Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Please, dear Lord. Please.

Pope set to bring back Latin Mass that divided the Church

by Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent, timesonline.co.uk

The Pope is taking steps to revive the ancient tradition of the Latin Tridentine Mass in Catholic churches worldwide, according to sources in Rome.

Pope Benedict XVI is understood to have signed a universal indult — or permission — for priests to celebrate again the Mass used throughout the Church for nearly 1,500 years. The indult could be published in the next few weeks, sources told The Times.

Use of the Tridentine Mass, parts of which date from the time of St Gregory in the 6th century and which takes its name from the 16th-century Council of Trent, was restricted by most bishops after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

This led to the introduction of the new Mass in the vernacular to make it more accessible to contemporary audiences. By bringing back Mass in Latin, Pope Benedict is signalling that his sympathies lie with conservatives in the Catholic Church.

One of the most celebrated rebels against its suppression was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who broke with Rome in 1988 over this and other reforms. He was excommunicated after he consecrated four bishops, one of them British, without permission from the Pope.

Some Lefebvrists, including those in Brazil, have already been readmitted. An indult permitting the celebration of the Tridentine Mass could help to bring remaining Lefebvrists and many other traditional Catholics back to the fold.

The priests of England and Wales are among those sometimes given permission to celebrate the Old Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Tridentine Masses are said regularly at the Oratory and St James’s Spanish Place in London, but are harder to find outside the capital.

The new indult would permit any priest to introduce the Tridentine Mass to his church, anywhere in the world, unless his bishop has explicitly forbidden it in writing.

Catholic bloggers have been anticipating the indult for months. The Cornell Society blog says that Father Martin Edwards, a London priest, was told by Cardinal Joseph Zen, of Hong Kong, that the indult had been signed. Cardinal Zen is alleged to have had this information from the Pope himself in a private meeting.

“There have been false alarms before, not least because within the Curia there are those genuinely well-disposed to the Latin Mass, those who are against and those who like to move groups within the Church like pieces on a chessboard,” a source told The Times. “But hopes have been raised with the new pope. It would fit with what he has said and done on the subject. He celebrated in the old rite, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.”

The 1962 Missal issued by Pope John XXIII was the last of several revisions of the 1570 Missal of Pius V. In a lecture in 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger said that it would be “fatal” for the Missal to be “placed in a deep-freeze, left like a national park, a park protected for the sake of a certain kind of people, for whom one leaves available these relics of the past”.

Daphne McLeod, chairman of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, a UK umbrella group that campaigns for the restoration of traditional orthodoxy, said: “A lot of young priests are teaching themselves the Tridentine Mass because it is so beautiful and has prayers that go back to the Early Church.”


  • The Tridentine Mass is celebrated entirely in Latin, except for a few words and phrases in Greek and Hebrew. There are long periods of silence and the priest has his back to the congregation
  • In 1570, Pope St Pius V said that priests could use the Tridentine rite forever, “without scruple of conscience or fear of penalty”
  • Since the Second Vatican Council, the Tridentine Mass has been almost entirely superseded by the Mass of Pope Paul VI
  • Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who took the lead in opposing the reforms, continued to celebrate the old Mass at his seminary in Ecône, Switzerland, and formed a dissident group. He was excommunicated in 1988
  • The advantages of the Mass, according to the faithful, are in its uniformity and the fact that movements and gestures are prescribed, so that there is no room for “personalisation”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad that, according to the write-up to the right of your blog, you are able to celebrate Mass in Latin. (Isn't success defined as being able to do what you desire?) As I understand it, that is quite a big deal. In the Diocese where I live, the last bishop ran a priest out of his church, the diocese and the state for doing such.
...It is interesting how what is traditional/conservative becomes rebellious and liberal when it is forbidden.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you don't speak Latin as a lay person you are sunk like a basketball dunked by a 7-foot big if you go to a Mass in Latin. Hard pressed to even find it offered in schools these days. Not like when I was young. No sir. Those were the good old days. Walked ten miles to school in the snow.

6:39 PM  
Blogger rev fr lw gonzales said...

Missals are available with mirror pages Latin-English. There is a plethora of publications to assist with the celebration of the ancient rite. If you happen to be a polyglot, missals are available in nearly ever known language. Check the net.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like the Beatles sang, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." Polyglot, schmollygot. I speak Flemish and Luxumbourger,in addition to English. I did check the net and got naught. Thanks though. You are swell. Nice of you to be helpful. Otherwise, I might have mistaken you for what you are not: a flibertigibit. God bless everyone who loves Latin. God bless us all.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No penalty shot for you: I checked the net. It's kind of like fishing. Lucky for me I didn't have to flounder around. (If I did, I might have gotten a little cross and crabby.) Thanks.

8:28 PM  
Blogger rev fr lw gonzales said...

I LOVE the humor. Thanks, all.

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are the one who is, really, quite funny.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are the one who is, overall, quite funny. Hopefully, your parishioners find you to be such -- when you intend to be!

8:49 PM  
Blogger rev fr lw gonzales said...

I inherited a keen sense of humor, and a positive worldview from my wonderful parents. Mom and Dad are extremely clever and witty.

9:25 PM  
Blogger rev fr lw gonzales said...

I was just interviewed by a local newspaper regarding this subject.

I explained my joy in hearing this, and explained my paricipation in the "Indult" community. My deepest hope is that Catholics worldwide do not see this as devisive. I pray for unity of the Church at all levels.

Remember, it is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ we proclaim!

2:37 PM  
Blogger Sorka said...

Along with you dear father, I pray that this does not cause disunity in the Church. I fear it will.

I do not see any need to go back to the Tridentine Mass, even if it is only offered once during the weekend. The Tridentine mass is NOT the only way our Church has worshipped, no more than the way we currently worship.

For a long time my wish has been for people to put down their darn missals and LISTEN, WATCH, PARTICIPATE. Just dont sit there and READ.Hopefully priests who celebrate in this way will encourage people to learn Latin and put down the missals.
Yeah. Right.

My most pressing question now is what role will laity have during this mass? As a woman will I be turned away from serving God once more because I am the wrong sex? Don't try and "comfort" me by telling me my most important role is to be present and pray. Or be part of the schola and learn the chant, God didn't gift me with a singing voice either. If I was a 12 year old girl, would I be forbidden to serve as an altar server?

Remebering that it is our Lord Jesus Christ we proclaim I am trying desperately to find peace and sense out of this so I can teach it to the RCIA and the rest of the parish. None of my professors back in graduate school taught me that this might become an issue someday.

I'm thankful you have a good sense of humor which is a blessed thing indeed. I'm afraid I've lost mine.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have no doubt it went well. You certainly get your point across in your blog and do so in a nice way. And, there are always differring oppinions in this world about myriad subjects. (Make certain you send a copy of the article to your parents!)

4:27 PM  
Blogger rev fr lw gonzales said...

The rites will exist side-by-side in order to offer traditionalists and contemporaries the nourishment desired and required by all.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck to you in all you do.

6:11 PM  

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