Association for Latin Liturgy

Under the patronage of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
Founded in 1969 to encourage and extend the use of Latin in the liturgy of the Catholic Church.

The Roman Church has special obligations towards Latin . . .
and she must manifest them whenever the opportunity presents itself.





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Latin Liturgy
 (ALL Journal)

Pope Benedict XVI





Visitors to this website might be interested to read of a recent interview regarding Latin which has been produced by Zenit.  Click here for details.


Summorum Pontificum: Two Forms of the Roman Rite

Pope Benedcit XVI, in 2007 issued an Apostolic Letter motu proprio under the title Summorum Pontificum together with a note which explains:

“The fundamental provision is as follows: the Roman liturgy will have two forms:

  1. The ordinary form is the one that follows the liturgical reform undertaken by Pope Paul VI in the year 1970, as it appears in the liturgical books promulgated at that time. There is an official edition in Latin which may be used always and everywhere, and translations in divers languages published by the various episcopal conferences.

  2. The extraordinary form: which is that celebrated in accordance with the liturgical books published by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962.”


Summorum Pontificum

The motu proprio begins with the words: Summorum Pontificum cura ad hoc tempus usque semper fuit (“up to the present time it has always been the concern of the supreme pontiffs …”). The document traces the history of the Roman Missal up to its reform and renewal in 1970, following the Second Vatican Council and it recalls the subsequent attempts by Pope John Paul II to accommodate the needs of those strongly attached to the old Missal: Quattuor abhinc annos  (1984) and Ecclesia Dei (1988).

The detailed provisions, which replace those of the two documents mentioned above, are as follows: (1) The Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, may be celebrated as a forma extraordinaria. (2) In Masses celebrated without the people, a priest may use either Missal – with no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary. (3) Communities of religious may choose to use the Missal of 1962. (4) The faithful may attend such celebrations.

(5) Most interestingly: Parish priests should willingly accept requests from ‘a stable group’ of faithful who are attached to the earlier liturgical tradition, to celebrate the Mass according to the Missal of 1962, and “ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church”. Such celebrations may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may be held. The 1962 form may be allowed for circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages. Priests who use the Missal of 1962 must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded. (6) Readings may be in the vernacular if desired. 

(7) “If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in article 5, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the parish priest, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei”. (8)  A bishop, if unable to satisfy requests, may refer the problem to Ecclesia Dei to obtain counsel and assistance. (9) The former ritual may be used for baptism, marriage etc. and ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical.

(10) The ordinary, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with Canon 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain 

(11) The Commission Ecclesia Dei continues to exercise its function and (12) The Commission, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions  which are to be observed from 14 September of this year.


Explanatory Letter

To accompany his motu proprio, which was “the fruit of much reflection, numerous consultations and prayer”, Pope Benedict addressed an explanatory letter to all the bishops of the world.

He says he was aware of widespread concern that that the document might detract from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions - the liturgical reform - is being called into question and might lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. He explains why these fears may be discounted.

He emphasizes that "There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The 'Ecclesia Dei' Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the 'usus antiquior,' will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.”

Pope Benedict is forthright about one of the reasons why many desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. “This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.” He goes on “I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church's leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity.” 

He is keen to reassure the bishops “I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own diocese. Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop, whose role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and serenity.

The full text of the document is to be found on the Vatican website at Summorum Pontificum (in Latin) as is the Holy Father's Explanatory Letter (in English).  For an unofficial translation of the document, please click here.


Sacramentum Caritatis


The Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis - the “Post-Synodal Exhortation on the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church's Life and Mission”, was released on 13th March 2007. The full English text is reproduced on this website, which includes useful links to other Vatican documents, - go to Sacramentum Caritatis. 


An item that is particularly encouraging for members of this Association is to be found in Paragraph 62, in which Pope Benedict has this to say:


The Latin language

"I am thinking particularly of celebrations at international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater frequency. The most should be made of these occasions. In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, it is fitting that such liturgies be celebrated in Latin.  Similarly, the better known prayers of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung.


Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant." 

Orate Fratres

Our new guide to singing the Mass in Latin continues to attract widespread praise.

From the Vatican, Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, has written us a letter, which includes the following:

"I thank you for your letter of December 5th, for the information you enclosed on your Association, and for the CD which helps seminarians and priests in particular to celebrate and sing the Mass in Latin. Your Association merits encouragement and gratitude for all you do to promote beauty and reverence and more frequent celebrations in Latin."

Adoremus, the distinguished American society 'For the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy' has published a review in its Bulletin under the title: CD Offers Jump Start for the New Missal, from which we quote:

"Priests (and parish choirs) who want to use the new Missal for Mass now have a helpful guide. Orate Fratres, a CD guide for singing and saying the Mass in Latin according to the new Missale Romanum (2002) was released in December by the Association for Latin Liturgy of England, in collaboration with The Music Makers group. Association chairman Bernard Marriott said that the CD provides "an accurate guide both to the pronunciation of Church Latin and to the singing of the chant... It will be invaluable for priests and people to refer to when uncertainties arise. In addition to the standard Gregorian texts of the Mass, plus a useful selection of important Prefaces, the historic chants of Holy Week and the complete spoken Mass" are included. Adoremus's review of the CD confirms Mr Marriott's description. The careful diction in chanted texts by singer/reciter, Jeremy de Satgé, is noteworthy, and comes through well in a very clear recording."

Orate Fratres

This CD has been carefully compiled to fulfil the demand for an accurate guide to the pronunciation of Church Latin and singing of the Gregorian Mass texts. This has been inspired by the publication of the third official edition of the Missale Romanum (2002) which is clearly intended to be used on the altar. It is also evident that singing the Mass is to be preferred wherever possible, as the Pope St John Paull II consistently reminded us, so that "the beauty of music and song will return increasingly to the liturgy. It is intended principally to assist in the training of future priests in the seminaries, providing accurate guidance in intoning and singing their parts of the Mass in Latin. It was recorded for the Association by the late Jeremy de Satgé of The Music Makers who was a memeber of our Association.  The Music Makers have successfully provided such a CD of the Mass chants in English. The structure follows the Order of the Mass taken from the Missale Romanum beginning with the Greeting and ending with the Dismissal. It includes tones and conclusions for the Collect and Gospel, and seven complete Prefaces. In the Roman Canon those parts are included for which the Missal provides music, while Eucharistic Prayer III is given in full. Chants for Holy Week are also given, including: Ecce lignum crucis, Lumen Christi and the Exsultet. In addition to the chants of the Sung Mass, there is a clearly pronounced reading of the spoken Mass. We are sure that this resource will be widely welcomed and will lead even more of our future priests, and their congregations, to discover the joy of singing the Mass confidently in Latin.

Orate Fratres may be ordered online from:
Sales Price £12.00 including P&P

Orate Fratres


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