ROME, MAY 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- For possibly the first time since 1970, a cardinal celebrated a Mass in Rome according to the so-called St. Pius V rite, in Latin and facing east with the congregation.
Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy and president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” explained on the eve of the Mass that with this gesture, he was responding to the requests of faithful to make use of the indult to celebrate the Mass and so honor John Paul II for his 25 years in the papacy.
“The old Roman rite preserves its right of citizenship in the Church and cannot be considered extinguished,” Cardinal Castrillón said Saturday during the sermon, the only part of the Mass not in Latin. The Mass was celebrated in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
What “unites the variety of rites is the same faith in the eucharistic mystery,” the cardinal said. The St. Pius V rite was used before the liturgical reform introduced by the Second Vatican Council.
The celebrant read a message from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, transmitting the Pope’s blessing to those present.
The solemn celebration was attended by five cardinals: Bernard Law, archbishop emeritus of Boston; and William Baum, major penitentiary emeritus; Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; Alfons Maria Stickler, archivist and librarian emeritus of the Holy Roman Church; and Armand Gaetan Razafindratandra, archbishop emeritus of Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Also present was Archbishop Julián Herranz, president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.
Among the faithful were groups from England, the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Australia. The St. Pius V rite Mass “is a great joy and a gesture that might mean that the Vatican hears our petitions,” one attendee told ZENIT.
The Mass, which was preceded by the recitation of the rosary, was celebrated on the feast of Mary Help of Christians. It was Pope Pius V (1566-1572), who in honor of Mary’s intercession in the defeat of the Turks in the Battle of Lepanto, inserted in the litanies the invocation “Auxilium Christianorum.” Pius V’s remains are in the basilica.
Some groups continue to celebrate Mass according to the pre-Vatican II rite (it is erroneous to say “Latin Mass,” as the latter is included and promoted by the conciliar reform).
On one hand there is the Society of St. Pius X, founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, led at present by the four bishops he ordained unlawfully in 1988.
This rite is also used by groups stemming from the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” created by John Paul II to receive the faithful attached to the old Missal who wish to maintain the rite in full communion with the Bishop of Rome.
There are about 20 such institutions, including the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. There is also the St. John Vianney Apostolic Administration in Brazil, which sprang from the Lefebvre schism but returned to full communion with Rome last year.