Abp. Burke celebrates Tridentine Mass in St. Peter's


VATICAN CITY -- The Gregorian chant of the Tridentine Mass filled the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of St. Peter's Basilica Oct. 18 as U.S. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, head of the Vatican's highest court, celebrated a pontifical high Mass.

tThe Mass marked the liturgical close of a conference in Rome on Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 apostolic letter, "Summorum Pontificum," which expanded permission for the celebration of the Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine rite.

Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, said in a statement Oct. 19, "The Mass represented an extraordinary event, an event authorized on the occasion of the conference."
tThe cardinal declined further comment, but another Vatican official said the Mass probably was the first pontifical high Mass using the 1962 rite to be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in almost 40 years.
tThe same official noted that since the publication of "Summorum Pontificum," any priest in good standing has been able to use the 1962 rite to celebrate Mass at one of the side altars or in one of chapels of the basilica. He said there are priests who do so each morning.
tUnlike a low Mass, a high Mass is sung. Calling a Mass "pontifical" means it is celebrated by a bishop, who is assisted by a deacon and subdeacon. The main text of the liturgy is the same, although the vestments, furnishings and movements are more complex at a pontifical high Mass.
tEven before "Summorum Pontificum" was published, the Vatican had given limited permission for the celebration of the old Mass in the basilica.
tIn 2003 the Vatican Secretariat of State published norms for the celebration of Masses in the basilica using the 1962 Missal. The norms set several conditions:

  • The Mass could not be celebrated in the main body of the basilica; a suggested site was the Hungarian Chapel in the grotto below the main church.

  • t
  • The public could not be invited and no photographs were to be taken.

  • t
  • The priest celebrating the Mass must first receive permission from the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," which is responsible for the pastoral care of Catholics attached to the old liturgy.

tIn his 2007 letter, the pope said the Mass from the Roman Missal in use since 1970 remains the ordinary form of the Mass.
tThe day before Archbishop Burke celebrated the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict had named him to be a member of the Congregation for Bishops, the Vatican office that oversees the nomination of bishops and the creation and governance of dioceses.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg


NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017