In today’s L’Osservatore Romano there is an interview with the former papal MC, H.E. Archbp. Piero Marini, now head of the office for Eucharistic Congresses. In interview begins with comments about the upcoming Congress to be held in Quebec. However, it also delves into the question of these huge outdoor Masses, the implementation of the post-Conciliar reform, and Summorum Pontificum.
Here are some excerpts form His Excellency’s comments in my rapid translation. I will add to this as time allows. (Sometimes I wish this were a group blog…)
My emphases and comments in what follows.
Q: Today it seems there has returned to present interest the debate on the liturgical reform sparked by the Council. How do you judge the progress made in the last 40 years?
MARINI: I followed, starting from the period of Vatican II, the implementation of the liturgical reform for some 22 years, first in the Consilium ad exsequendam constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia [On this see the recent kiss-and-tell book that came out under Marini’s name.] and then in the Congregation for Divine Worship. After that, for more than 20 yeas I was able to celebrate the liturgy desired by the council [Grrr… this is a problem phrase…. pay attention to how Marini uses it. We must be on guard against phrases like this and not leaven them unchallenged.] in more than 100 countries, on the occasion of the journeys of Papa Wojtyla. And so I organized with local experts numberless celebrations of the Eucharist, of the Liturgy of the Hours, of the Word of God, of sacraments, ecumenical celebrations in many languages and cultures. [He has first established his credentials to be able to speak on this… Now watch the sweeping statements.] Everywhere, the liturgy desired by the Council was celebrated with lively participation and enthusiasm. [When the Pope shows up, what do you expect?] Everyone perceived the liturgy as belonging to the local Church and, at the same time, as an expression of the universal Church. [The real point here is Marini’s emphasis on the local Church. This is his true love: liturgy which is inculturate. This comes out again and again in that book and this interview.] The celebrational practice confirmed that the liturgical reform was necessary because it was based on profound theological principles and was of perennial validity. [See how circular that was? It was necessary because we did it?] For this reason it is an irreversible journey. [This is a shot at Benedict XVI and Summorum Pontificum and at the present papal MC Msgr. Guido Marini, who is restoring traditional things to papal liturgies.] The Council Fathers and the Roman Pontiff in Sacrosanctum Concilium, making their own the words of Pius XII, defined the renewal of the liturgy as a passage of the Holy Spirit in the Church. [Marini has just invoked the Holy Spirit as a way to justify his ideals] The meaning of this affirmation thus forms a part of the fabric of daily ecclesial faith. The celebration of the liturgy, therefore, cannot be separated form the life of the Church. And the Church which lives – I am citing Paul VI – is the Church of today, not the Church of yesterday or or tomorrow. [This is a good example of how men like Archbp. Marini and some others such as Bp. Trautman, are so focused on the present moment of the Church that they create a de facto rupture with the past and present. Their starting point of the "present" would logically require contant changes in liturgical practice and innumerable adaptions for local communities.]
And this was the reason for which the Council occupied itself especially [?] with the liturgy. For the Council the renewal of the Church, ecumensim and missionary action depended on the way in which the liturgy is lived. [Yes… but you see… the men of the Consilium had long-reaching motives that were really theological and ecclesiological and the liturgy was the key to implementing them. The book under Marini’s name describes this in no uncertain terms: they wanted to reshape the Church. They went far far beyong the mandate given them by the Council. That is why when Marini uses the phrase "the liturgy desired by the Council" we must all instantly and firmly reject the premise. The liturgy we got after the Council was absolutely NOT the liturgy desired by the Council! The Council mandated a few points for reform. The Consilium went way beyond the mandate for ideological reasons and they used the Council as the blunt instrument to impose their will, as the Marini book documents.]
But to celebrate the liturgy desired by the Council, as Papa Montini affirmed, is not an easy thing, as it is not easy to live the life of the Church. [You know… I always get nervous when I hear people talk about how hard and complicated it is to celebrate Mass or simply to be Catholic. That strikes me as an excuse not to be faithful to the Church’s teachings and obey the rubrics.] Rather, celebrating the liturgy of the Council is difficult and delicate. There is need for directed and methodical interest, it requires patience, perseverence, personal and loving dedication and great pastoral charity. ["Such as I, with great personal sacrifice, – sigh – have exemplified so humbly all these years."] This is all necessary, however, if we desire that the life of the Church be renewed and all feel themselves called to salvation. [Dramatic!] Pastoral liturgy is a task which is ever enduring. ["Pastoral" liturgy…. what the heck is that, anyway? Liturgy which doesn’t have to celebrated according to the book?]
Let us allow ourselves, therefore, to be guided by the Holy Spirit who inspired the liturgical movement, Paul VI, and the Council Fathers and let us continue to carry forward with renewed dedication and ethusiasm pastoral liturgy in our ecclesial communities.
Q: Many have interpreted Summorum Pontificum as a "speed bump" (battuta d’arresto) in this journey of implementation. What notion has come from this matter?
The text of the Motu Proprio must be read in the context in which the Pope situated it. [Here it comes. Watch how he invokes context and then ignores the way the Pontiff contextualized it.] "Today", Benedict XVI says in the accompanying letter addressed to bishops, "his glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew." [Yah… he also spoke of how there are problems with the way the liturgy is treated and about how young people are drawn to the older forms. But for Marini, the MP has to be reduced to a handful of dirt thrown to those who are not in unity with the Church. It can’t be for people who simply want the older form, because that would mean that there was a check on the "Church of this present moment" style liturgy which is his ideal, because he wants a decentralized power-based in the Church. Watch how he talks about the Pope…] For us Catholics the Pope is the visible sign of unity in the Church, and he is Bishop of the Church of Rome called to preside over all the other Churchs in charity. The Pope was called by the Lord to exercise the Petrine ministry, and thus to make every effort that the net of the Church remain whole. And so he has the right and duty to see to the unity of the Church. Who can deny this duty and obligation? It is precisely the liturgy, for the one who lives authentically, that is the school which forms the true sense of the Church in respect to the different tasks and ministries and in obedience to the one who presides. [This way of talking, while correct, is part and parcel of the ecclesiology of those who see the Pope as a kind of primus inter pares and the Church of Rome as a mere reference point, whereas local Churches are really fully their own Churches with their own bishop as their point of reference – all true of course – but in such as way as to diminish the actual authority of the Pope and the Curia in those local Churches.]
Finally, it is necessary to remember that the Motu Proprio does not intend to introduce modifications in the present Roman Missal [GREAT! I love this. What the real fear of the Marini-types is that the older form of Mass may come back to exert a check on the great progress of inculturation etc etc going on. They are afraid of the gravitational pull which is already taking place. They see the reintroduction of a sure point of liturgical reference rooted in greater structure, more directive rubrics, a tradition of many centuries as the ultimate threat. They cannot stand the idea that the older form might influence the newer form.] nor to express a negative judgement on the reform desired by the Council [NB: Reject the premise!] : the Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the "law of prayer"; the Missal promulgated by Pius V must be considered as the extraordinary expression of the same "law of prayer". [Yah… but it is still an expression of the lex orandi in the ROMAN RITE!] With this new disposition Benedict XVI did not want that "the authority of the Council be damaged" or that "there be put into question the liturgical reform". Rather, the decision of the Pope has not yet entailed any change in the celebrative prayer of our ecclesial communities at all. His was only a gesture in the service of unity. [See? But we see it as a gesture for unity also with the past.] Let us therefore look foward and continue with enthusiam the journey undertaken by the Council.