Catholic World News News Feature

Top papal liturgist to be replaced soon? September 13, 2007

Archbishop Piero Marini, the longtime master of ceremonies for papal liturgies, will soon be replaced, according to several Italian media reports.

Archbishop Marini has been the chief liturgical planner at the Vatican since 1987. Although his name is not widely known, his face has become familiar to millions of people who have seen him at the side of Pope John Paul II and later Pope Benedict XVI, assisting at papal liturgies.

According to two leading Vatican-watchers-- Sandro Magister of Chiesa and Andrea Tornielli of Il Giornale--- Pope Benedict will soon name a new master of ceremonies. The new liturgist, oddly, is also named Marini. Msgr. Guido Marini is currently the chancellor of the Genoa archdiocese.

Archbishop Piero Marini, who will reportedly be leaving the Vatican for a new pastoral assignment, has been a major force in liturgical affairs for the past generation. He first appeared on the scene as secretary to the late Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the controversial chief architect of the liturgical reforms that followed Vatican II. Archbishop Marini's innovative approach to pontifical ceremonies sometimes made him the focus of criticism, and rumors of his impending departure have circulated regularly since the election of Pope Benedict XVI.