Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More on the liturgy and its reform

Though this photo is captioned "Pope Benedict XVI, flanked by Archbishop Piero Marini,
celebrates Palm Sunday Mass at the foot of the ancient
Egyptian obelisk in the center of St. Peter's Square in 2006"-
it is clear that he is not celebrating Mass because he is wearing a cope
and not a chasuble (From All Things Catholic)

As I eagerly await the arrival of his book A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, I was happy to read my good friend Rocco's report on Archbishop Piero Marini's release event of the book hosted by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and held in the Throne Room of His Eminence's residence, Archbishop's House, Westminster, England.

In his article, CNS' John Thavis reports that in his new book Archbishop Marini "has chronicled the birth pangs of the liturgical reform generated by the Second Vatican Council and warned of a Roman Curia tendency to return to a 'preconciliar mindset", which puts me in mind of the comments I responded to the other day.

"The archbishop said the difficult history of liturgical reform reflects 'the prophetic vision' of Pope Paul as well as the limitations of his pontificate." I would say that the major limitation of Paul VI's pontificate was his prophetic vision, which was opposed at every step by those who Il Papa Buono named prophets of doom at the opening of the Council.

NCR's John Allen reports that Archbishop "Marini said that four historical factors made the results achieved by the Consilium [the group put in charge of reforming the liturgy after the Council]possible:

-The presence of the council fathers in Rome during the first two years of implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, Vatican II’s constitution on liturgy. The bishops themselves, he said, were 'the first guarantors of reform.'
-The personal support of Pope Paul VI
-The rapid emergence of a network of 'competent scholars,' led by Lercaro and Bugnini"

According to Allen, Archbishop Marini, who served as Master of Papal Ceremonies for more than twenty years until named head of International Eucharistic Congresses earlier this year, went to state that the Second Vatican Council "had four 'precise goals':

-Offering renewed vigor for Christian living
-Adapting ecclesial structures to meet the needs of the time
-Promoting the unity of all Christians
-Strengthening the church’s mission of extending its embrace to all humanity"

Linking the two together the former Papal Master of Ceremonies said that "'[t]he liturgical reform was not intended or executed as merely a reform of certain rites, but as the basis and inspiration for the aims the council set.'".

"'The goal of the liturgy is none other than the goal of the church,' he said, 'and the future of the liturgy is the future of Christianity and Christian life.'"

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