Pope Benedict XVI has now officially announced that mass can once again be said in Latin in Roman Catholic parishes, without having to request special permission from the bishop. Baptism, marriage, confession and the anointing of the sick will also be allowed in Latin.

Since the Second Vatican Council, held from 1962-1965 under popes John XXIII and Paul VI, mass throughout the world has been said in the local language. In order to hold it in Latin it was necessary to ask special permission from the bishop.

The Latin liturgy that will now be permitted dates back to 1962. Fears therefore are unfounded, according to reports in Zenit, a well informed news agency specialising in Vatican affairs, that an anti-semitic prayer in the Latin Good Friday liturgy will be reinstated as it was abolished by Pope John XXIII in 1959.

Pope Benedict has been careful to state that the permission to say mass in Latin does not undermine the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. However he pointed in his letter to the bishops released on 7 July that the reforms of the 1960s