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Anonymous wrote:

Hi, guys —

Are you opposed to the Tridentine and Novus Ordo liturgies?
Is attendance at a Tridentine Mass a breach of Church law?


  { Are you opposed to the Tridentine [and|or] Novus Ordo liturgies? }

Richard replied:

Hi, Anonymous —

Thanks for the question.

First of all, what our little group supports or opposes isn't all that important; we just want to encourage whatever the Church supports!

The Church supports two forms of the Roman rite liturgy: the current form in use since 1970, and the older form celebrated prior to the Second Vatican Council.

Prior to 2007, few parishes offered celebrations of Sunday Mass according to the older form ("Tridentine Masses"). Pope Paul VI had authorized the Tridentine liturgy in a few countries and places, and Pope John Paul II granted an indult in 1984 encouraging all bishops to extend such a permission. Many bishops did authorize one or a few parishes to offer the Tridentine Mass regularly, and accordingly we provided information about the subject on our web site.

Some Catholic priests in various countries, acting without the permission of the competent diocesan bishop, have offered Tridentine Masses at unauthorized times and places, and some lay Catholics have attended those Masses. It has been lawful to do so, and attendance at such a Mass does fulfill the Sunday obligation. However, for the good of the Church, our group encourages the faithful to avoid supporting any unauthorized "ministry".

Sad to say, some traditionalist priests went even further and rejected the authority of the current Pope. As a point of caution, the Catholic faithful should not receive any sacrament from a priest who is not in communion with the Catholic Church, and it is doubtful that attendance at such a priest's Mass fulfills the Sunday obligation. Decree

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued the decree Summorum Pontificum, which relaxed restrictions on the old form of Mass. Any pastor of a parish may now authorize the celebration of the Tridentine Mass on request. The requirements are fairly simple: the priest celebrant must have the necessary liturgical competence and a minimal linguistic competence. If the Mass is to become part of a parish's scheduled public ministry, the bishop's permission is required; otherwise, the pastor's permission is sufficient. Furthermore, any priest may celebrate Mass without a congregation using the older form.

Pope Benedict specified new terminology to make clear the equal lawful status of the two forms of Mass: the "ordinary form" of Mass follows the most recent Roman Missal (2002), while the "extraordinary form" follows the 1962 Roman Missal.

You can read a historical overview of the Mass in the Roman Rite here as well as a New Advent, Pre-Tridentine overview of the Mass.

If the Tridentine Mass is not yet celebrated in your parish or diocese, you may request it of your pastor or bishop, in accord with Summorum Pontificum.


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