Vatican City – A Vatican official says Pope Benedict XVI doesn’t want to roll back the modernizing liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
The pope last year removed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass, a rite that was all but swept away by the Second Vatican Council. But Monsignor Guido Marini told Vatican radio that Benedict only wants to maintain continuity with Roman Catholic tradition.
“This may also require, in some cases, the recovery of precious and important elements that along the way have been lost or forgotten,” Marini said in a Jan. 19 interview.
On Jan. 13, the pontiff celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel using the original main altar, facing away from worshippers during parts of the prayer. Under the modernizing reforms, clergy generally celebrate Mass facing the altar.
Marini said special conditions of the church allowed the stance, which he said was in line with Vatican II, according to Catholic News Service.
“There may be particular circumstances under which, because of the artistic conditions of the holy place or its singular beauty and harmony, it becomes desirable to celebrate at the ancient altar, where among other things the exact orientation of the liturgical celebration is preserved,” he said.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.