January 07, 2010
Msgr. Guido Marini, the master of ceremonies for papal ceremonies, called for a liturgical “reform of the reform” in a January 6 address to a conference organized by the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. Msgr. Marini explained that this movement should “move one more step ahead in understanding the authentic spirit of the liturgy.”
The Vatican’s chief liturgist said that a renewal of the liturgy must reflect “the uninterrupted tradition of the Church,” incorporating the suggestions of Vatican II into that tradition. The conciliar reforms, he insisted, must be understood as being in continuity with the traditions of previous centuries. “The only disposition which permits us to attain the authentic spirit of the liturgy,” he said, “is to regard both the present and the past liturgy of the Church as one patrimony in continuous development.”
Msgr. Marini lamented that the need for renewal is evident in the widespread abuses of the liturgical. He observed that “it is not difficult to realize how far distant some modes of conduct are from the authentic spirit of the liturgy.” He added: “For this, we priests are largely responsible.”
Citing the works of then-Cardinal Ratzinger, from before his election as Benedict XVI, the Italian cleric emphasized that the form of the liturgy is established by the whole Church, and should not be altered arbitrarily by an individual priest-celebrant. He decried the “despotic behavior” of priests who disregard liturgical rules, and emphasized that the liturgy “is not made available to us in order to be subjected to our personal interpretation; rather, the liturgy is made available so as to be fully at the disposal of all, yesterday just as today and also tomorrow.”
Msgr. Marini continued:
What casual folly it is indeed, to claim for ourselves the right to change in a subjective way the holy signs which time has sifted, through which the Church speaks about herself, her identity and her faith!
Offering a few reflections on means of renewing the sense of the sacred in the liturgy, the Vatican official spoke first about the traditional ad orientem posture, “a traditiona which goes back to the origins of Christianity.” He argued that when priest and congregation alike face toward the east, it is “a characteristic expression of the authentic spirit of the liturgy.” He went on: