The Vatican Moves Further Latinward
From Reuters: The Vatican issued an "instruction" to bishops as a follow-up to a 2007 papal decree authorizing the wider adoption of the Latin Mass, which was in universal use before the 1962-1965 Vatican Council introduced masses in local languages. The re-instatement of the Latin mass was one of the demands of ultra-traditionalists whose leaders were excommunicated in 1988, prompting the first schism in modern times. The pope, in a nod the traditionalists, satisfied many of them in 2007 when he allowed a wider use of the Latin mass, in which the priest faced east with his back to the faithful for most of the service. But some bishops around the world said privately it was a headache because of the scarcity of priests trained in Latin, and logistical problems inserting Latin mass in their schedule. The five-page instruction from the Vatican's doctrinal department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, made it clear that the pope wants bishops to follow his orders. "It is the task of the Diocesan bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for the 'forma extraordinaria'," the instruction said, using a Latin term for the old liturgy. While couched in polite, institutional language, the instruction said local parishes had to insert a Latin mass into their liturgical schedules if tradionalist faithful wanted it. It also said pastors of parishes should show "a spirit of generous welcome" to whose who wanted the old mass and had to "permit such a celebration." --Reuters
The Vatican's Instruction Universae Ecclesiae is here. A summary from Vatican radio is here. And commentary from Damien Thompson and Fr. Z. Reuters also has a mini-history of the Latin reforms. Those who expected this issue to fade away, like Douglas MacArthur said of old soldiers, are underestimating Pope Benedict XVI, the Curial officials who are firmly behind this Latinward trend and the vigorous and well-organized support among some of the faithful for the "Extraordinary Form." On the other hand, as a sign of continuing discomfort with the "new" Latin Mass, the archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, told journalists, according to the Catholic Herald, that it was "unlikely" that seminaries in England and Wales would teach the Extraordinary Form since there was no need.