Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Rant in the Loggia?

Rocco Palmo goes on (what can only be called) a rant concerning those who have critiqued Archbishop Piero Marini. (New On the Bookshelves, Still On the Altar) This isn't my main point in directing readers to this -- which will be mentioned further down.

That being said, one wishes that Mr. Palmo would demonstrate a little more tact and less generalizing about those who have critiqued Archbishop Marini's liturgical ideas. There are some indeed who have done what Palmo suggests. That is one matter. But there are many others who have not, but who are critical of his principles and actions. To lump them all together fails to acknowledge or address the more substantive points of the critique offered by some and does no one any credit.

What is interesting are the implicit principles seemingly driving the statement:

"As if that [Marini's continuance as Master of Papal Ceremonies] wasn't enough for his [the Pope's] friends and fans to quietly mull on while the critics continue to bear down with the fury that makes one realize he's doing work as valuable as the peanut gallery is livid, at 19 years and roughly ten months, in this month of his 65th birthday, the quiet prince of Piacenza will surpass the record of the legendary Enrico Dante as the longest-serving chief of papal ceremonial of the modern era. And all without having worn lace once."

What is the suggestion here? That perhaps Marini and Benedict are in agreement liturgically? No doubt they are in agreement on certain matters, and in disagreement on others.

Why does "the fury" of his critics prove his work is valuable? It would seem to be an ideological and reactionary conclusion to draw.

At any rate, the speculation coming from various fronts, not the least of which in this piece on Whispers, about what Benedict may have not done (as of yet anyway) and what that timing implies seems rather fruitless. If one wishes to get into the mind of Benedict, then the place to do it is with the tangible actions already done, including his writings and his public statements.

What Benedict hasn't done at this point seems to be far too speculative and subjective to derive anything from, be you a hardline traditionalist or "progressivist", other than a confirmation that Benedict is a prudent, patient and strategic man -- a good quality for a Pope.

(As regards the comment about "lace", its an odd sort of comment -- though fairly common, I've found amongst a certain ideological school of thought -- which certainly seems more directed at the immediate pre-conciliar era liturgical "norms" than lace itself -- a frivolous matter. It's worth mentioning not because of the debate some would have about the desireability of lace, but rather insofar as it perhaps further reveals the perspective and principles from which the piece is being written, as well as the state of mind it was being written in.)

More interesting is this comment, which is ultimately my focus:

"Marini's role in papal liturgies is as concrete as the universal indult is fantasy."

This comment certainly seems "out there." Of course, what Palmo entails by "universal indult" could allow some movement here on his part, but otherwise this statement itself seems rather a fantasy to say the least. If he is denying the evident development of a motu proprio that would liberalize the usage of the 1962 to some greater extent then there is little response that need be made given so much confirmation in this direction, elucidated both by its supporters and by its critics.

If, on the other hand, he is simply suggesting that the 1962 Missal won't be made into a parallel normative liturgy of the Roman rite, alongside the Pauline, and with utterly equal status, well then we would have to agree he is probably correct that the Motu Proprio won't do that. Still, it's worth noting here, as well as in the case of Marini's critique, that few serious commentators have claimed such. In fact, from early on, there was talk of the distinction between the normative Pauline missal and the extraordinary 1962 Missal. That alone sets up that difference.

Or perhaps he simply means by "fantasy" that the motu proprio is not yet a reality, but only still an idea on paper -- which again is true since it hasn't been promulgated. Still, whatever the case, the comment seems somewhat misleading and unnecessary, if not emotivistic and ideological. In that sense, it comes across as the very sort of thing that Palmo himself wishes to critique.