Pope to lift restrictions on Latin Mass

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI has approved a document that would allow greater use of the Tridentine Mass (also known as the Latin Mass).

The Latin Mass was used almost universally by Catholic Churches prior to the Vatican II council in the 1960s which promulgated many different reforms, including options for churches to use vernacular in some parts of the liturgy.

Under the current rules, priests must obtain permission from their local bishop to use Tridentine Mass while the new rules will allow priests to make the decision themselves.

According to Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, the move towards widening the use of the Tridentine Mass was done in part to help bring back to the main church body various schismatic groups, such as the Society of St. Pius X that reject Vatican II's reforms.

The proposal has met with concern from the liberal end of the Catholic Church who worry that it signals the beginning of a return to pre-Vatican II church policies and theology while Jewish groups have expressed concern over elements of the Tridentine Mass which they see as offensive or possibly worrisome, such as parts which call for the conversion of the Jews.