Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chief Vatican Liturgist" Pope will suggest, not order, liturgical changes

Pope Benedict XVI hopes to bring about a "reform of the reform" by suggesting rather than requiring changes in the liturgy, the papal master of ceremonies has revealed.

In a revealing interview with John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, Msgr. Guido Marini, the Vatican's chief liturgist, said that the Pontiff would strongly encourage practices such as administering Communion to the faithful kneeling and on the tongue, the central placement of a crucifix on the altar, and the celebration of Mass ad orientem. But these would be "proposals," the liturgist said; he does not anticipate formal papal directives to change the liturgy.

Msgr. Marini emphasized that liturgical changes should take place "organically," not through sudden shifts. He returned to that theme in discussing the wider use of the extraordinary form: the traditional Latin Mass. The Pope's goal, he said, "is that the two forms of the Roman rite look upon one another with great serenity, realizing that both belong to the life of the church and that neither is the only true, authentic expression. But rather, the two forms of Roman Rite can mutually enrich each other."

The papal liturgist-- who noted that he himself had not used the phrase "reform of the reform"-- emphatically rejected the idea that the Pope's proposals represent a retreat from the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. "A 'rollback' wouldn't make sense," he said, "because it's not how the life of the Church works."

Read the John Allen interview here.

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