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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 July 2007, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Pope ends Latin Mass restriction
St Peter's Square
Some priests already celebrate the traditional Mass
Pope Benedict has lifted restrictions on celebrating the Latin Tridentine Mass, pleasing some traditionalists.

The Latin Mass was largely abandoned in the 1960s, as part of reforms to make Catholicism more relevant to its worldwide congregation.

Traditionalists wanted to bring the Mass back, though some Jewish groups opposed it because of a prayer calling for their conversion.

The Pope denied claims the reversal could cause a schism in the Church.

Rift-healing

The late Pope John Paul II partially relaxed the prohibition in the 1980s, allowing bishops discretionary powers to let priests celebrate Mass in Latin if members of the congregation asked for it.

Pope Benedict

The Pope wanted to heal a rift with ultra-traditionalists who rebelled against Second Vatican Council changes.

The Church believes the majority of its congregation will continue to hear Mass in their local languages.

Catholic commentator John L Allen told the BBC in April he did not believe there would be much call for the Mass - and 40 years after the Second Vatican Council, there would be few priests able to read it.




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