecclesiis assidue observata sit: a quibus, ut praefatam celebrandi constitutionem vel consuetudinem nequaquam auferimus; sic si Missale hoc, quod nunc in lucem edi curavimus, iisdem magis placeret, de Episcopi, vel Praelati, Capitulique universi consensu, ut quibusvis non obstantibus, juxta illud Missas celebrare possint, permittimus;’)
[3] Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council Sacrosanctum Concilium 4: ‘Traditioni denique fideliter obsequens, Sacrosanctum Concilium declarat Sanctam Matrem Ecclesiam omnes Ritus legitime agnitos aequo iure atque honore habere, eosque in posterum servari et omnimode foveri velle’
[4] Sacrosanctum Concilium 37: ‘Ecclesia, in iis quae fidem aut bonum totius communitatis non tangunt, rigidam unius tenoris formam ne in Liturgia quidem imponere cupit;’
[5] Decree of the Second Vatican Council Orientalium Ecclesiarum 2: ‘ita ut varietas in Ecclesia nedum eiusdem noceat unitati, eam potius declaret’.
[6] Instruction Il Padre, incomprehensibile (1996) 10
[7] Bl. Pope John Paul II Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen (1995) 24 ‘I believe that one important way to grow in mutual understanding and unity consists precisely in improving our knowledge of one another. The children of the Catholic Church already know the ways indicated by the Holy See for achieving this: to know the liturgy of the Eastern Churches’ (‘Putamus sane magnum pondus ad crescendum in mutua comprehensione atque unitate tribuendum esse meliori mutuae intellegentiae. Catholicae Ecclesiae filii iam noverunt vias quas Sancta Sedes significavit ut ii eiusmodi propositum consequi valeant: liturgiam Ecclesiarum Orientalium noscere [corrected from ‘nascere]’) (The quoted passage ends with a footnote reference to the Instruction In Ecclesiasticum Futurorum (1979) 48
[8] Pope Benedict XVI Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus (2009) III
[9] Decree of the Second Vatican Council Unitatis Redintegratio 4: ‘All in the Church must preserve unity in essentials. But let all, according to the gifts they have received enjoy a proper freedom, in their various forms of spiritual life and discipline, in their different liturgical rites, and even in their theological elaborations of revealed truth. In all things let charity prevail. If they are true to this course of action, they will be giving ever better expression to the authentic catholicity and apostolicity of the Church.’ (‘In necessariis unitatem custodientes, omnes in Ecclesia, secundum munus unicuique datum, cum in variis formis vitae spiritualis et disciplinae, tum in diversitate liturgicorum rituum, immo et in theologica veritatis revelatae elaboratione, debitam libertatem servent; in omnibus vero caritatem colant. Hac enim agendi ratione ipsi veri nominis catholicitatem simul et apostolicitatem Ecclesiae in dies plenius manifestabunt.’)
[10] Orientale Lumen 2: ‘satis iterum virium reperimus ac studii ut ea in veritate ac multiplicitate concordiae augeamus conquisitionem quae Ecclesiae remanet propositum optimum.’
[11] Letter to Bishops accompanying the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum: ‘There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal.’
[12] Letter to Bishops
[13] Decree of the Second Vatican Council Orientalium Ecclesiarum 2: ‘the variety within the Church in no way harms its unity; rather it manifests it, for it is the mind of the Catholic Church that each individual Church or Rite should retain its traditions whole and entire and likewise that it should adapt its way of life to the different needs of time and place.’ (‘varietas in Ecclesia nedum eiusdem noceat unitati, eam potius declaret; Ecclesiae enim catholicae hoc propositum est, ut salvae et integrae maneant uniuscuiusque particularis Ecclesiae seu ritus traditiones, eademque pariter vult suam vitae rationem aptare variis temporum locorumque necessitatibus.’)
[14] Instruction Varietates Legitimae (1994) 4: ‘The constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium spoke of the different forms of liturgical adaptation. Subsequently the Magisterium of the Church has used the term inculturation to define more precisely “the incarnation of the Gospel in autonomous cultures and at the same time the introduction of these cultures into the life of the Church.” [Note: Bl. John Paul II Encyclical Slavorum Apostoli (1985) 21] Inculturation signifies “an intimate transformation of the authentic cultural values by their integration into Christianity and the implantation of Christianity into different human cultures.” [Note: Bl. John Paul II Encyclial Redemptoris Missio (1990) 52]
[15] Il Padre, incomprehensibile 15
[16] Unitatis Redintegratio 17: ‘Etenim in veritatis revelatae exploratione methodi gressusque diversi ad divina cognoscenda et confitenda in Oriente et in Occidente adhibiti sunt. Unde mirum non est quosdam aspectus mysterii revelati quandoque magis congrue percipi et in meliorem lucem poni ab uno quam ab altero, ita ut tunc variae illae theologicae formulae non raro potius inter se compleri dicendae sint quam opponi.’ Cf Orientale Lumen 5: ‘The Christian tradition of the East implies a way of accepting, understanding and living faith in the Lord Jesus. In this sense it is extremely close to the Christian tradition of the West, which is born of and nourished by the same faith. Yet it is legitimately and admirably distinguished from the latter, since Eastern Christians have their own way of perceiving and understanding, and thus an original way of living their relationship with the Saviour.’ (‘Certum enim modum secum importat orientalis traditio suscipiendi intellegendi vivendi Domini Iesu fidem. Ita profecto proxime illa ad christianam accedit Occidentis traditionem quae eadem nascitur aliturque fide. Tamen legitime atque insignite ab illa differt, cum proprium habeat sentiendi percipiendique morem christifidelis orientalis, ac propterea nativam aliquam rationem suae colendae necessitudinis cum Salvatore.’) Cf. also Orientalium Ecclesiarum 5: ‘[this Council] solemnly declares that the Churches of the East, as much as those of the West, have a full right and are in duty bound to rule themselves, each in accordance with its own established disciplines, since all these are praiseworthy by reason of their venerable antiquity, more harmonious with the character of their faithful and more suited to the promotion of the good of souls.’ (‘Quamobrem sollemniter declarat, Ecclesias Orientis sicut et Occidentis iure pollere et officio teneri se secundum proprias disciplinas peculiares regendi, utpote quae veneranda antiquitate commendentur, moribus suorum fidelium magis sint congruae atque ad bonum animarum consulendum aptiores videantur.’)
[17] Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger) “The Theology of the Liturgy” in Alcuin Reid (ed.) ‘Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger: Proceedings of the July 2001 Fontgombault Liturgical Conference’ (Farnbrough: St Michael’s Abbey Press, 2003) pp18-33, p20
[18] Notably, in the recently published calendar, the Season of Septuagesima, the Ember and Rogation Days, and the Octave of Pentecost.
[19] Orientale Lumen 11: ‘tota sua cum persona’
[20] FIUV Positio 2: Liturgical Piety and Participation 9
[21] Orientale Lumen 8: ‘Captivos hodie saepius nos temporis praesentis esse sentimus: quasi si notionem homo amiserit sese esse particulam alicuius historiae praecedentis et subsequentis. Huic magno labori, quo contendit quis ut se inter praeteritum collocet futurumque tempus cum grato sane animo tam de acceptis quam de donis postmodum accipiendis, clarum praestant Orientales Ecclesiae sensum continuationis, quae sibi Traditionis atque eschatologicae exspectationis nomina sumit.’
[22] Orientale Lumen 20: ‘Certe, hodiernae menti videtur vera coniunctio fieri posse aliorum plene observata dignitate, dempta simul illa opinione universos mores et consuetudines Ecclesiae Latinae pleniores esse et aptiores ad rectam doctrinam demonstrandam;’
[23] Orientalium Ecclesiarum 24: Eastern Catholics are to promote unity with other Easter Christians by, among other things, ‘religious fidelity to the ancient Eastern traditions’ (‘religiosa erga antiquas traditiones orientales fidelitate’).
[24] Il Padre, incomprehensibile 21
[25] Letter to Bishops accompanying the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum: ‘This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.’
[26] Ibid.
[27] The Zenit news agency reported from Rome on 29th August 2007, as follows. ‘Benedict XVI’s move to allow for wider celebration of the Roman Missal of 1962 has received a positive reaction from the Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow. “The recovery and valuing of the ancient liturgical tradition is a fact that we greet positively,” Alexy II told the Italian daily Il Giornale. Benedict XVI's apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, published in July, explains new norms allowing for the use of the 1962 missal as an extraordinary form of the liturgical celebration. “We hold very strongly to tradition,” he continued. “Without the faithful guardianship of liturgical tradition, the Russian Orthodox Church would not have been able to resist the period of persecution.” ’
[28] Il Padre, incomprehensibile 24: ‘These interventions felt the effects of the mentality and convictions of the times, according to which a certain subordination of the non-Latin liturgies was perceived toward the Latin-rite liturgy which was considered “ritus praestantior.” This attitude may have led to interventions in the Eastern liturgical texts which today, in light of theological studies and progress, have need of revision, in the sense of a return to ancestral traditions.’ Cf. Orientalium Ecclesiarum 6: On the Liturgical rites proper to the Eastern Churches: ‘Besides, they should attain to an ever greater knowledge and a more exact use of them, and, if in their regard they have fallen short owing to contingencies of times and persons, they should take steps to return to their ancestral traditions.’ (‘Haec omnia, igitur, maxima fidelitate ab ipsis Orientalibus observanda sunt; qui quidem harum rerum cognitionem in dies maiorem usumque perfectiorem acquirere debent, et, si ab iis ob temporum vel personarum adiuncta indebite defecerint, ad avitas traditiones redire satagant.’) The Instruction Varietates legitimae makes a similar point about the history of the liturgy of the West (17): ‘During the course of the centuries, the Roman rite has known how to integrate texts, chants, gestures and rites from various sources and to adapt itself in local cultures in mission territories, even if at certain periods a desire for liturgical uniformity obscured this fact.’ The footnotes to this passage give examples of features of the Roman Rite adopted over time in response to local conditions, and magisterial responses to such developments.
[29] Il Padre, incomprehensibile 9


  1. John Lamont10:36 AM

    This is all quite right of course, but its application to the traditional mass and the 'Ordinary Form' raises some questions. It is true that liturgical pluralism as such is legitimate and indeed a constitutive part of Catholic tradition. Hence it is wrong to require that only one liturgy be celebrated by all Catholics. That has never been the case, and the idea that it should be the case has been repeatedly condemned, as the paper points out. But given that there are and should be more than one Catholic rite and sub-rite, is there a principle that determines how far the liturgy should be divided into different forms? And if so, what is that principle?
    The answers likely to be given to these questions are the following. i) Yes, the liturgy should not be indefinitely subdivided, because the nature of the liturgy is that it is common worship rather than individual prayer. ii) As a result, the lowest level of subdivision that should be reached by the liturgy are the basic worshipping units of the Church, which are monasteries, religious orders, and dioceses. (cont'd)

  2. John L10:52 AM

    But these answers raise the following problem for the idea that liturgical pluralism can be used to defend the coexistence of the traditional Roman rite and the 'ordinary form'. Both these forms of worship are the liturgy of a single diocese, that of Rome. Of course they are used much farther afield, but their use is a matter of dioceses and religious communities outside Rome adopting the liturgy of the diocese of Rome. But how can legitimate liturgical pluralism justify the existence of two totally different forms of worship for a single diocese? The answers given imply that it cannot justify this pluralism; a single diocese, being a single worshipping community, should have a single form of worship.
    Of course I do not think that this can be used to soundly argue against the traditional mass. I just offer this argument to indicate an objection that is likely to be made to a defence of the old rite on the basis of liturgical pluralism, and to point out that such an argument is not likely to be successful.
    A further objection to the argument is that as a matter of fact the 'ordinary form' was devised on purpose to replace the old, because the theological content and general structure of the old mass was judged to be wrong and in need of abolition. It is hard to justify, on the basis of liturgical pluralism, the existence of forms of worship that are not only different but deliberately incompatible in message and effect.
    The implication of these objections is that traditionalists ought not to be arguing for the mere coexistence of the traditional rite and the 'ordinary form'; they ought to be arguing for the replacement of the 'ordinary form' by the traditional rite, just as the traditional rite was attempted to be replaced by the 'ordinary form'. This is the only position that recognises the reality of the situation, which is that the two forms of worship are in conflict and that one or the other has to win. You may be sure that non-traditionalists recognise this and act accordingly; we cripple ourselves in our struggle if we do not do so too.

  3. This is by far and away the weakest of all the papers. What the writer omits to mention is that all the examples he gives are 'rites' not 'forms', both the so called 'EF' and 'OF' are part of the same rite, the Roman Rite. Now whilst some claim could be made that this is similar to the various different 'uses' which sprung up over the centuries, never were the differences in 'uses' so vast as the chasm between the 'EF' and the 'OF'. The reality is that the situation of having two 'forms' of the Roman Rite' which are not simply local 'uses' and thus confined to a specific geographical area and besides never differed as much as these two forms', is completely unprecedented. A comparision with the situation of many rites is ridiculous precisely because they were entirely different rites, usually confined to a specific geographical area OR church in the case of eastern rites. The reality is that it is divisive and sooner or later the Roman Rite will have to return to one singular form, that may not be for another 50 years but rather than writing historical and liturgical fiction the writers should be concentrating on making sure that that single form is the TLM and not the NO.

  4. Frankly I find this paper embarassing, it is less the work of a traditionalist and more the work of a semi traditionalist conservative. Since when have traditionalists wasted time arguing as to why the NO and TLM should co exist? Those who founded the movement were quite clear, the NO had to go, the TLM had to say, the idea that both can co exist when they completely contradict each other and convery totally different messages is outright lunacy.

  5. We should distinguish liturgical plurality from liturgical novelty. It is a crime to compare the "banal, on the spot...liturgy by commission" novas ordo to the Ambrosian, or other venerable rites that took centuries to form.

  6. JMJ, you are absolutely right. The Praxis btw the TLM and NO is polar opposite; with the first the Offeratory is one of preparatory for a Sacrifice, with the second it is one of preparing for a Jewish grace before a meal (which is offensive to even the early Jews, whose praxis was sacrifice-centric at Temple).

    See Michael Davies' Eternal Sacrifice

  7. "Since when have traditionalists wasted time arguing as to why the NO and TLM should co exist?"

    Officially, since 7 July 2007.

  8. Romanitas12:41 PM

    I must agree with much of the commentary on this paper thus far. The point of pluralism in liturgical rites is not diversity, or even enrichment, but that these different rites legitimately reflect their originating traditions. This also means that each rite has its own proper place, and, although it belongs to the entire Church, is not meant to be used by the entire, but by its own tradition (would you celebrate a Carmelite Mass in a Syro-Malabar parish?).

    And while this paper may not be wrong in recognizing the legitimate use of various rites within the Church, and their contributions to the Church's prayer life, it glosses over the real problem: the Novus Ordo Mass. The Pauline Mass, under the Byzantine or Dominican Rite, is not an actual rite, but—we are currently told—a "form" of the Roman Rite. I cannot imagine how pluralism within a single rite can be a positive thing; it strikes me as a probably source of confusion. Moreover, the Pauline Mass is not the process of natural, organic evolution as is the traditional Mass or any of the other rites mentioned in this paper.

    While the wishes behind this series of position papers are assuredly for the good of the Church and her public prayer life, this paper is quite weak and misses the main problem: pluralism within one rite, which I do not see as either desirable or sustainable.

  9. Pluralism as - a number of different Rites that are rooted in the same Western Church Tradition - yes.

    But pluralism as - i don't have anything better to do so i'm gonna make my own rite - Messe a'la Me. - no. Pluralism as major differences within one Rite - no.

  10. Loving Dissenter1:26 PM

    I concur with much of the comments posted in response to this paper.

    One cannot serve two masters.

    a) Is the NO is the fruit of liturgical innovation, a rupture in the hermeneutic of continuity, an attack of sabotage by the enemies of the Church?

    b) Or is the NO the fruit of legitimate authority, a continuing hermeneutic, and the blessing of the faithful children of the Church?

    If a, then the Traditionalists were right. If b, then you, me, Michael Davies, the Archbishop, all of us are wrong.

    What is the truth? Are we really going to hide behind the smokescreen of “well it’s not as clear cut as that...”

    I believe that the truth of the matter is that we are afraid.
    Let’s face it. Be honest. We are afraid of the NO forces for they “shall hate you...” and “...shall separate you and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil”. The problem is not with “them”, the problem is with us - that no one is willing to be a martyr anymore. Who were the “heros” of our cause? People like Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Michael Davies, these and many more were martyred in every possible way apart from physically. But where are their successors? Busily trying to synergise (I mean “reconcile”) with the NO.

    The time isn’t to play buddy. Our model is Christ, not David Cameron and Mr Clegg. Christ never compromised the Truth.

    Here for me is the crux – what is more important, unity or truth?

    It seems to me in this position paper that the more important thing is Unity. But the consistent teaching of the Church for 1963 years has been that Unity never comes at the price of Truth.

    Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.

    For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

    You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.

    You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.
    So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

    I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry. Be sober.

    St Paul didn’t say anything about being “political”...

    Liturgical Pluralism seems to be a misleading title, for there has never been Theological Pluralism

    Are you saying that there is Theological concurrence between the two rites?

    In English Grammar the plural of “book” is “books” the common subject is book”, there is no pluralism between “book” and “libri”, two different languages.

    So likewise, if the TLM is theologically different to the NO: there can be no pluralism, because there is no common subject.

    Just because it has been stated so, doesn’t make it so.

    I look forwards to your response.

  11. Another analogy that FIUV could have used in this paper is the existing diversity within liturgical rites, for example in the Byzantine Rite which preserves four distinct liturgies: the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, the Liturgy of Saint Basil, the Liturgy of the Presanctified, and the (rarely used) Liturgy of Saint James. These four liturgies reflect different origins and are used for different liturgical purposes throughout the year. The Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, the most common form, is a simplified form of the older Liturgy of Saint Basil, which is retained about 10 times per year.

  12. Marty Jude2:37 PM

    I don't feel we can fight openly atm. Firstly the Society needs to be accepted officially back into The Fold. From 'without' we can shout all we like, but will not be taken totally seriously. From within, there is a vantage point, a lever. As the Modernists did prior to and during Vat.II. As Trad's [principally SSPX bishops and priests, with lay support materially and spiritually] need to tread carefully, be 'canny' and work surreptitiously into influencing/changing things.

    I realise all of this is a bitter pill to swallow, but, despite the supposed divisions within the SSPX, following regularisation [assuming it happens!] then hard work would need to be done to 'unite' [in purpose] the other Trad. congregations [Good Shepherd, FSSP etc]... i.e. to work in tandem at restoration. Past and current 'differences' would need to be forgiven in a mutual respect and True Christian Charity for the greater good of Holy Mother Church.

    The next problem is the 'forms' of Mass...the Holy Father indicated he wanted a renewed rite, a combination of the TLM and NO. This is similar to the Archbishop when he spoke of how the reform should have taken place...over many years [centuries], a gradual movement, rather than sudden. However, do we really want a hybrid Mass? It's a bit of a compromise, but a dangerous one. The NO, as his grace said, is a 'bastard' rite. Apologies I don't have any direct quotes - just taken from memory!

    O God, be with the Holy Father, Bishop Fellay, the other SSPX Bishops, the whole SSPX and the CDF voluntas Tua

  13. I think this quite obviously, at least to the casual (read: liberal) Catholic reader, severely implies an endorsement of the Ordinary Form. For this reason I feel this paper is harmful.

  14. I feel this paper should be very heavily revised and thoroughly modified. The current treatment of the subject, while not in itself inherently bad or un-traditional as far as principles go, in practice is quite ruinous and amateurish.

    There is absolutely ZERO similarity between comparing the EF to the OF and comparing the EF to the Mozarbic/Dominican/Seraphic/majority of the Eastern Rites.

    This paper's weaknesses can be very easily capitalized upon by some random modernist ilk publication like the National Catholic Distorter and quickly turned against the FIUV's mission.

    I exhort the authors to heavily modify this paper for the good of the promotion of the EF. Please.

  15. While I do understand its logic and motivations, my personal sense is also one of very intense uneasiness regarding the general tone of this paper.

  16. "Mutually enriching" is oxymoronic for "Unilaterally enriching". The Novus (read "masonic") does not the Vetus 'enrich'.

  17. In plain English, what precisely is the thesis of this paper and is it in accord with the others?

  18. WRT TLM versus NO, unless the NO completely dies out (which I don't see happening), I don't see TLM and NO merging (either TLM killing NO, or even returning to the 1965 missal with an option for the vernacular).

    In particular, the vernacular is here to stay in the NO. More use of Latin will happen and all vernacular texts will finally be based solely on the Latin, and Gregorian Chant will return to a greater degree, but we have a whole generation of people who don't know Latin, aren't attached to Latin, and see the vernacular as valid, especially considering that both Anglican Use and the Eastern Churches use the vernacular.

    I also don't see prayers going away such as the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary in NO or the original Rosary in TLM, or the new Divine Office which is tied to the liturgy in either TLM or NO.

    I also don't see the 3 year cycle disappearing in NO or the 1 year cycle from TLM.

    Given this, I don't see how there can ever be one Latin Rite again. The only possibility I see is we return to the 1965 missal, add the 3 year cycle of readings in addition to the TLM one year cycle of readings, allow properly translated from the Latin vernacular as an option, and specify that either the pre-1965 Divine Office or the new Divine Office may be used. This in itself is a massive change, would make enemies in both camps (including this forum), and I don't see any Cardinal or Pope advocating anything close to this.

    Given this, I think its reasonable to assume that there will be two Forms of the Latin Rite for least 50 years. I think the point of the article is that there has always been *controlled* liturgical diversity within Catholicism, and so this is not where TLM supporters need to focus on. NO has some serious problem that need fixing, and this should be the focus.

    For the record, even TLM can be abused. Given this, I think its reasonable to assume that there will be two Forms of the Latin Rite for least 50 years. I think the point of the article is that there hasAnyone familiar with the 1969 movie, "Change of Habit" (which was annouced in 1967 and likely written a year or two earlier), will see how a single liturgical music abuse can completely destroy TLM (even if the only thing that was touched was the entrance song):

    Liturgical abuse in all forms and rites and uses must be the focus of Traditionalists.

  19. Liturgical pluralism is the benchmark of the liberal modernist "diversity" movement that justifies liturgical unorthodoxy that we find in the novel vernacular form of the NO. The Latin Mass is the only worthy form that suits the western Latin Rite Church. This does not discount The Ambrosian or Dominican forms for example because they display all the requisite elements of authentic Roman Catholic liturgical praxis. The NO definitively does not. It does not embody Sacred Tradition in the liturgy neither does it conform to Latin Rite ligusitic norms. As a result it has propagated values which are not recognisably Catholic at all: protestant liturgical elements such as exclusive use of vernacular language (proscribed by Pope St Pius V for the Latin Mass) and a propensity for memorial rite rather than sacrificial. It has also nourished two generations of adherents of which the majority, according to church surveys, no longer hold to orthodox Roman Catholic beliefs, among which are transubstatiation; the necessity of The Holy Sacrament of Confession and others.

    How this promotes unity is beyond all credibility.

  20. "... the Holy Father indicated he wanted a renewed rite, a combination of the TLM and NO."

    This would suggest some sort of "hybrid" between the two. From what I have read about what the Holy Father has actually written and said (and that would be quite a bit), this is simply not true. What he actually means by "reform of the reform," is that the Decree on the Sacred Liturgy from Vatican II be re-examined in light of what the Council Fathers actually called for in reforming the liturgy, as opposed to that which is ostensibly the direct fruit of that proposal, namely the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI.

    The result would likely be something quite different altogether, much closer to the Traditional Roman Mass than the Novus Ordo Missae. The most comprehensive depiction was penned by Father Brian Harrison in the first three issues of Adoremus Bulletin. Sadly, it has never been reproduced online, but the Holy Father reviewed the work while he was still a Cardinal, and considered it worthy of further study.

    If it were online, maybe we could do that.

  21. Bill McEnaney5:19 PM

    Two or three years ago, I attended some Ukrainian Divine Liturgies because I'll need a liturgy to go to if I can't get to the Traditional Latin Mass. So I don't mind liturgical pluralism when the liturgies are venerable ones that Sacred Tradition has delivered to us. But in my opinion, it hasn't delivered the Novus Ordo to us. Genuine liturgical development assumes continuity. But we already know that Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci believe that the Novus Ordo is incompatible with Trent's theology about the Mass. If they're right, the Novus Ordo is hardly a legitimate liturgical development. Please see (

    Unfortunately Pope Benedict says he wants what Tradition in Action and I were afraid of, a hybrid rite of Mass that would be the Roman Rite's only rite of Mass. I hope that the Church will abolish the Novus Ordo to replace it with the Traditional Latin Mass because from my perspective, the Novus Ordo is, at best, partially Catholic.

  22. I read this paper as a timely and effective response to the immediate threat of alterations being made to the EF calendar by Rome. I won't say TLM calendar until I see the alterations proposed.

    The anathematization of the Novus Ordo is not a plausible goal--in fact, it would be contra fidem, because the Novus Ordo was established by the supreme liturgical authority and is therefore indefectible.

    The most that can be hoped for is the death of the Novus Ordo due to atrophy and unpopularity and its relegation to the past as a grave error in prudence. Promoting liturgical diversity is the smart way to achieve this goal. Eventually there will be personal parishes for the NO and then they will be closed.

  23. Why does anyone think that the integration of SSPX into the NO Church will achieve what the FSSP has been unable to.

  24. The FSSP accepted to not criticise The Councils and to assist at NO Masses. It is vulnerable to the vagaries of antipathetic bishops and has to obey them. No Society member would want such an enfeebling and potentially destructive agreement with Rome.

  25. Lopes6:59 PM

    'The anathematization of the Novus Ordo is not a plausible goal--in fact, it would be contra fidem, because the Novus Ordo was established by the supreme liturgical authority and is therefore indefectible.'

    Didn't Pius V basically say the same about the TLM? No changes to the TLM and so forth? It even seems to me that he spoke with greater authority (more forcefully) than Paul VI.

    Why can't other Pope put the NO aside then? No good has come out of it anyway.

  26. Anonymous7:22 PM


    One answer might be that the FSSP started with 9 priests, where as the SSPX would start (in full communion) with 550 priests, so the SSPX has the potential for a far greater effect. And vastly more so, if the time is ripe now, where it certainly was not in 1988 when the FSSP was formed.

    Another is that perhaps the present "battle" is not merely about whether the SSPX is acceptable within the Church, but about whether a wholesale reassessment of Vatican II will be undertaken. If so, the SSPX may be only a token or pawn in a far bigger decision (or perhaps a pretext for it).

    If so, the decision far transcends the question of whether the SSPX should be inside or outside the Church.

  27. Lopes,

    Yes, the TLM is indefectible as well. No Pope has ever abrogated the TLM. What precedent are you appealing to support your suggestion to "put the NO aside"? And what, precisely, do you mean by those vague terms?

  28. JMR,

    Numbers matter. The FSSP has, in fact, done a lot, but it is (I think) less than half the size of the SSPX. Even if half of the priests of the SSPX come with Bp. Fellay, it will make a very real difference, and that is supposing that neither those who come over nor those who are formed by them shall individually make a mark on the world like that of St. Jean Vianney, St. Philip Neri, St. Alphonsus Liguori, etc.

  29. Matthew Rose8:55 PM

    For what it is worth, I agree with many commenters that this paper is quite concerning and problematic. Compare the TLM and justify its existence vis a vis all other historical Catholic rites? Of course! Whether they be other Western rites/uses, near Eastern rites, or far Eastern rites, let them be offered!

    But, as Knight of Malta said, how disrespectful to the venerable Ambrosian Rites (and all others) to put them on the same level as the Novus Ordo. This paper seems to reek of the "conservative" mentality which says that the Novus Ordo is just as good as the TLM because both are "approved" and both are "forms of the same Roman Rite."

    Anyways, liberal and "conservative" Latin Catholics rarely bother themselves with the existence of the Eastern rites, or at least spew much less vitriol toward them than the TLM (the past-quoted neo-catechumenate cleric on the Coptic Rite notwithstanding), so I just do not see the point of this paper whatsoever. The paper seems to respond to an issue which does not really exist, or at least does not exist anywhere near the magnitude presumed by the paper.

  30. Friends, I appreciate your concerns very much. But please recall the stated purpose of the paper:

    "       Without entering into the question of the future development of the Ordinary Form, the question to be addressed by this paper is whether the existence in the Latin Rite of an extra, ‘extraordinary’, ‘Form’ of the Roman Rite is problematic, and therefore something to be overcome if possible, in the short or long term, perhaps by the creation of a single, amalgamated, Form of the Roman Rite."

    Nearly all of the comments above seem to forget the very limited, but very important, thesis which this paper sets out to oppose: the most serious, the most real and widespread, threat to the TLM we face in the coming years, that it should in principle give way to some compromise rite. As far as I can see, with the disappearance of that legitimate diversity which used to characterise the Latin Rite before 1970, and still more in earlier centuries, those making the claim are just psychologically uncomfortable with the notion of different groups of Catholics, at least of the Latin Rite, hearing different Masses on the same day.

    There is an example in last weekend's Tablet, as I mentioned. More serious is a remark of Archbishop Nichols of Westminster to the effect that the 'ordinary pattern of the Church's prayer' is a necessary mark of unity: What we are to make of Cardinal Burke's remarks about a 'single normative rite' I do not know. What I do know is that any conceivable compromise will undo all the weary work of defending the TLM we have been engaged in for half a century.

    The criticisms of this paper are, in effect, that while diversity is fine we should make an exception for the Novus Ordo Missae. The paper says nothing about the value of the NOM. It is concerned solely with the claim that the TLM should disappear because there is no space for multiple liturgical usages in the Church. Perhaps this is too obviously absurd in this forum, but clearly this is not the case in the wider Church!

  31. The basal unit of liturgy is not the diocese but the church/chapel (there has always existed not only diocesan Propers, but also city Propers, parish Propers, non-parochial church Propers like for the old Salazar chapel in Brussels).
    Inside the diocese of Toledo, there exist 2 parishes of Mozarabic rite, despite the unity of juridiction in the hand of the Archbishop.
    As Eastern-rite Catholic, I want just to add that a diversity of forms in the same and one rite does exist among the Catholics of Russian Byzantine rite: some parishes (due to constant persecution by Nicholas II and communists, they are now only 1 parish), under Father Potapy Emelianov (future martyr), obtained from S. Pius X the right to celebrate according to the pre-XVIIth century liturgical books instead of the more recent Russian books used by the other Russian Catholics. See for example

  32. LovingDissenter3:18 PM

    Thank you Dr Shaw for your clarification, perhaps the confusion brought up here and your need to re-address the issue, is evidence enough that the article needs to be carefully re-worded. Perhaps to be clearer and more direct?

    Surely Quo Primum sought to have a single Rite that would be the “norm” or “ordinary” Mass of the Church. Rightly Pope Saint Pius V sought to protect and preserve venerable Rites, as outside of the ordinary – “extra-ordinary”.

    So in our day those in power have constructed a new Rite, which according to their desires has become (for better or for worse) the “norm” or “ordinary”. The venerable Rite has thus been deemed outside the ordinary – “extra-ordinary” (for better or for worse).

    If I read you correctly sir, this paper is to declare that the FIUV’s position is that the venerable Rite be preserved permanently, and to remain an entirely separate entity from the NOM. Obviously that would not prevent those in power from “amalgamating” what they wish, but as long as the TLM be permitted and provided permanently unadulterated, the FIUV will be placated?

    Personally, I believe that there is a great deal of “pulling blows” and “pussy-footing around”, for the sake of getting “on the inside” where “we can have real leverage”. I don’t like that, it’s not Christ-like.

    Propter quod deponentes mendacium loquimini veritatem unusquisque cum proximo suo quoniam sumus invicem membra. - Ephesians 4:25

    But I am sure that everyone agrees that the venerable Mass must remain a separate entity. And that is must remain unadulterated (read unaltered) for a considerable amount of time. (Perhaps the FIUV should have a position on that! - personally I'm in favour of, perhaps say, 50 years?)

    God bless you, sir, and all the efforts.

  33. Are two or more "forms" of a rite really unprecedented?

    The Byzantine Rite splits the liturgical year between the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil. In Jerusalem, moreover, a third one is added: the Liturgy of St. James on his feast day.

    In the diocese of Toledo, aside from the dedicated Mozarabic parishes, the Latin Rite is used mainly, but all churches use the Mozarabic Rite on the Incarnation and the Feast of St. Idelphonsus.

    The Toledan model perhaps is pointing us the way here: certain parishes dedicated to the EF, others to the OF by local custom. And if any cross-pollination occurs, it may well be based on the calendar: e.g. the EF on the feast of St. Gregory the Great, the OF with the 2nd Eucharistic prayer on the Feast of St. Hippolytus. And yes, yes, I know all about EP II--I'm just using that as an example.

  34. Dear Mr. Salvucci,

    I know that was very well-intentioned, but this was one of the most terrifying suggestions I have read in a long time - and that is saying something.

    Thank you for sharing it with us, nonetheless.



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