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Old 07-08-2007, 11:01 AM #1
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Pope changes a rule and angers Jews and others

"VATICAN CITY (July 7) - Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday removed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass, reviving a rite that was all but swept away by the liberalizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

The decision, a victory for traditional, conservative Roman Catholics, came over the objections of liberal-minded Catholics and angered Jews because the Tridentine Mass contains a prayer for their conversion.

Benedict, who stressed that he was not negating Vatican II, issued a document authorizing parish priests to celebrate the Tridentine rite if a "stable group of faithful" requests it. Currently, the local bishop must approve such requests - an obstacle that supporters of the rite say has greatly limited its availability.

"What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us, too," Benedict wrote.

The document upset Jews, since the Tridentine rite contains a prayer on Good Friday of Easter Week calling for their conversion. The Anti-Defamation League called the move a "body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations," the Jewish news agency JTA reported.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Benedict to publicly point out that such phrases "are now entirely contrary to the teaching of the church."

In reviving the rite, Benedict was reaching out to the followers of an excommunicated ultratraditionalist, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who split with the Vatican over Vatican II, particularly the introduction of the New Mass celebrated in the vernacular.

The Vatican excommunicated Lefebvre in 1988 after he consecrated four bishops without Rome's consent. The bishops were excommunicated as well.

Benedict has been eager to reconcile with Lefebvre's group, the Society of St. Pius X, which has demanded freer use of the old Mass as a precondition for normalizing relations. The other precondition is the removal of the excommunication decrees. The Vatican did not address the excommunication issue Saturday and there was no indication if or when it would.

The current head of the society, Bishop Bernard Fellay, welcomed Benedict's document in a statement. He said he hoped "that the favorable climate established by the new dispositions of the Holy See" would eventually allow other doctrinal disputes that emerged from Vatican II to be discussed, including ecumenism, religious liberty and the sharing of power with bishops.

The old rite differs significantly from the New Mass. In addition to the Latin, the prayers and readings are different, and the priest faces the altar, to be seen as leading the faithful in prayer.

Benedict, a conservative theologian, has made no secret of his affinity for the Tridentine rite and has long said the faithful should have greater access to it. But more liberal Catholics have suggested that in liberalizing the use of the rite, Benedict was sending a strong message that Vatican II was not the "break from the past" that some view it as being.

In addition to Jewish concerns, bishops in France and liberal-minded clergy and faithful elsewhere expressed concerns that allowing freer use of the Tridentine liturgy would imply a negation of Vatican II and create divisions in parishes since two different liturgies would be celebrated.

Benedict said those fears were "unfounded" in a letter to bishops accompanying the Latin text.

He said the New Mass remained the "normal" form of Mass while the Tridentine version was an "extraordinary" one that would probably only be sought by a few Catholics.

The document "doesn't impose any return to the past, it doesn't mean any weakening of the authority of the council nor the authority and responsibility of bishops," Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

However, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the head of the French bishops' conference, warned that the move will create divisions. "There will be resistance from both sides," he told Le Monde.

The liberal lay church group We Are Church said that the move represented a step back from Vatican II and could set an even more conservative direction for the church. It warned of a "new split within many parishes, diocese and finally the entire Roman Catholic Church."

"It is to be feared that while it appears to only be about the old Mass, in reality it is an attempt to set the Catholic Church on a new old course," the group said.

Ricard, speaking on France-Info radio Saturday, said the move does not mean the entire church is becoming more fundamentalist. "Just because you have in a family a cousin who is a bit different, whom you tolerate and accept, doesn't mean that the whole family adopts his positions or his way of life," he said.

The document was welcomed by traditional Catholics who remained in good standing with Rome but simply preferred the Tridentine liturgy and have long complained that bishops had been stingy in allowing it, said Michael Dunnigan, chairman of Una Voce America, the largest lay organization in the United States dedicated to promoting wider access to the traditional Mass.

"The traditional Mass is a true a gem of the church's heritage, and the Holy Father has taken the most important step toward making it available to many more of the faithful," he said."


Lol, how authentic can your religion be if the "rules" can be changed whenever rich old guys say they can. What a joke.
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:00 PM #2
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Lol, how authentic can your religion be if the "rules" can be changed whenever rich old guys say they can. What a joke.
You ruined it at "rich old guy".
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:14 PM #3
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You ruined it at "rich old guy".
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:17 PM #4
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What rules is the Catholic Church changing? Um, the answer would be none. Did you even read the article that you posted? The Tridentine Mass was always allowed. All this does is revive it a bit since an interest in it has been expressed in past years. All Benedict is doing is making it easier for this form of the mass to be celebrated for those who want it. What doctrine has he changed? None. Again, your point is null and void.
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:25 PM #5
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yep, nicole is right. its not like catholicism is vastly changed because of this, #1, and #2, what do you think the pope is there for? to make decisions about the DETAILS of catholicism-this being a detail.
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:33 PM #6
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I don't see how praying for anyone's conversion is any different than Evangelist Christians praying for non-Christians to come to Christ, honestly..
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:35 PM #7
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I'm Jewish and it might be because I am not religious but I don't find this very offensive. I think catholics can feel free to pray for whatever they want, as long as they are not forcing anyone I don't feel any harm is really done.
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:45 PM #8
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I would entirely agree with both of the above statements. Jehovah's Witnesses pray for my conversion all the time and I actually feel a great sense of appreciation for that. I do not believe in their religion but I think it is very loving on their part to want what they think is best for me, although I don't agree. They care enough about me to pray for me and I am cool with that because it is done out of love.
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:43 AM #9
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I don't see why Jewish people are complaining that Catholics will no longer be praying for their conversion. I think the vatican in some way is legitimizing the Jewish religion.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:17 AM #10
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I don't see why Jewish people are complaining that Catholics will no longer be praying for their conversion. I think the vatican in some way is legitimizing the Jewish religion.
No, I think you are confused by what the article said. Jewish people are supposedly mad because the Tridentine Mass, the one that is being revived, has a part in it where they pray for the conversion of the Jewish people. So they are mad not because Catholics aren't praying for them but because we are.

Either way, the Jewish religion was, is and always will be legitimate in the eyes of the Catholic Church. The roots of Catholicism are found in Judaism, we wouldn't have the Old Testament if it weren't for the Jews and we (gentiles) would never have been offered salvation if it had not been for them. So of course the Vatican and any other Catholic with knowledge about church history sees Judaism as being a very valid and legitimate religion indeed.
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:08 AM #11
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oh, so tridentine and old latin mass are the same thing. they shouldn't call it two different things.
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:21 AM #12
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What rules is the Catholic Church changing? Um, the answer would be none. Did you even read the article that you posted? The Tridentine Mass was always allowed. All this does is revive it a bit since an interest in it has been expressed in past years. All Benedict is doing is making it easier for this form of the mass to be celebrated for those who want it. What doctrine has he changed? None. Again, your point is null and void.
What rules are changing? Did YOU read the article? You used to have to go through your bishop to practice the mass, now you can go right to your local priest. Yeah, the rules change.

The Catholic church has been struggling as a religion in the last decades because of unsound doctrine, unclear doctrine, and unknown answers. Why do you think evangelicalism has taken off? Because it is black and white. Why do you think Islam has taken off? Because it is black and white.

Even though I said that, both those religions have some gray, but aren't completely gray like Catholicism. I was a Catholic for 18 years, and still attend mass because I like going, but the church has a lot of shortcomings.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:23 AM #13
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What rules are changing? Did YOU read the article? You used to have to go through your bishop to practice the mass, now you can go right to your local priest. Yeah, the rules change.

But the church never made these rules doctrine. Such things as this are more a discipline and are created with the knowledge that they can and may be changed in the future. Say for instance if one pope said infalliably that the Latin Mass could never be performed again and then the next pope came and changed that, then that would be different. The form of Mass is not a doctrine or dogma of the church. It is just that, a form. While certain things in it must always be present to be considered a mass (i.e. the Eucharist) other things can be changed such as the language the mass is said in, the songs that are sung, etc.

The Catholic church has been struggling as a religion in the last decades because of unsound doctrine, unclear doctrine, and unknown answers. Why do you think evangelicalism has taken off? Because it is black and white. Why do you think Islam has taken off? Because it is black and white.

I believe the doctrine is exceedingly sound though I happen to agree with you that sometimes it comes off a bit unclear due to poor catechesis. But when the church teaches something infalliably or as a doctrine, they stick by it. Did you know that all christian churches were against the use of contraception until the 1930's when the Anglican church changed that. Soon, all other christian churches followed suit. Except the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church stands alone on their historic teaching that the use of contraception is wrong. The answers are there, you just have to find them. Again, this is an area I think that needs some revision and Catholics need to be better taught both what the church teachings and why, but the teachings themselves, in my opinion, are perfect the way they are.

Furthermore, I don't feel the evangelicals are more black and white. A friend of mine is evangelical and I am oftentimes quite confused by what Tiffany says. 'Backsliding' and 'living in sin' sound more like the Catholic distinctions of venial and mortal sin and some questions that I pose, her doctrines seem to be lacking in how to adequately answer them. I think people turned towards the evangelical churches because they are more entertaining and lively. One thing that I do admire about these churches is the way they are able to preach and teach their congregations, a thing I think the Catholic Church needs some help on, especially with local parish priests.


Even though I said that, both those religions have some gray, but aren't completely gray like Catholicism. I was a Catholic for 18 years, and still attend mass because I like going, but the church has a lot of shortcomings.
How is Catholicism completely gray. Their doctrines and dogmas never can and never do change. Other things such as church disciplines or man-made traditions (mind you this is not the same thing as Sacred traditions) can change, as they should given their nature. Alot of people complain that the church is too black and white, too rigid and unchanging. You are the first person I have met that says they are too gray.

I am 24 (25 on 7/19) and have been going to mass all my life. I am glad that you still do as well. While I agree that the members of the church have many shortcomings, I believe the church's doctrine to be complete and full of truth, though the way this truth is transmitted could use an overhaul.

Last edited by NicoleW : 07-10-2007 at 09:29 AM.
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