Mutiny on the Loggia of Pontifical Ceremonies


There is a biting piece at Petrus you might want to read, in my translation.  The semi-anonymous author doesn’t hide his contempt for the former Master of Ceremonies, His Excellency Most Reverend Piero Marini, titular archbishop of Martirano.

The interesting thing in the article, after you filter out the sarcasm, is that there was a sort of mutiny in the Office of Pontifical Ceremonies, entered via the second loggia of the Apostolic Palace.

Piero Marini’s closest collaborators asked to return to the offices of the Curia they had originally been pulled from for their ceremony roles.  I don’t know if this was really a mutiny or not.  It might be, and maybe we can find a verification of this, that it is the custom in that office for everyone to resign so as to make way for a new regime.  I don’t know.

Maybe those guys just didn’t want to learn the older form of Holy Mass?

In any event, this is interesting stuff.

After Marini – No Deluge

by Father Gregorio 

CITTÀ DEL VATICANO – The chill that dominated the Office of Pontifical Liturgical Ceremonies  in these last days was palpable: Whoever was present at the meeting between Msgr. Piero Marini (transferred to head the Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses) and Msgr. Guido Marini, the new Master of Ceremonies, refers to a very short and formal handing off of the baton, also the not very clear appointments the predecessor used as a justification for his being in a hurry to leave the office.

On Thursday evening, for the inauguration of the exhibit on the Apocalypse, Msgr. Piero Marini (see the photo) appear extremely short-tempered and irritated, having finally reached the countdown for his departure. 

Msgr. Guido Marini, the successor of Piero, has never been mysterious about his own thought on liturgical quesitons.  He was ordained by Giuseppe Card. Siri, one of the last princes of the Church who, when pontificating in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, habitually used the cappamagna, red shoes and golden fibbie, the cardinal’s cappello; he was one of the many priests of the Archdiocese of Genoa who loved Latin, Gregorian chant, ritual dignity; he was the Master of Ceremonies for Archbishops Tarcisio Bertone and Angelo Bagnasco, who are also very attentive to liturgical decorum. 

On the other hand, the homonymous Piero is known for his aversion to all that recalls, even vaguely, the ritual tradition of the papal court: he preferred to borrow tribal rituals from African cultures, offertory dances in front of the Pope, liturgies made up on a little table in the name of inculturation, over solemn romanità; and one can never forget his choreographic approach according to which liturgy is a show and, as such, can be created and adapted: an approach in obvious opposition to the older rite, defined contemptuously as "old liturgy", the fruit of "encrustations" and "accumulations of sediment".  In practice, he was the exact opposite of the thought of Benedict XVI. 

Perhaps for this reason, in his own panegyric sent at the beginning of October to the Roman Curia, Piero Marini – who wrote specifically to the cardinals and prelates to offer a final account of his own work as Master of Ceremonies for Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI – wanted to underscore the freedom he enjoyed under Karol Wojtyla, as if to lament that he hadn’t had a completely free hand with the reigning Pontiff. 

It is certain that the sudden return to the original offices where they came from on the part of Msgr. Piero Marini’s closest collaborators (who after his transfer to be head from the Eucharistic Congresses requested to be able to return to the offices in the Curia where they had come from, so as to say that they didn’t accept their new chief, namely Guido Marini) ought to stress the difference from his successor and represent a kind of quiet mutiny in the ranks of the Office of Liturgical Ceremonies of the Supreme Pontiff. 

That operation, however will certainly make the Msgr. Guido Marini’s installation easier, avoiding any acts of sabotage aimed at him.  But the message of the predecessor was very clear: "Après moi, le déluge… After me, the deluge". 

The Augustinians, who have the care of the papal sacristy, will have a big task in the next few days: after twenty years during which any sort of traditional vestment was forbidden, many rooms will be unlocked, the doors of many vestment cases opened wide.  And, since with Msgr. Piero Marini precious sacred vestments of the papal treasury were banished to give way to a panoply of questionable creations, one might suppose that in the coming weeks the former will be brought out into the light to make room for the latter.  And there won’t even be any need for mothballs: moths don’t like plastic.

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44 Responses to Mutiny on the Loggia of Pontifical Ceremonies

  1. Vincenzo says:

    “And there won’t even be any need for mothballs: moths don’t like plastic.”

    LOL.

  2. Argent says:

    >>>…so as to say that they didn’t accept their new chief, namely Guido Marini

    Are we supposed to be sad?

    >>>That operation, however will certainly make the Msgr. Guido Marini’s installation easier, avoiding any acts of sabotage aimed at him.

    Exactly! The rainbow after the deluge.

  3. michigancatholic says:

    Good riddance. Marini has been an aggravation and an embarrassment for years. Glad to see him go. To bad for the department who had to get him. Hope he can’t cause too much damage there.

    I don’t know why everyone else wanted to leave too. Maybe there is a convention or something like that. But anyone who leaves in a snit because they might have to follow good Pope Benedict into the future properly….well, good riddance to them too.

  4. Matthew Mattingly says:

    I think all of Piero Marini’s old assistants should not be permitted to returned to their old curial offices, because this would be giving in to their “hissy fits”. Rather, they should be fired, and re-assigned to parishes etc. in Rome. Where they could always use an extra pair of hands.

  5. This does sound like good news. This gives for a great opportunity for true reform of the reform to go full steam ahead. Hopefully if proper liturgy can finally be done at the top, it will trickle down to the parishes.

    I for one am very interested to see if papal Masses will properly have installed lectors. I would think in a city teeming with seminarians, many of whom are actual installed lectors, you could use them to carry out their proper ministry in the Mass. In Rome, you’d think it was the law that a woman had to read one of the readings at Mass.

    I’ll keep G. Marini in my prayers that he can prepare liturgies that will give great glory to God!

  6. Bill says:

    One might expect that Guido Marini is quite happy that the “old guard” of his predecessor have “revolted” and followed him out of office, regardless of where they land. He can bring his own team aboard, blessed be God. Too bad our local diocesan liturgy office couldn’t have a similar change of command and palace revolt!

  7. Garrett says:

    Can anyone tell me when, exactly, Guido Marini takes over and when Piero Marini is officially out of the picture?

  8. Andrew says:

    Hey,

    In this article from Petrus, the picture of Archbishop Marini blocks out some of the writing.

    Is it like this for everybody or just my computer’s settings cause this?

    Also in the article it says that Cardinal Siri ordained Msgr Marini. The former retired in 1987 from the archdiocese of Genoa, and Marini was ordained in 1989.

    This would indicate to me had been ordained by Cardinal Giovanni Canestri. Certainly though Cardinal Siri was a mentor, as he approved the seminary application of the new master of pontifical ceremonies, him paying tribute to his promotion of sound liturgy, when Marini was promoted to this position.

    I believe that is a foretaste of what is to come. Look out for World Youth Day next year in Sydney.

  9. Michael says:

    How much will/could Marini really change? Remember how people flipped out when the Holy Father started wearing an ermine trimmed mozzetta? I don’t think we’ll see any cappae magnae or jeweled vestments any time soon. It’s important that popes dress act and pray like their predecessors. When we dress cardinals and popes up in silk and jewels, we’re not honoring their personalities or even the individuals, but their authority and office which comes from God. Of course, in a world that hates the beautiful and the sacred, this argument will get you no where.

  10. dcs says:

    Remember how people flipped out when the Holy Father started wearing an ermine trimmed mozzetta?

    I don’t remember anyone flipping out over that, though I do remember the Holy Father getting some ridicule for wearing the camauro. But I do not think he minded.

  11. Victoria says:

    Hey heroes of this blog. Why don’t you come up with some more intelligent and positive comments. You seem to only know how to malign Archbishop Marini. Always judging … think about your own judgement , because is going to come . Charity is a virtue. Also for you Fr.Z

  12. Victoria – thank you for that judgement on our judging.

  13. Diane says:

    I loved this…

    The Augustinians, who have the care of the papal sacristy, will have a big task in the next few days: after twenty years during which any sort of traditional vestment was forbidden, many rooms will be unlocked, the doors of many vestment cases opened wide. And, since with Msgr. Piero Marini precious sacred vestments of the papal treasury were banished to give way to a panoply of questionable creations, one might suppose that in the coming weeks the former will be brought out into the light to make room for the latter. And there won’t even be any need for mothballs: moths don’t like plastic.

    If that doesn’t sum it up!

  14. Mike in NC says:

    after twenty years during which any sort of traditional vestment was forbidden, many rooms will be unlocked, the doors of many vestment cases opened wide.

    Isn’t this what Bl John XXIII called for? ‘To open the windows in order to let in fresh air.’ I doubt that the choice of the phrasing and imagery is accidental. I would go so far as to say it is substantial. ;-)

  15. Mike in NC says:

    UPDATE:

    LE UDIENZE

    Il Santo Padre ha ricevuto ieri in Udienza:

    S.E. Mons. Piero Marini, Arcivescovo tit. di Martirano, Presidente del Pontificio Comitato per i Congressi Eucaristici Internazionali.

    From the Vatican news for today
    .

  16. Graham Lake says:

    Thank God the Holy Father did not name him as a Cardinal in the upcoming
    Consistory!

  17. Victoria says:

    Not at all “Simple Sinner”. We all are.

    Graham Lake don’t hold your breath…

  18. RBrown says:

    Hey heroes of this blog. Why don’t you come up with some more intelligent and positive comments. You seem to only know how to malign Archbishop Marini. Always judging … think about your own judgement , because is going to come . Charity is a virtue. Also for you Fr.Z
    Comment by Victoria

    You seem to be supporting the man who opposes the pope. How charitable is that?

  19. Victoria: Why don’t you come up with some more intelligent and positive comments.

    Do you have some “intelligent and positive comments” to share?

    What, in your opinion, should be said that isn’t being said?

    Lead by example. If what you say is both intelligent and positive, I am sure the readers will accept it on its merits.

  20. Andrew says:

    Fr John,

    Thanks for repositioning the picture, so that we can read the whole article.

  21. Tim Ferguson says:

    Mike in NC:

    I see that the meeting with Marini is the only thing on the Holy Father’s schedule for today. Since the next International Eucharistic Congress is scheduled for next June in Quebec, it seems a bit early for a last-minute-rundown, and a bit late for an organizational meeting.

    I wonder if this was more of a “come to Jesus” meeting, as they say.

  22. EJ says:

    The Holy Father is just glowing in those pictures of his audience with his new “maestro.” Actually they both are – and it’s a joy to see the Holy Father so happy. The chemistry there is apparent; what exciting times.

  23. The new Papal MC, Mons. Guido Marini, surely comes very well recommeded. First, he comes from the environment shaped, and still influenced in part, by the long presence of Card. Siri. Second, the Holy Father’s long-time collaborator Tarcisio Card. Bertone, has has personal experience of Marini as an MC. I suspect that he made the recommendation to His Holiness.

  24. Dustin says:

    If we insist on using military terminology, which I’m not terribly fond of, I think the proper term would be “desertion,” rather than mutiny. The elder Marini’s collaborators are abandoning the OPC, not hijacking it.

    I’ll chime in with Victoria. I do tire of the snippiness in the combox. Pray, friends, for humility and graciousness. Pray, in charity, for Archbishop Marini, for those who’ve worked with him in the past and for those who succeed them.

    Otherwise, I have no opinion on this.

  25. Bernard says:

    My prayers are for our Holy Father. If he is happy so am I.
    Whether or not Msgr. Guido was ordained by Cardinal Siri he is from the same ‘lineage’. Thanks be to God and to His Blessed Mother.

  26. RBrown says:

    Victoria,

    Christ does not merely say “Judge not”, but rather he continues with “lest you be judged”. According to St Augustine and other Fathers, this is an injunction against false judgment or severe judgment in indifferent matters (thinking the worst).

    In this matter, however, the facts are fairly clear.

    Msgr Marini’s comments have indicated that his concept of liturgy is in opposition to that of the Pope. It is clear that his view of liturgy is based on cultural relativism: Thus Gregorian Chant was fine for its time and place, the St Louis Jesuits music is fine for ours–St Thomas’ “Adoro Te” is no better than their “One Bread One Body”.

    The pope disagrees, and Msgr Marini was replaced. Is it sad that he was canned? Yes. But I think it’s more sad that a Papal Master of Ceremonies would reject Sacred Liturgical tradition.

  27. RBrown says:

    I’ll chime in with Victoria. I do tire of the snippiness in the combox. Pray, friends, for humility and graciousness. Pray, in charity, for Archbishop Marini, for those who’ve worked with him in the past and for those who succeed them.

    Otherwise, I have no opinion on this.
    Comment by Dustin

    I wonder whether you are as tired of the snippiness as I am of the 35 year long liturgical silliness.

    BTW, humility is a not a virtue of the intellect. Thus ignorance is not a virtue–and it can be caused by tepidity.

  28. Mark says:

    I sincerely hope the new Marini has more sense than the old to ‘come in out of the rain’ – literally. The Mass in Naples was a fitting end to the MC career of HE Piero.

  29. Matthew Mattingly says:

    I wonder is Piero Marini was being reprimanded by the Pope today for stirring dissention/trouble in the Curia over his departure from the Liturgy Office headed and headed for oblivion? I have heard of Piero Marini’s famous “hissy fits” and “backstabbing antics” since Pope Benedict’s Pontificate began, and especially since the Motu Proprio.
    Pope Benedict XVI doesn’t remind me of one who would suffer insubordination for long. I think Piero Marini was deliberatly trying to stir trouble in the Vatican with his long “Good bye” letter is which he complimented himself, John Paul II, and had enormous praise for the Novus Ordo Mass etc. and the expressions of He supervised. It was His final curtain, His “Boo Hoo, I’ve been sacked” letter. And now all his ex-staff wants to follow their ex-leader? Let them. Go and good riddance. Replace them with traditionalists like Pope Benedict XVI and Guido Marini. IT’ll be easier to start out fresh.
    As for Piero Marini, He’s history (I hope). Gone and soon to be forgotten.

  30. Matthew: I wonder is Piero Marini was being reprimanded by the Pope today for stirring dissention/trouble in the Curia over his departure from the Liturgy Office headed and headed for oblivion?

    I am sure you would like to think so, but I sincerely doubt it. There is an important Eucharistic Congress coming up in Quebec. The Holy Father is also very gracious and would, I am sure, happily meet with someone who had such an important role for so long.

  31. David Kubiak says:

    As to the return of the older papal vestments, I was told that they all burned up in a mysterious 1970′s fire in the sacristy of St. Peter’s, which some sources claime was started by the then Cardinal Archpriest.

    I am still wondering about the attitude of the college of papal M.C’s at the time of the original reforms. There is a story told about their head, the great Mons. and finally Cardinal Dante, that is no doubt apocryphal, but as the Italians say, ‘Se non e vero e ben trovato.’ It is reported that after the new papal liturgy was in place Pope Paul asked Mons. Dante to come out of retirement and help in its inauguration. He is supposed to have responded: ‘Santo Padre, what would there be for me to do? Your Holiness has destroyed everything.’

  32. David Kubiak: the older papal vestments, I was told that they all burned up in a mysterious 1970′s fire in the sacristy of St. Peter’s, which some sources claime was started by the then Cardinal Archpriest.

    No, I don’t think so.

  33. “There is a story told about their head, the great Mons. and finally Cardinal Dante, that is no doubt apocryphal, but as the Italians say, ‘Se non e vero e ben trovato.’ It is reported that after the new papal liturgy was in place Pope Paul asked Mons. Dante to come out of retirement and help in its inauguration. He is supposed to have responded: ‘Santo Padre, what would there be for me to do? Your Holiness has destroyed everything.”

    I doubt very much that this story is true. Dante was already an archbishop as papal MC at the start of the Council and remained MC through the death of John XXIII and the election of Pope Paul VI. In 1965 he was created a cardinal and continued in his role as Secretary of the Congregation of Rites (as it was then called) but ceased to be an MC because he was a cardinal. He never retired. In addition, he died two years later in 1967 before the reformed liturgy had been fully implemented.

  34. Derik Castillo says:

    I believe the situation in the Vatican may be repeated in
    churches all around the world. People are uncomfortable
    with the solemnity and decency of the old times. What I
    really hope is that every modernist take the example of Piero
    Marini and followers, who are stepping aside instead of
    becoming stumbling blocks. I pray for the enlightenment
    of all Catholics who despise the Extraordinary Form of Mass.

    Derik

  35. LeonG says:

    It is impossible to ignore the necessary equation Lex Orandi = Lex Credendi without destroying the delicate equilibrium between Roman Catholic norms, values & mores. In the liturgy, for example, we have been able to evaluate 45 years of improvised experimentation with the novel formula of Lex “Spriti Consilii” = Lex Imaginationis et Mundi. The outcome may have a common root in the original model but the objective forms are quite distinct. The consequential results are very contrasting with relatively little that is comparative. The subsequent reactions of various cardinals and episcopates are in their very essence a reflection of two liturgical paradigms which are based on almost diametrically opposite philosophical systems. The news above is also indicative of the same tendencies.
    It will require time and patience, immense resolve and perseverence to restore the delicate balance. Personally, prayer is the only means available at present to discover how much patience, how much perseverence and how much resolve but Lex Orandi = Lex Credendi however we may regulate the variables. That the Holy Father has understood this is without doubt. That Mgr Guido Marini will have a fundamental role to fullfil in the process is certain. That they will both succeed – back to The Rosary beads.

  36. Joe says:

    I find this blog fascinating.

    I dare say almost everyone here knows more about the internal workings of the Holy See than I do.

    As for those that oppose Papa Benedetto, a return to authentic Catholic tradition and especially the motu proprio, and are shown the door, I grant a hearty goodbye.

    Papa Benedetto is such a blessing to our Church. He has strengths where +Pope John Paul II+ of eternal memory did not.
    May God give Papa Benedetto many more years.

  37. catherine says:

    I am saddened to hear so many “hissy fits” by so many who love the Traditional Latin Liturgy. The lack of Charity is overwhelming: this is NOT the Church of Papa Benedetto xvi. Sniping at Piero Marini personally gets YOU disrespect from those who actually worked with/for him. He is always a gentleman, quiet and respectful to those that he asks for tasks….If you do not know the man, leave his personal life out of it. Card Noe received the same gruesome farewell……

  38. LeonG says:

    Catherine, the sad factor is that at present Lex Orandi does not equal Lex Credendi. The ray of luminescence is that The Holy Father is endeavouring to restore the balance which requires all our support. The fact that so many have been mobilised to discuss this and share their perspectives should be praised and not lamented. It would be most uncharitable to deny the love through reverence, honour and respect that is due Our Blessed Lord in the Roman Catholic liturgy. No one can objectively deny that such is lamentably missing in most liturgical activity today. To remain silent about this is very much an uncharitable act, since the welfare of the soul is involved, too.

  39. Matthew Mattingly says:

    IN response to a comment away up on the column, I think Pope benedict XVI was ridiculed for wearing the “camauro” because it was very badly made, and also He wore it with the inappropriate vesture.
    If you compare a photo of John XXIII (the last pope to wear the camauro in life), with the one worn by Benedict XVI 2 years ago, then you’ll see why people were laughing. It looked too much like a “Santa Claus” hat rather than the camauro. The ermine trim was too broad and thick, etc.
    I have read that Pope Benedict XVI plans to wear more of the classical pontifical vesture, especially with Piero Marini gone. I do know that He wants to wear the Papal fallon vestment, and I read one “rumor” on an Italian site that they are going to start making Papal vestments in a very much more traditional style…including new Roman vestments for the Pope.
    I’m happy that Piero Marini’s staff that were loyal to him quit the Ceremonial Department, because that shows that Piero was more likely sacked, than just transferred/promoted. If His staff had see it as a promotion for their Boss, probably they wouldn’t have left.
    But if they all wished to quit because they don’t like the agenda/liturgical direction coming back into use (Tridentine Latin Mass, more traditional expressions of Papal liturgy etc), then I’m happy the new Maestro of Pontifical ceremonies will be able to start fresh with a staff who supports Him….and the Pope.
    * As for Cardinal Noe, who was mentioned in a post…wasn’t He the Archpriest of St. peter’s who destroyed the “Altar of the Confession” in the back of St. Peters, wriping the 500+ year old marble altar right out of the wall, leaving nothing it it’s place, and putting that ugly metal “table altar” in it’s place. Horrible. Really terrible. That he was allowed to get away with it is even worse!

  40. caeremoniarius says:

    The older papal vestments were not destroyed–many of them appear in the 2001 book “Tresors inconnus du Vatican.” The authors (Berthod and Blanchard) thanked Abp Marini for allowing them to photograph these treasures.

  41. Marco the Magnificent says:

    Here’s to a return of the fanon and falda. Bye, bye, Don Piero, you will not be missed!

  42. Marco the Magnificent says:

    Yes, Virgilio Noe was the culprit in that monumental act of architectural and cultural vandalism resulting in the desecration of the altar in the apse of the basilica.

    Matthew refers to the “fallon”; I think he means the fanon, which is a cape-like gold and red striped vestment draped over the chasuble. The pallium then goes over the fanon and is clipped to the fanon, not the chasuble. John Paul II wore the fanon on a few occasions; there are pictures of him wearing it somewhere on the Net.

  43. RBrown says:

    Card Noe received the same gruesome farewell……
    Comment by catherine

    Actually, no. He was made a Cardinal before he was 70 as head of the Fabric of San Peter’s. That’s hardly a gruesome exit. And I have to say that he is better with a thurible than anyone I have ever seen.

    But he was not eligible to vote in the conclave.