Four decades after sweeping reforms intended to make the Catholic Church more accessible, Pope Benedict backed off the best-known change today, lifting restrictions on the Tridentine rite, better known as the Latin Mass. The move is already controversial, Time reports, because it's perceived as a sop to traditionalists—and because the Good Friday liturgy includes a prayer many consider anti-Semitic.
The shift was expected, but the pope still accompanied the announcement with a letter (in Latin) explaining the decision. The Latin Mass doesn't replace the so-called vernacular liturgy, but it can be performed if a "stable group of faithful" requests it, the pontiff said. The practical effects are unlikely to be significant; the symbolic ones may be just the opposite.