In a continuing effort to preserve the integrity of the liturgy, Pope Benedict has decreed that the rite of canonization of a saint will now be held prior to the Mass.
Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, said the change will mark another step in Pope Benedict’s efforts to remove from the papal Mass elements that are not strictly part of the liturgy.
That move reflects the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, Marini said.
Earlier, the pope stopped giving new cardinals their rings during Mass; and in June he started the practice of giving new archbishops a pallium – a woolen band around their necks – before the entrance antiphon of the Mass.
Marini said canonization is basically a canonical act, not a liturgical one.
The distinction between the canonization rite and the celebration of the Mass is meant to respond to the Second Vatican Council’s call for the “splendour of the noble simplicity” of the Mass to shine forth, he said.