Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"The Heenan Indult"

Whatever his reasons for supporting those calling for a more "no frills" liturgy, in the United Kingdom where many of the Elizabethan martyrs were sent to the scaffold for attending the Mass that Paul VI now regarded as not pastorally suitable for "modern man", a significant pro-traditional rite movement was led by prominent members of the laity, including Harold Acton, David Jones, Graham Greene, Cyril Connolly and Evelyn Waugh. Waugh was particularly distressed by the thought of a new vernacular rite which would make no distinction between American and British English. (Cf. S.M.P. Reid, A Bitter Trial [Curdridge: Saint Austin Press, 1996], 34)

A petition presented to Paul VI, signed by members of the British literary and theatrical establishment, including non-Catholics like Nancy Mitford and Agatha Christie, led to the "Heenan Indult"--a special privilege granted by Paul VI to Cardinal Heenan of Westminster to allow a limited usage of the older rite in the United Kingdom.

Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed, Tracey Rowland, New York: T&T Clark, 2010, 41.

Pope Paul VI’s signature on the Latin Mass Society petition led to the ‘English Indult’ of 1971, wherein England became the only country in the entire world where the Latin Mass could be celebrated without the express permission of a bishop.

--Dr. Joseph Shaw Latin Mass Society of England and Wales
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