Benedict expected to restore wider availability of Latin Mass

Reports say that Pope Benedict is preparing to issue a new law that will restore wider availability of the 500-year-old Tridentine rite of the Mass in Latin.

Catholic News Service quotes a Vatican source who says that the Pope is expected to issue a "motu proprio", a legal issued on his own initiative, that will address the concerns of "various traditionalists".

The source said the new permission, or indult, was a papal decision, but was being done in cooperation with agencies of the Roman Curia. He would not elaborate on the extent of the indult, when it would be established or how it would work.

However, the London Times yesterday reported that the Pope had signed the order, and that it could be published within a few weeks.

The Tridentine rite is currently available to groups of Catholics who ask and receive permission for its use from their local bishops. The old rite is celebrated in Latin and follows the Roman Missal of 1962, which was replaced in 1969 with the new Roman Missal.

Among those who have strongly pushed for wider use of the Tridentine rite are the followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was excommunicated in 1988.

The Pope's intent is to "help overcome the schism and help bring (the ultraconservatives) back to the Church," the unnamed official also told the Associated Press.

Canadian Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, Manitoba, also told Catholic News Service that Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Congregation for Clergy, had spoken briefly to Canadian bishops about the expected step.

"It sounded to me like it was a sort of concession somebody has made," the Archbishop said.

Archbishop Weisgerber said the new indult was apparently motivated by a desire to bring comfort to older people who may miss the old rite. But in his archdiocese, he said, the few people asking for it are "young people who never experienced it."

Pope Benedict has made new efforts to reconcile with leaders of the Lefebvrite religious order, the Society of St Pius X. In a meeting last year with the Pope, Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the society, asked for the restoration of the Tridentine rite as a sign of good will.

Pope's speeches to be published in Arabic

Meanwhile, in an attempt to reach out to the Arabic-speaking and Muslim world, the Patriarchate of Venice has announced plans to make the text of the Pope's weekly public audience available in an Arabic-language translation.

With support from Aid to the Church in Need, the Oasis International Centre, founded by Cardinal Angelo Scola to promote mutual understanding between Christianity and Islam, will provide a translation of the catechetical address delivered by the Pontiff each Wednesday. The translations will be posted on the Centre's website on the Monday following each audience.

The centre says the purpose of the Arabic translations are to provide information for Arabic-speaking Christians living in predominantly Muslim lands and to encourage better understanding of Church teaching by Muslims.

The initiative in Venice is also intended to provide an opportunity for Arabic immigrants, now living in Europe, to read the Pope's talks.

Vatican source says pope to expand use of Tridentine Mass (Catholic News Service, 11/10/06)
Vatican source: Pope to loosen restrictions on use of old Latin Mass (International Herald Tribune, 11/10/06)
Pope set to ease Latin Mass restrictions (Seattle Post Intelligencer, 11/10/06)
Arabic translations of papal audiences to begin (Catholic World News, 11/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Traditionalist Catholic (Wikipedia)
Holy See Congregation for the Clergy
Society of St Pius X Australia and New Zealand
Society of St Pius X (Wikipedia)
Aid to Church in Need Australia

Pope's fresh attempt to build bridge with rebels (CathNews, 24/8/05)
Schismatic society lobbies Australian priests on Tridentine rite (CathNews, 3/2/05)
Schismatic group expels its own rebels (CathNews, 14/9/04)
Traditionalist leader attacks Pope's ecumenical vision (CathNews, 4/2/04)
Tridentine rite Mass for Roman basilica this month (CathNews, 5/5/03)

12 Oct 2006