The Holy See is conducting a world-wide survey of the traditional Latin Mass focusing on whether celebrations of the Tridentine liturgy respond to genuine pastoral needs and are following guidelines.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has written to the world’s bishops explaining that Pope Francis “wishes to be informed” about the application of Benedict XVI’s 2007 ruling which lifted restrictions on pre-Vatican II liturgical celebrations.

Along with the letter, the bishops are asked to respond to a series of questions aimed at gaining an accurate picture of how the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is celebrated across the world.

With his legal ruling “Summorum Pontificum”, Benedict XVI lifted restrictions on the old rite due to “the continued requests of these members of the faithful”, including young people, attached to this version of the Mass celebrated before the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

It allowed for the wider use of the 1962 missal of John XXIII, which the bishops of the council had overwhelmingly voted in favour of reforming. These reforms were then implemented by Paul VI and completed in 1970.

There has long been debate about the level of demand for pre-Vatican II forms of worship, and there is scant evidence of any serious take-up outside of traditionalist hotspots in Europe, North America and some parts of Latin America.

Some devotees of the old rite have responded with alarm to the review with the Rorate Caeli site asking whether “the rights and continuity of the Traditional Latin Rite” are now under threat and whether the results may indicate “serious consequences”.

But Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, says he is optimistic about the doctrine congregation’s attitudes to the wider use of the Extraordinary Form.

“I do not view this survey as a threat, but simply as indicating a desire by the CDF to have solid information from around the world,” he told The Tablet…. 

The above comes from an April 24 story in The Tablet (U.K.)