CHURCHGOERS may soon hear Latin Masses celebrated in their parishes regularly.

The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported on Oct. 12 Pope Benedict XVI’s plan to allow priests to celebrate the old Tridentine Mass, where the presiding priest says the Mass in Latin while facing the altar, the choir sings Gregorian chants, and the congregation is in total silence.

The Eucharist was celebrated only in Latin until the Second Vatican Council ruled in 1965 that Masses be said in local languages to encourage active participation of the congregation.

A recent survey among 1,000 French respondents—55 per cent of whom are Catholics—said that majority of the French would prefer the Latin rite to the vernacular.

According to the French polling institute CSA and French Catholic group Paix Liturgique, 65 per cent of French Catholics are more comfortable attending Mass heard either in the old Tridentine rite or the new vernacular rite. Still, 60 per cent of the Catholic respondents said that they would go to a Tridentine Mass whenever the occasion arises.

The introduction of vernacular Masses and the banning of the Tridentine rite after the Second Vatican Council resulted in the schism of traditionalists led by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, whose church broke off from Rome in the late 1980s.

In the Philippines, the followers of Lefebvre have found their place of worship in the Our Lady of Victories Parish Church in New Manila, Quezon City. The church is run by the Society of St. Pius X, founded by Lefebvre. The church holds two masses every Sunday attended by some 800 people. The society has expanded to Butuan and Davao, plus 12 other cities in the country.

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Although the papal initiative may reunite Lefebvre’s followers with Rome, Fr. Ramon Salibay, O.P., head of the Center for Campus Ministry and Latin instructor at the UST Central Seminary, noted that enforcing the edict would not be easy.

“People will certainly ask the basis for celebrating the Latin Mass. They would ask, why celebrate something you do not understand?” Salibay told the Varsitarian.

“Therefore, this needs a lot of information campaign and new catechism, which means more work on priests, who also need to relearn the Latin Mass. The challenge to the Church is how to make the Latin Mass more attractive to the faithful, especially the youth,” he said.

Salibay, however, said that the renewal of the Latin Mass could spark a new age of rediscovering the Catholic faith.

“Today’s youth will inevitably have that initial attraction to the Latin Mass. They will ask, what will this Mass offer to me? Will it make me more prayerful and religious? Will it make my spiritual life more meaningful?” he said.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the Pope will soon release the apostolic letter that will contain the order for the traditional Mass to be celebrated. Nathaniel R. Melican with reports from EWTN.com and speroforum.com

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