Dealing with old mass

The Catholic bishops see a sufficient offer of Mass celebrations in the extraordinary rite in Germany and feel support from Rome on this subject. The president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, referred on Friday in Fulda to a survey in all German dioceses. According to the report, the number of places where such mass celebrations take place has tripled since 2006. The number of priests available as celebrants has nearly doubled, he said.

Zollitsch dismissed as incomprehensible media reports that the Vatican was disappointed with the German bishops’ stance on the ie. He reported on his own conversation with Camille Perl, vice president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", which is responsible for contacts with traditionalists and concerns of the Tridentine rite. Perl assesses the guidelines with which the German chief shepherds have implemented the decree of Pope Benedict XVI. to the wider Zulang of the old Latin mass of July2007 implement, as appropriate. In Rome there has been "no criticism of the behavior of any of the German bishops," Zollitsch said. All in all, on Sundays and weekdays, there is a broad offer that meets the needs. The archbishop of Freiburg cited developments in his own diocese. He said there are Mass celebrations in the ancient rite in about half a dozen cities there. Where there is a need, we respond positively". But it is also not the case that the need is so enormous and that one would need many more," Zollitsch emphasized. It cannot be a matter of creating "artificial needs", he said. Bishops are of one mind on this ie, he said. The conference chairman announced that the results of the nationwide survey would first be reported in Rome. After that, the details should also be published in Germany. According to the survey, Mass celebrations in the extraordinary form are offered in 98 places nationwide; in 2006, there were 31. Today, 145 priests are available as celebrants (2006: 78). The percentage of priests who belong to a diocese and not to a religious congregation has increased significantly from 46 to 101.

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