This wikipedia page gives a list of all the liturgical Rites and Uses that have been employed throughout history in the Roman Catholic Church. It lists many rites, such as the Ambrosian, Braga and Mozarabic Rites, and it also has a couple of Uses, such as the Anglican Use, Zaire Use, Use of York and Cologne Use.

I'm wondering what it is that determines whether a liturgy will be considered a "Rite" or a "Use"? They both just seem like unique liturgies to me so I'm not sure what the distinction is between them.

  • 1
    oofta, "use" not a particularly searchable term! I found a definition on the old Catholic Encyclopedia though.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 4:13
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    The five Liturgical Rites of the West are the Roman Rite ,the Ambrosian Rite, the Mozarabic Rite , the Lyonese Rite and the Bragan Rite. All other rites are in reality an "Usage", meaning that they are a variation of one of these five principle Rites! The Anglican Rite in a variation of the Roman Rite and thus the Anglican Use is the most appropriate term to be used. The Cathusian Rite is a variation of the Lyonese Rite. If I can find adequate sources , I will make an answer.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


Looks like a "Use":

denote[s] the special liturgical customs which prevailed in a particular diocese or group of dioceses

Old Catholic Encyclopedia - Use of York

and a "Rite" is :

the whole complex of the services of any Church or group of Churches

Old Catholic Encyclopedia - Rite

In practice, it looks like a "Use" is an accommodation granted by the Pope acknowledging the Bishop's desire for local customs (or a religious order's customs) to form part of worship and a rite is the state of a local church as it formed and took shape because of geographic boundaries in the early church.

  • A liturgical "usage" is in fact granted by privilege of the Pope for a diocese, a group of dioceses or Religious Orders: Sarum Use (sometimes called the Sarum Rite) for England, the Dominican Use (sometimes called the Dominican rite) for the Dominicans, and so on. It is unfortunate so many people call some Liturgical Uses a Rite, when in fact they are a variation of a principle Liturgical Rite.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 13:38
  • @ken OK, that makes a bit more sense that the Pope would be the one doing the granting, I'd imagine it's the Bishop who makes the request though?
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 14:28

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