William Oddie has a spot-on column at the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald.
A few comments before we get to the main course.
First, a few years ago a book came out over the name of (Archbishop) Piero Marini, the former MC for John Paul II and, for a while, Benedict XVI. He is a disciple of the late Annibale Bugnini, supporter of “gay” marriage, herald of discontinuity, etc. In that book, Marini attacked Benedict XVI and crowed that when the Consilium was meeting, they knew they were going to change doctrine by changing liturgical worship.
Context: The Consilium has just just taken a major step in moving from an informally meeting group to an officially and formally established body. They have their first plenary session.
“They met in public to begin one of the greatest liturgical reforms in the history of the Western church. Unlike the reform after Trent, it was all the greater because it also dealt with doctrine.” (p. 46)
They succeeded. The work of the Consilium, in revising the Missale Romanum, did indeed change the Church’s doctrine. Change they way you pray and you change what you believe… and vice versa.
Second, we have to be ready to Be The Maquis.
Third, when the appointment takes place, I’ll believe it.
Is Pope Francis thinking of appointing as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship a disciple of Annibale Bugnini deeply hostile to Benedict XVI’s reforms?
If Archbishop Piero Marini really is appointed, it will be an unmistakeable declaration that we are all to be plunged back into the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture
By William Oddie
There have, it seems, for the last four or five months been persistent rumours from the eternal city that a dedicated opponent of Benedict XVI’s liturgical reorientation of the Church (certainly including Summorum Pontificum) is to be appointed prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship by Pope Francis. I have to say that these rumours had passed me by (a little fiddling round on the net reveals that Damian Thompson spotted them back in June) and I have only just caught up with them thanks to Fr Finigan, who in his indispensable blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity has this: “There is a rumour (and I understand from various sources that it is not a wild one) that Archbishop Piero Marini may be appointed as the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Archbishop Marini (not to be confused with the papal MC Mgr Guido Marini) was removed as papal MC by Pope Benedict. He is a disciple of the late Archbishop Bugnini and published a book A Challenging Reform: Realising the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal.” [That’s the book I mentioned.]
The foreword of this book says, I find, that it “is intended as a complement and supplement to the account of the liturgical reform published in 1985 by Annibale Bugnini, La riforma liturgica (1948 – 1975)”. Archbishop Bugnini, of course, was the chief architect of the “reformed” liturgy which actually emerged, and the great bugbear of liturgical traditionalists, a “Spirit of Vatican II” type if ever there was one. Piero Marini was his personal secretary, was himself deeply involved in the “reforms” and is still a fervent disciple. Fr Z has a killing story about Bugnini. When the Ayatollah Khomeini took control in Iran, he summoned the diplomatic corps into his presence and made them kneel down to him. Bugnini, then the papal nuncio to Iran, did it. He knelt. When news of this reached Rome, some wag in the Curia quipped that Bugnini was doing in Iran all the genuflections he had removed from the Mass.
The publishers of the English edition of Marini’s book, are an obviously highly ideological outfit, called the Liturgical Press, who also published the English edition of Bugnini’s book (of themselves, they say that “The Liturgical Press is a trusted publisher of liturgy, scripture, theology, and spirituality evolving to serve the changing needs of the Church”). About Marini’s book, they say this: “In these pages Archbishop Piero Marini reveals the vision, courage, and faith of the pastors and scholars who struggled to implement the Second Vatican Council’s teachings on the liturgy. While in some circles it is fashionable to propose ‘a reform of the liturgical reform’, any such revision needs to take into account the history of the consilium — the organism established by the Holy See to carry out the initial liturgical changes. This story of the work of the consilium offers a fascinating glimpse into the struggles and tensions that accompanied the realisation of the council’s dream to promote the ‘full, conscious and active participation’ of the faithful in Roman Catholic worship.” [Fascinating glimpse. Road kill can be fascinating too.]
Well, we have been warned: there would be no more reform of the reform if these rumours are true: if Marini really does become prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship it will be back to square one with a vengeance. And a real message would be being sent out: that all those who have been issuing Jeremiads to the effect that Pope Francis’s pontificate is taking a radically different path from that of Pope Benedict will be proved right, and I among many others, who have been saying that there is a real continuity between the two popes, will have got it badly wrong. Back to Marini’s book. I haven’t yet read it (nor, unless he is appointed, do I intend to): but here’s part of its review in Adoremus (which I tend to trust) by Fr Neil J Roy:
Read the rest over there.
To Mr. Oddie I would respond, even if he is appointed as Prefect, we would have to see what, in fact, happens in the Congregation.