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A Dialogue Mass (Missa dialogata orMissa recitata) is a Tridentine Mass in which the people recite some parts of the Latin text.
The Dialogue Mass was introduced by Pope Saint Pius X. He made a strong plea for active lay participation in the liturgy decades before the Second Vatican Council.
In November 1922, the Holy See's Sacred Congregation of the Council gave approval to the practice whereby "at least in religious houses and institutions for youth, all people assisting at the Mass make the responses at the same time with the acolytes", a practice that it declared praiseworthy in view of the evident desire expressed in papal documents "to instil into the souls of the faithful a truly Christian and collective spirit, and prepare them for active participation." Further approval was granted by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on 30 November 1935, and on 3 September 1958.
The Dialogue Mass never became popular in English-speaking countries, and current celebrations of Tridentine Mass in these countries are rarely structured as a Dialogue Mass. In other countries, especially in continental Europe, the Dialogue Mass met with a greater acceptance and, at times, is the almost exclusive version of the Low Mass.
Since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, most of the Tridentine Masses in Malta were Dialogue Masses. This means therefore that people join with the altar servers in reciting the responses. In addition, the people are allowed to recite those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass that are sung by all at a Missa Cantatanamely the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. They also are allowed to recite with the priest the tripleDomine non sum dignus that he said as part of the rite of Communion of the faithful.
Therefore when people attend Tridentine Mass in Malta or abroad, it is useful to know beforehand whether the Mass will be a Dialogue one or not to avoid misunderstandings.