Pope Benedict's liturgies to change, says papal master of ceremonies

Liturgies celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI are undergoing changes, said the papal master of liturgical ceremonies.

Catholic News Service reports that Archbishop Piero Marini, who also served as master of ceremonies for Pope John Paul II, said that with Pope Benedict "I have to be a little more attentive because he is an expert in liturgy."

"But it gives me satisfaction because he always recognises the work that has been done, and we talk about it together," said the 64-year-old Italian, who has worked at the Vatican since 1965.

In a 20 March interview with the Milan-based online news site, Affari Italiani, the archbishop said he and the pope "are re-elaborating the papal ceremonies."

"I send him my notes and he returns them with his signature as a sign of approval, or else he suggests, completes or corrects," he said.

The archbishop did not provide details about what changes people may see in the papal liturgies or when they would be unveiled.

Archbishop Marini said each pope is different in his approach to the liturgy, particularly the large international celebrations he is called to lead.

"With John Paul II, I was a bit freer; we had an implicit agreement because he was a man of prayer and not of liturgy," the archbishop said.

In the interview, Archbishop Marini also was asked about liturgical abuses and about followers of the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who refuse to recognise the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

"After every council," he said, "there always was a period of tension. There always was someone who was not in agreement or did not approve what was done. But the fact is, we do not have police to send around to force the faithful to accept what the Second Vatican Council decided."

Archbishop Marini said he understood why Pope John Paul gave permission for bishops to authorise the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Mass in some churches for "older faithful" who were attached to the old rite.

"But to go beyond this is to go beyond the church," he said. "If the liturgy is the sign of the unity of the church, you cannot create groups of faithful who pray in a certain way on this day at this hour, then an hour later another group prays in another way.

"First of all we must understand that the liturgy is a sign of unity," he said. "It is not a matter of liberalising the missal or anything else. It is only a question of accepting the church today, just that."

However, the archbishop said that "neoritualism" is not appropriate either: "to a priest who celebrates Mass thinking: 'Good, I said my Mass following the rite to the letter. I'm fine.' This is not good; the celebration is not slavish respect for liturgical norms.

"There always is a little bit of space for the celebrant," he said.

Pope Benedict's liturgies to change, says papal master of ceremonies (Catholic News Service 21/3/06)

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22 Mar 2006