Written in response to an article published in the National Catholic Reporter c. 01-01-2010
In his conversation with NCR, however, Marini said that undoing those reforms is not what he had in mind. Marini conceded that the liturgical winds are blowing in a traditional direction, but said any change should happen slowly and without new upheaval.
“I believe it’s a matter of consolidating what we already have, in a more authentic way, according to the true mind of the church,” Marini said. He said that’s what Benedict has in mind when he talks about “development in continuity.”
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, presently headed by Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares.
In his Jan. 6 speech, Marini also pointed to certain specific practices that have been adopted in Benedict’s own liturgical celebrations. They included placing a cross on the altar during Mass, so that both priest and people are oriented toward God rather than one another, and the practice of administering Communion to people on the tongue while kneeling rather than taking it in the hand while standing.
Marini told NCR, however, that Benedict’s style is to “propose” these practices so that they may be slowly “welcomed” into the life of the church, rather than imposing them by authority.
“It’s the style of the current pope to move forward not by imposing things, but proposing them. The idea is that, slowly, all this may be welcomed, considering the true significance that certain decisions and certain orientations may have,” Marini said.
Marini did not rule out, however, that such practices might be made binding at some future point.
“Whether sometime down the line, in the future, what the pope is presenting should become more of a disciplinary norm [for the whole church], we don’t know and can’t say,” he said.
“What’s important now is that both forms of the Roman rite look upon one another with great serenity,” he said, “realizing that both belong to the life of the church and that neither is the only true, authentic expression.”
In general, Marini suggested, anyone expecting a dramatic liturgical overhaul from Benedict is likely to be disappointed.
“The pope has a vision based on great faith in the life of the church,” he said. “The church has its own sense of time, its own rhythms. … Sometimes things can’t just be imposed. They have to slowly enter into the way of thinking of the church, its way of feeling, its climate.
“Within that,” Marini said, “maybe one can eventually arrive at providing a more precise disciplinary norm, but maybe first you have to shape a consensus.”