Washington Post’s coverage on the difference between Archbishop Piero Marini, the liturgist under Pope John Paul II from 1987 onwards, and his young replacement, Monsignor Guido Marini (no relation), the liturgist under Pope Benedict XVI since 2007, is worth the read. In short, “Marini the Elder” favored trying to add a lot of local flair to the papal Mass held in each country at huge expense to the Mass’s Catholic character, while ‘Marini the Younger’ wants the Mass to be about Christ, not a celebration of culture. In all, the younger Marini comes through as graceful and hopeful, happy to be helping out as he is. Still, it wouldn’t be the Post if this weren’t included:
At most papal Masses, a large crucifix flanked by tall candles is now displayed on the altar, even though many progressives say the ornaments block the view of the priest and the bread and wine. They argue that this obstructs the accessibility urged by liturgical reforms associated with the Second Vatican Council.
That’s some mighty careful wording, there. The speaker (not necessarily the Post reporter, but probably whoever he talked to) is trying to invoke Vatican II to justify things the Council never asked for – or would have approved of. Of course Vatican II never said anything about taking the Crucifix off of the altar: the entire idea that we need to, since it might block a view of the Eucharist (or even the “bread and wine”) is silly.
Instead, its liberal Catholics employing an absurd double-standard. It was fine for them to tear apart elements of the Holy Mass throughout the 1960s and 1970s, in direct violation of explicit Church teachings on the matter, yet if the Vatican attempts to undo any of their ugly changes, it’s somehow a quasi-violation of Vatican II, just because it was “associated with” the Second Vatican Council by those trying to shove it down the throats of the Catholic laity. So liturgical novelties to the Mass can occur in violation of Church teachings and Church Councils (particularly Trent), but reverting to the traditional form of the liturgy violates the “spirit” of a Church Council — even though it’s more in keeping with what the Second Vatican Council actually said.
Still, I’m pleased to see the Post trying to understand what’s going on and why, and listening to someone besides the usual liberal suspects in the process. The article’s not perfect, but it’s a commendable effort.