Roman Rite


  • Latin: ritus romanus


The manner of celebrating Mass, administering the Sacraments (and sacramentals), reciting the Divine Office, and performing other ecclesiastical functions, as done in the City and Diocese of Rome. It had its origin in the more or less common but variable rite of the first three centuries. Little is known of its development up to about the 7th century. From then on, however, the history of the Roman Rite is fairly clear. As far as the Mass is concerned, it is practically the same today as in the time of Pope Gregory the Great. It is the constant tradition that Gregory was the last to make any change in the Canon. The Roman Rite still bears clear traces of its place of origin, Rome. The Missal notes the Roman stations, honors with special solemnity the Roman martyrs and popes. Some feasts are commemorations of local Roman events. At first it was used in the Roman Province only, but by degrees, from the 8th century, it spread throughout the West, until in the 12th century it was used wherever Latin was used, except at Milan and parts of Spain. The reason for this spread was the fact that bishops thought they could do no better than to introduce the rite used by the supreme Bishop of Christendom. During the Middle Ages the Roman Rite branched out into a great number of other rites, differing only in unimportant details. Most of these derived rites were abolished by Pope Pius V in 1570, but the Roman Rite had already been influenced by, and received additions from both the Gallican and Spanish rites. The Roman Rite is the one used most extensively today. It is the exclusive rite of the Latin Patriarchate and with the exception of Milan, Toledo, and the Byzantine Churches of Southern Italy, Sicily, and Corsica, is used throughout all of Western Europe, and in all countries colonized from there. Priests of other rites, however, observe their respective liturgies even within these limits, just as priests of the Roman Rite observe theirs even though situated in the East. The language of the Roman Rite is Latin except for a few churches along the eastern coast of the Adriatic, where Slavonic is used, and on rare occasions, Greek at Rome.

MLA Citation

  • “Roman Rite”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 June 2010. Web. 4 December 2021. <>