Religion: Back to Basics

The Pope 's new Mass decree

On orders from Pope John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church has reasserted longstanding rules for the Mass. Its decree also attacks "abuses" that have grown more or less widespread, especially in Western Europe and the U.S., since the liturgical changes of Vatican II. The Pope is clearly concerned about practices that may weaken the sacredness and ritual strength of the ancient Mass, or blur the distinction between clergy and laity. The new Vatican statement, though, is sure to stir some resistance in the U.S.

Since the 12th century the Catholic Church has not served wine...

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