Religion and Spirituality


Latin Mass Resurrected

June 23, 2008 08:00 AM
by Shannon Firth
Pope Benedict XVI seeks to reinstate Latin Mass after 40 years.

30-Second Summary

Is Latin a dead language? Pope Benedict XVI doesn’t think so. In a move to “re-sacrilize the liturgy” the Pope is bringing Latin back to the Catholic Mass after a 40-year hiatus. Masses in the local language will still be delivered alongside the “old Mass.”

The directive, which came on June 13 from Vatican Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, Pope Benedict XVI’s representative, will “horrify Catholic liberals, including many bishops in England and Wales.”

The Telegraph reported, “All seminaries will be required to teach trainee priests how to say the old Mass, and Catholic congregations worldwide will receive instruction on how to appreciate the service.”

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI revived the 1962 Roman rite, known as the Tridentine rite, which was officiated in Latin “with the priest usually facing the altar, his back to the congregation.” While the old liturgy was never officially banned, the 1960s reforms of Vatican II saw it replaced with services delivered in the local language.

This earlier move roused some liberal Catholics, seeming to revert some of the advances of the Vatican II reforms. Additionally, the old Mass included a “prayer for the conversion of the Jews,” which also offended some Jews. The prayer was revised and a new version was read in a few churches during Holy Week in 2008 to the disappointment of some Jewish leaders who also disapproved of the revised prayer.

Headline Links: Latin returning to the Catholic Mass

Background: Vatican II reforms, reversal, and the views of Pope John Paul II


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