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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
The Pope might soon allow the world's Catholic priests the right to celebrate the old rite Latin Mass on Sundays and holy days without the permission of their bishops, reports the UK's Catholic Herald, citing sources close to the Vatican.
According to the report, John Paul II is understood to be ready to grant a "universal indult" by the end of the year to permit all priests to choose freely between the celebration of Mass in the so-called Tridentine rite used up to 1962 - before the disciplinary reforms of the Second Vatican Council - and the novus ordo Mass used after 1970.
It will mean that a priest who wants to celebrate old rite Masses will no longer need to apply for an indult to Ecclesia Dei, a pontifical commission set up to study the implications of the Lefebvrist schism, after first gaining permission from his bishop.
The announcement might be made at the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome on May 24, when Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy and the president of Ecclesia Dei, becomes the first cardinal prefect to celebrate an old rite Mass in a main Roman basilica for 30 years, the paper says.