On the website of Card. Mahony’s newpaper, The Tidings, there is a piece by Fr. Richard McBrien (inexplicably still teaching at Notre Dame University) about the book that recently came out under the name of Archbishop Piero Marini.
Shall we have a look with my emphases and comments?
Archbishop Marini’s new book
By Fr. Richard McBrien
Archbishop Piero Marini served as papal master of ceremonies for some 20 years, under both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict recently appointed him president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, a position that is likely to carry with it a cardinal’s red hat. [I seriously doubt it.]
Although it would have been far better if he had succeeded Cardinal Francis Arinze [I shudder at the mere idea.] as Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the curial establishment in Rome would have raised a holy ruckus had such an appointment seriously been contemplated.
That in itself tells us something about the state of the Church today. There is a small but powerful and determined group within the Vatican who have never accepted the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI. Their resistance is at root ecclesiological in nature.
What they oppose is the de-clericalization of the liturgy. In their minds, the Church is identical with the hierarchy and the priests who serve under the bishops. The laity, on the other hand, are simply the beneficiaries of the sacramental ministrations of the clergy, in a process ultimately controlled by the Vatican. [I know that Fr. McBrien is one of the most notorious of dissenting Catholics around, but one can suppose that he is nevertheless a reasonably intelligent person. Thus I find it inexplicable that McBrien would write such a dopey thing as this and then allow it to be published with his name on it.]
The problem for the resisters is not so much that the Mass was put into the vernacular, but that the laity could now fully understand it and actively participate in it. [Because in the bad old days, and even now, the liturgical conservatives really want people to have no idea what is going on. Is that it? Let’s visit your average suburban parish on a Sunday and ask people leaving Mass a few simple questions about fundamentals of our Catholic faith or about the liturgy and compare them with the answers you might get from people who regularly attend the older form of Mass. Which group do you imagine would respond more accurately?]
The same applies to the turning around of the altar to face the congregation. It was no longer the priest-in-charge reciting the sacred words and performing the sacred rituals on behalf of the laity, but the laity themselves participating in the Mass along with the priest, making responses, singing various parts, proclaiming the Scripture readings, and even assisting with the distribution of Holy Communion. [Fr. McBrien really doesn’t have a clue about what "active participation" means.]
And the same applies to the removal of the Communion rail and the receiving of Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue, while standing rather than kneeling. Each of these changes signaled again that the laity are not passive observers at Mass, but active participants.
The Communion rail is gone because there should be no barrier between the sanctuary and the worshiping congregation. [By this line of thought, the turned around altar is a "barrier".] Communion is given in the hand because the laity should feed themselves rather than be fed like infants or very young children. [This is a common position of the loony left: we are all grown up now. Modern man is so adult and sophisticated. We’ve evolved out of the immaturity of past centuries to the point where we now stand in God’s presence, look Him … or Her… in the eye, stick our hands out and say "Gimme that!". This comment of McBrien reveals something very deeply rooted in the minds of progressivists.]
The communicants stand rather than kneel because they approach the priest as co-equals with him in Baptism, not as serfs coming before their lord and master to express their fealty. [This gets at another point: Whereas most clear thinking and faithful Catholics know that at Mass they are not in fact kneeling before the priest, but rather kneeling before God in humility, McBrien and his co-religionists make kneeling an issue of "power" – who has it, and how can I get some. This is how feminists see the priesthood: for them, ordination is a power-issue.]
It is this underlying ecclesiology that is rejected, and not simply the changes in language and rituals. What the resisters oppose is the very idea that the Church is the whole People of God, laity included, rather than the hierarchy and clergy alone. [Wrong again.]
This is what Archbishop Marini has stood for during all of these post-conciliar years, even as he literally stood at the side of two popes in papal ceremonies in St. Peter’s Basilica and around the world. And this is why he has been such a controversial figure in the Vatican, even though the general public never had an inkling of it. [And this is why the loony left is doing their best to turn Archbp. Marini into their figurehead in their "struggle" against Pope Benedict and everything he stands for.]
With the release of his new book, "A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, 1963-1975," edited by Mark Francis, John Page and Keith Pecklers, [Who are more than likely the true authors of Marini’s book, which has no Italian language edition to this day.] and published by The Liturgical Press, Archbishop Marini presents the case for the perennial validity of the council’s liturgical reforms. ["Perennial"? Doesn’t this make you chuckle a little? What has it been, some 40+ years since Sacrosanctum Concilium? Every once in a while these liberals try to get us to toss common sense to the wind and accept their revision of what "tradition" is. For example, think of the howlingly dopey comment that Pope Benedict had abandoned the "traditional" table style altar set up temporarily in the Sistine Chapel when Pope Benedict chose to celebrate ad orientem. Another example, when Bp. Trautman argued against Liturgiam authenticam before the plenary of the USCCB and made the claim that we shouldn’t rush to have another translation because, after all, we’ve now been using the present translation for thirty whole years!] He also challenges those who would, some 40 years later, attempt to undermine those reforms, in opposition not only to Vatican II but to the expressed wishes of Pope Paul VI himself. [Notice that McBrien is pitting Paul VI against Benedict XVI. Implicit in this statement is that Paul VI was a real Pope, a good Pope.]
In 1965, as the council was drawing to a close, Paul VI declared that the "new way of doing things will have to be different; it will have to prevent and shake up the passivity of the people present at Mass.
"Before," he continued, "it was enough to assist; now it is necessary to take part. Before, being there was enough, now attention and activity are required." [But it has always been so. Didn’t Jesus have constantly to spur the Apostles to pay attention and try to grasp what he was doing?]
And that is the proverbial rub, as Archbishop Marini points out in his new book and in a subsequent interview conducted in December by John Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.
The resistance, he insists, is not so much against the vernacular or a few ritual changes, but against the ecclesiology on which those changes are based.
Worship involves the whole Church. The Mass is not something performed by the clergy, but is an action of the entire congregation. [I think McBrien would argue that lay involvement at Mass would be necessary for the Eucharist to be confected. I am not sure about that, but his statement, and in what he says next, suggests it.]Like an orchestra leader, the priest-presider cannot presume to play all of the instruments himself, but must strive to bring them into a general harmony.
Fr. Richard McBrien is the Crowley-O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.
Is Fr. McBrien perhaps in part reacting to the implementation of Summorum Pontificum at Notre Dame?
Do you remember his deep insights about the Motu Proprio?