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Pope's liturgist defends liturgical dance in papal Masses

Pope John Paul II's chief liturgist, Archbishop Piero Marini, has defended the use of dance in papal Masses abroad and at the Vatican.

Archbishop Marini said liturgical celebrations presided over by the pope have a "universal" character that should accommodate the legitimate cultural elements of Catholic communities around the world.

He made the comments on Wednesday in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Some church officials have criticised Archbishop Marini because they think the papal liturgies in recent years have been grotesque.

Reflecting strong sentiment in some Vatican quarters, a draft version of a recent Vatican document on liturgical norms recommended no dance inside churches - even outside celebration of the Mass. In contrast, a 5 October beatification Mass in St Peter's Square featured African dance at the offertory and Indian dance at the consecration.

Archbishop Marini, who has designed papal liturgies for 17 years, said the criticism was off the mark.

"To introduce dance at a parish Mass in Italy would be pointless," he said. "But the celebration was a missionary celebration, for the beatification of three people who evangelized Africa and Asia."

Pope's chief liturgist defends use of dance in papal Masses (Catholic News Service)

In U.S. talk, top Vatican liturgy official criticizes liturgical abuses (Catholic News Service)
Archbishop Piero Marini (
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Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia of His Holiness Pope John Paul II (full text, Vatican website)

17 Oct 2003