In America Magazine His Excellency Donald W. Trautman, Bishop of Erie, has reacted to the book that came out over the name of H.E. Piero Marini, the former papal MC, probably ghost written by others. To this day there is no Italian edition.
Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments.
A Challenging Reform By Archbishop Piero Marini in book
Consilium Versus Curia
By Donald W. Trautman | APRIL 14, 2008
A Challenging Reform
By Archbishop Piero Marini
Liturgical Press. 205p $15.95
Archbishop Piero Marini served as the leading liturgist of the Holy See for 25 years. As master of papal liturgical ceremonies and as secretary/confidant to Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the chief architect of the liturgical reform that followed the Second Vatican Council, Marini now presents the inside story of the fierce struggle fought within the Vatican to implement the liturgical restoration overwhelmingly approved by the council fathers. Written with firsthand knowledge, A Challenging Reform details the Curia’s opposition and its tactics to reverse the direction set by the “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.”
Carefully documented, critically analyzed and candidly presented, Marini’s book reflects a historical memory [and also highly subjective] of the clashes and conflicts between the anti-reformists and reformists over the interpretation and implementation of the liturgy constitution. Edited by three well-known liturgical and linguistic scholars—Mark Francis, C.S.V., John Page and Keith Pecklers, S.J.—A Challenging Reform is the best single-volume overview of the beginning of the liturgical reform. [I would agree… but not, perhaps, for the same reasons as His Excellency.] The first six chapters are devoted to the formative period of the liturgical restoration. The seventh chapter examines the developments after this initial reform (1965-80). The appendix contains the text of seven pivotal documents that are valuable resources for understanding the context of the reform.
To assist in implementing the “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,” Pope Paul VI established a group known as the Consilium. It was international, competent, collegial and productive: it generated reformed liturgical texts. But the Consilium met immediate opposition from the Congregation for Rites. As Marini notes:
The Consilium and the Congregation for Rites championed two different perspectives. The Consilium remained true to its mission in support of a liturgy open to renewal. [And here is the point championed in the book… – play sinister music here…: ] The Congregation for Rites was still firmly anchored to a limited tradition since the Council of Trent and not in favor of the broad innovations desired by the Council.
The suspicion and stress encountered by the Consilium [poor things] in interacting with the congregation point out [and with the following you can tell where H.E. comes down.] a basic failure in ecclesiology that persists to this day: a collegial mindset versus a Curial mindset. [Notice the assumption that these two must automatically be in conflict… might we say… there was a rupture?] This was clearly evident at the very beginning of the liturgical reform, when there was strong, strident curial opposition to the conciliar endorsement of the vernacular. [Note what he said "opposition to the endorsement"] The Congregation for Rites sought to limit its use and to deny bishops’ conferences the right to approve vernacular texts. [In the next sentence H.E. admits that the SCR was not opposed to all use of the vernacular. The real reason for the SCR’s opposition stemmed from the a desire to check the real motive of those involved with the Consilium, especially its Secretary Annibale Bugnini, that is, to strip the curia of power – especially the SCR which had some time before removed Bugnini from his teaching post at the Pontifical Lateran University – diminish the role of the Pope and curia in favor of local conferences of bishops (which would also have diminished the authority of bishops as individuals!). Many of the things the Consilium forwarded were motivated, and strongly so, by a desire to decentralize. This is where Bp. Trautman’s self-interest comes into play: he doesn’t want Rome to be able to shape and approve the new translation of the Missale Romanum. He has advocated resistance to the norms for translation in Liturgicam authenticam. He is pretty much still fighting the fight of Annibale Bugnini.] The congregation opposed the use of the vernacular for prefaces and eucharistic prayers. Only with the endorsement of Pope Paul VI did the views of the Consilium finally prevail.
The Consilium also experienced a frontal attack from the Curia, with the unprecedented public opposition of Cardinals Alfredo Ottaviani and Antonio Bacci. Their statements reveal the re-trenchments so embedded in the Curia of that time. Marini’s book fosters in the reader a new esteem for the liturgical re-formers [To an extent, I agree. As I read this book I too marveled at the sheer brilliance of men like Bugnini to manipulate the circumstances, map out a strategy to use the Council, still in session, as a hammer against the SCR, bring the Pope over to his views and then work with tenacious energy and great speed to move from meeting to meeting, memo to draft to document… even sending things to the printers before they had gotten final approval. Truly amazing.] and their efforts to make the liturgy more responsive to pastoral concerns and biblical sources. They paid a personal price for their efforts, but they gave new liturgical life to the universal church. [And the Church has paid a terrible price along with them.]
Archbishop Marini has rendered a great service to the contemporary church and succeeding generations by documenting so clearly the birth pains of the liturgical reform of Vatican II. [While I don’t believe Marini wrote the book (he was clearly deeply involved), I agree that this volume is truly invaluable.] He takes us behind the scenes, showing the role played by Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro and the Rev. (later Archbishop) Bugnini in fighting against efforts of the Congregation for Rites to derail the reform. [Or perhaps, check the imprudent rush based on and unhealthy ideology?] For example, even though the council had restored concelebration in the Western church for wider use, the congregation was still restricting the number of concelebrants and insisting on the use of a metal straw, excluding drinking directly from the chalice. [Remember: the issue that was fought out was over who gets to determine how concelebration was going to be handled: concelebration became a weapon in Bugnini’s war on the Curia.]
[And now you get a sense of what the old Second Nocturn of the Breviary was like… ] Thanks to Marini’s book, we now appreciate all the more something we often take for granted: the restoration of the vernacular, “noble simplicity” in the rites, concelebration and reformed liturgical books (Roman Missal, Roman Pontifical, Ceremonial of Bishops, Liturgy of the Hours). He gives us a deeper appreciation of the enormous work that led to “full, conscious and active participation”—the prayer of the faithful, the rediscovery of the priesthood of all the faithful, the Novus Ordo and the recognition of various liturgical ministries entrusted to the laity. [Not that we have seen many positive fruits but… who knows…. now that we have also the old Mass as another option, perhaps some of these other things hoped for by the Council will blossom as well.]
All this did not happen without painstaking research and scholarly study, much dialogue and debate, and always countless meetings. [Truly… people who know how to run meetings and control procedure wield great power.] This rich liturgical legacy of Vatican II has nourished the church’s worship [and emptied our churches and seminaries?] for almost 40 years.
[play sinister music again…] But are we seeing signs today of retrenchment, a return to a liturgical practice and piety from before Vatican II? [I love the way these are couched as rhetorical questions.] Do we see signs of a preconciliar mentality, a Curial ecclesiology, [Ooooo…] influencing the liturgy? Are there parallels between the first days of the renewal and the present time? Marini’s book is a wake-up call to contemporary Catholics to sustain the liturgical achievements [In other words to fight against Pope Benedict and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Pont. Comm. Ecclesia Dei] of the Second Vatican Council so that the past does not repeat itself. [His Excellency seems to want a rupture with the past, rather than continuity.] Will we learn that lesson of history and imitate those who fought so tirelessly to preserve and hand on the principles of the “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy”?
When the Curia attempted to limit the liturgical reform, there was decisive and strong reaction from episcopal conferences [because they wanted power!] and national liturgical commissions, especially from the French. Analyzing this, Marini writes: “Even during this initial phase of reform, the liturgy was no longer an exclusive preserve of the Roman Curia but belonged to the Church.” That remains the goal for the liturgy today. We are indebted to Archbishop Marini for his chronicle of the events that brought about what is perhaps the most fundamental liturgical reform in the history of the Western church. [I agree. We owe the authors of this book a debt. After reading this clear, well written book, you will have very few doubts about what the post-Conciliar liturgical reform as forwarded by the Consilium, and those who cling to its vision, was all about.]
The Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, bishop of Erie, Pa., is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy.
A most useful review! Thank you, Your Excellency!