A Dialogue Mass (in Latin, Missa dialogata; also Missa recitata) is a Low Mass, in which the people recited some parts of the Latin text of the Tridentine Mass.


In November 1922, the Holy See's Sacred Congregation of the Council (now called the Congregation for Bishops) gave approval to the practice whereby "at least in religious houses and institutions for youth, all people assisting at the Mass make the responses at the same time with the acolytes", a practice that it declared praiseworthy in view of the evident desire expressed in papal documents "to instil into the souls of the faithful a truly Christian and collective spirit, and prepare them for active participation."[1]

The practice was already established in Belgium and in Germany, even before the First World War.[2]

Further warm approval was granted by the Sacred Congregation of Rites (corresponding to today's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments) on 30 November 1935, and on 3 September 1958.

In spite of this official encouragement, Dialogue Mass never became prevalent in English-speaking countries, and current celebrations of Tridentine Mass in these countries are in practice rarely structured as a Dialogue Mass. (The one exception in the English speaking world was Scotland, with its strong ties to many countries and especially to France, Scotland featured the Dialogue Mass at Edinburgh Cathedral, introduced there in the 1920s, and in the years that followed it became popular throughout the country.) In other countries, however, such as France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, the Dialogue Mass met with a greater acceptance. Quite a number of Tridentine Masses currently celebrated in these countries use the Dialogue Mass form.

Forms of Dialogue Mass

A minimum form of Dialogue Mass was, as indicated in the 1922 document referred to above, for the people to join with the servers in reciting the responses in the Ordinary of the Mass that fell to the servers.

In addition, the people could be allowed to recite those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass that are sung by all at a Missa Cantata: Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.

They were also allowed to recite with the priest the triple "Domine non sum dignus" that he said as part of the rite of Communion of the faithful, which, though not envisaged in the Ordinary of the Mass until after the Second Vatican Council, could be inserted into the celebration of Mass.

Rarely, the people also recited the Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons, which were sung by the choir at Solemn or High Mass.

The form, if any, to be used in a particular diocese was left to the discretion of the bishop.


See also

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