(Ritus romanus) Like all others, the Roman Rite bears clear marks of its local origin. Wherever it may be used, it is still Roman in the local sense, obviously composed for use in Rome. The Missal marks the Roman stations, contains the Roman saints in the Canon (See Canon (mass), honours with special solemnity the Roman martyrs and popes. Our feasts are constantly anniversaries of local Roman events, of the dedication of Roman churches (All Saints, St. Michael, S. Maria ad Nives, etc.). The Collect for Sts. Peter and Paul (29 June) supposes that it is said at Rome (the Church which "received the beginnings of her Faith" from these saints is that of Rome), and so on continually. This is quite right and fitting; it agrees with all liturgical history. No rite has ever been composed consciously for general use. In the East there are still stronger examples of the same thing.
The Roman Rite evolved out of the (presumed) universal, but quite fluid, rite of the first three centuries during the (liturgically) almost unknown time from the fourth to the sixth. In the sixth we have it fully developed in the Leonine, later in the Gelasian, Sacramentaries. How and exactly when the specifically Roman qualities were formed during that time will, no doubt, always be a matter of conjecture (see LITURGY; LITURGY OF THE MASS). At first its use was very restrained. It was followed only in the Roman province. North Italy was Gallican, the South, Byzantine, but Africa was always closely akin to Rome liturgically.
From the eighth century gradually the Roman usage began its career of conquest in the West. By the twelfth century at latest it was used wherever Latin obtained, having displaced all others except at Milan and in retreating parts of Spain. That has been its position ever since. As the rite of the Latin Church it is used exclusively in the Western provinces of thge Roman Catholic Church, with three small exceptions at Milan, Toledo, and in the still Byzantine churches of Southern Italy, Sicily, and Corsica.
During the Middle Ages it developed into a vast number of derived rites, differing from the pure form only in unimportant details and in exuberant additions. Most of these were abolished by the decree of Pius V in 1570 (see LITURGY OF THE MASS). Meanwhile, the Roman Rite had itself been affected by, and had received additions from, the Gallican and Spanish uses it displaced. The Roman Rite is now used by every one who is subject to the pope's patriarchal jurisdiction (with the three exceptions noted above); that is, it is used in Western Europe, including Poland, in all countries colonized from Western Europe: America, Australia, etc., by Western (Latin) missionaries all over the world, including the Eastern lands where other Catholic rites also obtain.
Source: Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, with some modifications.