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Catholic World News News Feature

No more permission needed for Latin Mass, cardinal says September 14, 2007

With the formal implementation of Summorum Pontificum, the Pope's motu proprio providing wider access to the 1962 Roman Missal, diocesan priests do not need permission to celebrate the Latin Mass, a top Vatican official has stated.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon-Hoyos-- the president of the Ecclesia Dei commission, which supervises Vatican outreach to traditionalist Catholics-- says that "from this point, priests can decide to celebrate the Mass using the old rite, without permission from the Holy See or the bishop."

In an interview with Vatican Radio on September 13, broadcast just before the motu proprio officially took effect, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos explained that Pope Benedict's motu proprio affirms the right of any priest to use the "extraordinary form" of the Latin liturgy. "It is, therefore, uncessary to ask for any other permission," he said.

Some diocesan bishops have cautioned their priests against using the 1962 Missal without explicit permission from the diocese. But the president of the Ecclesia Dei commission-- which would hear any appeals regarding the new liturgical rules-- contradicted that notion in his Vatican Radio appearance. While affirming the bishop's authority to resolve any liturgical conflicts within his diocese, the Colombian cardinal said that the bishop should exercise that power "without negating the right that the Pope has given to the entire Church."

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos said that the motu proprio involves "no big change" in the liturgy of the Roman Church, since the older liturgy was never banned. Vatican II affirmed the freedoms of the faithful, he said, and one such freedom, which Pope Benedict has now confirmed, was access to the older liturgical form.

"Nothing is imposed on anyone" by Summorum Pontificum, the cardinal said. In allowing for greater use of the old Missal, he explained, Pope Benedict is merely "opening a possibility to the faithful who request it."

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