Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite

Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite
"Ite missa est" sung by the deacon at a Solemn Mass.

"An extraordinary form of the Roman Rite" is a phrase used in Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum to describe the liturgy of the 1962 Roman Missal, widely referred to as the "Tridentine Mass". The phrase distinguishes the liturgy of the 1962 Missal from the normal present-day Mass liturgy of the Roman Rite (the "ordinary form"), which is that established in the revision of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969.


Use of the phrase

In the first article of the motu proprio, Pope Benedict designated the 1962 form as "an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church" and as "an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi'",[1] and in his accompanying letter to the bishops he said that the 1962 Missal "will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration".[2]

The full text of Article 1 of the motu proprio is:

Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the "Lex orandi" (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church's Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church's "Lex credendi" (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.
It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents "Quattuor abhinc annos" and "Ecclesia Dei", are substituted as follows[1]

The context of the expression in the accompanying letter is as follows:

The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were "two Rites". Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.
As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal.[2]

The term "extraordinary" in other documents on liturgy

Another example of the Holy See's use of the technical term "extraordinary" in liturgical contexts is the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, which insisted on the expression "extraordinary minister of Holy Communion", to the exclusion of terms such as "special minister of Holy Communion".[3]

This 2004 instruction thus repeated the terminology used in canons 910 §2 and 943 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, which, in the case of other sacraments also, insists on the distinction between the "ordinary" minister of the sacrament and those who in certain circumstances are allowed, by exception, to administer the sacrament.[4]


See also

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