The Return of the Protodeacon

There was a nice little piece by Paolo Rodari in Il Riformista about the coming of the new MariniHere is a bit at the very end…

Even so, Ratzinger decided [to nominate Mons. Guido Marini].  His motive is to have a master of ceremonies who isn’t so much of a "co-star" ("protagonista")… and who knows how to give to his ceremonies that sumptuousness blended with grace that has not always been seen in recent times within the Vatican’s walls. 

And who knows if, at last, during pontifical Masses, there won’t return to view next to the Pontiff the Cardinal Protodeacon and the second Cardinal in the diaconal order.  Just as once upon a time.  Just as it ought to be again today.

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23 Responses to The Return of the Protodeacon

  1. Thomasso says:

    I might be wrong, but haven’t there been a couple of occasions when the Holy Father has been flanked by Cardinal Deacons wearing dalmatics? I’m sure I saw a photo of the Urbi et Orbi blessing when they were beside him.

  2. danphunter1 says:

    Guide and gaurd our Holy Father sweet Gaurdian Angel of His Most High Pontiff of the Universe.

  3. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Yes, I too have seen those Cardinal Deacons in dalmatics and small white miters flanking the Pope at various times.

  4. RosieC says:

    Can someone help the less learned members of the class with the definition of “protodeacon?”

  5. Romulus says:

    the new Marini

    In case Fr. Z is contemplating another nomenclature poll, my vote is “the new Guy”.

  6. Anynymous says:

    It seems that the Holy Father has been assisted by Cardinal Deacons only outside of the Mass, or at other occasions where there are no concelebrants, such as the Urbi et Orbi blessings and Good Friday. Under Abp. Marini, Papal Masses have not had Assistant Deacons at the Throne (Cardinals or otherwise), as is customary at all Solemn Pontifical Masses. Rather, the Pope has had two Deacon Ministers (“Word” and “Eucharist”), but at the throne has only been assisted by two MCs acting as chaplains, a feature of Pontifical Low Mass. Hopefully the new Marini will assign two Deacons to attend our Holy Father at the Throne, as all other bishops have in Solemn Masses. It would be awesome if he did so with the Cardinal Deacons traditional to Papal Masses.

  7. Mathew Mattingly says:

    “… and who knows how to give to his ceremonies that sumptuousness blended with grace that has not always been seen in recent times within the Vatican’s walls. ”

    I copied/pasted this from the article.
    But this quote is wonderful if true. Can you imagine the joy in the Catholic world to see magnificent Papal Masses (ceremony, music, vestments, solemnity) again instead of either the bare bones stark “Calvinistic” approach of Paul VI, or the fabricated, improvisational ceremonies of John Paul II.
    I would definitly tape a Papal Mass if it had some of the beauty of bygone times (a la Pius XII etc.).
    I know a family friend who went to Rome about 10 years ago, and refused to attend a Papal Mass by John Paul II because She had seen them all on TV, and there was ” nothing special” about them.
    Let’s hope that this changes with the new Marini as Papal MC.

  8. Tim Ferguson says:

    The Cardinal protodeacon is the senior Cardinal in the diaconal order (Cardinals are in three “classes” – Cardinal bishops (generally, the more important Cardinals working in the Vatican), Cardinal priests (the largest group, mostly residential archbishops) and Cardinal deacons (mostly lesser or junior members of the Vatican curia and Cardinals who have been dispensed from the requirement of episcopal ordination, like Cardinal Dulles). The Cardinal protodeacon, currently Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez, has, among his duties, the privilege of announcing to the world the election of a new pope.

  9. Quietus says:

    Mathew, I do agree partly with your friend. The Papal Masses (JP2) in Saint Peter’s Square or inside the Basilica were — of course solemn in the sense that the Pope has been there — nonetheless rather horrific, because of the fact how unworthily people did behave there especially when receiving Holy Communion. There is such a terrible chaos there when the priests come to the pews. It’s almost sacrilegious. Couldn’t anybody stop this practice? Why cannot people just attend a papal liturgy and not expect to receive Communion?

  10. ParmenTaylor says:

    I know a family friend who went to Rome about 10 years ago, and refused to attend a Papal Mass by John Paul II because She had seen them all on TV, and there was ” nothing special” about them.

    A sense of priorities and a knack for grasping essentials both seem to abound in Mathew’s world.

  11. Syriacus says:

    In case Fr. Z is contemplating another nomenclature poll, my vote is… :

    1) PMarini for the EMERITUS

    2) GMarini for “the new Guy” :)

  12. Syriacus says:

    “The Cardinal protodeacon, currently Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez, has, among his duties, the privilege of announcing to the world the election of a new pope.”

    Mmh… I’m glad inform you all that, since Feb 23 2007, the Cardinal Protodeacon of the college of cardinals, is… http://www.vatican.va/news_services/press/documentazione/documents/cardinali_biografie/cardinali_bio_castrillon-hoyos_d_en.html

    Yep. :-))

  13. B Knotts says:

    Regarding nomenclature, I vote for “Marini Novo.”

  14. Joe says:

    Does that mean the “Marini antiquior” has been abrogated?

    AMDG,

    -J.

  15. RC says:

    Fr. Z: any ideas about what provision the Holy Father will make for a subdeacon in his OF Masses?

    For the nomenclature question: Marini nuovo and Marini vecchio.

  16. Tom S. says:

    The pattern is becoming impossible to miss, isn’t it. Even for the most obtuse. Now just wait and see what happens when His Holiness celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass!

  17. As regards to nomenclature…how about we just say “Marini” and mean Fr. Guido Marini and forget the other one ever even existed?

  18. Tim Ferguson says:

    let’s not forget Mario Marini, now an official in the Ecclesia Dei Commission. There are Marini everywhere!

    And Syriacus – thanks for that correction. I confess to relying on a single source for my info, without cross-checking my facts. Perhaps I could get a job at the New York Times?

  19. Louis E, says:

    The transfer of the position of Protodeacon to Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos was unprecedented and doubtless temporary,as in February the entire batch of Cardinal-Deacons elevated in 1998 acquire (and will almost certainly exercise) the right to become Cardinal-Priests.This will leave Cardinal Cacciavillan as the Protodeacon and Cardinal Sebastiani as the senior elector among the Cardinal-Deacons.

    Those who are in the Curia when created Cardinals become Cardinal-Deacons as a rule…no one ever becomes a Cardinal as a Cardinal-Bishop though the Oriental Patriarchs rank immediately after the Cardinal-Bishops and are counted as of the same order.Cardinal-Bishops are elevated by the pope when one of the six Suburbicarian Sees becomes vacant (e.g. on his own election,Benedict XVI named Cardinal Arinze to his former see of Velletri-Segni).The six current Cardinal-Bishops are Sodano (Dean,not an elector after next month),Etchegaray(Vice-Dean,not an elector),Gantin(Dean Emeritus,not an elector),Lopez Trujillo(will preside over the next conclave if held between November 2007 and 2015),Re,and Arinze.

  20. Mathew Mattingly says:

    I’d like to see Pope Benedict XVI surprise most people, and still be in fine health and reigning as Pope in 2015.
    Most people when He was elected brushed him off as a “transitional pope who won’t live but a few years”
    I hope they are wrong.

  21. RBrown says:

    I’d like to see Pope Benedict XVI surprise most people, and still be in fine health and reigning as Pope in 2015. Most people when He was elected brushed him off as a “transitional pope who won’t live but a few years”
    Comment by Mathew Mattingly

    Just after BXVI was elected and was being called a transitional pope, I told friends: If Papa Ratzinger does what I think he’s going to do in the next 5 years, then people will be thinking of JPII as a transitional pope.

    I haven’t changed my opinion.

  22. GCC Catholic says:

    I’d like to see Pope Benedict XVI surprise most people, and still be in fine health and reigning as Pope in 2015.
    Most people when He was elected brushed him off as a “transitional pope who won’t live but a few years”
    I hope they are wrong.

    Pope John XXIII was to be a ‘transitional pope’, and we know what he did in his five years.
    Pope Leo XIII was to be a ‘transitional pope’, and he went and lived to be in his 90s.

    I hope those who see Pope Benedict as a ‘transitional pope’ are wrong too. May God will him a long and healthy life.

  23. Gustavo Ráez-Patiño says:

    As Anynymous noted, in recent years the Pope is assisted by Cardinal deacons only at Urbi et Orbi blessings and at the Good Friday service, neither of which are Masses. Nevertheless, I am confused by Anynymous’ comment: You seem to be mixing Ordinary Form rubrics with Extraordinary Form ones. I think that assisting deacons to the throne at Mass are exclusive to Pontifical High Masses in the Extraordinary Form, and here we are talking about the Pope’s Ordinary Form Masses. But again, I remember having seen Cardinal deacons assisting John Paul II early in his pontificate. So I’m a bit lost in this subject.

    Anyway, here’s a list of possible “reintroductions” of some traditional elements in Papal Masses (OF or EF) that Msgr. Guido might implement (none of them represent any kind of difficulty whatsoever, and can be implemented right on): papal fanon; some lace in albs and surplices; one of those papal croziers with a triple cross so representative of papacy that are nowadays just a museum piece on the Vatican sacristy; more traditional vestments (again, use those “museum pieces”!); a tall precious mitre for the Pope and reintroduce those tall white mitres for cardinals; use at Mass that awsome golden papal throne that Benedict already used a couple of times at audiences in the Apostolic Palace; and finally put once and for all the six candlesticks and the crucifix at the centre in the papal altar.

    Louis E:
    I believe there are seven Suburbicarian Sees, although only six Cardinal bishops. What happens is that the Dean of the cardinals (currently Sodano) is Cardinal bishop of Ostia while retaining at the same time the See he had before this appointment.

    RBrown:
    “If Papa Ratzinger does what I think he’s going to do in the next 5 years, then people will be thinking of JPII as a transitional pope.”
    That’s one of the best phrases I have read in a long time.