Official sees widespread permission for Tridentine rite masses
An influential Vatican official has said he believes Pope Benedict XVI could soon liberalise Church regulations, allowing all priests to use the banned Tridentine rite.
But Catholic World News reports that Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, who made the prediction, cautions that serious doctrinal issues, as well as liturgical questions, must be resolved before the change, which would pave the way for the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X to be fully reconciled with the Holy See.
Cardinal Medina, the former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, is a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission, set up by Pope John Paul II to serve the needs of Catholics who cling to the Latin Mass. In an interview with the I Media news service, the Chilean-born prelate said that the Pope could act soon to liberalise Church regulations, allowing all priests to use the Tridentine rite.
Questioned about the outcome of the Pope's 29 August meeting with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the SSPX, Cardinal Medina observed that the meeting was preceded by "many other contacts" between Vatican officials and representatives of the Lefebvrist group. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, had met repeatedly with Bishop Fellay, he said. And the Chilean prelate added that he, too, had met with the traditionalist leader during his term as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
Questioned on whether Vatican II intended to abolish the Tridentine rite, Cardinal Medina said that the arguments were inconclusive on that point. However, he said, each rite is valid, and "the missal of St. Paul V and that of Paul VI are both perfectly orthodox."
He observed that each ritual appeals to "different sensibilities," and noted that the Offertory prayers of the old rite are particularly useful in their emphasis on "the sacrifical character of the Mass: an essential aspect of the Eucharistic celebration."
The restoration of universal permission to use the Tridentine Mass would involve canonical and liturgical questions, but no major theological concerns, the cardinal said. "So I hope that, little by little, the possibility of celebrating the old form of the Roman rite will be opened," he said.
As a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission, Cardinal Medina reported, he is sometimes asked to celebrate a Tridentine-rite Mass. When he receives such a request, he said, "I do it, without asking anyone's permission."
Vatican official foresees broader use of Latin Mass (Catholic World News 27/9/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Tridentine Rite (Wikipedia)
'The Rolls-Royce of Masses' (The Tablet 28/6/03)
Cardinal celebrates Rome's first Latin Mass since 1970 (CathNews 27/5/03)
28 Sep 2005