VATICAN CITY -- The pope's chief liturgist, Msgr. Guido Marini, endorsed calls in the church for a "reform of the reform" of Catholic liturgy.That last sentence above is a masterpiece of understatement, isn't it? Do read the whole thing.
"For some years now, several voices have been heard within church circles talking about the necessity of a new liturgical renewal," Marini said.
A fresh renewal movement would be "capable of operating a reform of the reform, or rather, move one more step ahead in understanding the authentic spirit of the liturgy and its celebration," he said.
Marini, who has served as master of papal liturgical ceremonies since late 2007, spoke Jan. 6 to a conference of priests from English-speaking countries gathered in Rome to mark the Year for Priests. The conference was sponsored by the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and the U.S.- based Confraternity of Catholic Clergy.
The papal liturgist said the goal of the new reform movement "would be to carry on that providential reform of the liturgy that the conciliar fathers had launched" but which has "not always, in its practical implementation, found a timely and happy fulfillment."
And when you're finished reading it, check out the comments below the article. I've copied a few of them here; click on the number I've randomly assigned each to go to the original comment:
1. Please can we have a Vatican 2 Ordinariate? Or even just be left in peace? I wish to continue the liturgy of the past 40 years.
2. I don't think these guys have implemented Vatican II as of yet.
3. Or is it just same-old, same-old? Communion on the tongue is just an attempt to re-infanticize adult Catholics who are more than capable of receiving the Eucharist in their hand and feeding themselves.
4. What happened to full, active participation by all. I get annoyed by all this babble about facing the east. There is still so much education needed for priests and people to understand the great principles of Vatican II. We Dominicans had a seminar on celebrating eucharist by Dr Bill Graham from Catholic University. It was the best seminar I have attended; something the church should be initiating belatedly, if it does want to enforce the principles of Vatican II. All the rest is window dressing for an empty audience.
5. The more I read, the more I know, that one day I will never go back to the "old " church. And, I know that I am not the only person that feels this way.
6. I am utterly speechless and totally dismayed with this whole mess! God save us from the patriarchical, hierarchy of the church. Hopefully they will one day truly LISTEN to the Holy Spirit, and not listen for what they want to hear. And we wonder why there are "cafeteria catholics"? The menu is as old as the hills.
One wonders why Pope Benedict XVI thinks the reform needs to be reformed at all, with such examples of faithful, obedient Catholics informed by its rituals as can be found at the links above. Of course, the work of singing and liturgically-dancing a new church into being must continue, despite all that retro patriarchy and talk of (shudder) kneeling, mustn't it? Otherwise, one day we'll all go to Mass and find that the sense of the sacred has been ramped way, way up, while the Japanese tea-room/comedy club/group therapy vibe has been banished to some dark closet, along with the felt banners and the aging tambourines.
Those of us who await that glad day with joy and hope ought to sympathize, though, with the angry adherents of the Spirit of Vatican II. The sense of loss and isolation which they experience as the liturgy they made peculiarly their own is re-created to be what it ought to have been in the first place is not entirely unlike the sense of loss and isolation many of our parents and grandparents experienced when the burlap peace signs replaced some gorgeous statue of St. Therese of Lisieux, the shards of which were later discovered in some basement closet after the pastor enjoyed his own personal brush with iconoclasm. Their vision of the Church has proven false, and is being rejected as it ought to have been. Still, it's going to be hard for some of them to accept what the Church has decided to do with humility and trust, when they've been rather sure of themselves for four decades, and rather fond of telling all of the fogeys old and young why our rituals and devotions and religious practices were displeasing to God and had to be abrogated or suppressed.