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Pope Francis tightens rules on Latin Mass, reversing earlier order from Benedict

Priests will need to seek special permission from bishops.

Updated: July 17, 2021 - 7:40pm

Pope Francis on Friday issued an edict tightening the Catholic Church's rules on how its ancient Latin Rite might be celebrated, reversing an earlier decision by former Pope Benedict XVI that loosened restrictions on the older liturgy.

Francis's directive issued new restrictions on when and where priests may celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, a liturgy that had been used globally by the church for several hundred years prior to the 1960s, when it was sidelined in favor of a modernized form of the Mass. 

Francis said he issued the decision as a measure to promote unity in the Catholic Church. More liberal- and reform-minded Catholics have argued that broad latitude for the Latin Rite was a source of division among the faithful. 

Priests who currently celebrate the Latin Mass will now be required to seek special permission anew from their local bishop to continue celebrating it.

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