Tuesday, May 26, 2020 –
Before we go deeper into each of the forms of Mass, let’s take a look at what each Mass is called and why those names exist. Today we will start with the “old” Mass and the myriad of names surrounding it.
What does “Extraordinary Form” mean?
First and foremost, “Extraordinary Form” is not the official name of the older, Latin Mass. However, I will define what this term means in a Catholic context. Within Catholicism, “extraordinary” means “not the ordinary.” When Catholics say something is extraordinary, we mean that it is not the usual method or thing. By saying something is “usual,” we are saying it is the common, everyday thing.
For instance, the ordinary ministers of the Eucharist are Priests and Deacons. They are the men who usually distribute (give us) the Eucharist (Communion). The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are instituted lay people. They are not the usual or normal people who distribute Communion, but rather the unusual people who are only supposed to be used in extreme circumstances.
Similarly (and yet slightly different), the “Extraordinary Form” is not the usual Mass you see on any given Sunday at parishes around the globe. After Vatican II, the Novus Ordo became the “usual” Mass. This does not mean that the Extraordinary Form was abolished. It simply means that the Novus Ordo is now the “usual,” or common / everyday, Mass. Where this is different from extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (which should be RARE), is that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is not to be rarely used. In fact, it is a wonderful and incredibly beautiful Mass that we should experience more often!
What are some other names for the Extraordinary Form?
The Extraordinary Form has been around for centuries! It has been passed down for nearly two millennia (2,000 years!) with very few changes. Since it has been around so long, there are quite a few names for it. I cover the most common names below. Some people who really do not like Latin have some meaner names; those are not listed here.
Extraordinary Form (forma extraordinaria)– some people think that this is the “official” name for the Latin Mass. However, this is NOT the official name; it is just one of the many names used. Benedict XVI, in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum released on July 7, 2007, coined the term “Extraordinary Form.” The meaning of “extraordinary” was explained above.
The Mass of the Ages – the Latin Mass has been handed down to us over the centuries (even millennia!). It is the Mass that our beloved Saints knew. It is ageless, timeless.
Traditional Latin Mass – traditionally, the Mass was said in Latin, the universal language of the Church. According to Saint John Henry Newman, the Mass was virtually unchanged since the 3rd century. This name is essentially stating what it is: a Mass in the traditional form in Latin.
Traditional Roman Rite – like above, this name is basically stating what it is: a Mass in the Roman (Catholic) Rite that is in the traditional Latin.
The Classical Mass – one of the less common names. This harkens back to the idea of Mass using the “classical” or traditional form.
The Old Mass or The Old Rite – Along the same lines as the names above. This is the “old” Mass, not the “new” Mass.
Tridentine Mass – This name refers to the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which codified (i.e. made universal rules) the Latin Mass. The Council of Trent took all the earlier liturgies and approved one, single Roman Missal used from 1570 until the Novus Ordo was created in mid-1960s.
Mass of Saint Pius V – Pope Pius V brought us the Council of Trent. See above.
Usus Antiquior – In Latin, this literally means, “ancient use.” Remember, the Mass has been said in Latin since the fourth century. It is literally “ancient!”
Missal of St. Gregory the Great – Saint Gregory the Great (Pope from 590–604) codified (made a set of rules) for the Roman Rite. There was a lot going on in those early days, and Gregory decided the Church needed a single Mass. He also created the universal calendar of feasts, and much more!
Mass according to the 1962 Missal – The 1962 Missal was promulgated (i.e. made known, declared, issued) by Pope John XXIII. It is the last missal to bear the words, “ex decreto Sacrosancti Concilii Tridentini restitutum,” which basically means “restored by a decree of the holy Council of Trent.” Why this Missal vs. earlier ones? Short answer is that the Pope said so. It is a lot more in-depth than that, and involves a lot of discussions, changes, etc. However, generally speaking the Pope does what the Pope does.
I am certain there are names I have left out, but for now this is a good list and covers most of the names you will come in contact with.
Saint John Henry Newman, pray for us!