Cardinal says pope will opt for 'gentle' fix of liturgical abuses
The Vatican's top liturgy official, Cardinal Francis Arinze, said he expects Pope Benedict XVI to move against liturgical abuse with firm teaching and a gentle manner, recognising that such mistakes often reflect ignorance, not ill will.
Catholic News Service reports that at the same time, the pope wants to offer reconciliation to followers of the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre - but not at the cost of "disowning" the Second Vatican Council, said Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Nigerian who heads the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
Cardinal Arinze spoke about the direction of the new papacy. He said he expected important moves - but not a purge - to improve liturgy under Pope Benedict.
"I do not expect an aggressive correction of abuses. I don't think the pope is going to use the ecclesiastical hammer," Cardinal Arinze said.
"Pope Benedict has very clear doctrine and convictions. What many people may not know is that he is not rough. He is gentlemanly, in the sense of what the prophet Isaiah said: 'A bruised reed he will not break,'" the cardinal said.
Many liturgical abuses, Cardinal Arinze said, are "based on weakness of faith or ignorance" or on a wrong idea of creativity. Where improper practices occur, it is important to begin identifying them and talking about them, but without harming the people involved, the cardinal said.
That could be one reason the pope is focusing on the bigger faith issues, understanding that the quality of worship reflects knowledge of the faith, he said. A good example, he said, is the pope's first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" ("God Is Love").
Many people are scrutinising papal Masses for clues to liturgical direction under the new pope.
Cardinal Arinze said one priority that has carried over to the new pontificate is the translation of liturgical texts.
"The pope has said, let the various translations of the Missal proceed quickly, because the people are waiting. These pieces of paper used on Sunday and little leaflets are not ideal. You really need the whole book translated," he said.
The Roman Missal is being translated by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy for bishops' conferences, which can adopt, amend or reject the translation. The worship congregation, meanwhile, has established a committee of 12 bishops, called Vox Clara, to help it evaluate the texts as they are being prepared.
Cardinal Arinze said the main challenge facing his congregation is to encourage a spirit of prayer, which must grow out of faith. He said bringing people to Mass regularly is essential, and it hinges largely on two factors: catechesis and high-quality, faith-filled liturgies.
Vatican official says pope will fix liturgical abuses firmly, gently (Catholic News Service 10/2/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Cardinal says Mass is about nourishing the faithful (CathNews 4/3/05)
Workshops on Missal attract crowds (NZ Catholic)
13 Feb 2006