The Roman Rite Mass,                    a very brief history

We submit the following for now, just to try to ensure that people don't get the strange idea that Jesus may have used the Traditional Latin Mass or its English equivalent at his Last Supper. Jesus spoke in a form of the Hebrew language called Aramic--so the original Last Supper was not in Greek or Latin. Astounding!





















  For all the articles on the Mass, click here.

Even the supporters of the Latin Mass readily admit that it was nearly 300 years, three centuries of Christians, before Latin came into more common use in the early day church. In other words until that time, Mass in Greek or the vernacular or “common tongue” of a people in a given place was the rule. To this very day the “other” Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox or as John Paul II puts it the “other lung” of the Church, continues to use the common tongue of a region to determine which language its Divine Liturgy or Mass will be said in.  Tell me, did Christ speak in a tongue that was different from the language and the people he grew up with? The answer is, no.

As for the Latin Mass itself, as promulgated by St. Pius V in 1570, the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1908 reveals that it bore little resemblance to the early Roman Rite Mass.  (Remember, the Latin Mass itself was the only Mass in use among Catholics in 1908):

  "…In any case the old Roman Rite is not exactly that now used. Our Roman Missal has received considerable additions from Gallican sources. The original rite was simpler, more austere, had practically no ritual beyond the most necessary actions (see Bishop, "The Genius of the Roman Rite" in "Essays on Ceremonial", edited by Vernon Staley, London, 1904, pp. 283-307).

…In the West, however, the principle that rite should follow patriarchate did not obtain till about the eighth century. The pope was Patriarch of all Western (Latin) Europe, yet the greater part of the West did not use the Roman Rite.

….But in the long and gradual supplanting of the Gallican Rite the Roman was itself affected by its rival, so that when at last it emerges as sole possessor it is no longer the old pure Roman Rite, but has become the gallicanized Roman Use that we now follow. These Gallican additions are all of the nature of ceremonial ornament, symbolic practices, ritual adornment. Our blessings of candles, ashes, palms, much of the ritual of Holy Week, sequences, and so on are Gallican additions. The original Roman Rite was very plain, simple, practical. Mr. Edmund Bishop says that its characteristics were "essentially soberness and sense"   (" The Genius of the Roman Rite", p. 307; see the whole essay). Once these additions were accepted at Rome they became part of the (new) Roman Rite and were used as part of that rite everywhere.

When was the older simpler use so enriched? We have two extreme dates. The additions were not made in the eighth century when Pope Adrian sent his "Gregorian Sacramentary" to Charlemagne. The original part of that book (in Muratori's edition; "Liturgia romana vetus", II, Venice, 1748) contains still the old Roman Mass. They were made by the eleventh century, as is shown by the "Missale Romanum Lateranense" of that time, edited by Azevedo (Rome, 1752). Dom Suitbert Bäumer suggests that the additions made to Adrian's book (by Alcuin) in the Frankish Kingdom came back to Rome (after they had become mixed up with the original book) under the influence of the successors of Charlemagne, and there supplanted the older pure form (Ueber das sogen. Sacr. Gelas., ibid.).

…It remains to say a word about the various medieval uses the nature of which has often been misunderstood. These medieval uses are in no sense really independent rites . To compare them with the Gallican or Eastern Liturgies is absurd. They are simply cases of what was common all over Europe in the later Middle Ages, namely slight (often very slight) local modifications of the parent Rite of Rome. As there were Sarum and Ebor, so there were Paris, Rouen, Lyons, Cologne, Trier Rites. All these are simply Roman, with a few local peculiarities.

In 1570 Pope Pius V published his revised and restored Roman Missal that was to be the only form for all Churches that use the Roman Rite.

See why Neither the Latin Mass nor the Novus Ordo will do, also see these links:

Analyzing the Canon of the Mass

A Very Brief History of the Roman Rite 

The Gospel Mass

Why the "Gospel Mass" is so necessary if we are to worship in spirit and truth!

Holy Communion


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