Monday, January 2, 2017

Papal Commission Ecclesia Dei: Private Masses Allowed in Immemorial Rite Without Permission

(Rome) On 18 October 2016 one of the faithful presented ECCLESIA DEI with a Dubium (doubt). The question was whether a priest with a regular permission could celebrate a private Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite according to the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (Articles 2 and 5.4) in a validly built private chapel without further permission.

On 3 November, the Pontifical Commission gave its affirmative Responsum (answer). The Commission confirmed that such an event was permitted. At the same time, the Commission reaffirmed that the faithful can of course participate in a private Mass. Anyone who wishes to participate and spontaneously participate in the celebration of the  Mass has the right to do so within the meaning of Article 4 of Summorum Pontificum. The number of participants is irrelevant. The priest can also exclude believers from attending.

The reply of the Pontifical Commission, Ecclesia Dei, also states that a private Mass in a private chapel does not require any authorization, for example, by the local priest or local bishop.

In the liturgical form of Pope Paul VI., the term Missa sine populo (Mass without people)
is used for private Mass, but it is confusing, as the term "private Mass" was an occasion for misunderstandings. The term private Mass does not mean a "private" Mass (a priest or a group), excluding third parties. It simply means the difference from a "community Mass" in the sense of Church law, ie the mass of a parish or a convent.

Inquiry to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei

Private Masses may not be publicly announced by the priest. As the Church jurist Gero Weishaupt explained on, however, the priest can provide information to the faithful on request. The faithful, on the other hand, can also publicly call for a private Mass and invite people to participate.

Therefore, the phrase "private Mass" does not refer to the number of participants. Thousands of faithful could attend a private Mass. The phrase "Missa sine populo" (which has replaced the term "private Mass" in the Novus Ordo), on the contrary, means that the priest is permitted to say Mass even if no faithful are present.

Prior to the form of Paul VI. in 1969, a priest required a papal indult to celebrate a Holy Mass without without an altar server. Holy Mass is always an expression of ecclesial communion and of the benefit of the entire Church, which is why at least an altar server or the faithful had to be present.  

There was no "solitary" mass in Church history. A celebration without a ministrant was "not inadmissible", only in emergencies, in order to be able to offer the last rites to a dying man. It is only since 1970 that the Church has regularly allowed a priest to celebrate alone.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Messa in Latino
Trans: Tancred


Anonymous said...

Quo Primum says thank you.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least there's ONE good thing going on in the world...

John Fisher said...

You don't need permission from the Bishop or anyone to offer the Traditional Mass publically either. There is no "regular permission".

David O'Neill said...

Did not Benedict XVI grant any priest the right to celebrate the EF Mass without seeking permission?

Anonymous said...

Yes he did, but the Bishops and even the then Card.Bergoglio didn't want to......the VatII never abrogated the VO Mass, it was the commie priests that did it.

PaxTecum57 said...

Does this mean that all Priests can say Mass in a Private Chapel 100% validly with no strings attached? Are Confessions in a Private Chapel valid? I have attended the Traditional Mass in what the Priest calls an Oratory. He said he could not call it a Chapel unless the Diocese granted permission. He said his Mass's were Private Masses and that anyone could attend. He also stated that his Mass's could not be officially announced but the information could be spread by word of mouth. WOW! This Priest was the official Theologian of the Diocese but resigned in protest of the changes after Vatican ll in which he called errors. What the Ecclesia Dei Commission says, this Priest has been saying since the 70's. If ever in Traver California, the Traditional Mass is on Sunday at 9:00 AM.

Blotto said...

Dear Papa Francisco,

It has come to my attention that a dubium submitted to the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission has received a clear and unambiguous answer. Moreover, this reply was forthcoming after a mere 16 days. Truly scandalous. This is a most concerning case of flagrant disobedience to the instructions contained in your recent Apostolic Letter to all dicasteries entitled (I believe) "NON SCROOBIUM RESPONSUM AD DUBIA IMPERTINENTA" which you issued at 6.00 a.m. on September 20th 2016.

Just thought you should know.

Keep up the good work.

Harry Tickle

Just say No to the NO said...


Anonymous said...

Wonder how long it will take 'Eye of the Tiber' to spoof/parody this into: "Vatican says priests may offer Mass without a concelebrant: Progressives riot"?

Anonymous said...

Exactly!!! Google Quo Primum!

Anonymous said...

No such thing as an "EF" or "OF"!
There is the Roman Catholic Holy Sacrifice of the Mass or Immemorial Holy Mass of all Ages.

Plinthos said...


dmdrew said...

The Ecclesia Dei Commission has no jurisdiction over the "immemorial (Roman) rite" which is the "received and approved rite of customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments" as defined by Trent. Ecclesia Dei Commission governs the Indult, Extra-ordinary form of the novus ordo, the 1962 Bugnini transitional Missal, or whatever name you want to call it.

The Immemorial Roman Rite does not require "permission" for either public or private offering of the Mass. It is a right possessed by every faithful Catholic priest and layman. It is a "right" because every Catholic has an obligated duty from God to offer public worship to God, and therefore must possess by right what is necessary to fulfill a duty.

As Fr. Paul Kramer said: The Tridentine Profession of Faith of Pope Pius IV [Iniunctum Nobis] prescribes adherence to the “received and approved rites of the Catholic Church used in the solemn administration of the sacraments.” The ‘received and approved rites’ are the rites established by custom, and hence the Council of Trent refers to them as the “received and approved rites of the Catholic Church customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments.” [Sess. VII, can. XIII]. Adherence to the customary rites received and approved by the Church is an infallibly defined doctrine: The Council of Florence defined that “priests ... must confect the body of the Lord, each one according to the custom of his Church” [Decretum pro Graecis], and therefore the Council of Trent solemnly condemned as heresy the proposition that “the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments may be changed into other new rites by any ecclesiastical pastor
whosoever” [Sess. VII, can. XIII]

Whoever receives anything by grant of Indult or privilege implicitly acknowledges that he does not possess any right to what is received and therefore cannot complain when the gift is withdrawn or restricted or tied to any specific conditions whatsoever.

Catholics get what they are willing to fight for.


PaxTecum57 said...

The Ecclesia Dei Commission was saying nothing new, they stated what already is. Annibale Bugnini had nothing to do with the 1962 Missal as St. John Xlll had already given him the boot. Bl. Paul Vl brought Bugnini back only to also give him the boot. When the word "Indult" is used there is no cause for panic, since immemorial time when a priest was ordained he was granted an "Indult" (permission) to say Mass and administer the Sacraments. St. Padre Pio was denied the Indult to write and to give sermons because of false accusations. My point is that the word "Indult" should not be something to fret over.

dmdrew said...

I believe that you are wrong on both points.

"An indult in Catholic canon law is a permission, or privilege, granted by the competent church authority – the Holy See or the diocesan bishop, as the case may be – for an exception from a particular norm of church law in an individual case...." (Wiki) The immemorial Roman rite of Mass could never by the subject of an "indult" because the immemorial Roman rite of Mass can never be reduced to a prohibition by positive law or grant of privilege. A particular person may not be permitted to do a particular Mass in a given location without Indult but the Mass itself cannot be an Indult.

Msgr. Annibale Bugnini, an alleged Mason, directed the liturgical reform from 1948 until 1975. The 1962 Missal, issued at the mid-point of his liturgical tenure, existed only about 2½ years. It was regarded by Bugnini, who took credit for its authorship, as only a transitional Missal toward his ultimate goal of the Novus Ordo. Pope Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum said that the relationship of the 1962 Missal to the Novus Ordo is one of organic development, that “They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.”
This is true statement for Bugnini said in his book, The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-1975, that the first principles of liturgical reform adopted by his commission, first principles that were novel, artificial ideological constructs, guided his work and remained absolutely consistent throughout his entire tenure. The first principles guiding the formation of the 1962 Missal are the same principles that would give us the Novus Ordo. When Bugnini was asked if the 1962 Missal represented the end of his liturgical innovations he said, “Not by any stretch of the imagination. Every good builder begins by removing the gross accretions, the evident distortions; then with more delicacy and attention he sets out to revise particulars. The latter remains to be achieved for the Liturgy so that the fullness, dignity and harmony may shine forth once again” (The Organic Development of the Liturgy by Fr. Alcuin Reid). Thus such feasts as the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Chair of St. Peter at Rome, the Finding of the True Cross, St. John before the Latin Gate, and many, many other liturgical changes, considered “gross accretions and evident distortions” by those who would eventually give the Church the liturgical “fullness, dignity and harmony” of the Novus Ordo, were done away with in the 1962 Missal.

It is a fact that the 1962 Missal has never been afforded the standing of Immemorial Tradition by Rome. Every papal document touching upon this Missal treats it entirely as a subject of Church discipline governed entirely by human positive law first under the norms of Ecclesia Dei as an Indult and now under the restrictive legal stipulations of Summorum Pontificum as a grant of privilege by positive law. At no time in the history of the Church has an immemorial liturgical tradition been reduced to the status of an Indult. This constitutes presumptive proof that Rome does not regard the 1962 Missal as the Immemorial Roman Rite.


Anonymous said...

You think Sedevacantist and SSPX practice on punching bags while listening to "The Eye of the Tiber?"

Anonymous said...

Drew - Youre correct and your writing style is blunt & efficient.(good job)
Thankfully our Chapel obeys the Pre-1951 calendar and Holy Week.
I always wonder why people say "pre-1955" when the first major change was Holy Saturday circa 1951?
Our Thuc line priest gives us the SSPV calendar from Black Falls,Montana.Its interesting to read calendar month by month & do comparisons with the 'new' calendar via internet.This is also a good way to learn about Saints & particular feast days.