Saturday, November 30, 2019

50 Years of the Ordinary Form of the Mass

50th anniversary of Pope St. Paul VI's Missale Romanum (The New Roman Missal). 

This 1,600-word document, though relatively brief as papal documents go, had a wide and profound impact on the life of the Church.

On April 3, 1969, Pope Paul VI promulgated the apostolic constitution, paving the way for the celebration of the Mass according to the Roman Missal promulgated in 1969 (with another slightly revised missal promulgated in 1970). This was one of the most visible changes to occur in the post-conciliar Church.

The revisions to the Roman Missal outlined in Missale Romanum were greeted with great optimism. Many believed these changes would lead to a greater love for and understanding of the liturgy. However, today, we recognize that much work remains to be done to bring Catholics to a deeper appreciation for the liturgy, even as the Mass that Paul VI’s document precipitated remains a pastoral touchstone for priests and an accessible entry point for converts to the faith.

Here are some key points from Missale Romanum:

1. Increased Eucharistic Prayers: The document added an increased number of Eucharistic prayers (anaphoras) to "the venerable Roman Canon that had been the sole Eucharistic Prayer in the Roman liturgy down the centuries." This expansion allowed for a richer variety of prayers during Mass.

2. Inclusive Dialogical Form: The Mass was updated to include a more inclusive dialogical form. Instead of only altar servers responding to the priest during Mass, now the entire congregation is invited to participate. This change fosters active engagement and communal worship.

3. Expanded Scriptural Readings: The Liturgy of the Word was enriched by offering a wider selection of scriptural readings. This included more Old Testament readings and introduced a three-year cycle lectionary. By incorporating more Scripture into Mass, it aimed to nourish the faithful with God's Word.

Pope Paul VI’s Missale Romanum marked a significant step in implementing liturgical reform after Vatican II. As we commemorate its golden anniversary, we reflect on its impact and continue our journey toward deeper liturgical understanding and participation.

Let's explore the Roman Rite, a significant liturgical tradition within the Catholic Church.

The Roman Rite (Latin: Ritus Romanus) is the most common ritual family for performing ecclesiastical services in the Latin Church, which is the largest of the sui iuris particular churches that comprise the Catholic Church. It governs various rites, including the Roman Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the administration of sacraments and blessings.

Here are some key points about the Roman Rite:

1. Origins and Development:

   - The Roman Rite developed in the Latin language within the city of Rome. While other Latin liturgical rites (such as the Ambrosian Rite) exist, the Roman Rite has gradually been adopted almost everywhere in the Latin Church.

   - In medieval times, there were local variants, but uniformity increased due to printing and obedience to decrees from the Council of Trent (1545–1563).

   - The Roman Rite has three historical stages: Pre-Tridentine Mass, Tridentine Mass, and Mass of Paul VI.

   - Today, it is celebrated in a form promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and revised by Pope John Paul II in 2002. The use of the 1962 Roman Missal remains authorized under specific conditions.

2. Distinctive Features:

   - The Roman Rite is known for its sobriety of expression.

   - In its Tridentine form, it was also noted for its formality, minutely prescribing every movement during Mass.

   - Concentration on the moment of consecration led to showing the consecrated Host and chalice to the people immediately after the Words of Institution.

   - The Roman Rite emphasizes reverence during these sacred moments.

3. Local Origin and Universality:

   - Despite its widespread use, wherever it is celebrated, it remains "Roman" in a local sense—originally composed for use in Rome.

   - The Roman Missal includes Roman saints, commemorates local Roman events, and reflects its historical connection to Rome.

   - No liturgical rite has ever been consciously composed for general use; they all bear marks of their local origins.

In summary, the Roman Rite stands as a rich tapestry woven from centuries of tradition—a liturgical heritage that continues to shape worship within Catholicism.  Whether the Extraordinary Form or Ordinary Form, both are the One and Same Mass.  The Ordinary Form is just a format that has removed the redundant parts from the Pius V missal.  It is a formula that resembles more the Mass of the early Church.  

Unfortunately, some took it upon themselves to "experiment" with it causing scandal, especially among those who are nostalgic about the pre-Vatican II Pius V form.  As Catholics, we need to work more to ensure that the current form is celebrated reverently and adheres to the rubrics.  It will take time. As the saying goes, "Rome was not built in a day."  The same applies to the Roman Rite. 


The Mass of Paul VI at 50: The Restoration of the Sacred| National Catholic Register (

The Mass of Paul VI at 50: Marking the Golden Jubilee of the New Order| National Catholic Register (

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