Rome pressures Bishops to offer Tridentine Mass

The Vatican has instructed bishops to be generous in offering the faithful Tridentine Mass if they request it.

The instruction, issued by the Ecclesia Dei Commission and approved by Pope Benedict on May 13, says Tridentine Masses should be made available to even small groups of people. However these “traditional catholics” are not permitted to question the validity of the modern Mass nor the authority of the Pope.

“In deciding individual cases, the pastor or the rector, or the priest responsible for a Church, is to be guided by his own prudence, motivated by pastoral zeal and a spirit of generous welcome,” it said.

The Tridentine Rite went out of use when the Second Vatican Council permitted the celebration of Mass in the vernacular, and despite a 2007 Papal decree ordering its wider use, there has been a reluctance to implement the decree.

The new Vatican document instructs bishops to make more space and time available for groups wanting to celebrate the old rite. The decree says that both the old and new rites are equally valid.

The decree highlights the need for training in the Tridentine rite; priests who use the Tridentine Rite must be qualified to do so. While all priests have permission to celebrate the old rite, Vatican Spokesman Fr Frederico Lombardi said learning, or relearning, the rubics of the old rite could be demanding.

Bishops are to make sure that seminarians are taught Latin and are trained in celebrating the old rite.

Lombardi said the new norms were published in order to reconcile differences between those in favour of restoring the Latin rite and those who see it as a backwards step.

Asked if altar girls are allowed to serve the Tridentine Mass, Fr Lombardi said the question was not specifically addressed in the new instruction.



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