This is a companion piece to Mr. Allen’s interview with Msgr. Guido Marini, the papal MC.
My emphases and comments.
Liturgist: Pope aims to ‘propose’ practices
Mar. 03, 2010
By John L Allen Jr
ROME — For the better part of five years, plenty of experts on Catholic liturgy have been waiting for the “real” agenda of Pope Benedict XVI, known as a traditionalist on matters of worship, to emerge from beneath a façade of patience [But… read Ratzinger on liturgy! It’s genuine patience.] seemingly built on dropping hints rather than imposing sweeping new rules.
Now, however, the pope’s own liturgist insists that the patient façade is actually the agenda. [Of course. When speaking about, for example, ad orientem worship Papa Ratzinger clearly knows that it is superior to versus populum worship. But he warns against an imposition, which would create many problems… much as it did when the liturgy was being torn to pieces during and after the Council. We must avoid abrupt changes for the sake of the people of God.]
One month ago, that papal liturgist, Msgr. Guido Marini, sparked wide debate with his public call for a “reform of the reform,” suggesting to some a desire to roll back the clock on liturgical reforms associated with the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). However, Marini insists that no such rollback is underway, and no dramatic new rules are in the works. [An obvious point, but one that must be repeated and repeated and repeated for the readers of NCR, who are more than a little obtuse on this point.]
When Benedict employs more traditional touches in his own liturgies, such as giving Communion on the tongue, [That might be a "traditional" touch, but it has continued to the norm for the Church. Communion on the hand is an aberration from the norm permitted by indult.] those amount to “proposals,” Marini said, intended to gradually influence the church’s liturgical culture, and are not harbingers of forthcoming papal edicts.
“I don’t believe that the liturgy of the church needs any radical changes or distortions,” Marini said, saying he “fully” agrees with a comment from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, that Catholic liturgy needs a “period of stability” after the wave of dramatic, and at times contentious, reforms that flowed from Vatican II.
Marini, the master of papal liturgical celebrations, spoke in an exclusive interview with NCR Feb. 9 in his Vatican office. (Read more of the interview here: Q & A with Msgr. Guido Marini, papal liturgist.)
When Marini addressed a Jan. 6 conference in Rome sponsored by the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and the U.S.-based Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, he seemed to call into question at least some of the reforms from Vatican II, such as active participation by laity in the liturgy [I am glad Mr. Allen started this with "seems", because that was patently absurd. What is needed is a deeper understanding of what "active participation" means.] and greater “inculturation,” meaning adjusting the church’s rites to reflect local cultures. [And we need a better understanding of inculturation, apart from the selling out of Catholic identity which we usually see.]
In his conversation with NCR, however, Marini said that undoing those reforms is not what he had in mind. Marini conceded that the liturgical winds are blowing in a traditional direction, but said any change should happen slowly and without new upheaval.
“I believe it’s a matter of consolidating what we already have, in a more authentic way, according to the true mind of the church,” Marini said. He said that’s what Benedict has in mind when he talks about “development in continuity.”
Marini, 44, has served as Benedict’s master of liturgical celebrations since October 2007. In that role, he is the chief organizer of the pope’s own celebrations; liturgical policy for the wider church is set by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, presently headed by Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares. [Not to mention Pope Benedict.]
Trying to turn back the clock on Vatican II “wouldn’t make any sense, because it’s not how the life of the church works,” Marini said. New developments, he said, should happen “organically,” and “the best way, the most correct way … is certainly not to reject the reforms that were determined by the Second Vatican Council.”
The rest of the article is pretty much a summary of other points and you can read them on your own.