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“The move [to revive the Latin Tridentine Mass] … is regarded as yet another sign of Benedict’s conservative attachment to tradition and doctrine. …

“The Vatican denies this, however, and points instead to the huge appeal of the Latin Mass — and Gregorian chant — not only for disaffected right-wing Catholics, but also for many ordinary believers who value ‘the sheer beauty’ of the ancient liturgy. ‘This is a pope who — contrary to conventional wisdom — is in tune with the faithful,’ one Vatican source said. …

“Record numbers attend Benedict’s weekly audiences, and 7 million people a year now visit St Peter’s, a rise of 20 percent. Similar increases are recorded for pilgrimages to Catholic shrines at Assisi, Lourdes, Fatima in Portugal and Madonna di Guadalupe in Mexico. ‘This is a Ratzinger phenomenon,’ ” reported La Repubblica.

Richard Owen, writing on “The Ratzinger Effect,” July 7 in the Times of London

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