After the death of Pope St. John Paul II, conservative theologian Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope. He took the name Pope Benedict XVI. Throughout his pontificate, he implemented many policies that helped grow Latin Mass. In this article we will examine a few.
In 2007, Pope Benedict published Summorum Pontificum, a document which radically expanded the Latin Mass. Under Ecclesia Dei, if a parish priest wanted to celebrate Latin Mass, he would have to receive approval from his Diocesan Bishop. Since many Bishops were fundamentally opposed to the Latin Mass, they refused to approve priests requests. Summorum Pontificum removed this requirement. Now any priest who is able to celebrate the Latin Mass, has the ability to do so, without the approval of his superiors. This has lead to an explosion of Latin Mass offerings throughout the world. Whether one is in a theologically liberal or conservative diocese Latin Mass is offered.
Summorum Pontificum went beyond just allowing Latin Mass. It allowed all sacraments to be done in the Extraordinary Form. Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Anointing of the Sick, and Last Rites can be done not just in Latin, but in the traditional rite. Young children can be baptized in the old rite, where a child is not just baptized “In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritús Sancti”, but they are exercised to remove all demons and family curses. Old Rite Matrimony can occur where a wife promises to be obedient to her husband (as per scripture) and a husband promises to love his wife as much as Christ loves his Church. Pretty serious vows. Overall, this document has brought back Old Rite Sacraments and created a more serious culture around the Sacraments.
Finally, Summorum Pontificum created a right for parishioners to have a Latin Mass. If a large group of parishioners demand a Latin Mass, the diocese must accommodate them. They cannot force them to drive halfway across the diocese or into different diocese. They have to respect and provide for the spiritual needs of the faithful.
Summorum Pontificum has created a resurgence in the Latin Mass. As we have explored in earlier articles young people are by far those most interested in the Latin Mass. Many more young and middle aged people desire the Latin Mass as well, but do not go because it requires long distances to drive. As Latin Mass is offered more and more, it removes this barrier and causes more to have the ability to attend Latin Mass.
The doubling of Latin Masses in the United States between 2007 and 2013 is attributed to Summorum Pontificum
Because of this document, Latin Mass is on the rise. By all indications because of Pope Benedict, this mass will continue to grow. It will be offered more and more places, causing more to be interested. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, this mass will continue to grow!
Check Out This Video About Summorum Pontificum