The Traditional Latin Mass, often called the Tridentine Mass or Rite – a reference to the fact that it was codified by Pope St. Pius V shortly after the Council of Trent – is today properly referred to as the "Extraordinary Form" of the Roman Rite in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, which made the Latin Mass more openly and easily available to the faithful.
The Latin Mass is characterized by:
- An atmosphere of Reverent Worship:
Peaceful, otherworldly atmosphere; Emphasis on individual "lifting his heart & mind to God."; Members of congregation direct their attention to God.
- Profound Reverence for the Real Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament:
Sixteen genuflections; Sign of the cross made 52 times by the Priest; The hands of the priest alone touch the consecrated host; Communion given only on tongue.
- Fidelity to Catholic Doctrine:
Over the course of a year, presents all facets of Catholic doctrine; Orthodox Catholic Doctrine is intrinsic in the Rite of Mass itself.
Bulk of Sunday prayers & their arrangement goes back at least to 300s and 400s AD; The Canon is essentially the same since St. Ambrose (d. 397); Orations and prayers of the Mass are true to Catholic tradition and have not been substantially revised or softened in tone.
Everything regulated by precise laws to protect purity of worship and doctrine; There are no "surprise factors" or innovations during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
- The Priest as Sacrificer:
Priest faces tabernacle, cross and altar; Prayer is directed in one direction toward God; Priest performs all the actions & recites all the prayers of the Mass.
An old but excellent article on the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Latin Mass) Extraordinary Form 101