The Latin Mass

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has decreed that all priests of the Latin Rite are free to offer the traditional Latin Mass. This is the Mass that was offered in every Catholic Church around the world until after Vatican Council II.

In his Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum (7 July, 2007) Pope Benedict clarifies that there are two forms or expressions of the Roman Rite of the Mass. The Roman Missal of 1970, issued by Pope Paul VI, is the Ordinary Form. The Missal of 1962 is the Extraordinary Form, the Missal codified by Pope St. Pius V and last reissued by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

When the Missal of Pope Paul VI took effect in 1970, it was widely and falsely believed that the Traditional Latin Mass (the 1962 Missal) had been abrogated and suspended. In spite of this erroneous belief, interest in the old Form of the Mass persisted.

Because of his pastoral concern for those Catholics who found spiritual solace in the old Form, in 1984 Pope John Paul II gave limited permission for the Mass of 1962 to be offered with the approval of the local bishop. In his 1988 Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, His Holiness expanded upon these earlier directives, calling for their “wide and generous application.”

In Summorum Pontificum, the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, has put into place new directives for use of the 1962 Missal. These conditions replace the provisions of Pope John Paul II in Ecclesia Dei. Pope Benedict declares emphatically “…the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his ordinary” to offer Mass from either one Missal or the other (1962 or 1970).

Summorum Pontificum is now the law of the Church. It became effective as of 14 September, Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

In August, 2007, the last month before the directives of Ecclesia Dei were replaced by those of Summorum Pontificum, the Traditional Latin Mass was approved by the bishops of two-thirds of the Dioceses in the United States. Over 230 such Masses of Sunday obligation were offered every week. In 33 Dioceses there were also daily Tridentine Masses. Since September 14, many more such Sunday and daily Masses are being scheduled by parish pastors every week, under Pope Benedict’s new law of the Church.

Pray the Holy Mass

“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the Altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart and mouth all that happens at the Altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens on the Altar. When acting in this way you have prayed Holy Mass.”

“Don’t pray at Holy Mass, but pray the Holy Mass” -His Holiness, Pope Saint Pius X


Eternal Father, I unite myself with the intentions and affections of our Lady of Sorrows on Calvary, and I offer to Thee the sacrifice which Thy beloved Son made of himself on the Cross, and which He now renews on this holy Altar. I offer it in the name of all mankind, with the Masses which are now being offered, and all those which will be offered throughout the world this day:
To adore Thee and give Thee the honor which is due to Thee, confessing Thy supreme dominion over all things, and the absolute dependence of everything upon Thee, Who art our one and last End;
To thank Thee for the innumerable benefits we have received;
To appease Thy justice, aroused against us by so many sins, and to make satisfaction for them;
To implore grace and mercy, for myself, for Thy Church, for all afflicted and sorrowing, for poor sinners, for those whom I have promised prayers, for all the world, and for the holy souls in purgatory. Amen.

Each Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered for four ends: Adoration, Thanksgiving, Reparation, and Petition.