Quebec cardinal says bishops should decide Tridentine Mass usage

By Joseph Sinasac, Catholic News Service

QUEBEC CITY -- Though a Vatican official said Pope Benedict XVI wants all parishes to have a Tridentine Mass, Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet expressed satisfaction with one parish in his archdiocese offering the rite.

"I think the intention of the Holy Father is to allow the practice of the extraordinary rite where there is a need and a request," the cardinal said at a June 18 press conference at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress.

"In our diocese we have one parish. At the moment there is no need for other places. I think this is responding to the need of the population," he said.

Ouellet said it is up to each bishop to determine how to handle the demand for Masses according to the extraordinary form of the Mass.

The cardinal's remarks came after a Vatican official said Pope Benedict would like to see every parish have its own Mass in the Tridentine rite of the 1962 Roman Missal.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," which works with separated traditionalist Catholics, made his remarks at a press conference in London June 14, nearly a year after Pope Benedict authorized a wider use of the Tridentine Mass.

Castrillon, who was visiting the Latin Mass Society, a British Catholic group committed to promoting the Tridentine rite, also said the Vatican soon would be writing to every seminary to ask that seminarians be taught how to preside at the Tridentine Mass.

"The Holy Father is not returning to the past; he is taking a treasure from the past to offer it alongside the rich celebration of the new rite," Castrillon said.

When asked by a journalist if the pope wanted to see "many ordinary parishes" making provision for the Tridentine Mass, Castrillon said: "All the parishes. Not many, all the parishes, because this is a gift of God. He (Pope Benedict) offers these riches, and it is very important for new generations to know the past of the church."

Castrillon said parishes could use catechism classes to prepare Catholics to celebrate such Masses every Sunday so they could "appreciate the power of the silence, the power of the sacred way in front of God, the deep theology, to discover how and why the priest represents the person of Christ and to pray with the priest."

In "Summorum Pontificum," published in July 2007, Pope Benedict indicated that Tridentine Masses should be made available in every parish where groups of the faithful desire it and where a priest has been trained to celebrate it. He also said the Mass from the Roman Missal in use since 1970 remains the ordinary form of the Mass, while the celebration of the Tridentine Mass is the extraordinary form. The document did not require all parishes to automatically establish a Tridentine Mass schedule, but it said that where "a group of faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition exists stably" the pastor should "willingly accede" to their request to make the Mass available.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here