Interview with the new Papal M.C. Msgr. GUIDO Marini

The site Petrus has an interview by Bruno Volpe with the new Master of Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini, who has replaced Archbp. Piero Marini.

My translation:

CITTA’ DEL VATICANO – He’s only just arrived in the Vatican: with a marked Genovese accent, at 42 years old, raised in the school of Giuseppe Card. Siri and a faithful collaborator of Archbishops Dionigi Tettamanzi, Tarcisio Bertone, and Angelo Bagnasco, the new Master of the Pope’s liturgical ceremonies Msgr. Guido Marini, successor of the homoynous Piero, speaks for the first time after the bestowal of this prestigious role and does so with

Monsignor, above all, welcome and I hope your work goes well…

GM: Thanks for that good wish, I really need it.  You know, I have only been in Rome a short time, and I am looking around, I am taking it in, and I am thinking to myself:  there is a lot to do and take care of, believe me.

So, we go from one Marini to another: what do you say to Piero, your predecessor?

GM: From my heart I thank him.  He has given a lot to the Church, has served two Popes, and I am here only at the beginning of my service.

It’s been called a difficult job…

GM: Clearly.. The life of every Master of Ceremonies for the Pope is frought with problems.  We are in the limelight, and we can’t allow here the luxury of making huge mistakes. 

Many hold that you were called up because, liturgically, you are more sober and traditional than [Archbp.] Piero Marini.  But what is your concept of liturgy? 

What the Church wants and teaches, no more, no less.  I am not the sort of person who looks for novelities or oddities.  I might seem banal, but the liturgy needs respects for the rules dictated by the Church, and I don’t see any reason why I should ignore them.

It’s said that in Genoa, whee  you have been working till now, that the liturgy was so well cared for, solemn and elegant, without flights of fantasy…

But the liturgy is that way by its own nature.  Let me repeat: No one can set aside the Church’s liturgical norms.  The Mass is a gift, a grace, not a show.  Therefore, no sort of fabrication, but absolute respect for the liturgical norms.

Pope Benedic XVI, in addition to being a very great theologian, it also a subtle liturgist.  He gives great importance to the liturgy, correctly executed… 

To collaborate with the Holy Father will be a grace for me.  The popularity of the Pope is in full view of everyone, as his preaching of the truth and his courage.  Insofar as concerns the liturgy, I entirely share the Pope’s position: Mass is sacrifice.

In your opinion, have there been liturgical abuses recently?

You know, the Church is big.  But, as the same Pontiff has himself acknowledged in his letter explaning the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, there have been abuses and outlandish interpretations.  All I can say is that, for sure, I will not be the author of any fabrication, and I will limit myself to apply scrupulously the rules existing today.

On that note, what do you think about the Motu Proprio that derestricted the Mass with the "Tridentine rite"? 

I agree with the Motu Proprio 100%, as an act of common sense, justice, freedom and farsightedness. 

Something to notice here is that the new MC is very much in favor of "freedom", but freedom within the structure of the rules, the rubrics, the legislation.  In a sense, the issue of adherence to "rules" suggests a strong understand the connection between faith and prayer.  What we believe has a reciprocal relationship with what we believe.  This is the lex orandi lex credendi principle, so much at the heart of the Church in every sphere of its life, in all corners of the world.

Note also that while he didn’t say anything critical of his predecessor, he is also demonstrating that there is now a completely different approach being applied. 

Don’t be looking for innovations.   I mean that in two senses: I suspect he will not abruptly change everything in the papal ceremonies.  That just doesn’t sound like something Pope Benedict would do.  Remember that in his liturgical writings Joseph Ratzinger knew we must take a gentle approach to correcting things, not an abrupt approach.  However, certain things will gradually start to shift in a new direction.  That shift will begin right away, but not in an abrupt way.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jordan Potter says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Father. Msgr. Guido Marini sounds like he’ll be very good for the Pope and for the Church’s liturgy. No innovations, no treating the Mass like a theatrical production, respect for liturgical law, and a re-emphasis on the fact that the Mass is the Sacrifice. Sounds great!

  2. Father Bartoloma says:

    iron that fanon!

  3. schoolman says:

    Wow! The direct and concise responses he gives here speak volumes. Looking forward to a new springtime in Papal liturgies.

  4. Michael Beaupré says:

    “certain things will gradually start to shift in a new direction”

    Let us all Universally pray the same way, i.e., in the same direction.

  5. Syriacus says:


    Now it’s SURE that, during papal Masses, the Cardinal Protodeacon (and the second Cardinal in the diaconal order) will return. Sure! Just wait a bit…

  6. Legisperitus says:

    If the liturgy is truly organic, like a plant, and you’re the Sovereign Pontifical Gardener, you gently train the plant to grow in the direction you want, then let it get there on its own. If you try to yank it to its endpoint forcefully, you’ll break it.

  7. schoolman says:

    “If the liturgy is truly organic, like a plant, and you’re the Sovereign Pontifical Gardener, you gently train the plant to grow in the direction you want, then let it get there on its own. If you try to yank it to its endpoint forcefully, you’ll break it.”

    I like the analogy. What does that imply for liturgical “fabrication”? Perhaps an artificial grafting yet still somehow rooted in Tradition?

  8. Andrew says:

    This makes up for a thousand negative comments from SP critics. Unfortunately, at times a sensible comment generates little reaction while a senseless one is honored with lots of attention.

  9. sigil7 says:

    Legisperitus said:
    if you try to yank it to its endpoint forcefully, you’ll break it.

    Yes, as the Chinese say, ????.

  10. sigil7 says:

    ^^ should say ‘ya miao zhu zhang’, that is, you don’t want to make the plants grow by yanking them up from the soil…leave them be, they’ll grow on their own.

  11. Malta says:

    I hope Marini will forgo the politically correct show masses that JPII and many bishops have celebrated as showmen, presiding over vaudevilles:

    \”When I was in Santa Fe for Indian Market, I attended the Indian Mass. The Indians explained that they would be doing the beginning of the Buffalo Dance of Thanksgiving to the Great Spirit after communion, that this was a prayer, not entertainment, and that the congregation should not applaud. At the end of the mass the clueless Archbishop Sheehan got up and asked everyone to give the dancers a big round of applause. The Indians were miffed, but Sheehan, like many Catholics, sees the new liturgy as being at least in part entertainment, to which the proper response in our culture is applause.\”

    I hope he will emphasize the Sacrifice, as he says he will in his article. Christ didn\’t die on the Cross and offer His Body in the Eternal Sacrifice to be used during mass as a big show for other venues. Christ\’s Sacrifice should be focussed on Christ, not on liturgical dancers or other vaudevilles.

  12. RON SIMEONE says:

    Terrific News on the appointment of Msgr.Marini. I, too, am
    exhausted by theatrical productions at Mass. Fortunately I
    live in an area where I can attend Tridentine Mass.
    Thanks to the Holy Father for the Motu Proprio.

  13. Norma Quinn says:

    How true that the tipster on “Los Angeles and the reception of Summorum Pontificum” and who started a very interesting chatfest was no other than the former pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Wilmington, California, now the pastor of Holy Innocents, Long Beach, California? In fact he has his own blog called “” Makes you wonder huh?

  14. Surge says:

    Yes. Keen observers will already have noted the complete lack of dancing at Masses celebrated by our Holy Father, now gloriously reigning. The worst aspect of any papal Mass in this pontificate surely has to be the ghastly vestments in Austria. Yes, our Holy Father offers Mass with tremendous dignity and obvious personal reverence, as did his predecessor of glorious memory as long as his health held.
    Other than the Austrian vestments, the improvement in Papal liturgies has long been under way, and as Fr Z correctly points out the shift is gradual, almost to the point of imperceptibility.

  15. Tom S. says:

    Now THAT is a good man. Strong, competent, yet humble. You can hear it in his answers.

    Thank God for him.

  16. Andrew says:

    Out of all the things that are right about this interview I would rank as first the following: “… the liturgy needs respects for the rules dictated by the Church, and I don’t see any reason why I should ignore them.” If this attitude prevailed everywhere we would not be where we are today liturgically – or otherwise. Obedience! The most misunderstood virtue.

  17. Bernard says:

    He praises the “farsightedness” of our Holy Father. This is how it is going to be!

  18. Surge: Fr Z correctly points out the shift is gradual, almost to the point of imperceptibility.

    Oh no… i think it will be very much perceptible. But it won’t be abrupt. I think we will see changes right away.

  19. I am so greatful to God for all these recent, more obvious signs of hope for the liturgy.
    I know I must be patient, but there have been so many recent things going on liturgically that actually have me rather excited about liturgy for a change.
    Still, must … be … patient. (As our parents and grandparents said, “Offer it up!”) LOL.

  20. Fr K says:

    Mons Marini sounds like a sound man to me. Let’s not get hung up on rubricism or fripperies: the world is not going suddenly to be a better place becuase the Pope wears the fanon! For goodness sake! Mons Marini himslelfbrings up the MP in a positive way and uses the word ‘freedom.’ A good Catholic principle to keep in mind is ‘freedom for, not freedom from.’

    Fr K

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