Pontiff Denies Claim 1962 Missal Is a Regression

Calls Liturgy a Living, Developing Reality

EN ROUTE TO PARIS, SEPT. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- An allowance for the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal is in no way a return to the past, but rather an expression of pastoral concern, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today en route to France; he gave a brief press conference on the plane, answering four questions previously submitted by the journalists selected to be in the press corps accompanying the Holy Father.

The Pontiff said it is “groundless” to fear that “Summorum Pontificum” — which opened the way for a wider celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal — is a regression.

“This ‘motu proprio’ is simply an act of tolerance, with a pastoral objective, for people who have been formed in this liturgy, who love it, know it and want to live with this liturgy,” he said. “It is a small group, given that it presupposes a formation in Latin, a formation in a certain culture. But it seems to me a normal demand of faith and pastoral concern for a bishop of our Church to have love and tolerance for these people and permit them to live with this liturgy.”

“There is no opposition whatsoever between the liturgy renewed by the Second Vatican Council and this liturgy,” Benedict XVI continued. “Each day, the Council fathers celebrated Mass according to this old rite and, at the same time, have conceived a natural development for the liturgy in all of this century, since the liturgy is a living reality that develops and that conserves its identity in its development.”

“Therefore, there are certainly distinct accents, but a fundamental identity that excludes a contradiction, an opposition between the renewed liturgy and the preceding liturgy,” the Pope affirmed. “I think that there is the possibility of mutual enrichment. It’s clear that the renewed liturgy is the ordinary liturgy of our times.”

Encountering the Mother

Previously, the Holy Father answered a question about secularism and the lay state.

“It seems evident to me that laicism is not in contradiction with the faith,” the Pontiff said. “I would even say that it is a fruit of the faith, since the Christian faith was, from the beginning, a universal religion and therefore, did not identify itself with a state but was present in all states.

“Politics, the state, were not a religion, but a profane reality with a specific mission, and both should be mutually open.”

Another question gave Benedict XVI the chance to confess his love for France: “I love France, the great French culture, and above all, clearly, the great cathedrals, as well as the great French art, great theology.”

Lastly, the Pope spoke of the principal motive for his visit: the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes.

He noted that the liturgical feast of the visionary, St. Bernadette, is also his birthday. “For this reason, I feel very close to this little saint, this little child, pure, humble, who spoke with the Virgin,” he said. “To encounter this reality, this presence of the Virgin in our era, to see the footsteps of this little youth who was a friend of the Virgin, and on the other hand, to encounter the Virgin, her mother, is on the other hand a very important event for me.

 

“Naturally, we’re not going to find miracles. I am going to encounter the love of the Mother, which is the true healing for all sorrows and to be in solidarity with those who suffer, in the love of the Mother.”

Upon his arrival to Paris, Benedict XVI was greeted by the pealing of the bells of the churches. A smiling President Nicolas Sarkozy received him at the airport, introducing the Pope to members of his family; the two also exchanged gifts.

This was followed by the Pope’s address in the Elysee’s great hall of celebrations to members of the government, parliamentarians and bishops.

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