Pope Benedict XVI is fully committed to a plan to allow broader use of the pre-conciliar Latin liturgy, and a papal document confirming that policy will soon be released, according to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos.
Cardinal Castrillon is the president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, the Vatican office charged with outreach to traditionalist Catholics.
In a May 16 talk to CELAM, the Latin American bishops' conference, he reported that the Holy Father believes that "the time has come" to make access to the Tridentine Mass more available.
Cardinal Castrillon said that a long-awaited papal document, a motu proprio encouraging greater use of the traditional Latin liturgy, will be released in the near future. However, he declined to mention a specific date for the announcement.
"The Holy Father wants to preserve the immense spiritual, cultural, and aesthetic treasures tied to the old liturgy," the cardinal said. He said that the Tridentine rite-- which, he emphasised, has never been abolished-- will be used alongside the post-conciliar liturgy.
Cardinal Castrillon noted that these two forms of the Latin rite are already being used in the diocese of Campos, Brazil, under the terms of an agreement that allowed the reconciliation of a breakaway traditionalist group there.
The "good fruits" of the Brazilian accord, he said, could be a model for a new effort to repair ties between the Holy See and the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, the group founded by the last Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
He asked "that we pray to the Lord so that the Holy Father's project can soon become a reality for the unity of the Church.
Meanwhile, a congress begins in the Vatican today on: "Latin Future: the language for building the identity of Europe". The event is being promoted by the Italian National Research Council (CNR) and the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.
Professors, senators, writers and journalists from various countries, the majority Italian, are due to participate in the congress.
Today discussions will focus on the question of "the role of Latin in the formation of Europe" and on the "modernity and significance of Latin for scientific and cultural progress."
Tomorrow the conference will consider the question of policies to follow in order to support the study of Latin.
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