Why are Tridentine Latin Rite Catholic Churches Excluded from the Category: Catholic Church?

+4 votes

I'm looking to categorize some Tridentine Latin Rite Catholic Churches and read in this category - https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Catholic_Church - a statement that is broad and therefore I consider to be problematic and I so I am seeking to bring this to the attention of those with an interest.

As the term Catholic Church is used on Wikitree, it does not include

* ...

* Tridentine Latin Rite Catholic Church
* ...
Categories for these excluded churches not in communion with the Pope in Rome should be separate subcategories under Category: Catholicism when they are created.

The problem I see is that there are Tridentine Latin Rite Catholic Churches in full communion, partial communion and no communion with the Pope in Rome and lumping them all together is problematic.  The above quoted statement will be incorrect and offensive to some while to others it will be welcomed and true.

Those in Full communion can be further broken down into sub-groups:-
* Catholic Churches where Tridentine Latin Rite Masses are said under direct authority of the local Ordinary (Bishop) and have Ordinary Jurisdiction in all the Catholic Sacraments,
* Tridentine Latin Rite Churches run by priests of Tridentine Latin Rite priestly societies, such as the Fraternity of Saint Peter who operate with the permission of Rome and the local Ordinary (Bishop) and have Ordinary Jurisdiction in all the Catholic Sacraments,
* Churches where Tridentine Latin Rite Masses are said by the religious of instituted traditional monasteries, such as the Institute of Christ the King who operate with the permission of Rome and have Ordinary Jurisdiction in most if not all the Catholic Sacraments,

Those in Partial communion can be further broken down into sub-groups that may be harder to define because their canonical situation may be under temporary sanction (fluid) or subjected to the judgement of differing personal opinions:-
* Tridentine Latin Rite Churches of priestly Societies canonically established but under some sort of Canonical sanction but which still have Jurisdiction (Papal mandate and Supplied) over some or all of the Catholic Sacraments, For example Society of St Pius X which was canonically established, but is only partially in communion with the Pope of Rome because of disobedience and the resulting canonical sanction but they continue to operate outside of Ordinary Jurisdiction but with however Jurisidiction over some Catholic Sacraments (ie confession) due to direct mandate of Pope Francis and access what is called Supplied Jurisdiction for the other Catholic Sacraments.

* Tridentine Latin Rite Churches of Bishops and priestly groups not canonically established but who recognize Francis as the Pope of Rome but because of disobedience to the Pope and Local Ordinary are under canonical sanction but which still have access to Supplied Jurisdiction over some or all of the Catholic Sacraments, For example Marion Corps of St Pius X, which is made up of former priests expelled or split without doctrinal change from the SSPX.

Those Not in communion with Pope in Rome can be further broken down into sub-groups but probably for this instance it too technical and is unnecessary.  These groups do not recognize Pope Francis as their Pope (or some that he is not a pope at all) and for various reasons either declare there is no current Pope, or there is a Pope but is someone else that they have nominated either as known(named), hidden(not publicly revealed) or unknown. Examples of such groups are CRMI and Society of St Pius V.


It has been brought to my attention that this quoted statement above, ie. that "the term Catholic Church is used on Wikitree, it does not include, Tridentine Latin Rite Catholic Churches", is grossly historically inaccurate as it is likely that most of the people on wikitree who have been categorized as belonging to any of the various Catholic Churches categorized here did infact attend Tridentine [Latin Rite] masses as the usual and only mass at the Catholic Church at which they belonged.  This applies to almost all Roman Catholic churches prior to 1970.

in Policy and Style by Veni Joyner G2G6 Mach 1 (18.8k points)
edited by Veni Joyner
Veni, you have grasped the problem and I hope that those who categorize the branches of the Catholic church on Wikitree will pay attention.  My family attends a Society of St Pius X chapel here in Washington State, USA. The difficulty for genealogists as I see it is in locating parish records.  These are not diocesan records and one would have to ask where the family attended Mass; even if the chapel records were available it often happens that the sacraments are administered elsewhere.  In my son's case, he was baptized at a diocesan church in Oregon,  but the baptism was erased from the register for reasons unclear.
Indeed Margaret, I agree there is a foreseeable difficulty for future genealogists trying to identify where a family attended being compounded by sacraments being administered elsewhere such as a trend happening at the Brisbane SSPX chapel that is of the young couples holding their wedding at a beautiful old Chapel, (which normally has the new mass but still has a configuration suitable for a Latin Mass) with the diocesan priest performing the wedding itself with their usual SSPX priest invited to perform the traditional Latin Nuptual Mass.  For all intents and purposes, the wedding notices indicate the wedding taking place in a parish that neither groom nor bride have ever otherwise attended. The Banns are read at the SSPX church but which priest or will both record the wedding in their parish records?
Also another trend is for the Brisbane SSPX faithful to have their traditional Latin rite funeral masses at grander diocesan chapels, again with the Mass itself performed by the SSPX priest.  But the funeral notices show a Catholic church of a parish they don't usually attend... And which parish record keeps the death details?
Margaret, you should correct the records at the parish where your son was baptized.  Present a copy of the baptismal certificate, and photos, if possible.  It really IS important to have the "paper trail," especially for reception of later sacraments, including Matrimony.
We prepared an affidavit of his baptism that my husband and I signed; that was sufficient for his First Communion and Confirmation.

4 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer

What appears on the category page for Category: Catholic Church is a first step in the effort to untangle and disambiguate the existing categories we had for specific denominations of churches in the religion of Catholicism under the recently adopted Principles and Formatting Guidelines for Religious Categories.  The point was to focus on the way the institutions organized and named themselves rather than upon the rites utilized in worship or other similarities and differences among denominations.

This was part of the reason the decision was made not to use the term Roman Catholic in category names.  The other reason not to use the term Roman Catholic was because viewing Wikitree as a whole, there were more categories that did not use the word "Roman" than those which did for churches in the hierarchy headed by the Pope in Rome.

Moving on from how the category was named to what was intended to be put under it, the intent was to use Category: Catholic Church for that hierarchical institution which is generally organized into dioceses and archdioceses and then mostly episcopal conferences generally arranged by country and headed by the Pope.   The intent was that other churches within Catholicism  which are not part of this particular hierarchical structure would get their own hierarchies of categories under Catholicism following their particular hierarchies.  It was also intended that users be able to consult the Wikipedia page on the structured view for Dioceses of the Catholic Church for help in figuring out how to name and nest categories in this part of the hierarchy.  

It appears that we need to fix some of the language in the description on the category page for Category: Catholic Church.  First, we need to remove the language about communion with the Pope because as is explained in this thread, there are different levels of communion with the church headed by the Pope and different roles for the Pope in different levels of communion.  Most importantly, communion with the church headed by the Pope does not mean that the church is part of this particular hierarchy headed by the Pope. 

Next, we need to change the language about the Tridentine Latin Rite. We need language which shows the intent to focus on whether the church in question is part of the institutional hierarchy of dioceses and episcopal conferences of the Catholic Church headed by the Pope regardless of the rites practiced.

Third, we need to figure out how to organize categories reflecting the hierarchies of other institutions within Catholicism but not part of the hierarchy of dioceses and episcopal conferences headed by the Pope.


by Mary Jensen G2G6 Mach 9 (98.4k points)
selected by Veni Joyner

Well said Mary.

Maybe this category...

Category: Catholic Church

should instead be named  Category: Diocesan Catholic Church.

Veni and others, 

A category name of Diocesan Catholic Church would not be what anyone would expect the category to be named, especially in light of the guideline to name categories for institutions and denominations according to the name the institution or denomination itself uses where possible. This institution calls itself the Catholic Church and that is the name by which it is widely recognized.  Unless we have a category with this name, people are going to keep creating a category with this name and using it for this church.  So naming the category Diocesan Catholic Church would likely create more problems than it would solve.  And we do not have a project which would monitor these categories and keep correcting them.

Most other institutions and denomination within Catholicism have additional words in their names which distinguish them from this church and which properly describe them and can be used for categories for their institutions when they are created.

All of these institutions and denomination are under the umbrella of Category: Catholicism maintaining each of their claims to be the original catholic and apostolic faith.

I have revised the language on the page for Category: Catholic Church to make it clear that the description for that category is referring only to what is and is not intended to be grouped together within Wikitree categories (not laying claim to what Catholic Church means elsewhere in Wikitree). \

I also revised the language to remove the 23 autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches as they are not part of this particular hierarchical institution headquartered at the Vatican and led by the Pope even though they are in full communion with it.

That leaves us room to create categories for each institution asserting that it practices Catholicism according to its own hierarchy and to draw these hierarchies of categories together under Category: Catholicism.

Getting back to the churches celebrating the Tridentine Latin mass - categories should be created for each individual church and the the individual church categories should be nested in a hierarchy fitting the particular hierarchical institution they are a part of.  

–4 votes
Are you aware that all Christian churches believe in one Catholic and Holy Church, (in the pure sense) but they are not Roman Catholic .

The big difference is

Roman Catholics follow the pope first

Christian Churches follow Christ first

I have been a member of both types.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
G'day Marion, I too have been a member of both Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches but I think your comment is both inaccurate and unhelpful to this thread.

If you want to have a religious discussion feel free to private message me.
I am sorry, I was just trying to make the point I believe Roman Catholic Church is more accurate. But if it is contentious to you, I withdraw my comment , I don’t wish to offend.

Ahh so your comment is not so directed as to whether or not the Catholic Church is Christian but whether this category...

Category: Catholic Church

should instead be named  Category: Roman Catholic Church.

I have no problem with that but it is still somewhat outside the scope of this thread.  If however the Tridentine Mass Catholic churches are to remain excluded from this category I would propose that the name of this category should perhaps be changed to Category: Novus Ordo Rite Catholic Church because the Novus Ordo Rite is exclusive of the Tridentine Rite and vice versa. However it is grossly inaccurate to indicate that the Catholic Church is exclusive of Tridentine Rite Catholic Churches.

Nearly all Roman Catholic churches before the introduction of the Novus Ordo Rite in about 1969 were in fact Latin Rite (Tridentine Mass) Catholic churches.   Pope Paul VI promulgated the revised rite of Mass [the Novus Ordo or New Order Rite ] with his Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum of 3 April 1969, setting the first Sunday of Advent at the end of that year as the date on which it would enter into force. 

G'day Marion.  I found this explanation reference in


Some people prefer the use of the term Roman Catholic for the religion headed by the Pope in Rome. Uniformity is necessary for categories to work. As nearly all the existing categories for this religion use the term Catholic without the modifier Roman and all other churches using the term "Catholic" in their names use additional words which serve to distinguish them, and the Catholic Church appears to prefer the term Catholic Church to encompass all the church in communion with the Pope including the Eastern rite and rites other than the Roman rite, a decision has been made not to change the existing category names to Roman Catholic or use the term Roman Catholic.

No, Catholics do NOT "follow the pope first."  We follow Jesus, our King, first!  But the pope IS His "prime minister," so we certainly do pay attention to what the pope instructs.  (Or, we don't, and so, go our own ways into heresy or schism.)
0 votes

Hmm, interesting conundrum.  Just looking at Tridentine rite on Wikipedia, this is what I find:



Seems to me someone has erred in the categorization, Tridentine rite is derived from the Council of Trent, and is basically qualified as mass in Latin, with specific editions of the ritual to be used.  

So either they are within the Roman Catholic church, regardless of which rite they use, or they are outside of it, and would then be categorized under the Protestant designation, since that is the basic distinction made historically.  Catholic by itself just means universal https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/catholic  stems from Greek, https://www.catholic.com/tract/what-catholic-means  

So, anybody can claim catholicism.  Roman Catholic has been understood to be the church headed by the pope in Rome (although even that had some traveling times historically like Avignon anti-pope, lol)

Haven't looked at the tree structure for this, but I think it should have at the top category Christians, with next subcategories being RC, Protestant and Orthodox, and specific denominations would go under those 3.

by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (366k points)
0 votes

I suggest that the categories should be:  "Category: Catholic Church, Roman (Ordinary Form)," "Category: Catholic Church, Roman (Extraordinary Form)," "Category: Catholic Church, Byzantine (Ruthenian)," "Category: Catholic Church, Byzantine (Greek)," "Category: Catholic Church, Chaldean," "Category: Catholic Church, Maronite," etc., to be most accurate.  ("Ordinary Form" = Novus Ordo; "Extraordinary Form" = Tridentine.)  There are 20+ rites of the Catholic Church, all in union with the bishop of Rome (a/k/a the pope), but most of them are definitely NOT "Roman," as they will be very quick to tell you.

I can't speak of the situation/relationship in other dioceses, but in my current one, the Society of St. Pius X has practically become an "us vs. them" cult!



Those suggestions would be inconsistent with our Styles and Standards on Category Names and Structures. See Help: Category Names and its link to Principles and Formatting Guidelines for Religious Categories

We are talking here about the organization of categories within the Religions and Spiritual Traditions stream of the Religious Categories. There the principles say:

  • Once these categories reach the level of a specific denomination, sect or individual religion or association grouping congregations of the same religion or tradition, high level categories are created for each specific institution. ...
  • If the official name used by the primary institution to identify itself is sufficiently specific to avoid confusion, its official name may be used as the primary institution's category name. ...
  • If the official name used by the primary institution to identify itself is not sufficiently specific to avoid confusion, is too cumbersome, or would not commonly be recognized by the public, a generally recognized informal or shortened name may be used for the category name instead. Alternatively, parenthetical information may be added to assist with recognition. For example, Category: Religious Society of Friends (Quaker Meetings)
  • The category streams for institutions within the Category:Religions and Spiritual Traditions stream may reflect the organization of the particular religion, sect or denomination or may be organized geographically.

If we are talking about subcategorization within a single institution (a single religion's or denomination's main institution/organization), we subcategorize either geographically or by the religious institution's own internal organization.  So, if the institutions are separate, they get categorized separately.  If they are part of the same institutions, they can be subdivided by the institution's own hierarchy (which is often somewhat geographic) or by geography. We don't mix separate institutions which are different branches or denominations of a religion. And we don't subdivide by rite or tradition within the same denomination unless that is how the denomination organizes itself.

In naming the categories, we use the names the Churches themselves use unless they are confusing or not readily recognizable. Only if those do not work, do we add parenthetical information.

Several of the churches you mention are among the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome, but which are separate institutions which have their own organizational structures and operate under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches instead of under the body of Canon law applicable to churches which are part of the other hierarchical structure which some describe as the Roman or Latin church (although many of those congregations would not describe themselves as either Roman or Latin and although some of them use other rites at least some of the time). But these Eastern Catholic Churches all have official names which easily distinguish them from the really large hierarchy of episcopal conferences and dioceses which we have chosen to put under Category: Catholic Church.

There is an error in the footnote explaining the decision not to use the term Roman Catholic which refers to "the term Catholic Church to encompass[ing] all the church[es] in communion with the Pope including the Eastern rite," as many of those churches "in communion" with the Pope are in fact separate institutions with different internal organizations and so cannot be easily integrated into the internal structure of the dioceses and episcopal conferences of most of the churches under the Pope.  

Because the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches have their own organizational hierarchies headed by their own patriarchs, metropolitans, and major archbishops connected with the "western" conferences of dioceses only at the top level of the pope, they will get their own hierarchy of categories under Category: Catholicism named according to the name of each church. To show their common connection under the special Eastern Canons, I created a group category to gather these churches together in a group under Catholicism.

It is difficult to see at the moment how these categories will look because at the moment there are very few such categories in existence.  They won't get created until someone is ready to categorize existing profiles with them.  We don't have the manpower to precreate all these categories.  But to get an idea of how and where the categories will appear, you can look at how the Category: Ukranian Greek Catholic Church is nested under Category: Eastern Catholic Churches and then under Category: Catholicism.

We can discuss whether it would be advisable to move Category: Eastern Catholic Churches under Category: Catholic Church or to leave it out directly under Category: Catholicism, but we need to categorize each of them by their own names and their own individual hierarchical structures.

If there is a need to categorize the Society of St Pius X, it can be categorized as an internal affiliated institution much like schools, charities, fraternities and other organizations within a denomination are categorized, but it should not change the general organization of a whole denomination's subcategories, especially not a denomination as large and as global as the mainline hierarchical Catholic Church.

If there are specific local churches or congregations that are part of the official diocese / episcopal conference hierarchy which are all or mostly inclined to follow the precepts of the the Society of Saint Pius X, that information can be put in the description for the specific church and that local church category can be cross referenced to a category for the Society of Saint Pius X.

If as I assume is the case from your comment that it is more a situation of individual members following or being a part of the Society of Saint Pius X, an individual's profile can get categories for both the local church (subcategorized in its diocese) and an extra category for membership in or affiliation with the Society of Saint Pius.

We need to look at some specific profiles to be categorized to work through whether something further is needed to properly reflect religious affiliation on profiles.  

We need to remember that categorization is not about being accurate in the abstract.  Its about creating categories which group profiles of individuals in useful ways. Helping people to understand and find the categories will provide the groupings of profiles desired is far more important than strict accuracy in category names.   If the point is just to recognize or honor some aspect of a person on the profile rather than to group profiles, then we have stickers for that purpose.

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