The Tridentine Mass
was the principal form of the liturgy
of the Roman Catholic Church
from approximately 1540-1560 to 1970. The liturgy (and consequential theology
) is known as Tridentine because the missal
(prayer book) revisions were finalized at the Council of Trent
The purpose of Tridentine reform was to standardize the liturgy. From the earliest days of Christianity
to the late Renaissance
, liturgies varied from town to town, ethnic region to ethnic region, and even within monastic
orders! A new liturgy provided for a Mass
recognizable throughout the entire Catholic world.
In this liturgy, the priest does not stand at a table-like, free standing altar
, but stands at an altar that is like a ledge, usually set in a niche
) or against a wall. He faces towards the apse, away from the people, except to move to invite them to prayer or to engage in liturgical dialogue with the congregation.
The liturgy is entirely in Latin (The Bible
readings may be repeated in the vernacular
to be followed by a sermon
in the same common language, but re-readings and sermons are optional. They are considered external to the liturgy. For this reason, pulpit
s in churches designed before Vatican II
are frequently located outside of the sanctuary
and altar rail
s. (Sometimes pulpits are found projecting into the middle of the nave
, but this may be more for voice amplification
.) The priest dialogues with the people primarily when giving blessings and greetings, such as the following:
NB: in Latin and English respectively, "Sacerdos" is "Priest", "Congregatio" is "Congregation."
Greeting during Mass
(Said when the priest turns from the altar to invite the people to prayer:)
Sacerdos: Dominus vobiscum.
Priest: The Lord be with you.
Congregatio: et cum spiritu tuo.
Congregation: and with your spirit.
Priest: Let us pray.
Blessing at the end of Mass
Sacerdos: Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus. Amen.
Priest: May Almighty God bless you: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.