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Vatican approves new options for Extraordinary Form

March 25, 2020

In two decrees released on March 25, the Vatican has given approval for seven new Prefaces to be used in the Extraordinary Form (EF) of the Mass, and given instructions for the observance of new feast days in the traditional calendar.

The decrees were issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which has been assigned since January 2019 to continue the work of the Ecclesia Dei commission in ensuring the proper celebration of the traditional Latin liturgy. In 2007, when he issued Summorum Pontificum, confirming the use of the Extraordinary Form, Pope Benedict XVI had suggested that the traditional Missal could eventually be expanded to include the commemoration of newly canonized saints. The new decrees confirm that possibility.

In the decree Cum Sanctissima, the CDF details how the saints canonized in the years since 1962 (when the old Missal was promulgated) may now be included in celebrations using the EF. The decree notes that these saints may be honored on the days that are marked as their feasts on the calendar for the universal Church: the calendar observed in most Catholic churches that use the Novus Ordo liturgy. However, the decree also notes that these celebrations are optional; communities that use the EF regularly may choose to continue observing their old calendar.

With the decree Quo Magis, the CDF adds seven options for Prefaces that may be used in the traditional liturgy for special occasions. Four of these—prefaces for the Angels, for St. John the Baptist, for Martyrs, and for the Nuptial Mass—are adapted from the prefaces for the same occasions that now appear in the Missal for the Ordinary Form. The remaining three—for All Saints and Patron Saints, for the Blessed Sacrament, and for the Dedication of a Church—had already been approved for use in the EF liturgy in Belgium and France; they are now approved for worldwide use.

The CDF decrees, like the liturgical options they approve, were released in Latin, the language used in the Extraordinary Form.


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  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Mar. 25, 2020 6:14 PM ET USA

    Well, that's good news for a lot of reasons. It fulfills the wish of Benedict to have some cross-talk between the two forms, and it gives us reason to hope that the EF will continue after Benedict passes to his well-deserved reward.