[*heavy sigh*] Archbp. Marini’s “nostalgia” for the “spirit of the council”

Does anything about the following strike you as supremely ironic?

From CNS:

Vatican II continues to mark ecclesial life today, says archbishop

Catholic News Service

ERIE, Pa. (CNS) — Archbishop Piero Marini, a Vatican official, recalls watching bishops day after day pour out of the Vatican hall where they gathered 50 years ago to formulate the constitutions, decrees and declarations that brought historic change to the Catholic Church.

A young priest at the time, Archbishop Marini arrived in Rome in September 1965, only a few months before the close of the Second Vatican Council.

Bishops and theologians began gathering in 1962 for the first of four three-month sessions to address more than a dozen aspects of church life, ranging from interfaith relations to greater lay participation in the liturgy, from social communication to relations between the church and the modern world.

“Fifty years later, I feel a great nostalgia and a desire to understand more fully and to experience anew the spirit of the council,” said Archbishop Marini, who is president of the Pontifical Commission for International Eucharistic Congresses.

He addressed the nearly 200 people gathered in Erie for the annual national meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions.


Archbp. Marini and the FDLC in Erie.   The movie The Perfect Storm just came to mind.  (Okay… I’ll admit that that’s not entirely fair.)


“Nostalgia”?  For “the spirit of the Council”   Is that right.

Please.  Some one tell me: have we seen anything else truly dominate the Church for the last few decades?  Really?

You can bet along with me that the “spirit of the Council” he is nostalgic for ain’t the same spirit that Benedict XVI tried to guide us to.

I don’t have the text of the whole talk.  But from this story I find it ironic that Marini laments to these people about his “nostalgia”.

Liberals have thrown “nostalgia” in the teeth of those who have had, as enshrined in both the magisterium and a juridical document, their own “legitimate aspirations” which are NOT actually stemming from nostalgia at all!

But we are supposed to coo and smile when he speaks of his nostalgia when he and his crowd poured and pour bile on the legitimate aspirations of the more traditionally-minded.

Marini’s is precisely the “spirit” rooted in discontinuity and rupture.  I am reminded of what we read in the book that came out with his name on it, A Challenging Reform, in which he expatiates on the marvelous work of the Consilium of Lercaro and Bugnini.  Get this. 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.

Color me less than enthusiastic about Archbp. Marini’s nostalgia about the “spirit of the Council”.

And, no, I’ll believe he will be appointed to the CDW when it actually happens.  (Read:  don’t think it is going to happen!)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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This entry was posted in Benedict XVI, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices, Vatican II and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. kpoterack says:

    “And, no, I’ll believe he will be appointed to the CDW when it actually happens. (Read: don’t think it is going to happen!)”

    Interesting, are you free to divulge why not? Is it that he is just too controversial in his speech and opinions even for a more liturgically moderate papacy?

  2. Ed the Roman says:

    Vatican II continues to mark ecclesial life today, says archbishop

    Yes. In some respects the way of “that’s going to leave a mark.”

  3. ecs says:

    A liturgically “moderate” papacy?! Are you kidding?

  4. ck says:

    We began the Year of Faith with so much promise about dispelling the myths of the Council and rejecting the false “spirit” in favor of the actual Council in conjuction with the hermeneutic of continuity. And now we end the Year of Faith right back where we started with the “Spirit of Vatican II.”

    Don’t despair though, at least in the US, because the current crop of seminarians are disciples of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. As such, in the long run, this last ditch effort by baby boomers to revive the Revolutionary Spirit of the Council will not bear much destructive fruit. In fact, traditionalists, reformers of the reform, and conservative Catholics should think more like Chesty Puller, and with a smile acknowledge “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.”

  5. ljc says:

    Nostalgia for 1968? Wonderful!
    Nostalgia for 1962? Unacceptable!

  6. Bob B. says:

    In my teens when the Council ended, I remember well the literal desertion of priests, brothers, nuns, sisters and laity from the Church, the night and day change from Latin to English, choirs replaced by guitars and drums, standing to receive Communion, the sudden drop in the number of people going to Confession and the sign of peace.

    Nuns, bishops, Catholic schools and even those in Rome wanting to “update” the Church of its 2000 year history and the Magisterium in the “spirit of Vatican II” (though Pope John XXIII said at the opening of the council the first need was “to assert once again the Magisterium, which is unfailing and endures until the end of time.”). Even Pope John had no desire to banish Latin from the Church, nor did the bishops responsible for Sacrosanctum Concilium when they stated “…the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”

    Just recently, seeing priests making a mockery of the Mass, apologizing for the Church’s stand against SSM, abortion and for the Church being so antiquated in many things serves to put into perspective the road we have traveled.

    Perhaps it is unfair, but having taught in Catholic schools for some years, the last being in a Jesuit school where being, thinking and doing things Catholic were of no particular importance only confirmed many of the things I’ve seen and heard through the decades.

    Is the Church to become even more protestant than it has already?

  7. vox borealis says:

    We’re going to keep hearing this sort of thing until everyone who was alive and cognizant during the Council has passed from this life…maybe even until those who came of age in its immediate wake have died as well. Only when those who are personally invested in that time have gone will sanity, in the form of historical perspective, begin to be restored. And no, I’m not some “biological solution” triumphalist. It’s just an observation on human nature: it is natural for those involved in events, or at least personally attached to them, to romanticize them. This seems to be particular acute with the Baby Boomer generation, and especially of their nostalgia for the 60s, upon which they project their own imaginings. It was the age of their youth, their enthusiasm, their ebbing influence, their greatest triumph (it seemed). There was just so much love and spirit. And they cling to it; their identity is bound up with it.

    I’ve actually stopped getting upset over this kind of thing.

  8. McCall1981 says:

    It’s great to hear that Fr. Z thinks Marini won’t be appointed to the CDW (I’d love to know his reasons too). I’m hoping and praying he’s right.

  9. jacobi says:

    Vatican II was a pastoral Council which defined no new doctrines or teachings. Catholic orthodoxy, before and after the Council, was the same.

    That body of thinkers, who varied from outright Modernist heretics to their liberal fellow travellers, managed, however, to exert power after the Council far out of proportion to their numbers, initially by distorting the liturgy, and by means of that, the belief of so many Catholics. The result of their efforts is seen in the mess the remnant of the Church is in today.

    They are now attempting a come-back!

  10. Robbie says:

    Let’s hope Marini isn’t appointed head of the CDW, but there sure are a lot of rumors and stories suggesting it might happen. If it should happen, then I don’t see how we can read Francis through Benedict anymore. A key item of Benedict’s papacy was liturgical reform. If the Pope were to select Marini, it would not only be a slap in Benedict’s face, but it would also signal a 180 degree turn when it comes to the liturgy.

  11. Palladio says:

    I tend to agree, but not with this claim: “They are now attempting a come-back!” I think that “they” are indeed facing biological necessity, and will have their last hurrah or swan song. Valete! However, and this is the problem, what remains in their wake, on the whole, is a silent majority, laity or no, ignorant of the EF and thus indifferent to it. They muddle through. I attend Mass with them. But I am sure of their orthodoxy even in a benighted State such as we live in. The Priest is orthodox, and celebrates reverently (the music is to be suffered through, for the most part). In every parish in this town, they all are. If you knew where that is, you’d be surprised. The question is how to bolster what we have with what we used to have and, thanks to Pope Benedict, can have again. Endless griping from self-identifying traditionalists on blogs accomplishes nothing except to alienate Catholics in the vincible state of ignorance I’ve just mentioned. Remember Pope Benedict, the Truth in Charity? Charity, always charity.

  12. mburn16 says:

    “A liturgically “moderate” papacy?! Are you kidding?”

    No, “liturgically moderate” is about right. Actually, “liturgically negligent” might be a better adjective. He really has little taste for liturgical debates, one way or the other. And what preference he does have – simplicity – is reflected in his very character, not just his liturgical tastes.

  13. Toan says:

    “They are now attempting a come-back!”

    Only this time, they’re 45 years older than they were in 1968, and they’ve never been good at attracting vocations to the priesthood.

  14. McCall1981 says:

    I agree and thats exactly the thing that gives me a tiny bit of hope. I dont think he’s liturgically super liberal, I think he doesn’t care much and the liturgy is just a low priority for him. So, why make a controversial and divisive appointment in an area that he doesn’t care much about?

  15. Bob says:

    I would be happy to escort him on visits to experience some of results of the “spirit of Vatican II”.

  16. mamajen says:

    I get what he is saying, which is not to say I agree with or support it.

    That same lack of maturity, addiction to excitement and nostalgia for a feeling is the reason a lot of divorces happen.

  17. majuscule says:

    I’m hoping there IS a Marini appointed to the CDW.

    Just not that Marini.

    Think about the recent elevation of Monsignor Konrad Krajewski to Archbishop and Papal Almoner.

  18. Lin says:

    I wonder if Sister Joan attended since this is right in her backyard! From what I read on line, the speakers are clearly smitten with Pope Francis. Another interesting tidbit circulating on the web is that Pope Francis is considering calling another council. Father Rosica will be speaking in Erie at Gannon University: A Franciscan Revolution: Why has the shepherd from the ends of the earth captivated the world? I may try to attend on October 22.

  19. ecs says:

    Washing the feet of Muslims was not a moderate liturgical act. Just to cite one example if his immoderate liturgical approach.

  20. Tominellay says:

    …two hundred attendees, not such a large group…wondering why they’d meet in Erie…

  21. Elizabeth D says:

    It would be surprising if the US bishops didn’t weigh in that they have considered the Benedictine “hermeneutic of continuity” approach to liturgy very pastorally valuable and important and carefully formed their clergy in sound liturgy and obedience to liturgical law, that this has borne a lot of good fruit in the Catholic formation of the laity and in terms of priestly vocations, and would consider Abp Marini as CDWDS head supremely unhelpful to the situation in their dioceses.

  22. Lin says:

    Also wondering why they would meet in Erie!

  23. Yes, indeed, Father Z,

    Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi. That third clause suggests to me a causality between where parts of the Church have arrived at the present time these decades after the adjournment of the Council.

    Pax et bonum
    Keith Töpfer

  24. TNCath says:

    Archbishop Marini’s “style” of liturgy was “over the top” and “innovative” in its penchant for the para-liturgical and outlandish. Honestly, I don’t think Pope Francis cares enough about liturgy one way or the other to appoint someone as “nostalgic” and “innovative” as Archbishop Marini.

  25. liquidpaw says:

    As little as Pope Francis seemingly cares for Tradition, I would say to appoint this guy to CDW would be out of the question (although I wouldn’t bet my house on it, either). The Pope has to be aware things are very tense at this point with those who really believe in the orthodox Catholic Faith. Putting an extreme modernist like him into that position will be the final fatal VII “nail in the coffin” so-to-speak. Lots of people I talk to who aren’t every Sunday EF Mass attendees are fed up with all of the mixed signals and continued confusion coming from the top down. People are starting to question how men like Bugnini were allowed to set off nuclear bombs of destruction while others like Archbishops Lefebvre, Graffin, Rocha, Tagle, Sigaud, and Bishop de Castro Mayer were asked to advise on the council, yet had their voices silenced. I wasn’t brought up on the Latin Mass, but I now try to attend as much as possible, because when it is done correctly, its beauty is unparalleled. The Mass of the Ages (EF Form as most know it to go by today) is truly as close to Heaven on Earth as it gets. That is a big reason Traditional orders are flourishing (FSSP, SSPX) while everything else is dying or near dead. If any Catholic has a priest nearby devoted to Tradition, support him to the max. If he brings the EF Mass to his parish, make sure you stick with him. Niether the Pope or Bishop can make him stop celebrating it as long as you support it, because it is your right to have it if you wish according to Catholic Tradition. The return of Catholic Tradition will be accomplished by the few brave priests and bishops left who teach the Truth of the Catholic Faith and the laity who support them.

  26. Gratias says:

    If Abp. Piero Marini is promoted we will have to tread even more lightly. ;-)

  27. jacobi says:

    @ Palladio, @ Toan,

    Yes, the original post-Vat II lot may be getting on a bit, but the heresy of Modernism has rotted the innards of the Church since before the time of St Pius X, as he clearly pointed out, and it will not simply disappear.
    If we drop our guard, as orthodox Catholics did after Vat II, then it may well be a case of here we go again – and this time with an already crippled Church, not the buoyant and expanding pre-Vat II Church.

  28. Sieber says:

    In the early days of his papacy, when bad Marini was still M.C., I was concerned for Benedict’s safety.
    I feared, while wearing one of those billowing Chasubles, a stiff breeze might cause him to parasail into the Tiber!

  29. jhayes says:

    Jacobi wrote Vatican II was a pastoral Council which defined no new doctrines or teachings. Catholic orthodoxy, before and after the Council, was the same.

    According to Bishop Fellay, Pope Benedict wrote him a private letter saying that for the SSPX to be received by the Church it must accept that Vatican II is an integral part of Tradition,


  30. HighMass says:


    Nostalgia for 1968? Wonderful!
    Nostalgia for 1962? Unacceptable!

    HOW TRUE…its ok for the liberals to long for the “Spirit of Vatican II” which needs to be exorcised….after 50 yrs of turmoil especially in the Liturgy and Catechism…….Do as I say and not as I do…..that has always been the liberals message…..don’t tolerate those who have remained faithful to the church and the old Liturgy….only see it there way….

  31. Pingback: Archbishop Piero Marini and the Spirit of Vatican II - BigPulpit.com

  32. rbbadger says:

    Archbishop Marini was, I believe, the secretary to Archbishop Bugnini before the latter’s timely exile to Iran.

    As for Pope Francis, the adage “As lost as Jesuit in Holy Week” has come to mind more than once. However, I shall wait and see what he does with the Curia and the CDWDS.

    Liturgical reform is a very delicate sort of thing. One has to be so careful. There is more than just the example the SSPX. In 17th century Russia, Patriarch Nikon had the idea of reforming the liturgy so as to bring it closer to Greek practices. The result was a schism which has not healed to this day. The Old Believers still continue to use the old Russian liturgical practices and regard the Moscow Patriarchate as a den of modernists! While the Patriarchate has lifted the anathemas, it hasn’t resulted in a rush of Old Believers seeking to regain communion with Moscow.

  33. Janine says:

    I wonder why they met in Erie.. (and I hesitate to admit I am from there) can someone tell me what exactly does this commission do?
    this doesn’t seem like a good place to meet.. considering the past…
    or – it could be a perfect one..

  34. Lin says:

    Janine……..what do you mean by ……considering the past……?

  35. tcreek says:

    Archbishop Marini was one of Pope John Paul favorites but then so was Marcial Maciel.

  36. Janine says:

    Lin, i simply meant the resistance to the new translation of the mass from a few years ago. (but since i am not sure what that council does to begin with.. i could be chewing on that foot in my mouth as well :/)

  37. joan ellen says:

    Thank you Father Z.

    vox borealis says:
    16 October 2013 at 5:45 pm
    “I’ve actually stopped getting upset over this kind of thing.”

    Taking it all ‘with a grain of salt’ is not easy for me to do yet. I am trying.

  38. Lin says:

    @Janine……..I live in the Erie diocese too. Do you know if there is an approved TLM in the area?

  39. Siculum says:

    Hey @Lin: http://www.ecclesiadei.org/masses.cfm#Pennsylvania There’s hope!

    What do you think of your new bishop so far?

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