The Latin Mass

The Latin Mass, often referred to as the “Tridentine Mass” or the “Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite,” is a form of Roman Catholic liturgy conducted in Ecclesiastical Latin. The term “Tridentine” derives from the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which initiated a standardization of the Roman Rite Mass, a process that culminated with Pope Pius V’s promulgation of the Roman Missal in 1570.

This form of the Mass is characterized by its solemnity, its rich liturgical and musical traditions, and its use of Latin, except for the homily and readings which may be in the vernacular. The structure of the Tridentine Mass is highly formalized, with distinct liturgical movements that include the Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Epistle, Gospel, Credo, Offertory, Canon, and Communion.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum,” which recognized the Tridentine Mass as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This was distinguished from the Ordinary Form, which is the Mass structure revised and promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 following the Second Vatican Council. The “Extraordinary Form” is thus named to signify its use alongside the more common “Ordinary Form,” but not as a replacement. This motu proprio allowed for broader use of the Tridentine Mass, granting the faithful greater access to its rich liturgical heritage.