Pope says old-rite Latin Mass should be on offer in every Catholic parish
June 17, 2008
The Vatican is writing to seminaries to request all student priests are trained in how to say the Tridentine Mass, a liturgy abandoned for Mass in the vernacular in the 1960s
Pope Benedict XVI wants every parish in the West to offer believers the Mass in the Tridentine or Gregorian Rite, the Latin-language liturgy used until the 1960s by every Catholic church in the world.
The Vatican is now writing to seminaries to ask that student priests be required to learn the rite, which, in widescale liturgical changes following the modernising church council Vatican II (1962-5), was largely replaced by Mass in the vernacular.
The Pope wishes every parish to offer both rites for Sunday Mass, an eminent Vatican Cardinal announced in London on Saturday. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, said: “The Holy Father is willing to offer to all the people this possibility, not only for the few groups who demand it but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist in the Catholic Church.”
It was a “gift” and a “treasure,” Castrillon Hoyos said, hours before celebrating a Tridentine liturgy attended by some 1,500 worshippers at Westminster Cathedral on June 14. “This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful – the deepest theologians’ way to express our faith. The worship, the music, the architecture, the painting, makes a whole that is a treasure.”
He attacked claims by Catholics who claim the Tridentine revival is a step backwards liturgically, saying: “Others think that the Holy Father is going against the Second Vatican Council. That is absolute ignorance. The Fathers of the Council, never celebrated a Mass other than the Gregorian one. It [the Novus Ordo] came after the Council ? The Holy Father, who is a theologian and who was in the preparation for the Council, is acting exactly in the way of the Council, offering with freedom the different kinds of celebration.”
He added: "The experience of these 40 years has not always been so good. Many people abandoned the sense of adoration (of God)?
There is (now) an atmosphere that makes it possible for these abuses and that atmosphere must be changed,” he said in English. “It is not a matter of confrontation but of dialogue — fraternal dialogue — making efforts to understand the precious things contained in the new and the old rites.”
Used worldwide in Catholic parishes from 1570 until the 1960s, the Tridentine Rite also differs in key aspects from the modern Catholic liturgy. In the modern Mass, a priest will face the congregants, in the Tridentine Rite, he will pray facing the altar, traditionally placed facing East, towards Jerusalem, and thus the direction of the place from which Christ is believed to have ascended to heaven.
In July 2007. Benedict XVI announced that every priest who wished to do so might celebrate Mass in the Tridentine Rite – without requiring, as had previously been the case, permission from their local bishop.
Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos added: “Today for many bishops it is difficult because they don’t have priests who don’t know Latin.
Many seminaries give very few hours to Latin – not enough to give the necessary preparation to celebrate in a good way the Extraordinary Form.”