Benedict XVI Urges Latin for International Masses
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Pope Benedict XVI Pope Also Encourages Gregorian Chant

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 13, 2007 - Benedict XVI's newly released apostolic exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis" encourages the use of Latin for international Masses.

"I am thinking here particularly of celebrations at international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater frequency. The most should be made of these occasions," the Holy Father writes.

The Pope recommends: "In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin."

Also, the Pontiff suggests that "the better-known prayers of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung."

He continues: "Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant."

Benedict XVI's request stems from one of the 50 propositions made by the bishops who participated in the Synod on the Eucharist in October 2005.

Pius V Missal

When presenting the document to journalists today, Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, answered questions on the possibility of a papal document aimed at re-establishing the Pius V Missal.

Cardinal Scola, who was relator general for the synodal assembly, said that he did not have information on such a document, and added that the key to using this missal is that it not become a source of division within the Church.

He explained: "It would be a contradiction of terms if the liturgical act became a beginning of division of the Church.

"What the synod says from the point of view of returning to Latin or Gregorian chant is explained clearly and may contribute to healing possible misunderstandings or problems."

The cardinal drew on the experience of the Patriarchate of Venice, where for many years the possibility "to celebrate Sunday Mass in Latin, with the indult, has been allowed. And all this is done with great correctness and enormous respect, and there are no tensions between the clergy and the people."

Cardinal Scola continued: "In the history of the use of the rites in the Church it has never happened that the introduction of a new rite coincided with the abolition of the preceding one."

"This means balancing the path of the Eucharist with respect for the objective indications … none of the above observations should cast doubt upon the so-called Paul VI rite, or on the meaning, worth or decisive importance of the liturgical reform.

"The liturgical reform of Vatican II, implying the very radical change in the passage from Latin to the vernacular as well as the introduction of the new rite, needs decades to settle."


Last Updated ( Sunday, 09 December 2012 )