Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Response to Questions Concerning Use of the 1962 Roman Missal, 1998. Private.

This entry concerns several questions surrounding the use of this indult. Does the public celebration of the Mass using the 1962 Missale Romanum need permission of the local ordinary? What is the canonical legislation concerning the celebration of these Masses? Can a Mass attended by a congregation of over a hundred people in a public meeting room be considered private? The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei responds to these questions. (Both letters are English originals.)

Monsignor Camille Perl


Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei

Vatican City State

Dear Monsignor Perl,

This letter regards a question of policy and Church law concerning the celebration of the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum.

Does a publicly celebrated and advertised Mass using the 1962 Missale Romanum need the permission of the local ordinary, even if the priest who is celebrating the Mass has a celebret? It is permissible for a visiting priest who is not incardinated in the local diocese (but has priestly faculties elsewhere), to celebrate a Mass using the 1962 Missale Romanum in a public place (specifically a hotel meeting room), without first seeking permission from the local ordinary? Is there any Church legislation which spells out that the celebration of such traditional Masses is under the authority of the local bishop? Finally, can a Mass be considered a “private Mass” when it is attended by a congregation over 100 in a public meeting room?

I would greatly appreciate your clarification on this matter.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Diocesan Official

pg. 856

pg. 857
Dear Father,

Thank you for your letter. We will deal with your queries regarding the celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum in the order in which you have raised them.

1. The celebret for the use of the 1962 Roman Missal granted by this Pontifical Commission only pertains to the private use of that Missal. A public celebration of the traditional Latin Mass always requires the permission of the local ordinary.

2. A priest who is in good standing in his own diocese but not incardinated in your diocese should ask permission of the local diocesan bishop to celebrate Mass in a hotel meeting room. This is also the case if he intends to celebrate the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal. Good order in the Church requires this.

3. As you know, the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962 remains a matter of the prudent pastoral judgment of the local bishop whose responsibility it is “to control, promote and protect the entire liturgical life of the Church entrusted to him” (Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops Christus Dominus 15; Code of Canon Law, canon 838). Your Bishop has generously provided for those who are “attached to the Latin liturgical tradition” (Ecclesia Dei 6, c) and it remains a matter for his prudential judgment as to whether to permit the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass in a hotel meeting room.

4. A Mass which has been publicly advertised in advance as a part of a forum which anticipates over 100 participants can never be considered a “private Mass”.

We wish to commend you on your concern about this matter and for the valuable pastoral service which you render to those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition.

With prayerful best wishes, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Msgr. Camille Perl


RRAO (1998): 9-11.