Catholic World News

Pope will suggest, not order, liturgical changes: chief Vatican liturgist

March 03, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI hopes to bring about a "reform of the reform" by suggesting rather than requiring changes in the liturgy, the papal master of ceremonies has revealed.

In a revealing interview with John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, Msgr. Guido Marini, the Vatican's chief liturgist, said that the Pontiff would strongly encourage practices such as administering Communion to the faithful kneeling and on the tongue, the central placement of a crucifix on the altar, and the celebration of Mass ad orientem. But these would be "proposals," the liturgist said; he does not anticipate formal papal directives to change the liturgy.

Msgr. Marini emphasized that liturgical changes should take place "organically," not through sudden shifts. He returned to that theme in discussing the wider use of the extraordinary form: the traditional Latin Mass. The Pope's goal, he said, "is that the two forms of the Roman rite look upon one another with great serenity, realizing that both belong to the life of the church and that neither is the only true, authentic expression. But rather, the two forms of Roman Rite can mutually enrich each other."

The papal liturgist-- who noted that he himself had not used the phrase "reform of the reform"-- emphatically rejected the idea that the Pope's proposals represent a retreat from the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. "A 'rollback' wouldn't make sense," he said, "because it's not how the life of the Church works."

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  • Posted by: wojo425627 - Mar. 04, 2010 4:01 PM ET USA

    I would really like to see a mass like that on EWTN with the liturgy of the word in English and the liturgy of the Eucharist in Latin. Plus some of the Pre-conciliar things like kneeling for communion and wider use of the roman canon rather than canon 2 and 3 all of the time.

  • Posted by: rfwilliams2938 - Mar. 04, 2010 7:58 AM ET USA

    Worship is in vain if it is not... In truth and in spirit. Whether kneeling or standing, it's what's in the heart that matters most.

  • Posted by: cincinnatus - Mar. 04, 2010 2:11 AM ET USA

    Neither the headline nor the text of this item is consistent with the John Allen interview as reported. According to the interview, Msgr. Marini said that Pope's style is to "suggest," but he did not say that the Pope won't order changes. He is simply quoted as saying:'Whether sometime in the future, what the pope’s presenting in this propositional way should become more of a disciplinary norm, we don’t know and can’t say.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 04, 2010 12:34 AM ET USA

    Going backwards as the practice of Communion on the tongue, kneeling at the communion rail, and Latin Mass --etc. will not bring us together or make us feel that "We are the Church"...the "People of God"...a "Community"...a "Mystical Communion" ...a "Servant"...a "Hearld" ... or a "Sacrament"-------it's going back to "Institution" only, laity of little \value.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2010 10:41 PM ET USA

    There was a reason that Moses didn't bring The Ten Suggestions on stone tablets.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Mar. 03, 2010 8:20 PM ET USA

    This reminds me of the GIRM's "must" and "may" requirement. Churches that are dominated by liturgists generally don't when the GIRM says they may and do it grudgingly when it says they must. In the end those that do get used to changes rather quickly. Personally, I like the direct approach: here's the rule, put it into practice now.

  • Posted by: voxfem - Mar. 03, 2010 7:36 PM ET USA

    I would like a more reverent and beautiful liturgy in our parish but I also know that some people would have a hard time with sudden changes, as did many after Vatican II. Should we attempt to correct that mistake by making the same one again? I know this isn't the meaning of the parable but maybe we need to let the tares grow along with the wheat a little longer so as not to pull up the wheat while uprooting the weeds.

  • Posted by: Anselm - Mar. 03, 2010 6:57 PM ET USA

    It's very simple everyone: "Do the red, say the black."

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2010 6:52 PM ET USA

    Personally,I think the Pope should be more forceful than merely making suggestions- after all,the items mentioned (Communion kneeling & on the tongue, Mass ad orientem, the place of prominence of the crucifix) were NEVER overturned by Vatican II but have been REMOVED over the past 4 decades in the "Spirit of Vatican II".Such things should be classed as what they are - abuses, and the Vatican says that liturgical abuses should be corrected with haste.All the same, thank God for Pope Benedict!

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Mar. 03, 2010 6:01 PM ET USA

    Minn Mary and Bernadette are correct. This is part of the malaise the unwillingness of the Holy See to use its authority to deal with liturgical abuses dissenters and the like. We have had years of "proposals" and documents. The obedient obey. The problem children continue on their merry way.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2010 5:56 PM ET USA

    I think this a wise move. Many "Vatican II difficulties" came about because groups of bishops ignored the Council's call for organic change. I think we who wish for a more traditional practice will find it wherever and however we can; we'll be aided by priests coming out of seminaries who're almost literally on fire for the faith. In the end, God's Church will triumph.

  • Posted by: kathimcnamee11450 - Mar. 03, 2010 5:53 PM ET USA

    OH!!! Please be in charge, Dearest Pope. Tell you flock exactly what to do. I am so tired of parish priests doing "their own thing". We need narrow paths.

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Mar. 03, 2010 5:27 PM ET USA

    I'm afraid Minnesoa Mary is correct. In a way, I wish the Holy Father would mandate kneeling and on the tongue, etc... It would make a lot of people angry, probably leaving the Church because they are ill-formed and want the practice of our faith and rituals on their terms. I do believe that there will be pastors who will implement the Holy Father's desires with regard to the above. It will come, bit by bit, mostly by the young priests and people. We must be patient and keep praying!

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Mar. 03, 2010 4:04 PM ET USA

    "The more things change the more they stay the same." The Pope's "suggestions" will be treated as was Ex Corde Ecclesiae.