You know that Catholic World News has issued a story that the Holy Father says the older form of Mass in private. Here are the salient bits:
Pope Benedict uses older ritual for his private Mass
Vatican, Jul. 16, 2007 (CWNews.com) – Pope Benedict XVI (bio – news), who recently issued a motu proprio allowing all Catholic priests to celebrate the old Latin Mass, uses the older ritual himself for his private Mass, CWN has learned.
Informed sources at the Vatican have confirmed reports that the Holy Father regularly celebrates Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal.
Since becoming Roman Pontiff, Benedict XVI has always used the new ritual– which he identifies in Summorum Pontificum as the "ordinary form" of the Roman rite– for public celebrations of the Eucharistic liturgy. However few people have witnessed the Pope celebrating his private daily Mass.
I can’t get into the details of this report. But there is something I can bring to your attention.
What I find really amusing, and what gives the CWN story legs, is how Catholic News Service (owned and operated by the USCCB) rushed to post a denial!
Please note that the denial lacks some really important direct quotes.
Vatican spokesman: Pope concelebrates daily Mass using current missal
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI concelebrates his daily morning Mass in Italian using the current edition of the Roman Missal, the Vatican spokesman said.
Claims that the pope celebrates his private Mass using the Tridentine rite are incorrect, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told Catholic News Service July 17.
Less than 10 days after Pope Benedict July 7 issued his letter and norms providing greater opportunity for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, news reports claimed Pope Benedict already had been celebrating the old rite privately.
"The confusion probably was caused by our footage of the pope celebrating facing the altar, which is due to the fact that the altar is against the wall" in the private chapel of the Apostolic Palace, Father Lombardi said. [I am reasonably sure that the editor of CWN, Phil Lawler, is smarter than that. However, when so many people are totally bound up in the idea that the older form of Mass is about "mumbling in Latin" or that the priest has "his back to the people", this is what I expect.]
With the altar against the wall, the concelebrants in the private chapel end up having their backs toward the congregation during the eucharistic prayer. [I still think the people at CWN are smarter than that.] The congregation at the morning Mass generally is made up of the pope’s valet and the consecrated women who staff the papal apartment.
The images Father Lombardi referred to were released by the Vatican to coincide with celebrations of Pope Benedict’s 80th birthday April 16. Father Lombardi heads the Vatican Television Center, which produced the footage, as well as serving as director of the Vatican press office and Vatican Radio. [A trifecta, I'd say.]
Father Lombardi also said the fact that the pope’s two private secretaries concelebrate the Mass with him each morning [I wonder if Fr. Lombardi said "each morning"....] "obviously means he is using the new Missal," since the Tridentine Mass strictly limits concelebration.
Meanwhile, and what follows is entirely circumstantial, here are photos of the Holy Father’s Redemptoris Mater chapel in the Apostolic Palace: