The Vatican Congregation for divine worship .has stated that the celebration of the Mass, whether in Latin or in the vernacular, is lawful only according to the rites of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1969.
In a notice sent to bishops throughout the world, the Congregation calls on heads of dioceses and Religious communities to be vigilant in seeing to it that the Order of Mass of the new Roman Missal is correctly accepted and its content, understood "with greater zeal and reverence by all the priests and faithful or the Roman rite."
In the 1969 apostolic constitution Missale Romanum, Pope Paul approved a new Order of the Mass supplanting the one authorised by the Council of' Trent in the 16th C entury.
In its notice, issued on October 28, 1974, the Vatican Congregation said that bishops may continue to permit priests "who by reason of old age of infirmity experience serious difficulties" in observing the new Order of the Roman Missal to use the 1962 edition, adapted by decrees of 1965 and 1967.
"The text, in its entirety or in part, can be used only for the celebration of the Mass without a congregation," the Vatican says "In no way may Ordinaries (local bishops) grant the faculty for Masses celebrated with a congregation. faithful of the Roman rite."
The notice from the congregation was signed by Cardinal James Robert Knox, prefect, and Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, secretary. It's text follows: "The responsibility of the episcopal conferences for the preparation of liturgical books in the vernacular and the norms for their confirmation by the Apostolic See were defined, upon the approval of Pope Paul VI, by this congregation in a notification of June 14, 1971. The liturgical books have been introduced gradually throughout the world, so that, after a sufficient lapse of time, the task is nearly completed.
"With regard to the Roman Missal, however, when an episcopal conference has decreed that the vernacular version of the missal or any of its parts, such as the Order of the Mass, must be employed in its region, the celebration of the Mass whether in Latin or in the vernacular is lawful only according to the rites of the Roman Missal promulgated by authority of Paul VI on April 3, 1969.
"With reference to the norms issued by this congregation for the sake of the priests who by reason of old age or infirmity experience serious difficulties in observing the new Order of the Roman Missal or Lectionary. it is clear that the Ordinary may permit them to use
the 1962 editio typica of the Roman Missal, adapted by the decrees of 1965 and 1967. The text, in its entirety or in part, can be used only for the celebration of the.Mass without a congregations
"In no way may Ordinaries grant the faculty for Masses celebrated with a congregation. Rather, Ordinaries — local and Religious -should be vigilant so that, with the exception of non-Roman liturgical rites lawfully recognised by the Church and notwithstanding any pretext or custom, even immemorial custom, the Order of Mass of the new Roman Missal may be correctly accepted and that its content — a thesaurus of the inspired Word and pastoral teaching — may be understood with greater zeal and reverence by all the priests and faithful of the Roman Rite,"
Commemoration for Christians
A German Benedictine wants to hold an annual day of commemoration for those executed during the Hitler period because of Christian convictions. Dom Bede Midler suggests January 23 as a suitable date, since it was on that date in 1945 that two Catholics and two Protestants were hanged in Berlin because their Christianity led them to oppose Hitler,