Thursday, June 26, 2008

Development in Continuity - the Full Interview with Mgr. Marini

After having advanced the part of the Osservatore Romano interview with Mgr. Guido Marini, the papal MC, concerning the new papal pallium, which was the occasion for this interview, the NLM now presents you a translation of the full interview. I highly recommend everyone to read it in its entirety. It may be considered a milestone in the pontificate of Benedict XVI in its liturgical aspects, since it fully and very publicly explains the motivations and reveals the programme behind the liturgical changes we have seen and roots them in the concept of "development in continuity" - the organical development which is so essential for a healthy liturgy and is at the core of what the New Liturgical Movement is about. The "hermeneutic of continuity" is expressly invoked, and endorsed, and explained as it applies to the Faith and liturgy, both the lex credendi and the lex orandi. One of the most striking quotes, in this sense, is I think the following, said regarding the reintroduction of the ferula of Bl. Pius IX, and which might be taken as a motto for the liturgical programme of Benedict XVI: "This ... attests to a development in continuity, a rootedness in tradition that allows you to proceed in an orderly manner on the way of history." How blessed we are in this pontificate! The interview also touches the "Benedictine altar arrangement", ad orientem celebration, the reception of Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue, which Mgr. Marini says will be the norm at papal Masses and in this is setting an example for the entire Church, and Summorum Pontificum.

Here now is the interview with Gianluca Biccini in its entirety:

From 29 June onwards the pallium worn by Benedict XVI for the solemn liturgical celebrations changes. The one which the Pope will use for the Mass of Saints Peter and Paul will be of the shape of a closed circle, with two end pieces that hang down in the middle of the chest and the back. The cut will be wider and longer, whereas the red color of the crosses which adorn it will be preserved. "This is the development of the Latin form of the pallium used up to John Paul II," explains the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini, explaining historical and liturgical reasons for the new insignia in this interview to "L'Osservatore Romano."

What are the elements of continuity and innovation compared to the past?

In light of careful studies, regarding the development of the pallium over the centuries, it seems that we can say that the long pallium crossed over the left shoulder was not worn in the West as from the 9th century onwards. Indeed, the painting in the Sacred Cave of Subiaco, dating back to ca. 1219 and representing Pope Innocent III with this type of pallium, seems to be a deliberate archaism. In this sense the use of the new pallium intends to meet two requirements:first of all to emphasize more strongly the continuous [organic] development which in an arch of more than twelve centuries this liturgical vestment has continued to have; in second place the practical [requirement], because the pallium used by Benedict XVI since the beginning of his pontificate and has led to several annoying problems from this point of view.

There remain differences between the papal pallium and the one which the Pontiff imposes on the archbishops?

The difference remains even in the current pallium. What will be worn by Benedict XVI from the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul onwards takes the form of the pallium used up to John Paul II, albeit in a larger and longer cut, and with the color red for the crosses. The different form of the papal pallium vis-à-vis the one of the metropolitans highlights the diversity of jurisdiction which is signified by the pallium.

Since a few months the pastoral staff that the Pope uses in [liturgical] celebrations has changed. What are the reasons for this choice?

The golden pastoral staff in the shape of a Greek cross - which belonged to Blessed Pius IX and was used for the first time by Benedict XVI in the celebration of Palm Sunday this year - is now used constantly by the Pontiff, who has thus decided to replace the silver one surmounted by a Crucifix, introduced by Paul VI and also used by John Paul I, John Paul II and by himself. This choice does not mean simply a return to the old way, but attests to a development in continuity, a rootedness in tradition that allows you to proceed in an orderly manner on the way of history. This pastoral staff, called "ferula," corresponds in fact in a more faithful way to the form of papal pastoral staff typical of Roman tradition, which has always been in the shape of a Cross without Crucifx, at least since the pastoral staff began to be used by the Roman Pontiffs. And then we must not forget also an element of practicality: the ferula of Pius IX is lighter and easier to handle than the pastoral staff introduced by Paul VI.

And the pastoral staff made by Lello Scorzelli for Pope Montini in the mid-sixties?

It remains available to the papal sacristy, along with so many objects that belonged to the predecessors of Benedict XVI.

The same goes for the choice of vestments worn by the Pope in the various celebrations?

Also in this case it must be said that the liturgical vestments chosen, as well as some details of the rite, intend to emphasise the continuity of the liturgical celebration of today with that which has characterised the life of the Church in the past. The hermeneutic of continuity is always the precise criterion by which to interpret the Church's journey in the time. This also applies to the liturgy. As a Pope cites in his documents Popes who preceded him in order to indicate continuity in the magisterium of the Church, so in the liturgical sphere a Pope also uses liturgical vestments and sacred objects of the Popes who preceded him to indicate the same continuity also in the Lex orandi. But I would like to point out that the Pope does not always use old liturgical vestments. He often wears modern ones. The important thing is not so much antiquity or modernity, as the beauty and dignity, important components of every liturgical celebration.

An example are the voyages in Italy and outside Italy, where the papal vestments are prepared by the local churches.

Of course. Just think of the one to the United States or to that in Italy, first to Genoa and then to Salento. In both cases it were the diocese who prepared the liturgical vestments of the Pope, in agreement with the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. In the variety of styles and with attention to characteristic local elements, the criterion adopted was that of beauty and dignity, typical dimensions of the sacred action which takes place in the Eucharistic celebration.

At this point could you anticipate for us some particular liturgical aspect of the next international voyage?

I can say that the time of preparation was very fruitful and the collaboration found in Australia very cordial and ready. Pope Benedict XVI will meet once more young people from all over the world and we all pray that once again this meeting may be the cause of great grace for all, an opportunity to come to know with more intensity the face of Jesus and the face of the Church, a spur for a prompt and generous response to the Lord's call. The hope is that also the liturgical celebrations, prepared with care and really participated in because lived from the heart, may be privileged occasions for the reception of this grace.

What can you tell us about the high papal throne, used on occasions like the consistory, and abot the Cross which has been returned to the center of the altar?

The so-called throne, used in special circumstances, is simply meant to highlight the liturgical presidency of the Pope, the successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ. As for the position of the cross at the centre of the altar, it indicates the centrality of the Crucified [Lord] in the Eucharistic celebration and the correct orientation which the whole assembly is called to have during the Liturgy of the Eucharist: one does not look at each other, but we look to Him who was born, died and rose again for us, the Saviour. From the Lord comes the salvation, He is the East (Orient), the rising Sun to Whom we must all turn our gaze, from Whom we must all receive the gift of grace. The issue of liturgical orientation within the Eucharistic celebration, and also the practical way in which this takes shape, has great importance because with it is conveyed a fundamental fact which is at the same time theological and anthropological, ecclesiological and concerning the personal spirituality.

Is this also the criterion to understand the decision to celebrate at the ancient altar of the Sistine Chapel, on the occasion of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord?

Exactly. In circumstances where the celebration takes place in this way, this is not about turning the back to the faithful, but rather about orientating oneself together with the faithful towards the Lord. From this point of view "the door is not closed to the assembly", but " the door is opened to the assembly", leading it to the Lord. Particular circumstances can be found in which, because of the artistic circumstances of the sacred place and its unique beauty and harmony, it becomes desirable to celebrate at the ld altar, where among other things the correct orientation of the liturgical celebration is preserved. There should be no surprise: it suffices to go into St. Peter's in the morning and to see how many priests celebrate accoring to the ordinary rite which resulted from the liturgical reform, but on traditional altars and therefore oriented as the one of the Sistine Chapel. [NLM note: While the reference to particular artistic circumstances is made again, like it was at the interview in January when the Pope celebrated ad orientem for the first time in the Sistine Chapel, the excellent theological explanation which Mgr. Marini gives is really applicable to all liturgical celebrations. From this and from the reference to the normality of such celebrations in St. Peter's basilica, we may infer that this is another instance of Pope Benedict's modus operandi in small, innocuous steps, firmly pursuing the reorientation of the liturgy, but without causing upheaval.]

In the recent visit to Santa Maria di Leuca and to Brindisi, the Pope has distributed Communion to the faithful in the mouth while kneeling. Is this a practice destined to become habitual in the papal celebrations?

I really think so. In this regard it must not be forgotten that the distribution of Communion in the hand still remains, from a juridical point of view, an indult [i.e. an exception] to the universal law, granted by the Holy See to those bishops' conferences who have requested it. The manner adopted by Benedict XVI aims to underline the validity of the norm valid for the whole Church. In addition one could perhaps even see a preference for using this manner of distribution which, without taking away anything from the other [manner], better highlights the truth of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, helps the devotion of the faithful, and introduces [them] more easily to the sense of the mystery. These are aspects which, in our time, pastorally speaking, it is urgent to stress and recover.

What does the Master of Liturgical Celebrations respond to those who accuse Benedict XVI of wanting thus to impose preconciliar models?

First of all I like to stress the cordial and convinced adhesion which is also noticeable regarding the liturgical teaching of the Holy Father. As far, then, as terms like "preconciliar" and "postconciliar", used by some, are concerned, it seems to me that they belong to a language already overcome, and, when used with the intent to indicate a discontinuity in the path of the Church, I think they are wrong and typical of very reductive ideological visions. There are "things old and things new" that belong to the treasure of the Church of always and should be considered as such. The wise man knows to find in his treasure the one and the other, without invoking other criteria than the evangelical and ecclesial ones. Not everything that is new is true, as on the other hand also not all that is ancient [is true]. The truth transcends the old and the new, and it is to it [truth] that we must strive without preconceptions. The Church lives according to that law of continuity by virtue of which She knows a development rooted in tradition. What is most important is that everything comes together so that the liturgical celebration is really the celebration of the sacred mystery, of the crucified and risen Lord Who makes Himself present in his Church, re-actualising the mystery of salvation and calling us, in the logic of an authentic and active participation, to share up to the extreme consequences His own life, which is a life of the gift of love to the Father and to the brethren, a life of holiness.

Today still the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform carried out in 1970, seems to give rise to contrasting interpretations. Are celebrations presided by the Pope according to the extraordinary form, which is this old one, presumable ("ipotizzabili")?

That is a question to which I cannot give an answer [literally: do not know to give an answer; a very guarded response]. As for the motu proprio referred to, considering it with serene attention and without ideological notions, together with the letter addressed by the Pope to the bishops of the entire world to present it, a twofold precise intention becomes apparent. First of all, the [intention] to facilitate the achievement of "a reconciliation in the bosom of the Church", and in this sense, as has been said, the motu proprio is a very beautiful act of love for the unity of the Church. Secondly - and this is a fact not to forget - its purpose is to encourage a mutual enrichment between the two forms of Roman rite: in such a way, for example, that in the celebration according to the missal of Pope Paul VI (which is the ordinary form of the Roman rite) "will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage."

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