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Quo Primum Tempore

Pope St. Pius V's Perpetual Authorization for the Tridentine Mass

Pius Episcopus 

    From the earliest time, on having assumed the Apostolic See, We gladly turned Our mind and strength, and directed Our thoughts to those matters which pertain to the preservation of a pure worship, and We strove with God's help, by every means in Our power, to accomplish this purpose. Because, among the other decrees of the Council of Trent, it was mandated for Us to edit and emend the sacred books; the Catechism, the Missal, and the Breviary. With God's help the Catechism has now been published for the education of the people. The Breviary has been revised so that we may pay our debt to God through worthy praise. In order that the Missal and the Breviary may be in harmony, as is proper and convenient (for it is highly to be commended that in the Church of God there be one manner of chanting the Psalms and one ritual for the celebration of Mass) We deemed it necessary to devote Our efforts to the remaining part, which We had been contemplating from the beginning, the editing of that same Missal. Therefore We directed this demanding work to a group of select scholarly men of Our choosing. Carefully, they collated their work with the codices of Our Vatican Library, and with other incorrupt and reliably restored manuscripts. They also consulted the works of the ancient and approved authors who left these sacred rites to us. In this way, they have restored a pristine Missal, in the form and rite of the holy Fathers. After careful examination and criticism, with mature consideration, in order that all might enjoy the fruits of this labor, We have ordered that a first impression be printed and published at Rome, so that priests may know what prayers to use, and what rites and ceremonies they are to observe from now on in the celebration of Mass. 

    So that the rite of the Holy Roman Church, the mother and teacher of all churches, may be adopted and observed everywhere, henceforth perpetually, in all future times, throughout the provinces of the Christian world; in Patriarchates, Cathedrals, Colleges, and Parishes, whether secular or those of religious orders; in monasteries, whether of men or of women, as well as in the military orders, even in churches and chapels without the cure of souls; when High Mass is sung aloud with a choir, or in Masses merely recited; those who by custom or law celebrate in accordance with the rites and customs of the Roman Church are to make use of this Missal edited by Us for the chanting and reading of Mass. Likewise, even if these churches have been in any way exempted, whether by indult of the Apostolic See, by custom, privilege, even judgements of the Apostolic See or any other means -- unless from the first institution or approval by the Apostolic See, or by custom, they have employed a different rite of Mass continuously for over two hundred years, in which case We in no way revoke their right or custom. However, if this Missal, which We have seen fit to publish seems more agreeable to the latter, they may, with the consent of their Bishop, Prelate, or their whole Chapter, celebrate Mass according to its rite, everything to the contrary notwithstanding. All of the other churches mentioned are hereby denied the use of other missals, which are to be entirely abandoned. To this Missal which We have edited, nothing is to be added or subtracted, nor may anything be altered, under penalty of Our wrath. This present constitution We order and ordain in perpetuity. We command each and every Patriarch, Administrator, and other persons of whatever ecclesiastical dignity, be they even Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence. By virtue of their holy obedience We order them to discontinue the use the of rubrics and rites of other Missals, no matter how ancient, which they have been accustomed to follow. They are to chant or read the Mass according to the rite, manner and norms of this Missal now given by Us. They must not, in celebrating Mass, introduce any ceremonies nor add or recite any prayers not contained in this Missal.

     Furthermore, by these presents, in virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, We concede and grant, in perpetuity, that for the chanting or reading of Mass in whatever church, this Missal may be followed absolutely, without scruple of conscience, or fear of any other penalty, sentence, or censure, and may be used freely and lawfully. Nor are Superiors, Administrators, Canons, Chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious by whatever order or title designated, obliged to celebrate Mass otherwise than ordered by Us. We likewise order and declare that no one is to be forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document can never be revoked or modified but always will remain valid and in full force. Previous constitutions and decrees of the Holy See, general and special constitutions and edicts of provincial or synodal councils, the practice and custom of the aforementioned churches, established by long and immemorial prescription -- saving only usages over two hundred years -- to the contrary notwithstanding.

    It is, therefore, Our will, and by the same authority We decree that after Our constitution and this edition of the Missal have been published, it will be required to be used to sing or read Mass by the priests of the Roman Curia within one month; by others on this side of the alps within three months; and by those on the other side of the alps within six months, or as soon as it becomes available for sale. In order for the Missal to be kept incorrupt throughout the world and be preserved from flaws and errors, the penalty for non-observance by printers, subject directly or indirectly to the Holy Roman Church, will be the forfeiture of their books and a fine of one hundred gold ducats automatically payable to the Treasury. Those resident elsewhere will be subject to excommunication by an ecclesiastical tribunal, and to other penalties at Our discretion. We decree by Our same Apostolic Authority and these same presents that they must receive license to print from Us or from the Apostolic Commissaries which We will appoint; that they must receive a copy of this Missal from the Apostolic Commissary to serve as a standard of comparison for subsequent copies, and that the copies must in no way vary from the impression made in the City [Rome]; and that they must not presume to print, publish, sell, or receive such books without Our license. Truly, since it would be difficult for Us to send these letters to all of the parts of the Christian world and have them arrive simultaneously, We direct that they be published and posted as usual at the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, at the Apostolic Chancery, and at the edge of the Campo Flori. Printed copies, signed by a Notary Public, and authenticated under the seal of an ecclesiastical dignitary will possess the same indubitable validity everywhere, and in every nation, as though Our own manuscript be displayed there. Therefore no one at all is permitted to infringe or fearlessly contravene this page of Our permissions, statutes, ordinances, commands, precepts, concessions, indults, declarations, will, decrees and prohibitions. Should anyone presume to do so, let him know that he will incur the wrath of almighty God and the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

    Given in Rome at St. Peter's in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord one thousand five hundred and seventy, on the fourteenth of July, the fifth year of Our Pontificate. 


    From the birth of our Lord, the year 1570, the 13th indiction, the 19th day of July, by the grace of God the fifth year of His pontificate, our most Holy Father and Lord Pius V, examined and ordered these letters to be affixed at the gates of the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, at the Apostolic Chancery, and at the edge of the Campo Flori, as is customary, and this was done by Joannem Andream Rogerium and Philibertum Cappuis Scribes.

Master of Scribes.


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