26-September-2005 -- Catholic World News Brief
VATICAN OFFICIAL FORESEES BROADER USE OF LATIN MASS
Rome, Sep. 26 (CWNews.com) - An influential Vatican
official believes that Pope Benedict XVI could soon
expand permission for priests throughout the world to
celebrate Mass using the Tridentine rite.
However, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez cautions that
serious doctrinal issues, as well as liturgical
questions, must be resolved before the traditionalist
Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) can be fully reconciled
with the Holy See.
Cardinal Medina, the former prefect of the
Congregation for Divine Worship, is a member of the
Ecclesia Dei commission, set up by Pope John Paul II
to serve the needs of Catholics who cling to the Latin
Mass. In an interview with the I Media news service,
the Chilean-born prelate said that the Pope could act
soon to liberalize Church regulations, allowing all
priests to use the Tridentine rite.
Questioned about the outcome of the Pope's August 29
meeting with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior
general of the SSPX, Cardinal Medina observed that the
meeting was preceded by "many other contacts" between
Vatican officials and representatives of the
Lefebvrist group. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the
prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, had met
repeatedly with Bishop Fellay, he said. And the
Chilean prelate added that he, too, had met with the
traditionalist leader during his term as prefect of
the Congregation for Divine Worship.
Consequently, the cardinal said, "you could not say
that the meeting with the Holy Father was
unexpected." He added that SSPX leaders are well aware
that Pope Benedict "is concerned about full communion
among all Catholics-- all Christians-- and
particularly those who uphold the decisions and
positions of Archbishop Lefebvre."
Reconciliation between the Vatican and the breakaway
traditionalist group, the cardinal continued, would
require "addressing a list of doctrinal difficulties."
He said that a working group could be set up to
discuss those problems.
"But within the Society [SSPX], there are different
currents," Cardinal Medina observed. While some
members of the traditionalist group are "inflexible,"
others are more inclined toward dialogue with Rome, he
said. He said that when some traditionalists refer to
the Novus Ordo Mass as "heretical" or "invalid," they
create "an extremely difficult situation." The Vatican
will insist that SSPX members acknowledge the validity
of the post-conciliar Mass, he said; they will also be
required to accept the teachings of Vatican II.
After his meeting with Pope Benedict, Bishop Fellay
suggested that a first step toward reconciliation
could be a Vatican recognition of the right for all
priests to celebrate the Tridentine-rite Mass, using
the liturgical form codified by Pope Pius V after the
Council of Trent. Cardinal Medina saw "no difficulty"
in expanding access to the Latin Mass. But he
reiterated that such a step 'would not resolve the
fundamental problems with the SSPX."
Questioned on whether Vatican II intended to abolish
the Tridentine rite, Cardinal Medina said that the
arguments were inconclusive on that point.
However, he said, each rite is valid, and "the missal
of St. Paul V and that of Paul VI are both perfectly
orthodox." He observed that each ritual appeals to
"different sensibilities," and noted that the
Offertory prayers of the old rite are particularly
useful in their emphasis on "the sacrifical character
of the Mass: an essential aspect of the Eucharistic
celebration." The restoration of universal permission
to use the Tridentine Mass would involve canonical and
liturgical questions, but no major theological
concerns, the cardinal said. "So I hope that, little
by little, the possibility of celebrating the old form
of the Roman rite will be opened," he said.
As a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission, Cardinal
Medina reported, he is sometimes asked to celebrate a
Tridentine-rite Mass. When he receives such a request,
he said, "I do it, without asking anyone's