Pope issues strict rules on religious rituals

13th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

13 March 2007, Vatican City (dpa) - Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday reaffirmed his conservative views on matters of faith by issuing strict rules on the Eucharist and by inviting priests to revive Latin as the main language used during Holy Mass. In an apostolic exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, the pope summed up the results of an October 2005 Synod of Bishops on the importance of the sacrament, in which Jesus Christ's Last Supper is commemorated through consecrated bread and wine during Holy Mass. In his

13 March 2007

Vatican City (dpa) - Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday reaffirmed his conservative views on matters of faith by issuing strict rules on the Eucharist and by inviting priests to revive Latin as the main language used during Holy Mass.

In an apostolic exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, the pope summed up the results of an October 2005 Synod of Bishops on the importance of the sacrament, in which Jesus Christ's Last Supper is commemorated through consecrated bread and wine during Holy Mass.

In his 140-page document, Benedict reiterated his strong opposition to remarried Catholics and non-Catholic Christians taking part in the Eucharist and invited priests to refrain from celebrating the sacrament during weddings or funerals attended by non-practising Catholics.

German-born Joseph Ratzinger, who acted as the main watchdog of Church orthodoxy for nearly a quarter of a century prior to his election as pope, also reached out to traditionalists by inviting priests to celebrate Holy Mass in Latin.

"I ask that future priests ... be trained to understand and celebrate Holy Mass in Latin, use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chants," the pope wrote.

According to Church rules adopted in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council of 1965, congregations wishing to celebrate Mass in Latin were forced to seek permission from Rome or from their local bishops.

The Second Vatican Council and the subsequent abandonment of the traditional rite led to a schism within the Church led by Marcel Lefebvre, an ultra-conservative French archbishop who was later excommunicated by the late Pope John Paul II for consecrating four bishops in violation of canon law.

Addressing the issue of remarried Catholics, Benedict said these should not be admitted to the sacrament as "their status and their life condition objectively contradict the union of love between Jesus and the Church" represented by the Eucharist.

"Matrimony and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from any possible misunderstanding," the pope wrote.

The 79-year-old pontiff also confirmed that Protestants should not be allowed to consume consecrated bread and wine with Catholics.

"The Eucharist does not simply manifest our personal communion with Jesus Christ, it also implies full communion with the (Catholic) Church. This is the reason why with pain, but not without hope, we ask non-Catholic Christians to understand and respect our conviction," the pope wrote.

Benedict has vowed to promote Christian unity, but relations with Anglicans and Protestants have made little progress since his election as pope two years ago.

The pope was particularly harsh in criticising Holy Masses held during funerals or weddings that are attended by non-practising Catholics or members of other faiths.

"In situations whereby it is not possible to guarantee proper clarity on the meaning of the Eucharist, one should consider the opportunity of substituting the Eucharistic Celebration with a celebration of the Word of God," the pope wrote.

DPA

Subject: German news

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