Vatican cardinal urges respect for people's right to Tridentine Mass
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As Pope Benedict XVI's decree on the Tridentine Mass went into effect, a Vatican cardinal called on bishops and pastors to respect the "right of the faithful" to have the liturgy offered in the 1962 rite.
PRIEST DISTRIBUTES COMMUNION DURING TRIDENTINE MASS – Msgr. George Browne distributes Communion during a Tridentine Mass at St. Josaphat Church in Detroit in early July. (CNS/Michigan Catholic)
"Let's give thanks that the Holy Father has recovered this treasure for the church," Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," told Vatican Radio Sept. 13.
In July, a papal document said Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine Mass, should be made available in every parish where groups of the faithful desire it. It also said any priest could freely celebrate the rite. The decree went into effect Sept. 14.
Cardinal Castrillon said the relaxation of restrictions was not "a step backward," but a move to give greater liturgical freedom to priests and the faithful.
"Nothing is being imposed on anyone. The pope imposes no obligation; but the pope does impose that this possibility be offered where the faithful ask for it," the cardinal said.
Some bishops had opposed the change, fearing that their authority, particularly in liturgical matters, might be diminished.
Cardinal Castrillon said the decree does not take any authority from bishops. He said the Code of Canon Law already makes it clear that it is not the bishop's role to give permission for the celebration of particular Masses, but is generally up to parish pastors.
The cardinal said it was important that local pastors "open the door" to all qualified priests who want to celebrate the Tridentine Mass.
Cardinal Castrillon said that if a priest is refused permission to celebrate the Tridentine Mass the "Ecclesia Dei" commission would "take measures, in the name of the Holy Father, so that this right -- which is by now clearly a right of the faithful -- is respected."
The "Ecclesia Dei" commission is charged with general oversight in the application of the papal decree.
The pope's document did not require all parishes to automatically establish a Tridentine Mass schedule, but it said that where "a group of faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition exists stably," the pastor should "willingly accede" to their request to make the old Mass available.
The document stipulated that priests who use the 1962 Roman Missal must be qualified to do so.
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Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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