Q. Why has Pope Benedict XVI given all priests the freedom to say Mass in Latin?
A. To re-focus the Church on the documents of Vatican II. What the Motu Proprio did was give permission for every priest to say mass according to the 1962 Rite. Up until now it was up to the local bishop who could or could not celebrate the Latin Mass in his diocese. The Novus Ordo is in Latin. This has been translated into the local languages of the faithful and Latin has always been permitted in the Novus Ordo. It just was seldom done…
As Archbishop Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship said:
“Today the problems of the liturgy center on language (vernacular translations or Latin) and the position of the priest, whether he faces the assembly or faces God. I will surprise you here:
Nowhere in Vatican II does it say that the priest must face the assembly, nor that the use of Latin is forbidden!
The use of the common language is permitted, notably in the liturgy of the Word, but the decree (Vatican II) is very clear that the use of the Latin language should be maintained in the Latin Rite. It must be clarified that the Latin ritual has not been outlawed.”
“And it is certain that a new generation is seeking a greater orientation toward mystery. Once again, it is not a question of being progressive or conservative, but simply of permitting man to pray, to listen to the voice of the Lord. What happens in the celebration of the Lord’s glory is not merely a human reality. If one forgets this mystical aspect, everything gets mixed up and confused. If the liturgy loses its mystical and heavenly dimension, then who is left to help man free himself from his egoism and self-enslavement? The liturgy must be a road to freedom, in opening man to the infinite.”
It really is so much more fitting that during the Eucharistic Liturgy, when the Priest offers the Sacrifice of the Mass to God on behalf of the faithful, that the priest faces God and the altar along with the congregation. The ritual tradition is towards the East, in the direction of the the rising sun, Light of Christ.