Behind the Pope's push for Latin mass

October 14, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI is reported to be on the verge of authorising the return of the Latin Tridentine mass. This would open the way for some of the most extreme clerical reactionaries and anti-Semites to rejoin the Catholic Church.

The London Times reported on October 11 that the Vatican is preparing to permit priests to again celebrate the Latin mass. The dumping of the Latin service was emblematic of the radicalising effects of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, or Vatican II, which opened under Pope John XXIII in 1962 and continuing under Pope Paul VI until 1965.

Vatican II's theological advances liberated nuns from some medieval restrictions and were associated with Catholic youth making contact with radical political movements, such as the liberation theology trend in Latin America.

Opposition to these trends centred on the Latin mass and was most notably associated with Swiss Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who broke with Rome over the mass, and was eventually excommunicated in 1988. In 1976, while saying mass in Lille, France, Lefebvre said Vatican II "consummated the marriage between church and revolution ... only bastards will be born of the adulterous union ... We cannot dialogue with Freemasons and communists, because you don't dialogue with the devil!"

Lefebvre supported fascism. He mixed with the Francoist New Forces Party in Spain and in France called for votes for Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front. Clerical fascist groups throughout Italy, France, Spain and Quebec look to Lefebvre for inspiration. One of the highest profile Lefebvrists is Mel Gibson, notable for his bad-mouthing of Jews in his film The Passion of the Christ.

This vile stew will find the door reopened to them if Pope Benedict's "induct", or permission, which the Times believes has already been signed, is published. They could then link up with Catholic reactionaries who went "underground" after Vatican II, forming such "secret" societies as Opus Dei and the Neocatechumenal Way.

In the wake of the Pope's September 12 insult to Muslims, the threatened return to the Latin Mass signals an alarming move by the Catholic hierarchy to sweep away all liberationist trends.

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