Pope Poised To Revive Latin Mass, Official Says
Ancient Tridentine Rite Was Replaced in 1960s
By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 13, 2006; A03
Pope Benedict XVI has drafted a document allowing wider use of the Tridentine Mass, the Latin rite that was largely replaced in the 1960s by Masses in English and other modern languages, a church official said yesterday.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the pope told colleagues in September that he was writing the document "motu proprio," a Latin phrase for on his own initiative, and that it was in its third draft.
"There will be a document, it will come out soon, and it will be significant," the official said. Benedict "will not let this be sidetracked," he added.
Wider use of the Tridentine Mass is a cause dear to the hearts of many Catholics, for both esthetic and ideological reasons. It was codified in 1570 and remained the standard Roman Catholic liturgy for nearly four centuries, until the gathering of church leaders known as the Second Vatican Council ushered in major reforms from 1962 to 1965.
To some Catholics, the return of the old Latin Mass is symbolic of a conservative turn away from what they view as the "excesses" that followed the Second Vatican Council, said the Rev. Thomas J. Scirghi, who teaches liturgical theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif.
He said many churchgoers associate the Tridentine Mass with beautiful Gregorian chants and a dignified service, while they associate the new Mass -- formalized in 1969 -- with guitars, drums and short-lived experiments such as "Pizza Masses" in which pizzas, rather than wafers, were consecrated in a bid to attract young people.
In fact, the new Mass can be celebrated with great solemnity, either in vernacular languages or in Latin, said Nathan D. Mitchell, professor of liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame. And the Tridentine Mass, he added, "wasn't always celebrated with care, beauty, aplomb and musical finesse."
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All one has to do is to visit Assumption Grotto to see just how solemn, reverent, and reserved a Latin Novus Ordo can be done. For anyone new visiting the blog, see the photo section of my sidebar.