Pope turns away from congregation

Pope Benedict has celebrated Mass in the traditional pre-Vatican II manner as he marked the feast of the Baptism of Jesus on Sunday.

The Pontiff marked the Holy Day by baptising 13 babies during the Mass, as he reintroduced the old ritual of facing the cross - rather than the congregation - during parts of the Mass.

It was the first time in this kind of celebration since the Second Vatican Council that a Pope has occasionally turned his back on the faithful.

Reuters reports the Pope used the Sistine Chapel's ancient altar set right against the wall instead of the altar placed on a mobile platform that allowed his predecessor John Paul II to face the faithful.

The Vatican's office for liturgical celebrations said it had been decided to use the old altar to respect "the beauty and the harmony of this architectonic jewel."

He also read his homily from an old wooden throne on the left of the altar used by Pius IX in the 19th century.

In July, the Pope issued a decree allowing wider use of the old Latin mass.

Pope turns back on congregation in old mass ritual, (Reuters 13/01/08)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Holy See Congregation for the Clergy
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)
Tridentine Mass

No Latin Mass for Martini(CathNews 31/07/07)
Benedict expected to restore wider availability of Latin Mass (CathNews, 12/10/06)
Schismatic society lobbies Australian priests on Tridentine rite (CathNews 3/2/05)
Traditionalist leader attacks Pope's ecumenical vision (CathNews 4/2/04)
Tridentine rite Mass for Roman basilica this month (CathNews 5/5/03)

14 Jan 2008