Sunday, January 31, 2016


Then papal Master of Ceremonies for Pope Saint John Paul II (to the right of the pope) now Archbishop Piero Marini at a Mass of inculturation at St. Peter's Basilica: 

There was great fear that Pope Francis would name Archbishop Piero Marini the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship. And for good reason. He is on the progressive side of liturgical reform with the last great frontier only partially attained, that of inculturation. 

Archbishop Piero Marini not to be confused with his antithesis, the good Monsignor Guido Marini, Papal Master of Ceremonies who succeeded him,  is firmly rooted in the Bugnini school of liturgy not the Pope Benedict school, which we had hoped and prayed would replace it and I think will eventually win the day, but not without spiritual warfare!

There is a cosmic liturgical battle taking place between these two schools and for the time being, Pope Francis seems to have sided with the Benedictine School in naming Cardinal Robert Sarah the prefect for the CDW. It was unexpected and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when he was named and not Archbishop Piero Marini. But things could always change overnight as we have seen in the last three years.

Marini on liturgy: ‘Inculturate it or lose it’

CBCP Monitor (My comments in red)

 Adapting the liturgy to local cultural practices, or “inculturation,” is the key to drawing more people to the Mass, said Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses. (I would have thought that the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in His Sacrifice and in His Glorious Eternal Banquet would have been a better reason to draw more people to Mass, but of course I'm not an Archbishop so what do I know?)
How to make the Mass more relatable and interesting has been one of the hot topics of discussion in the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), and Marini is very knowledgeable on it having been master of liturgical ceremonies for two popes – St. John Paul II and the now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee on International Eucharistic Congresses (photo by Dominic Barrios)
Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee on International Eucharistic Congresses (photo by Dominic Barrios)

Marini, 74, also served as secretary to Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, one of the Church figures who had worked to reform the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council, the result of which is the New Order of the Mass now heard in local languages instead of the old Latin. At the 51st IEC Theological Symposium last week, he recalled the history of the new Mass.

Marini wants to go further. “The word used in the Second Vatican Council is ‘active participation.’ To participate in the liturgy is to adapt the liturgy in particular circumstances,” he said in Italian during the press conference on Jan. 25, the second day of the 51st IEC. (This is where the liturgical battle lines are drawn and it comes from men my age and older. I'm 62 and Marini is 74. Thus the last gasp of a generation dying trying to make their ideologies into dogma, unchangeable dogma!)

The Mass is a simple celebration of rubrics, he pointed out, referring to set instructions and rules on how to celebrate the liturgy. “The liturgies that are not inculturated are lost, just as what happened in North Africa,” he warned.

The current Roman liturgy itself was the product of inculturation, originating from the fifth century, he claimed. There was also the the Byzantine, Alexandrian and Coptic rites. “There is a need to return to varieties,” he said. (Is he open to the glorious return of the Extraordinary Form as it is now called or to the gloriously new Ordinariate's "Divine Worship, the Missal". I suspect not which shows a great hypocrisy within the ranks of so-called progressives of the Bugnini school of rupture.)
‘Slow process’

Inculturation was pushed after Vatican II, Marini said, but the process of approving the liturgies for Zaire, India and the Philippines was “slow.” (Who pushed inculturation, the type that is of rupture????)

Moreover, inculturation needs information. “It is necessary but it is difficult. You have to be prepared. It’s not so easy,” he told CBCP News.

What about the abuses pointed out by critics of liturgical innovation, such as the heavy use of acoustic instruments during youth masses? Marini replied: “The problem is what are the abuse[s]? How is the so-called youth mass? This is the problem. To inculturate, it is necessary to know.”
Christmas itself is an inculturated celebration, the Vatican official argued. (I don't even know what Marini is saying here. Does he acknowledge abuse or celebrate it?)

“It was a pagan feast for the light. The light was coming, the victory of the sun. So they celebrated this victor, the pagan people, and then they translated it in our, the Roman Rite. So we celebrate on 24 and 25 of December, not because Christ was born on 25 or 24, but because it was an inculturated feast,” Archbishop Marini said. – (CBCP News)

My Final comment:  I am not completely opposed to inculturation. But for the most part, what has been called inculturation since the 1960's and is of the Bugnini school of thought that Archbishop Marini continues to push, is fad and pop culture. 

There is room for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church with its purity, meaning style of worship, language, form of chants and art of celebrating. Its vesture and culture inherited over centuries. 

Inculturation wants fragmentation.  It wants new rites that are rooted in fads and the worst of cultural expression. 

Apart from denigrating inculturation altogether. In what ways would inculturation be good? Can we have an intelligent discussion on that?


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Let me be the first to offer an intelligent comment. Archbishop Marini speaks of Christmas (the date for it) as a sign of very early inculturation by the Church. BTW, this example is the example that all inculturationists use along with the date of Easter and other liturgical dates.

Yes, pagan holy days were "converted" by the Church into Christian solemnities and feasts. All Souls and All Saints dates are a better example.

We still have a secular side or a pagan side to both Christmas, Easter and All Souls/ All Hallows. This means that there was not a complete conversion. The Church did not bring all the baggage of these pagan feasts into the liturgy.

For example, we don't bring up rabbits and Easter eggs in the procession of the gifts to the altar at Easter (or has this been tried?) Although the Orthodox and Eastern Rites have wonderful Egg shaped Icons. But these aren't use in the Liturgy I don't think.

We don't ask children to dress up as demons and monsters for the All Saints' Mass although we might ask them to dress as a Saint. I love the Saint Sebastian costume!

We don't decorate the church at Christmas with sleighs and reindeer or Rudolph!Or have you seen this? We are suppose to keep the decorations sober and not like a Christmas Card winter scene with lavish lights on trees and the like, or do we?

Not everything about culture is to be celebrated. Some of it is evil of Satan. When we drag everything from culture into the liturgy as though all cultural expressions are good, then we forget about change and conversion which is authentic to true inculturation.

Italy's secular government recently covered nude works of art so as not to offend the Muslim sensibilities about nudity and sexuality. Why do you think they cover women as they do? There was an outcry even from one Cardinal who said the Iranian leader, a Muslim cleric, should have simply closed his eyes rather than have the government cover statues with burkas.

John Nolan said...

Inculturation as envisaged by the Bugnini school and enshrined in the closing paragraphs of 'Comme le prévoit' (1969) meant getting as far away from the Roman Rite as possible; the liturgical texts would be locally generated and not translations of a Latin 'Urtext'. This went far beyond what the fathers of Vatican II mandated and it was this (rather than suspicions of freemasonry) that led Paul VI to get rid of Bugnini.

The importation of an informal vernacular liturgy to Japan (a traditionally ritualistic society) can be seen as a late 20th century example of cultural imperialism, and Marcel Lefebvre in 1969 was able to state with considerable authority that the new vernacular Mass was neither wanted nor needed in the mission territories. Apart from anything else, Latin unified those who spoke a babel of tribal languages.

The effect on the Western Church has been little short of disastrous. Not only was it assumed that literary English was no longer part of vernacular culture, which gave rise to the original and now (one hopes) discredited early 'translations', but music had to reflect ephemeral popular styles. The effects of this form of inculturation are still with us. This morning I attended a vernacular Mass (I occasionally do) which was celebrated reverently by a priest who chanted many of his parts; but the music the congregation was supposed to sing was so dire, so uniformly banal and dreadful, that I couldn't wait to get out.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

JN I agree with your comment and why posters and commenters at Praytell went absolutely apoplectic when Comme le prévoit was reversed by Liturgicum Authenticum. The key to inculturation as Marini wants it and he is a disciple of Bugnini is the vernacular. I believe that a lofty vernacular faithful to the spirituality and intent of the Latin Language is fine and a good inculturation. The Comme le prévoit English we had since 1970 was a disaster for the Church and her spirituality, her doctrine and her dogmas as far as the Liturgy is concerned, the one place where most Catholics are formed or malformed in the Faith.

Although I am not yet comfortable with the "old" English or Elizabethan English of the Ordinariate's new Missal, I think that it elevates English and makes it seem more "reverent" in terms of worship as it isn't the ordinary speak of Americans or those in GB. That is a good thing as far as I am concerned. The good thing about Latin as a dead language is that it remains the same, meanings of words do not change. I don't know if Latin has "gay" as a word, but in English, that word today is completely different than what it was in the early 1960's when the wonderful and popular cartoon series "The Flintstones" had in their theme song "...and we'll have a gay old time!" Later versions of that theme song changed gay to great old time. But that doesn't mean the same thing. There was an outcry about changing that iconic tune and so gay was reinserted!

But yes, Latin unites and as Americans are finding out with Spanish becoming our second language, it is quite divisive in parishes with mixed congregations. And the Spanish speaking really don't want to worship with English speakers if English is primarily used. Latin could have solved most of this divisiveness in the Liturgy at least!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

As an aside, at the time of Cardinal Sarah's appointment as the prefect for the CDW, there were rumors in fact that Archbishop Piero Marini would be named but that Pope Emeritus Benedict personally intervened and had it stopped. I suspect His Holiness went directly to the currently reigning His Holiness and begged that he not be named.

If what you say is true about Pope Paul VI canning Bugnini in terms of the direction he wanted to bring the liturgy, an anti-Latin Rite direction, then Marini would be Bugnini on steroids and I suspect he would want to canonize Bugnini in this regard.

If it is true than an emeritus pope wielded such authority over a reigning pope or at least influence, I would find that stunning. But popes should respect the authentic legacy of deceased popes and build upon it not destroy it as it appears Pope Francis was doing immediately from the loggia at his first appearance as pope. There must have been strong sentiments in the Conclave to undo Ratzinger and Francis responded to those sentiments with lightening speed. It had to be the Marini crowd and the aging prelates who love Vatican II more than God and His Holy Church.

I wonder if Benedict threatened anyone by simply saying he was pressured to resign and his psychological make-up under great stress and duress made him do it and thus not freely and with full consent of the uncompromised will. Will we ever know and has Pope Emeritus Benedict left anything in writing for the future after he has died?

What a disaster it would have been to have this Marini/Bugnini in charge of the CDW!

TJM said...

Piero Marini liturgical views should be utterly ignored. He is an apostate and largely responsible for the liturgical decay and loss of souls while he was in charge of papal liturgies

George said...

“It was a pagan feast for the light. The light was coming, the victory of the sun. So they celebrated this victor, the pagan people, and then they translated it in our, the Roman Rite. So we celebrate on 24 and 25 of December, not because Christ was born on 25 or 24, but because it was an inculturated feast,” Archbishop Marini said.

It is true that the Church has inculturated some elements of pagan culture, but there is some historical evidence that the date of Christmas was not one of them. This has become so accepted as being true that I can't fault Archbishop Marini too much on this one.

The date of December 25th only became the “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun(Sol Invictus)” under the Emperor Julian the Apostate. Julian the Apostate had been a Christian but who had apostatized and returned to Roman paganism. He erected a pagan holiday on December 25.

The Unconquered Sun does not appear to have been a popular deity in the Roman Empire. The tradition of a December 25th celebration does not find a place on the Roman calendar until after the Christianization of Rome. The “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun” holiday was not all that traditional or popular.
Julian the Apostate's objective was to introduce a pagan holiday in order to replace the Christian one celebrating Christ's birthday. There is no historical record that I know of for a celebration Natalis Sol Invictus on December 25 prior to A.D. 354.

Perhaps someone reading this with knowledge of Roman history can chime in on this.

John Nolan said...

The traditional pagan feast was Saturnalia which began on 17 December in the Julian calendar. It was a time of role reversal where masters would wait on slaves (customs carried over to Christmas, with the medieval boy bishops, the 'lord of misrule' and the practice, still current in HM forces, of the officers waiting on the men).

I think Marini had it the wrong way round. Adapting traditional customs to the Roman Rite is not the same as adapting the Roman Rite to traditional customs. Pagan gods were not admitted to the liturgy although some of the formulas used for Christian prayer had pagan antecedents.