Pastor’s Prose

What follows is part of an interview with Msgr. Guido Marini, Pope Benedict’s Master of Ceremonies, which reinforces two aspects of the Pope’s continuing liturgical reforms:

…let’s ask the reason for the recovery of the precious headgear of his predecessors: for example, last Christmas, Ratzinger used mitres belonging to Paul VI, John XXIII and Benedict XV.

“The vestments chosen, as also other particulars of the Rite,” the Master of Ceremonies explained, “are intended to underscore the continuity of the present liturgical celebration with that which characterized in the past the life of the Church. Continuity is the interpretive key, always the exact criteria for reading the Church’s journey through time. This is valid also for liturgy.” “As one Pope cites in his documents the Pontiffs who preceed him, so as to indicate the continuity of the Magisterium of the Church,” Marini continues, “so in the ambient of liturgy a Pope uses also the vestments and sacred accoutrement of his predecessors to show the same continuity also in his celebrations. I would, however, mention that the Pope does not always use old vestments. He often wears new ones. The importance is not so much their antiquity or modernity, as much as their beauty and dignity, important components for every liturgical celebration.”

…it was noted, from the moment Msgr. Marini took up his role, the presence of a Cross in the center of the altar, as in former times. Also in this case, the MC wanted to make understood the profound meaning of a choice that has nothing to do with nostalgia:

“The position of the Cross in the center of the altar shows the centrality of the Crucified One in the Eucharistic celebration and the precise orientation that the whole assembly is called to have during the Eucharistic liturgy: we don’t look at ourselves, but we look toward Him who was born, died, and rose for us, the Savior. From the Lord comes salvation. He is the East, the sun which rises, toward which we must all turn our gaze, from which we all must receive the gift of grace.”

Since the Pope is the Chief Liturgist of the Roman Catholic Church, bishops and priests should follow his examples.

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