Rumors that Benedict XVI says the old Mass in his own chapel have been circulating for a long time, as Damian Thompson notes (Telegraph.co.uk, July 17, 2010). In fact, "just last week," writes Thompson, "a senior Westminster priest with strong links to the Vatican told me he had reason to believe them."
Now, however, the head of the Society of St Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has gone public with the statement that Pope Benedict XVI continues to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in private. He also claimed that an unnamed Italian bishop had threatened to resign if the Pope ever celebrated the traditional Latin Mass in public.
Fr. Z[uhlsdorf] comments that the fellow who sent him a piece with additional information "added the mordant comment that if any Italian bishop were to resign because the Pope said the traditional form of Holy Mass, that would be reason enough for him to do it."
According to Fellay, writes Thompson, "the Holy Father’s secretary, Mgr Georg Gänswein, also uses the 1962 Missal; Father Z suggests that the Pope may sometimes serve Mass for him (in the older form, he implies, though this isn’t clear)."
Thompson also remarks, "I’ve deliberately stuck the word 'Tridentine' in the headline to this post ["Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Tridentine Mass privately ..."] because, although it’s been largely superseded by 'Extraordinary Form', I want to remind all those English liberals who are hastily reinventing themselves as fans of the Holy Father that he profoundly loves the Mass they spent decades sneering at – and indeed celebrated it publicly when he was head of the CDF."
In Fr. Z's piece, Fellay claims that there are a great number of Prelates in the Curia who are well-disposed to his Fraternity, and that some 20 old Masses are celebrated in St. Peter's daily (though Fr. Z doubts there are quite that many).
On the other hand, one reads in Fr. Z's piece:
The Bishop also said that part of the Roman Curia and the neoconsevative led State-Secretariat have torpedoed traditional initiatives of the Pope.[Hat tip to NOR NEWS LINK]
As an example the Bishop described the traditionally restored Trappist Abbey of Mariawald in the German Alps.
The Pope had already permitted them to return to the old discipline and liturgy. Actually the secretary of State has intentionally set the Decree aside. [and Fr. Z comments: "I believe that."]