Vatican denies pope celebrates Latin Mass privately
The Vatican says that Pope Benedict concelebrates his daily morning Mass in Italian using the current edition of the Roman Missal, denying claims that he is using the Tridentine rite.
Claims that the pope celebrates his private Mass using the Tridentine rite are incorrect, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi said, according to Catholic News Service.
The Tridentine Mass is the Latin-language liturgy that predates the Second Vatican Council; it was last revised in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal.
Less than 10 days after Pope Benedict issued his letter on 7 July providing greater opportunity for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, news reports claimed Pope Benedict already had been celebrating the old rite privately.
"The confusion probably was caused by our footage of the pope celebrating facing the altar, which is due to the fact that the altar is against the wall" in the private chapel of the Apostolic Palace, Fr Lombardi said.
With the altar against the wall, the concelebrants in the private chapel end up having their backs toward the congregation during the eucharistic prayer, he told Catholic News Service.
Fr Lombardi also said the fact that the pope's two private secretaries concelebrate the Mass with him each morning "obviously means he is using the new Missal," since the Tridentine Mass strictly limits concelebration.
At public Masses with an international congregation, Pope Benedict uses the post-Vatican II Mass with most of the prayers in Latin. However, on occasions such as the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, which is considered a Rome diocesan celebration although there is an international congregation, the pope recites the prayers in Italian.
Next encyclical will have "social theme"
Meanwhile, Fr Lombardi has confirmed that the Pope is dedicating part of his holiday to writing the second part of his book Jesus of Nazareth, and to reflecting upon his next encyclical "which will have a social theme."
Fr Lombardi also said in a statement that next year, apart from visiting Sydney in July for World Youth Day, it is "highly probable" that Benedict will make a trip to the UN headquarters in New York, and a pilgrimage to Lourdes for the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin at the site.
Vatican spokesman: Pope concelebrates daily Mass using current missal (Catholic News Service, 17/7/07)
Vatican Information Service statement (17/7/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Unofficial translation of papal text on use of Tridentine Mass (Catholic News Service, 7/7/07)
Text of Pope Benedict XVI's letter to bishops on Tridentine Mass (Catholic News Service, 7/7/07)
Open hearts to Latin Mass , Benedict says (CathNews, 9/7/07)
Cardinal confirms plans to revive Latin Mass (CathNews, 21/5/07)
Experts concerned over Latin Mass slight to Jews (CathNews, 24/4/07)
"Personal parish" for French Latin Mass Catholics (CathNews, 7/2/07)
French clerics warn against return of Latin Mass traditionalists (CathNews, 24/10/06)
Benedict expected to restore wider availability of Latin Mass (CathNews, 12/10/06)
Pope to discuss reconciliation with rebels (CathNews, 3/2/06)
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)
Vatican olive branch to Lefebvrist rebels 'not working' (CathNews, 26/3/02)
Ratzinger calls Lefebvrist schismatics narrow-minded (CathNews, 5/4/01)
18 Jul 2007