Episcopal Commission on Liturgy of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines: Clarification of the Archdiocese of Manila on Summorum Pontificum and the Tridentine Mass

Episcopal Commission on Liturgy
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines


Pope Benedict XVI published the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum on July 7, 2007 with effectivity on September 14, 2007. The Episcopal Commission on Liturgy received several requests to clarify certain issues regarding its contents and implementation.

1. What is the aim of the Apostolic Letter?

The Apostolic Letter was published to seek “interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church”, that is, with those who still adhere to the Missal of Pius V. It is also a reaction to what is perceived as “abuses” in the celebration of the Mass after Vatican II.

2. Are there now two rites of the Roman Missal?

Summorum Pontificum distinguishes two forms of celebrating the one and the same Roman Rite, namely, “forma ordinaria” and “forma extraordinaria”. The ordinary form is the 1970 Missal of Pope Paul VI revised by authority of Vatican II. The extraordinary form is the Tridentine Missal published in 1962 by Pope John XXIII.

3. What would be an implication of the “forma extraordinaria” of the Roman Missal?

The hermeneutics of continuity means that the 1970 Missal is a Vatican II revision of the Tridentine, while the hermeneutics of legitimate progress could justify the inclusion of inculturated liturgies as other extraordinary forms of the same Roman Rite.

4. What are some of the important conditions for celebrating according to the 1962 Missal?

Those who wish to celebrate it should possess “a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language”. Furthermore, the Missal to be used should be the 1962 edition. It is important to remember that the 1962 Missal requires the use of the Latin language (except for the readings and the homily), particular liturgical furnishings, vestments, books, and liturgical calendar. Lastly, in order to be in full communion with the Church, priests who celebrate according to the 1962 Missal must, as a matter of principle, accept the validity of the 1970 Missal.

5. What other liturgical rites are included in the permission?

Besides the 1962 Roman Missal, permission is granted to use the other Tridentine Rituals of baptism, confirmation, marriage, penance, anointing of the sick, funerals, and the Roman Breviary. The Apostolic Letter excludes the Easter Triduum and is silent about holy orders.

6. How about the seminaries?

Summorum Pontificum does not directly address the question of celebrating the Tridentine Missal in seminaries.

7. What is the responsibility of parish priests?

In parishes, where a stable group of the faithful adheres to the 1962 Missal, the parish priest should willingly accept their request. Such Mass maybe celebrated on weekdays, and once on Sundays and feast days. The Ordinary shall determine what a “stable group” consists of.

8. What is the responsibility of bishops?

If a parish priest fails to satisfy the request for Tridentine Mass, the faithful that request it should inform the Ordinary. If he himself cannot satisfy the request, he should refer the matter to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Furthermore the Ordinary may establish a personal parish where the Tridentine rituals may be used, or he may appoint a chaplain for such group of faithful.

9. What happens to active participation?

While the liturgical reform of the Vatican II aims principally to promote active participation, the Tridentine Missal encourages prayerful meditation during the Eucharistic celebration.

10. What happens to the 1970 Missal of Paul VI?

It is useful to note that the Vatican II Missal of Paul VI can always be celebrated in Latin and in Gregorian chant.

Summorum Pontificum gives the assurance that the Missal of Paul VI will certainly remain the ordinary form of the Eucharistic liturgy, given the actual pastoral circumstances of local Churches and the need for more adequate liturgical formation and knowledge of Latin among the faithful.


It is our fervent hope that the implementation of Summorum Pontificum will not, as Pope Benedict XVI desires, divide the heart of the Church, but rather foster mutual respect and understanding within the one Church of Jesus Christ. Let pastors be mindful that the ordinary form of the Holy Eucharist for the Church today is contained in the Missal of Paul VI whether this is celebrated in Latin or in the vernacular. As one Church, may we be united in one faith through a diversity of liturgical forms.

That in all things God may be glorified!
Source: Archdiocese of Manila

Read comments of Fr. Zuhlsdorf of the What Does the Prayer Really Say here.


About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

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