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Pope Francis

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Pope Francis

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Fifty years ago, Pope Paul VI first celebrated Mass in a language other than Latin

2015-03-06

Pope Francis' visit to the All Saints parish in Rome this Saturday has plenty of history behind it. He will remember the Mass that Pope Paul VI celebrated there on the same day exactly 50 years ago. It was the first public mass that a Pope had celebrated in a language other than Latin.

Paul VI used a missal that alternated between Latin and Italian. In fact, the Second Vatican Council had proposed using local languages, instead of just Latin.

CARD. JULIAN HERRANZ
"The Council, the liturgical reform, had wanted people to be more involved in liturgical ceremonies. It is not merely about being present. They used to say,"Listen to the Mass." But Mass is about participating, not listening. It's not just about responding to the prayers that the priest says. It is about leading their lives to the altar.”

CARD. FRANCIS ARINZE
"I am not against the use of Latin. But no one can deny that if the ceremony is held in a language people understand, it helps them participate more. They can also consider the liturgy not as a matter of clergy around the altar, but as something between people and the clergy taking place in the house of God."

CARD. GEORGES MARIE COTTIER
"In some village churches, people prayed the rosary during Mass, because they did not understand anything. Now everyone is involved. It is a great achievement."

The Mass of Pope Paul VI was one of the first steps of the liturgical reform. The final missal, which is currently used, was adopted in 1969.


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