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(RNS) Two years after Pope Benedict XVI eased restrictions on celebrating the Latin Mass, more than six in 10 American Catholics have no opinion on the return of the traditional liturgy, according to a new survey.
In 2007, Benedict told priests to work with local parishioners when there is a “stable group” interested in the Latin Mass, which is celebrated in Latin by a priest facing away from the congregation. The Mass dates to the 16th century but fell out of use after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.
Benedict said the move was intended to promote “reconciliation” with Catholics disaffected by the contemporary version of the liturgy and to encourage greater “reverence” during worship.
According to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, one in four U.S. Catholics favors having the Latin Mass as a liturgical option, 12 percent oppose it, and 63 percent have “no opinion.”
Only three in 10 U.S. Catholics who do not oppose bringing back the Latin Mass — equivalent to about 5.7 Catholics — say they would attend the service if it was convenient, according to CARA. Apathy was most prevalent among Catholics born after 1982 — 78 percent said they have no opinion Benedict bringing back the Latin Mass.
In 1985, a Gallup Poll cited by CARA found that only 25 percent of adult Catholics had no opinion on the Latin Mass — 35 percent favored it, 40 percent opposed it.
“It appears that the wider availability of the Latin Mass may have come too late to appeal to the majority of Catholics today who have no memory or experience of this older form of the liturgy,” CARA wrote.
By Daniel Burke
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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