Thursday, June 12, 2008

First parish to offer Mass in the Tridentine rite opens in Rome

The first parish church in Rome to celebrate Mass entirely in Latin for nearly half a century has been inaugurated with a service attended by over 500 worshippers.

Joseph Kramer, the Australian priest who presided at the inaugural Mass at the church of SS Trinita dei Pellegrini near Campo de Fiori and the Ponte Sisto, in the heart of Rome's historic centre, said that he had been "overcome with emotion" to find how many in the congregation —including young people —still cherished the Latin rite. "This is not a victory but a confirmation of tradition" he said. He hoped the example would be followed by other parishes.

At the Mass Father Kramer stood at the altar with his back to the congregation, as in pre Vatican II tradition, to the sound of Gregorian chants. The 16th-century Tridentine Mass, promulgated by Pope St Pius V in 1570, was replaced by Mass said in the venacular in 1962, as part of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

After Vatican II the Latin rite could still be used, but only with permission of the diocesan bishop. However last September Pope Benedict XVI —who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had shown a clear preference for the Latin rite — issued a motu proprio allowing its reintroduction at the discretion of priests in parishes where a "stable number of the faithful" ask for a return to the old liturgy.

The Pope personally chose SS Trinita dei Pellegrini as the first Rome parish dedicated entirely to the Latin rite, Vatican sources said. Five churches in Rome already offer Mass in Latin, but only at certain times.

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