20 July 2007, 17:43
The pope's support for traditional mass is understandable for Orthodox in Russia with their reverence for liturgy - Archbishop Mennini
Moscow, July 20, Interfax - Concern for the liturgical tradition expressed in Pope Benedict XVI's recent letter on the Latin mass is understandable for the Orthodox in Russia, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Holy See representative in Russia, believes.
"I myself have always noted the great consideration given in Russia to the beauty and reverence of the liturgy, thanks also to the dominating influence of the Orthodox culture. The Pope's call to reflect anew on the liturgical dimension perfectly fits in this context", Archbishop Mennini said in an interview with Interfax.
He clarified that the recent apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, which simplifies the procedure for celebrating the Latin mass, is devoted to the Roman Missal issued by Pope John XXIII in 1962. This type of the liturgy, Archbishop Mennini stressed, "has never been canonically repealed".
The nuncio also pointed out that the celebration of the liturgy according to the 1962 Roman Missal presupposes "a certain degree of liturgical education as well as an adequate knowledge of Latin"
However, according to the archbishop, both are "not so frequent" among the Catholic clergy today.
The obligation to celebrate the mass in Latin was called off by Vatican II (1962-1965) when the Catholic Church allowed celebrating the mass in vernaculars in the hope to keep and multiply the number of its faithful. These reforms however failed to produce the desired results. Moreover, the Catholic Church saw the emergence of the so-called Lefevrist schism initiated by Archbishop Marcel Lefevre who did not agree with the liturgical and other reforms introduced by Vatican II and was excommunicated in 1988.
See the full text of interview under the Exclusive heading.
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