The Download—The Other Latin Rite Liturgies

News: Crisis in the Church
by Church Militant  •  •  January 29, 2016   

There's more to the story than just the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms

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Most Catholics are familiar with two liturgies in the Roman Rite (or jurisdiction): the Ordinary Form of the Mass and the Extraordinary Form. But what's not commonly known is that there are several other liturgies (also called rites) with just as storied histories and traditions. And what's more, you may be encountering them sooner rather than later.

Anglican Use of the Roman Rite: The subject of today's "Download," the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite is unusual in that it is new, as opposed to most of the other rites that hail from the first millennium. It was adapted for people leaving the Anglican Church and entering into the Catholic Church, and it is primarily used by the Anglican Ordinariate. It is essentially a "baptized" version of the modern Book of Common Prayer, with the additions needed to make it a valid Mass and expressing full Catholicity. Despite being based on books that spent 500 years outside the patrimony of the Church, there is much that an attendee of the Tridentine Rite would recognize.

The Ambrosian/Milanese Rite: The Ambrosian Rite is one of the larger Western rites, being celebrated by about five million people, all centered in the Milan region of Italy. Named after St. Ambrose, it's generally agreed that he is not its author. It's quite intricate, having its own liturgical year, vestments and cycle of readings. Much of the Mass is familiar but re-arranged, and it has some unique prayers.

The Mozarabic Rite: The Mozarabic Rite is ancient, and is extremely well documented considering its sheer age. The Mozarabic Rite is particularly interesting to liturgical scholars, even protestant ones, because of this. The term "Mozarab" means a non-Muslim who lives in Muslim-occupied territory in the Iberian Peninsula, and it was during the time in Spain's history that the Mozarabic liturgy came to be. While only celebrated on certain days in some parts of Spain, it's famous for its great pageantry and imagery. More recently, it was celebrated by Pope St. John Paul II twice.

In the years after Vatican II, these rites were threatened with suppression or being wiped away in the flood of liturgical chaos. Fortunately, they escaped such a fate and have been preserved. Now, with the Ordinary Rite subjected to numerous abuses, these three rites, along with the Extraordinary Form, are gaining more traction and attracting more attention. Instead of fading into history, they have become thriving pockets of tradition.


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