Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Liturgical Press and Piero Marini

A book has come into print this month which will be of interest to liturgical scholars and to serious students of the liturgy who are now pursuing the very worthwhile and necessary task of looking again at the liturgical reforms through their research, papers, essays and books.

A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, by Archbishop Piero Marini.

The book is by former Papal Master of Ceremonies, Archbishop Piero Marini and it has been translated and published this month by The Liturgical Press.

It goes without saying that the Archbishop's take on the post-conciliar reforms will come from the perspective of one who is a proponent of them. This is of interest from a critical perspective of course, and also for the same reason Archbishop Annibale Bugnini's work, The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-75 is of interest to scholars and students: as yet another document for the historical documenting, study and critique of the post-conciliar liturgical reforms and implementation of those reforms.

This perhaps segueways nicely with a comment that the publishers themselves have made in their own description of this book and that I wish to point out and briefly comment upon:

"In these pages Archbishop Piero Marini reveals the vision, courage, and faith of the pastors and scholars who struggled to implement the Second Vatican Council’s teachings on the liturgy. While in some circles it is fashionable to propose 'a reform of the liturgical reform,' any such revision needs to take into account the history of the consilium — the organism established by the Holy See to carry out the initial liturgical changes. This story of the work of the consilium offers a fascinating glimpse into the struggles and tensions that accompanied the realization of the council's dream to promote the 'full, conscious and active participation' of the faithful in Roman Catholic worship."

Their description, of course, reveals the very debate that is being pursued some 40+ years after the Council about what was actually mandated, where distortions occurred in this regard, and thereby, how we are to actually assess the liturgical reform as it actually happened.

But what is of particular interest is the reference to the reform of the reform. While it is intended as a subtle critique of course, that the movement should be so mentioned is really quite complementary for it seems demonstrative of how much the movement to re-assess the liturgical reforms is recognized as being influential -- or put another way, how much it is understood as a being a real threat.

Hardly a surprise of course in the era of Benedict XVI where it continues to make inroads into the Roman Curia, and where the liturgical initiatives and statements made in that spirit continue to come forward.

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