Why The Tridentine Lectionary Is Superior

Cardinal Sarah's rosewater conservative intervention about the mutual enrichment of the two masses (the wrong one and the right one) is in part based on the claim that there is no doubt that the Lectionary of the NO is superior to the Tridentine one.

This is wrong on many levels. Let me explain why.

Firstly, and as already written, the Tridentine Lectionary is the fruit of a long process of slow development, and the Lectionary of the NO is the fruit of a short process of fast subversion. It is not that before the Sixties the Liturgists didn't realise you can have a three-year, massive scripture-reading program. It is that in their wisdom, they chose to do otherwise. This is argument enough for me, and is the most important one. Tradition. Get it?

Secondly, whoever is acquainted with the Tridentine Lectionary notices a trend in particularly (but not only) the Gospel readings: it is pithy, concentrated wisdom. At times it strikes one like a whip. It is chosen as to be a flash to be remembered, rather than a story to be told. It works.

Thirdly, and as pointed out by more learned bloggers than yours truly, the Lectionary of the Tridentine has a muscular, masculine, politically incorrect, unapologetic quality that Bugnini & Co. thought well to neuter, to emasculate. Fifty years later, many (bad) churchgoers and even more (worse) non-churchgoers think that Jesus was a pacifist vegan of sort. The NO Jesus is one-sided, and therefore distorted.

Fourthly, the Mass is not there to make you listen to the Scriptures. The scriptures are learned and interiorised as you learn and interiorise Catholic doctrine: at catechism and with private, devotional reading. Tellingly, the generation who was exposed to more Gospel reading at Mass than any generation before them is also the most ignorant of both doctrine and scripture, and the most incapable of making sense of the little they learn. In contrast, past generations of illiterate peasants knew way more of Catholicism than the arrogant, vapid degree-holders full of themselves crowding (not so much, really) the churches today.

Therefore, the Lectionary of the Tridentine is superior to the one of the NO in its logic, in its impact, in its truthfulness and in its pedagogic scope.

The V II crowd, Cardinals not excluded, do not get any of these arguments. To them, he who has more words wins.

Then we are surprised that we are in the state in which we find ourselves these days.



Posted on July 25, 2017, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. The NOM Lectionary was created with the sole purpose of disenfranchising thes TLM Missal and therefore dishonest.

  2. Perfectly and succinctly stated, Mundabor. I bang my head on the keyboard every time another Priest, Bishop, Cardinal or regular “conservative” Catholic blathers on about mutual enrichment or the reform of the reform/blending of Masses. Can’t. Be. Done.

  3. The only enrichment will be making the Bugnini liturgy into some sort of vernacular version of the True Mass with prayers at the foot of the altar (and a proper altar again for that matter), the Mass which attained a stable form between 340-370 AD, which Pope St Gregory the Great made modest changes. The Montini liturgy is inferior and defective in every respect.

    • I must disagree. There is no need for a “vernacular” Mass. Latin was chosen as the language of the Mass because of its beauty, richness, and solemnity.

      The only way forward is the way back: Mass in Latin for the Catholics of Roman Rite.

  4. Thank you, Mr. Mundabor! This is a great analysis of this important issue – logical, short and smart. Why read entire books and scholarly studies on it when it is quite simple? Heretics changed the tradition and the fruit is rotten. It is the same, 50 y old story.

  5. Hello, Mr. Mundabor!

    Regarding your comment on there being no need for a vernacular Mass, of course, I don’t disagree with you. I, myself, attend the TLM and have defended the point you make to inquiring friends and relatives whom I manage to shanghai into accompanying me to the TLM.


    1. Abp. Lefebvre seems to have been in favour of permitting the use of the vernacular in the Mass of the Catechumens:

    2. What are we to make of the longstanding practice of the Orthodox (and the Eastern Catholics) of using the vernacular (or archiac forms of the vernacular frozen in the liturgical text so that it becomes a sort of liturgical language) wholly or partially in their Divine Liturgy?

    Perhaps (part of) the solution is to be found in what Christine Mohrmann said: that our modern vernaculars do not yet have the resources to construct sacral stylisation suitable for use in the liturgy?

    What is your take on this?


    • I never said that you shouldn’t attend a good NO. Quite the contrary. But this does not mean that I and Lefebvre don’ want it dead.

      Also, I have explicitly mentioned the Roman rite. Of course there are other rites with their own languages, which the Church has always allowed.

  6. P.S. A couple of related points:

    1. Several commentators have speculated on the below post that the so-called “Anglican Missal” would be appropriate for the Anglican Ordinariate. Perhaps someone with experience and knowledge can tell us if this can be considered an instance of a “sacral stylisation” of the vernacular:

    2. If I understand right, the “Western-Rite Orthodox” seem to already created a vernacular version of the TLM which they have dubbed “Divine Liturgy of St. Gregory,” in addition to using the Anglican Missal to create a “Divine Liturgy of Saint Tikhon:”

  7. Hello again, Mr. Mundabor!

    It appears I have not communicated my thoughts precisely. Apologies for the confusion.

    1. My interest is not in “finding a good modern mass” because I agree with you 100% that “There is no need” and that “What your grand-grandma needed is all you need.” In fact, just a month ago, I was engaged in a discussion with a “conservative Catholic” friend, pointing out to him the intrinsic defects of the Missal of Paul VI.

    2. I am merely wondering aloud about the desirability of having a *few parts* of the *Traditional (Tridentine) Latin Mass* in the vernacular. Please note, I’m not enthusiastically pushing this idea, merely specuating tentatively if it would be in any way desirable or helpful. That’s all.

    3. Many knowledgeable people have opined on this idea. e.g., in the comments section here:

    4. As an example, for reasons of expediency, it appears that at least at on one occasion, Chinese priests have been trained by an SSPX priest to say the Traditional Latin Mass in Chinese. (in the below document, pg5, middle paragraph)

    Click to access Interview_Fr._Couture.pdf

    5. Of course, this is currently not possible to legitimately implement since (to the extent of my knowledge, at least) there is currently no authorised text of the vernacular for the Traditional Latin Mass. Perhaps in the far future, when the dust has settled and Tradition has been completely restored to the Church, this could be taken up for consideration by a holy and wise future Pope.


    • Good Lord, man!
      No, no and no!
      Dozen of generations before ours have given this question a resounding “no”.
      Latin is right because it’s beautiful, solemn, precise, and most fitting to the Mass.
      The matter was closed before V II. It should not be reopened now.

%d bloggers like this: