Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Guido Marini on Papal Liturgy under Benedict XVI

Vatican Radio German Service today carries an interview with Msgr Guido Marini, the Papal MC. Of course, many points are covered which we have heard about from him before. Here are some of the parts I thought more interesting and which we have not heard, or at least not from this perspective, before:

Vatican Radio: Monsignor Marini, how would you define the liturgical style of Pope Benedict?

Monsignor Marini: That is not an easy question, because the liturgical style encompasses both the exterior and the interior dimension of celebrating - and of course the respective understanding of what the liturgy is. I think the liturgical style of Pope Benedict emphasises both the proper sobriety which has always characterised the Roman liturgy, and the sense for the mystery and the sacred. And then I see a strong turning towards the Lord who after all is present at every moment of celebrating.

Vatican Radio: At the centre of every service there is not the priest, and that means not even the Pope, but the risen Christ. Now critics say that some of these new elements [of the papal liturgies introduced in the tenure of Guido Marini, NLM] distract the faithful rather than help them to focus on the essential. All the gold and the lace were too conspicuous, it is said, very simply designed liturgical instruments and vestments which make the celebrant practically invisible would be better. What is your stance on this?

Monsignor Marini: I don't believe that these elements distract. Of course care has to be taken that the Lord remains at the centre. The danger of distraction is always there, and therefore an education is needed which always leads back to the centre. But everything in the liturgy, also in its details, which conveys beauty, harmony and splendour , does not distract from the mystery of God, but really helps to meet Him who is infinite Beauty.


Vatican Radio: To what extent does Pope Benedict himself suggest changes in his services? Or is it you who suggest them to him?

Monsignor Marini: To say the truth: In this time in which I've had the grace to be near the Holy Father it has not been like I had received instructions each time. It is rather a conversation, an exchange of ideas, a collaboration. For my part I try to suggest and submit liturgical elements to the Holy Father. He weighs the pro and contra, expresses his mind and gives an orientation which then clearly is followed.

Vatican Radio: For example?

Monsignor Marini: You have mentioned before some "innovations", in quotation marks, in the liturgy. For example then Communion: Who receives from the hands of the Holy Father, receives kneeling. This suggestion has been seized by the Holy Father, and he has given his instructions in this respect.

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