The Pope was warned today that he faced creating disunity among Roman Catholics with plans to re-introduce Latin Mass and return to more traditionalist methods of worship.
A copy of the papal indult, which cuts down on the bureaucracy currently needed to celebrate the ancient Tridentine Mass, which is celebrated almost entirely in Latin, was leaked today (Fri) on the internet.
It has been out of use for almost half-a-century, after the Church decided at the Second Vatican Council to celebrate the mass in the vernacular.
Members of the Catholic Church in Britain, including Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, had previously urged the Pope not to re-introduce the Mass, which is widely seen as a step backwards.
The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, the Rt Rev Kieran Conry, said: "Any liberalisation of the use of the Tridentine Rite may prove seriously divisive. It might send out an unfortunate signal that Rome is no longer fully committed to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and it could encourage those who want to turn the clock back throughout the Church."
In an accompanying letter, the Pope takes care to emphasise that he does not want to create a split in the church between traditionalists and reformers. He said the loss of the Latin mass at Vatican II had pained him.
"I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and confusion."
He added: "Moreover, unless bishops retain their powers to control the use of the Rite, it will lead to confusion in the parishes. Some traditionalist priests might want to use it almost exclusively, excluding those members of their congregation who want the New Mass. If we are not careful, it could all become a bit of a mess."
The new arrangements will allow for parishes to say Mass in Latin without intervention from their local bishop. The bishops, meanwhile, have a role in the cure of "bring watchful that is all is done in peace and serenity."
However, should any of them kick up a fuss and decide that the Tridentine Mass is too arcane, they can expected a visit from "the local Ordinary" to put them back into line.
Many senior prelates in Rome have also been worried about the move to popularise the Tridentine Mass.
Oh yes ... there will be mobs of people on every street corner demanding a Latin Mass, and there will be mobs on the other corner chanting Romani eunt domus ... There shall, in that time, be rumours of things going astray, erm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things wi-- with the sort of raffia work base that has an attachment. At this time, a friend shall lose his friend's hammer and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o'clock. Yea, it is written in the book of Cyril that, in that time, shall the third one..
Amicus noster Terrence Lockyer (rightly) scripsit:
In your RC posting on the Tridentine Mass story you commit one very, VERY grave error: you misquote Monty Python. Brian actually writes "Romanes eunt domus" (translated by the great JC as "People called 'Romanes', they go, the 'ouse").
... and for those of us who need a refresher, here's the scene on Youtube