Diocese of Rome bans pre-Vatican II Triduum rites – but does this include Easter Sunday?

It is widely reported, e.g. here, that the Diocese of Rome has banned the pre-Vatican II liturgy during the Easter Triduum in the implementation of Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes. It is also prohibited in Rome to celebrate other sacraments and sacramentals except Mass from the pre-Vatican II missal. In accord with the motu proprio, any priest who wishes to celebrate the preconciliar rite must secure permission from the diocese. The readings at such Masses must be proclaimed in the Italian translation approved by the Italian bishops.

A Pray Tell reader helpfully points out that the meaning of “Easter Triduum” has changed since the liturgical reform. Previously the reference was to “Triduum ante Pascha,” which did not include Easter Sunday. Now, the Easter Triduum begins with the Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper and concludes with Vespers (Evening Prayer II) of Easter Sunday.

The significant of this is that the recent decree from the diocese of Rome most likely does not prohibit the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass on Easter Sunday in the diocese of Rome.


  1. I hope that it does. These people need to understand that just because Pope Francis is enacting a revolution of tenderness, that doesn’t mean some will not be smacked down hard. They also need to get with the program and start pretending as though the last 30 years haven’t happened.

    1. So the whole concept of synodality and decentralization from Rome is appropriate only if we like the results?

      If the bishops are to be the custodians of tradition and the liturgy, why not have 196 authentic expressions of the Latin Rite in the U.S., one for each diocese? Why not allow each bishop to decide for his diocese if mass can be celebrated according to the 1962 missal? Why not allow each bishop to decide if he wants to erect parishes dedicated to the celebration of the 1962 missal? Why not allow each bishop to decide if a priest ordained in 2022 can celebrate the mass according to the 1962 missal?

      1. For those who accept Vatican II no explanation is necessary, for those who don’t, no explanation will suffice. And no, don’t ask me to point to any explicit conciliar statements to support this, that’s not how ecumenical councils work.

  2. This seems remarkable ungenerous. Of course, I don’t know the situation on the ground in Rome, but it seems somewhat mean spirited to tell the FSSP that they can’t use the 1962 Missal in their parish for the Triduum, particularly since they we founded to use that Missal. I hesitate to say this, because it might give people ideas, but it seems that it would be a lot more honest to just disband the FSSP entirely.

      1. Yeah, Altieri is a bit over the top. His last three paragraphs don’t exactly reflect a well-grounded understanding of Vatican II. He’s doing some either-or thinking that seems not to understand what Vatican II meant when it reformed the old rite out of existence. IMHO.

      2. Anthony, I think we have a fundamental difference on whether or not the 1962 Missal is compatible with the account Vatican II gives of the Church and the Liturgy. I might think that the reformed liturgy given *better* expression to the insights of Lumen Gentium and Sacrosanctum Conclium, but still not think that the unreformed liturgy is *in*compatible with them. I have the impression that you think otherwise.

      3. Fritz, apart from my personal appraisal, I think otherwise about what the fathers of Vatican II thought there were doing. All of SC makes clear that they thought there were reforming the exiting rite, and that the reformed rite would replace the current one. I see no evidence anywhere in SC that they thought the current rite would or could or should remain in use. Paul VI certainly took this view in implementing the liturgical reform.

      4. Anthony, I don’t disagree that the bishops at the Council intended a revision/reform of the Missal and other rites, and presumed that earlier editions would be superseded. My only disagreement is about whether the 1962 Missal is by its nature incompatible with the theology of Vatican II, which is the position I take you to hold. I don’t deny that adherence to then unreformed liturgy has become for many a sign of resistance to the theological developments marked by Vatican II, but I see this as accidental rather than essential.

    1. I think it’s up to the FSSP to discern its charism. No doubt, plainchant, ars celebrandi, good art and architecture need a lot of attention. Christopher Altieri is unconvincing.

    2. I don’t see any difference between this ban and banning members of the NeoCatechumenal Way from having their own parallel Easter Triduum, which is what they have demanded in a number of parishes in the past and maybe still do. It’s a manifestation of the same thing on different wings of the Church.

      Viewed in this way, it seems that the primary motivation for the ban is a desire for parish unity at this most important time of the liturgical year. It’s also a way of conserving dwindling clergy resources, in those parishes where the pastor is serving two different rites out of pastoral solicitude.

      Obviously where a parish is designated as a special place for pastoring those who prefer the preconciliar rite, such as the FSSP parish named in the decree, it’s a different story. But one can imagine situations where Father X, who each weekend celebrates, say, three Masses in the postconciliar rite and one in the preconciliar rite, might decide that his Triduum this year is going to be preconciliar. That seems to me to be what this decree is aimed at.

      1. Paul, I totally agree about Father X (or, more likely, Fr. Z), and one would think it is obvious that the FSSP parish would be a different case, but the decree is explicit in denying them the ability to celebrate the Triduum according to the 1962 Missal.

        every day, except the Easter Triduum, the faithful may participate in the celebration of the Eucharist according to the Missale Romanum of 1962 in the parish of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini (cf. art. 3 §5, Traditionis Custodes)

  3. I wonder why you’re so sure to interpret this as “most likely” not prohibiting the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass on Easter Sunday. In a letter so adamant to stress that all previous forms are abrogated it seems to me that all legal and technical terms should be interpreted using their current meaning, if not explicitly stated otherwise. I concede that both interpretations are possible looking at the wording of the provisions – but considering the line of reasoning in the letter, my interpretation would rather be that it’s most likely that the drafter of the provisions hadn’t thought of the changes in the use of the word “triduum” and meant to sanction only novus ordo liturgy for Easter – including Easter Sunday.

  4. I thought the issue was that there is to be one Triduum in the parish. Everyone who can come together should do so for the Paschal feasts, even if at other times there are separate groups.

    1. If that is the reasoning then why prohibit the use of the old Missal for the Triduum in a parish specifically established for its use?

      1. Perhaps so that those Catholics will join in the normative rites for (at least) the Triduum?

      2. But why is that important? It isn’t like anything fundamentally different is happening at the old rite Triduum. The FSSP church celebrating the old Triduum doesn’t prevent anyone else from celebrating according to the new rite.

        It seems very disruptive to demand everyone change gears – musically, ceremonially, etc., for three days out of the entire liturgical year to a rite they don’t typically celebrate.

      3. Hi Jack, I am only guessing here, but my thought is that Christian initiation at the Easter Vigil would be celebrated according to the reformed rites, and that would indeed be different from the 1962 books. If the older ritual isn’t to be followed for baptisms, it would require a hybrid service to baptize at the Vigil and that seems unlikely.

      4. If true, it would seem they created a problem that didn’t exist so they could solve it in an unpastoral way. Couldn’t they just allow them to use the older ritual? They are the FSSP church, after all.

    2. If that concept were meant to include the Sunday of the Resurrection, it would mean only one Mass on Sunday, as with the three preceding liturgies.

      1. No Karl Liam, it has never been that way. From the fifth century when Easter Sunday Masses first appeared, they were overflow Masses for those who could not get into the Triduum. There’s never been only one Easter Sunday Mass, but the Triduum has a different tradition.

      2. Rita

        I agree. Which is then an argument for not construing “Triduum” in this context to include the Masses on the Sunday of the Resurrection.

  5. Reading the details yesterday, the thing that struck me most was the requirement that in all Masses celebrated in the preconciliar rite in the diocese of Rome the readings must be in the 2008 Italian translation authorized by the Italian bishops’ conference.

    I am sure that this stipulation will cause infinitely more fury than an insistence on the Triduum celebrated in the postconciliar rite (and see my other comment above for a possible rationale for a unified Triduum), where the solution is simply to go to the FSSP parish if that’s what you are looking for. And yes, I think Altieri is wrong to interpret this decree as banning the preconciliar Triduum at the FSSP parish.

  6. Alteri says, “[That] parish exists to serve God with the rites established at Rome in the earliest centuries of the Church’s life,”
    Well, since when is the Tridentine rite “the earliest centuries of the Church’s life?” It is precisely the VCII rite which reflects the Roman rite in the earliest centuries. But the traditionalists are all about every development up to the 19th Century.

    1. Basic facts of liturgical history seem to be one of the first casualties of the Roman Catholic liturgical “traditionalist” struggles.

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