Vernacular Version of the 1962 Rite?

I don’t think so.

We are eagerly expecting the Motu Proprio for the derestriction of the 1962 missal in the next few days. Reports have put about that it is expected on 7th of July, in which case, I will probably miss all the shouting because I will be away from my computer for a few days R&R (and Cathy hates it when I do “work” in family time).

The Holy Father had a meeting with 13 (not the originally reported 30) bishops from around the world a few days ago to discuss the final details, implications and implementation of the MP. Apparently our George was one of the 13. (Source: Fr. Z. and Cardinal Sean O’Malley).

In any case, there has been a bit of a discussion about the question of whether or not the 1962 rite should be made available in English (see here on Fr Z. and here–surprisingly–from Pastor Weedon). As I said above: “I think not”.

For a start, canonically the edition of the mass from which all translations into the vernacular currently must be made (and after the MP comes out too unless the MP expressly changes that) is the 2000 “editio typica tertia”, ie. the current edition of the Novus Ordo mass.

But from the point of desirability, I still “think not”. I know that both the 2000 edition and the 1962 edition are “the Latin mass”, and that the 2000 edition can be done in Latin as well as the vernacular, but I don’t think it works in reverse.

The 1962 Mass is to be derestricted to serve two purposes: One pastoral and the other one of historical continuity. Historically, the 1962 Mass was never done in the vernacular. It would be anachronistic to celebrate this rite in anything other than Latin. (I could expound on that opinion, but I won’t at this point). Pastorally, the people who most desire the 1962 Mass desire it IN LATIN. It might be “neat” to do it in the vernacular, but that wouldn’t directly answer either the need for historical continuity or pastoral care for which the MP is intended.

But mainly I think it would just be too confusing. I lived in the Lutheran Church of Australia (and served on its department of liturgics) during the eighties when we simultaneously modernised the old “Service with Holy Communion” and released the “Service–Alternative Form” (a more “Vat II” version, based on Lutheran Book of Worship with our own changes). The Calendar eventually went almost universally to the three year lectionary, but the two styles of service continued to be used just about equally everywhere.

The problem was that the prayers were translated differently in the different orders of service–so memory was all messed up. There were, and I think still are, no fewer than four versions of the Nicene Creed in use in the LCA. In one service you will sing “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts” and in another you will sing “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of Power and Might”. In one you have the Gloria in Excelsis virtually as it appears in the Book of Common Prayer, and in the other you have the ICEL condensed version.

Now, you could argue that (in the main) the new translations of the Novus Ordo could be used for the 1962 rite with little change, but that would still give you many prayers that would exist in two versions-eg. the Confiteor (one with “St Michael the Archangel, St John the Baptist, St Peter and Paul and all the Saints” and one without). And God help us when the “inclusive language” set get hold of it…

Vernacular 1962 Rite? I think not.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Vernacular Version of the 1962 Rite?

  1. Past Elder says:

    Well I don’t know brother, it seems to me a vernacular version of the 1962 rite would indeed serve both pastoral and continuity concerns.

    I mean at least that way you’d finally have the Mass in English!

    Right now, with the novus ordo you don’t have it in Latin or the vernacular.

    (Interesting that “continuity” is cited as a concern — sort of a mild back handed admission that continuity has been broken, or at least compromised.)

  2. Schütz says:

    Get yourself up to date, Past Elder. The Mass in (Real) English is on its way and is “at the printers” now. It is the new translation of the 2000 editio tertia, and will universally replace the old 1970’s ICEL translations.

  3. Past Elder says:

    I know the status of the new English translations of the novus ordo. I wasn’t referring to them.

    The point was, if the 1962 Mass were translated into English you would have the Mass in English, with the implication that with the novus ordo in any translation or its Latin original, you don’t.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Interested to know how you think the Archdiocese will respond to the MP?

  5. William Weedon says:


    But I have a little book called *Parish Mass Book And Hymnal* published in 1965 that contains an English translation of the 1962 Mass. It provides the historic Introits in English, uses the historic lectionary, the resonse to the salutation is “and with your spirit” etc. It has nihil obstat and imprimatur and is printed with the English translation approved by the national conference of bishops.

  6. Anonymous says:


    This is the so-called interim “Missal of 1965”: not a missal at all in reality, but the collection of changes that were already starting to be implemented and, arguably, authorised. It was a hybrid, that in essence transalated the Tridentine Mass into English, but with additions adn deletions.

    Arugably, had it stopped there, some of the liturgical problems of the last 40 years may have been avoided. Others argue that it was a heavily compromised process.

    Google “Missal of 1965” to find out more.

  7. Mike says:

    Yes, I once found a copy of that 1965 missal in a stack of books from my deceased great uncle, a priest.

    I think if we’d stuck with that for a while it would have been a more “organic” change.

    Overall I think translating the 1962 Mass into English would be a good idea . . . except for the confusion and messiness, of having too many concurrent rites in the same (Roman) Church.

  8. William Weedon says:

    Well, as a Lutheran, I must observe that what my Roman brothers and sisters do, has an enormous effect – far beyond the boundaries of the Roman communion (maybe because despite the divisions, Rome will always be the principal see of the West), and I can only say that it would have been a GREAT blessing for us Lutherans if Rome had stuck to this 1965 translation and order. But its existence leads me to wonder if the vernacular of this particular order will just be a liturgical footnote or if it will be possible for Rome to provide her priests and people with a literal and faithful translation of the traditional mass (including its ancient lectionary!).

  9. William Weedon says:

    Maybe I was being cryptic in that. What I meant was, you all have seen the liturgical experimentation that was unleashed in your parishes by some people’s well-meaning (but often misguided) attempts to conform to the council and the new rite, but the effect of that diversity that you all experienced was multiplied a thousand fold in Lutheran parishes where there IS no magesterium to hold to anything (don’t even get me started…). And once folks started tinkering with the rite, the tinkering went on and on till it became unrecognizable as the Mass itself anymore – even in bare outline. If Rome had restricted itself to providing a decent and careful vernacular of the traditional Mass, I think that it would have strengthened both Anglicans and Lutherans in the same direction (losing the Jacobean language we’d retained, but being faithful in translating). Instead, it was as though a free-for-all was opened up. My Synod has taken a step away from the liturgical chaos in the recent publication of *Lutheran Service Book*, but I do not think I am being harsh in saying that the ELCA has gone even farther down the path in their recent *Evangelical Lutheran Worship* replete with TEN ordos of the Mass and more “or”s than you can shake a stick at. This is so utterly sad here in America because Lutherans at the start of the 20th century really DID have a single unified Order, though with various musical settings. That has vanished from among us, and we’re the poorer for it. The divergence among us really kicked in post the Council – and I would argue at least in part because of the changes in Rome.

  10. William Weedon says:

    Thanks, Anonymous, I’ll check it out!

  11. Schütz says:

    Sorry that I have been out of this conversation due to JCMA.

    The diversity of rites may be a blessing to the universal communion of the Church, but the multiplication of rites is no blessing within a particular church and should be limited to the strictly necessary.

    Only time will tell where things go on this one. If the 1962 missal proves popular and grows in popularity, it is conceivable that a vernacular will be called for. I can’t see it at this point though.

    An odd footnote on the “Jacobean Language” of the Lutheran liturgy. The LCA produced its “Lutheran Hymnal” in 1972–virtually the same time that the new vernacular mass was launched on the Latin Church–with only one rite of the Service with Holy Communion. In contrast to Rome, they stuck with the Jacobean language on direct advice from Canterbury who said that there was no plans for the Anglican communion to give up this language.

    So much for foretelling the liturgical future. Six years later the Lutheran Book of Worship came out, and soon thereafter the Anglican prayer books fell to the ICEL translations like dominos.

    On the way in which practices affect one another, I find it amusing that one particular common abuse of the Novus Ordo vernacular rite was observed by Lutheran outsiders as “normal” and incorporated into the LBW. I am refering to the practice of the congregation saying the “Through him, with him, in him” with the priest at the conclusion of the eucharistic prayer. The eucharistic prayer (of course) is to be prayed in its entirety by the priest and by the priest alone, but many Catholics still join in this bit. The Lutherans observed this, thought it was normal, and directed in the rubrics that the people join in at this point. They even set the whole bit to music for the congregation to sing!

  12. William Weedon says:


    Do you know what I do to address the lack of a fuller Eucharistia in LSB? Taking a page from the Red Book of King John of Sweden, we use THIS as our Prayer of the Church (immediately before the Preface) – might sound familiar…

    Pastor: We come to You, Holy Father, with praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ, Your Son. Through Him we ask You to accept and bless the prayers and gifts we offer. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

    Remember, Lord, Your holy church. Watch over her and guide her. Grant her peace and unity throughout the world. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

    Remember, Lord, Gerald and Herbert and all pastors and servants of the Church. Grant them to hold and teach the faith that comes to us from the blessed apostles. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

    Remember, Lord, and bless the schools of the Church, including our own. Grant that our children may grow in wisdom and faith each day. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

    Remember, Lord, our President, our public servants, and all in our armed forces. Guide, bless, protect and uphold them in honor. Bring all nations into the ways of peace and justice. In Your kindness and love, grant us seasonable weather and an abundance of the fruits of the earth. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

    Remember, Lord, all who suffer for Your name, all who are in prison, the hungry and ill-clad, the poor and the lonely, those who travel, and all who cry out to You in time of need, especially your servants:…. Take them under Your tender care and grant them a happy release from their afflictions. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

    Remember, Lord, all who are gathered here before You, our living and true God. We pray for our well-being and redemption. Grant us Your peace in this life, save us from final damnation, and count us among Your chosen flock. Though we are sinners we trust in Your mercy and love. Do not consider what we truly deserve but grant us Your forgiveness. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

    Holy Father, in communion with the whole Church we give You thanks for Your saints, in whom You have given us a mirror of Your mercy and grace. We praise You especially for the Blessed Virgin Mary, for Joseph her husband, for John the Baptist, Peter and Paul, and all Your martyrs. Give us grace to walk before you with faith like theirs and grant us some share in their heavenly fellowship. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

    Lord God, in Your unfailing mercy and love You have graciously given us the holy Supper of Your Son. As now we prepare to receive His Gifts, stir up our minds to the salutary remembrance of Your benefits and to true and unending thanksgiving.

    Aid us, Your ministers and Your people, that by this Mystery of the new and eternal Testament, we may recall how Your Son offered Himself upon the altar of the cross for us — a Ransom pure, holy, and undefiled – so that, rejoicing in His resurrection from the dead and His ascension into heaven, we may joyfully await His coming in glory.

    And we beg You to bless and sanctify by Your Holy Spirit’s power the bread and wine we bring before You that they become for us, through our Savior’s Words, His true Body and Blood, the nourishment of eternal life. Grant that receiving them in faith, we may be filled with every grace and blessing, through Christ our Lord. Through Him and with Him and in Him in the unity of the Holy Spirit all glory and honor is Yours, almighty Father, forever and ever.

    People: Amen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.