May 23, 2011
A new Vatican instruction calls on local bishops and pastors to respond generously to Catholics who seek celebration of the Mass according to the Tridentine rite.

CNS photo | Nancy Wiechec

A new Vatican instruction calls on local bishops and pastors to respond generously to Catholics who seek celebration of the Mass according to the Tridentine rite.

A new Vatican instruction calls on local bishops and pastors to respond generously to Catholics who seek celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine rite.

The instruction, issued May 13, said pastors should approve such Masses for groups of faithful, even when such groups are small or are formed of people from different parishes or dioceses.

These faithful cannot, however, contest the validity of the modern Mass or the authority of the pope.

"In deciding individual cases, the pastor or the rector, or the priest responsible for a church, is to be guided by his own prudence, motivated by pastoral zeal and a spirit of generous welcome," it said.

The instruction said that, depending on pastoral needs, bishops should make sure seminarians are trained in celebrating the Tridentine rite, or "extraordinary form" of the Mass.

At the same time, the Vatican said the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei would be responsible for ensuring local Church officials were making the old rite available where warranted.

The instruction was issued by the Ecclesia Dei commission and approved by Pope Benedict.