Source: Boston Globe
Some Massachusetts Catholics are denouncing and someare extolling a move by Pope Francis on Friday to restrict celebration of the Latin Mass, the church’s standard form of worship until the 1960s, in what the pope says is an effort to unify believers.
The edict allows bishops to regulate the Latin Mass in their dioceses, but adds certain conditions to the rite’s celebration that will in effect curtail it. The decree, for instance, mandates that, from now on, new priests must get Vatican approval in order to say the rite.
The document also calls for bishops to ensure thatpeople whoattend Latin Masses do not “deny the validity and the legitimacy” of the Second Vatican Council, which initiated worship in local languages.
On social media, some Catholics expressed dismay, and occasionally rage, at the pope’s decision, while others hailed it as a strong response to what they perceive as a dissident culture in the church that prioritizes traditional forms of devotion over a sense of communal worship.
Francis said he made the decision after a survey of the world’s Catholic bishops last year indicated that the Latin Mass was a source of division in the church. His action reverses the workof his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who loosened rules around the Latin Mass in 2007.
The Latin Mass has become a focal point in the conservative-liberalculture war between US Catholics, which parallels divisions in the country at large. Traditional forms of worship like the Latin Mass generally are favored by conservative Catholics, while left-leaning Catholics typically prefer more contemporary styles of prayer.
The split between many Catholics over how to perform the central ritual of their faith — which unifies the church as “one body,” according to Catholic teaching — troubles Pope Francis, according to a letter he wrote accompanying the decision.
Additional reading about Eucharist