Archbishop Marini and the Strawman

Archbp. Marini and Pope BenedictA tip of my biretta goes to Amy for making me aware of the interview article in Affari Italiani with Archbishop Piero Marini, the Pope’s Master of Ceremonies.


Here is a bit that was not translated in the piece Amy related to the blogosphere. 

Archbishop Marini told the interviewer:

The "Tridentine" or Rite of St. Pius V, which is really the Missale Romanum brought up to date according to the last provisions in 1962 by John XXIII, was kept in force under certain conditions in order to avoid making the passage from the old to the new rite traumatic for the more elderly of the faithful.  Then Pope Wojtyla granted that one could, in certain church, celebrate according to the rite of St. Pius V, and there it is.  But to go beyond this to to go beying the Church, and this you cannot do.  If the liturgy is the sign of unity for the Church, I can’t create groups of the faithful who on such and such a day at such and such an hour pray in one way, and then another group an hour later prays in another.  And so we come to the Lefebvrites.

Card. Ratzinger celebrates Let’s be clear once and for all: they have to accept what the Second Vatican Council decided, otherwise no reconciliation will be possible.  But then, what do these people want?  The majority of the faithful have gotten used to the idea that, without the new rite, which wasn’t a child of the Curia but rather an labor of international character, the celebrations and foreign visits of Pope Wojtyla would have been impossible to carry off.  And so, because they (the Lefebvrites) don’t adjust, what difference is there?  Let me tell you an anecdote.

Some years ago some Lefevbrites came to see me and I received them.  One of this spoke up and said: ‘Your Excellency, the new rite is a heresy’ ‘Why?’, I asked.  ‘Because’, the Lefebvrite responded, ‘in the old rite the celebrant genuflects, adores the Host, rises, shows it to the faithful and then genuflects again to adore it.’  ‘And so?, I said.  ‘So, this is a heresy because the celebrant, in genuflecting only after the showing of the Host, in reality is asking the consent of the community before proceeding to the consecration."

Hmmm… "Behold, the Good Shepherd".

Immediately you will recognize a couple problems here. 
A Mass in St. Paul/Minneapolis, Fr. Altier's diocse (not Fr. Altier)
First, you will notice the great lack of respect that His Excellency has for the "legitimate aspirations" which the late Pope commanded by his Apostolic authority be shown to those who desire the use of older forms of liturgy.  He is fairly contemptuous, as a matter of fact.  His reference to them as "those people", has the same impact in Italian as in English, maybe more so.  No one will deny that some of the more traditional stamp can be very hard to reason with.  In fact, I sustain that this movement tends to attract people who are only happy when they are unhappy.  Still, I think it behooves those in positions of ecclesiatical authority to exercise spiritual works on mercy in their regard.  Or don’t they deserve Christian charity?  Do we treat kindly only those who agree with us?

The ScarecrowSecond, you will recognize a straw man when you see one.  In that anecdote he tells is simply ridiculous.  You cannot for a moment doubt it happened just as he related it.  Lord knows, I have heard this and equally risible "arguments" against the Novus Ordo.  However, to present this as if it were a serious representation of Lefebvrites in general is absurd.  There are some very smart people making very smart arguments in the whole old Mass/new Mass debate.  Reducing it all to this dopey story is hardly to make his own position any better than the anecdote he told.

We can even create a very suggestive strawman with the use of contrasting photos.  In this message you see Card. Razinger celebrating the so-called "Tridentine" Mass.  Not all celebrations of the older Mass are like that.  You also see an atrocious and probably sacrilegious episode which, thanks be to God, is not representative of the Novus Ordo as it is used in most places. 

Not every celebration of the new Mass is bad, though many are.  Not every celebration of the older Mass is perfect, … indeed few are.  However, there are fewer differences between them, when celebrated according to the books and with a traditional style in mind, than there are differences between, say, St. Ipsidipsi and St. Idealia just down the street in your town.  You can go from church to church in some places and see Masses so different you would think they were all representative of different religions.  And this doesn’t even bring into the discussion the fact that Ukrainian Catholics and Maronite Catholics are celebrating in their own particular Rites.  Are they somehow less Catholic than Latins just because one group prays one way and another group prays in another?  Piffle. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. CaesarMagnus says:

    I don’t remember where I heard it, and it was a while back, but I thought
    I had heard Marini was going to be replaced.

  2. Paul Murnane says:

    Contemptuous, indeed! Here’s another part of the interview translated at
    [url=]Rorate Caeli[/url]:

    In your words, while you presented the book, I felt a certain nostalgia for the past. What for?

    “Yes, at times I feel so nostalgic. Because at the time in which the liturgical reform was effected I was only 23, for which I saw the last three months of the Council, but this is part of my feelings. [b]However, in a historical point of view, we had at the time a distant objective, the complete reform of the liturgy, which we wished to accomplish. We have worked through the perspective of the renewal and of the return to the Church of the Holy Fathers, [i]eliminating every crust of time from the Roman liturgy.[/i][/b] However, the enthusiasm has had some degenerations…”

    Of what kind?

    “I think that in Belgium and in the Netherlands, on the wave of experimentalism, more than 300 eucharistic prayers were created, then it slowly returned to normality. But I fear this, the return of neoritualism, that is, of the priest who celebrates Mass thinking: ‘Well, I have said my Mass following the rite by the book, I am done.’ And that is not good, [b]the celebration is not only a passive respect for the liturgical rules, there is always some space for the celebrant.”[/b]

    I think he would make a great nuncio in Anarctica….except he wouldn’t appreciate the penguin’s formal attire. :)

  3. Paul Murnane says:

    hmmm, maybe I need to work on my phpBB code. Sorry about that.

  4. It isn’t phpbb! This is WordPress!


  5. Jon says:

    “Those people,” was General Lee’s term for us perfidious hordes across the Potomac.

    We all know what he thought of them!

  6. Paul Murnane says:

    Thanks for the correction, Fr.

  7. Paul: Keep jumping in!

  8. dad29 says:

    Methinks that MgrMarini is working hard on finding a new position, somelace. Isn’t the Legate to Iran’s slot open?

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