Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
January 18, 2010
Papal liturgist favours 'reform of the reform'
FR. MATTHEW GAMBER
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
VATICAN CITY - The pope's chief liturgist, Msgr. Guido Marini, endorsed calls in the Church for a "reform of the reform" of Catholic liturgy.
"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 spoke Jan. 6 to a conference of priests from English-speaking countries marking the Year for Priests.
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."
That reform, however, has "not always, in its practical implementation, found a timely and happy fulfillment," he said.
Marini stressed that the liturgy celebrated by the Church should be marked by historical continuity.
"I purposefully use the word 'continuity,' a word very dear to our present holy father," Marini said. "He has made it the only authoritative criterion whereby one can correctly interpret the life of the Church."
Marini offered suggestions for showing continuity in the liturgy and gave examples from current papal liturgical celebrations.
The tradition of praying while facing East, and so symbolically facing the Lord, is now seen in the placement of a crucifix on the altar of St. Peter's Basilica, he said.
"Hence the reason for the proposal made by then-Cardinal Ratzinger and presently reaffirmed during the course of his pontificate, to place the crucifix on the centre of the altar, in order that all, during the celebration of the liturgy, may concretely face and look upon the Lord, in such a way as to orient also their prayer and hearts," he said.
A renewed emphasis on "adoration," explained by Marini as "union with God," also will foster continuity with the past and should be a criterion for future liturgical practices, he said.
Everything in the liturgy must be conducive to adoration, Marini said, including the music, singing, periods of silence, the way of proclaiming the Scriptures, and the liturgical vestments and sacred vessels.
He said it was this same desire to renew a sense of adoration that prompted Pope Benedict to make it the norm in papal liturgies for the pope to distribute Communion on the tongue to people kneeling.
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