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Frequently asked questions

What is the "Traditional Mass"?

The Traditional Latin Mass is the true and genuine form of the Mass of the Roman rite. It has a pedigree that dates back to the early centuries of Christianity from which it evolved by almost imperceptible stages by a process of natural and gradual development until it was codified by Pope Saint Pius V as the most perfect expression of the Catholic doctrine of the Holy Mass, to remain unchanged for all time. The Traditional Latin Mass is therefore our sacred liturgical inheritance, our living link with the past, and it is the sacred duty of the Holy See to guard it from any contamination of error and to pass it on pure and undefiled, in the form they have received it, to future generations.

Where can I find the text of "Quo Primum Tempore"?

Saint Pius V's bull "Quo Primum Tempore" of 14 July 1570, which confirms the right of all clergy to use the Roman Missal, is available on this website.

Where is the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated in Great Britain?

There are over 30 locations where priests from the Society regularly celebrate the Traditional Mass. The locations of these churches, chapels and Mass centres are available on this website.

Where can I find a list of Mass times in Great Britian?

We have a full list of forthcoming Mass times on this website.

What is the "Novus Ordo" Mass?

Following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), a New Order of Mass (Novus Ordo Missae) was published in April 1969. Many of the prayers of the Traditional Mass were omitted, particularly those which emphasised that the sacrificial nature of the Mass and the difference between the priest and people in the celebration.

What is an "Indult Mass" and can a Traditional Catholic attend one?

An Indult Mass is a celebration of the Traditional Mass according to the Missal of 1962 and permitted following the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei of John Paul II. There are several reasons why a Traditional Catholic should avoid Indult Masses.

What is the "Roman Rite"?

The Roman Rite is the traditional manner of celebrating the Holy Sacrifice, administering Sacraments, reciting the Divine Office, and performing other ecclesiastical functions (blessings, all kinds of Sacramentals, etc.) that had been used in the city and Diocese of Rome for many centuries prior to the liturgical reforms following Vatican II.

Where can I find the text of the Traditional Mass?

The entire text of the Ordinary (ie. the fixed part) of the Traditional Mass in Latin and English is available on this website in a printer-friendly format.

Where can I find the Proper Prayers of the Mass?

A selection of the Proper Prayers (ie. the variable parts) of the Mass in Latin and English are available on this website in a printer-friendly format.

Are there any photographs of the Traditional Mass on the internet?

Yes, you will find a complete set of photographs of a Traditional Mass celebrated by one of the Society's priests on this website.

Where can I attend Mass?

There are over thirty locations in Great Britain where the Traditional Mass is offered on a regular basis by Priests of the Society.

What are the times of Mass in Great Britain?

A full list of the forthcoming Masses for Sundays and major Feasts can be found on this site.

Why is the Mass celebrated in Latin?

Latin was (and still is) the official language of the Western Church since at least the fourth century, if not earlier. It has the following benefits:

  • It avoids the constant need to revise the liturgy to keep pace with evolution of modern languages;
  • It has become associated with the exalted purpose of the worship of God;
  • Use of Latin in all countries and across the centuries is a powerful symbol of the Church's unity;
  • The Latin liturgy has nourished thousands of Saints and countless members of the Faithful;
  • The use of Latin enables the continued use of the traditional music of the Church;
  • It has been praised and defended by many Popes throughout the ages;
  • As international travel becomes increasingly possible, all Catholics can take an active part in the Church's liturgy, anywhere in the world.

How do I receive Holy Communion at a Traditional Mass?

The usual method of reception is to kneel (unless one is genuinely unable to do so) and receive the Host on the tongue. The Precious Blood is not normally received, nor is it required.

What are the rules about the Eucharistic Fast?

The Church requires Catholics to observe a period of abstinence from food and drink before receiving Holy Communion out of profound reverence for the Body of Christ which is to be received.

Isn't the Traditional Mass Illegal?

No, the Traditional Mass is completely legal and Catholics may attend it with a clear conscience. Pope Saint Pius V granted the right of Catholic priests to use his Missal in the Bull Quo Primum Tempore on 14 July 1570. This Bull has never been abolished (abrogated), even by Paul VI's Constitution Missale Romanum of 3 April 1969 or the Promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on 6 April 1969. The right of every Catholic priest to use the Traditional Missal through immemorial custom ever been removed, nor has the right of the Faithful to assist at a Traditional Mass.

When am I obliged to attend Mass / When are the Holy Days of Obligation?

Catholics must attend Mass on Holy Days of Obligation, which include all Sundays of the year and major feasts of the Church's calendar. There is some variation in the feasts which are obligatory in different countries.

Where can I buy a Traditional Latin Missal either new or secondhand?

There are a number of places where one cay buy a Traditional Missal and orders can be placed on the internet. We have provided some recommendations on which Missals you should consider and where to find them.

How do I pronounce the Latin used in the Roman Missal?

The Latin used in the Roman Missal is easier to pronounce than you might think. We have provided a simple pronunciation guide in a printer-friendly format. Click here for more information.

What is the difference between a High, Solemn, Sung and Low Mass?

There are a number of variations on how the Mass is celebrated, according to whether it is said or sung and whether the Priest is assisted by other ministers.

Why do the colours of the Priest's vestments change during the year?

The Church has used different coloured vestments for the priest and altar to denote the changing seasons and feasts of the liturgical year. There are five colours used in the Roman Church: white, red, green, violet and black. Gold and rose-coloured vestments are also used on certain occasions.

What is a Requiem Mass and an Exequial Mass?

A Requiem Mass refers to a Mass offered for the soul of one or more deceased persons using the prayers of the Masses of the Dead. An Exequial Mass is the Mass directly connected with the obsequies and is celebrated on the day of death or the day of burial.

How do the rubrics of the Ordinary vary when a Requiem Mass is celebrated?

The rubrics of the Ordinary of the Mass require certain omissions or modifications to the prayers and actions which are usually performed. These changes reflect the sorrowful nature of Masses celebrated for the Dead. However, there is no change to the Canon of the Mass.

Where can I find the Proper Prayers for use at Requiem Masses?

We have many of the Proper Prayers in Latin and English available on-line in a printer-friendly format.

Is the text of the Mass and burial service available on-line?

Yes, we have provided the full text of the funeral service and Exequial Mass in Latin and English in a printer-friendly format.

Is there a Traditional Ordo (liturgical calendar) availble on-line?

Yes. There is a Traditonal Liturgical Calendar on this website.

What was the "Ottaviani Intervention"?

The "Intervention", properly known as "A Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass", was a document commissioned by Archbishop Lefevbre. Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci wrote the introduction and presented it to Pope Paul VI in 1969. The complete text is available on this website.

Is it possible to buy a 1962 Daily Missal?

Yes. The Angelus Press has released a layman's Missal which is in full accord with the 1962 'juxta typica' (typical edition) of the Missale Romanum.

When should I stand, sit and kneel at High Mass?

A simple guide for the layity assisting at High Mass is provided on this website.

Is there much of a problem using a laymans' Missal printed before 1962?

Many Traditional Catholics use older Missals without any problems for most of the year. Older Missals will not have the Order of Holy Week and Easter Ceremonies, which was revised in 1955. Not having these texts can make following the revised Holy Week ceremonies fairly difficult. In addition, the older the Missal is, the greater chance that the more recent Proper Prayers for some Saints' days will be missing.