For decades, the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass could only be celebrated by a priest with permission from his bishop.
But a Vatican official, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, confirmed earlier this month that Pope Benedict XVI would soon relax the restrictions on celebrating the Tridentine Mass because of a "new and renewed interest" in the celebration — especially among younger Catholics.
That ruling would make access universal: Any priest can choose to celebrate it.
Traditional Catholics hungry for the age-old and familiar Latin Mass of their youth, hope this means the elaborate rite will be restored and inspire new generations of Catholics with a liturgy four centuries old and laden with formal beauty.
But experts aren't so sure this will inspire more Mass attendance...
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THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: And yet here we have more proof that we're surrounded by idiots. Since when did Pope Benedict XVI ever indicate that he intended to restore the Classical Latin Mass for the sake of "increasing mass attendance?" He didn't. He never even suggested it, nor have any of his aids, nor anyone who has knowledge of the subject. The above story just goes to show how "out of touch" the mainstream media is with the real world. It would seem they literally "make it up" as they go along. This pope has said nothing to indicate that he is trying to increase mass attendance, and he has certainly never linked the Classical Latin Mass to that goal, and yet this reporter for 'USA Today' writes as if that's the only reason why he wants to liberalize its use.
Allow me to set the record straight about the pope's forthcoming 'motu proprio' liberalizing the celebration of the Classical Latin (Tridentine) mass. The pope is not doing this to increase mass attendance. That's not his goal here because he's never indicated that "increasing mass attendance" was ever his goal about anything at all. If anything, Pope Benedict has said things quite to the opposite. Shortly after being elected, he told us that we should get used to the idea of a "smaller Church," and that we should be willing to accept that for the purpose of making necessary reforms to safeguard the doctrinal integrity of the Church. I believe the pope's forthcoming 'motu proprio' is an example of that. It does nothing to "increase mass attendance," nor is it designed to. The purpose of the 'motu prioprio,' in my opinion, is to re-inject the Church with the treasury of tradition much needed for the great liturgical reform of the New VERNACULAR mass. The New Vernacular mass is about to get an overhaul, which in the end, will leave it looking a lot more similar to the Old Latin mass, minus most of the Latin of course. To bring this about smoothly, the Classical Latin mass must be restored to it's rightful place alongside the New Vernacular mass as equals, so as to reintroduce younger Catholics to their Latin foundation, and start getting the local churches to think about Tradition again. That is "phase one", if you will. "Phase two" will be the reorganization and overhaul of the New Vernacular mass, after the Classical Latin mass becomes familiar to enough Catholics.
None of this is designed to "inspire greater mass attendance." The purpose of this liturgical renewal is to improve the QUALITY of Catholic worship, not the QUANTITY of those who attend.