By early 1992, this Mass was being offered in approximately 110 U.S. parishes, representing fifty percent of the U.S. dioceses. The fact that almost every month, another Mass location is added to the list, indicates its increasing popularity. A 1990 Gallup poll commissioned by the St. Augustine Center Association showed that 76% of Catholics in America would attend the Traditional Latin Mass if it were readily available in their parishes.
Why is This Mass Sometimes Called the “Tridentine” Mass?
“Tridentine” refers to the Council of Trent (1545-63), one of the aims of which was to unify liturgical practice in the Western Church. Pope St. Pius V achieved this goal in 1570 by issuing the Roman Missal, which was based on the oldest and most venerable western liturgies. Pius V commanded that this single rite of celebrating Mass be used throughout the Church. However, exceptions were made for rites that had been in continuous use for at least 200 years.
Latin is the official language of the Roman Catholic Church, and has been used as a liturgical language in the West since the third century. The unchanging nature of the Latin language has preserved the orthodox doctrine of the Mass handed down from the early Church Fathers. The use of Latin for the Mass and official Church documents has fundamentally supported the universality and unity of the Church, two of the four marks of the Church founded by Jesus Christ. Although the Traditional Mass is said or sung in Latin, most of the faithful participating in the Liturgy use their own prayer books, which have the Latin text accompanied by its vernacular translation.
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