Paolo VI e la riforma liturgica. Anche per il papa cambiare non è facileby Mario Lessi Ariosto S.J.
(From "L'Osservatore Romano" of May 9, 2018)
Based on the diaries of the liturgical celebrations held between 1970 and 1978 by Monsignor Virgilio Noè, master of the pontifical ceremonies, Leonardo Sapienza has published another small book dedicated to Pope Montini (Paul VI, "A minimal story", Monopoli, Edizioni VivereIn, 2018, pages 118, euro 10). The intent of the editor of the collection, and even before the author of the diaries, was to not let anything of the simplest aspects of human, Christian and priestly depth fall into oblivion, but also of the virtues experienced in everyday life by Montini. Both have thus handed down and re-presented fragments of humanity and spiritual progress of those who, dominated by the love of Christ, of the Church, of humanity, soon, as has been announced, will be included in the catalog of saints.
In choosing the words of Montini, generally dated, even if divided and presented in sixteen themes, the curator wants to discover and understand to the readers the human and spiritual stature of the Pope. With simple shots, which in some cases could have been amplified with the help of other pages written by the cardinal Noah on the subject in articles, conferences, homilies to help those who read better to penetrate the occasion of certain sentences, Monsignor Sapienza reaches the goal that had been proposed: bring readers closer to a Paul I almost secret. And when a saint approaches he always receives something, because his mission of good is prolonged in time.
To look at Montini implies a return to the council in its entirety. But it also means, since the general context of Noah's diaries is the liturgy presided over by the Pope, to return to the renewal of the liturgical life of the Roman Church sanctioned by the council, to the reform of the rites and texts that Paul VI wished, supported and put in place , even if with the human effort, of those who were in front of something where "everything is new, and it is not always ready, as it could be once." After so many years, even for the Pope, change is not an easy thing "(p.25) recognized Montini.
In the same audience to the ceremonies of February 14th 1970, from which the curator drew that phrase, Paul VI also said that "the masters should not only have a relative and superficial knowledge of the conduct of the ceremonies, but must deepen the matter, because they must give an account to all of what happens ". And he added that "to be able to give an account of everything, one must apply to a personal study". It is therefore not surprising that this Pope, with a council to be enforced, a new ecclesiology, a renewed ecumenical journey and missionary commitment, a new Vulgate, a vast and articulate liturgical reform, a new code of canon law in preparation , human relationships and a thousand other important tasks to which waiting could not materially have time to study personally all the details of each text and every rite.
The editor of the book also accompanied him with the photographic reproduction of some autographs of Paul VI: a personal note on his tomb, a greeting card to Noah, three to Monsignor Giovanni De Andrea, one to Monsignor Giuseppe Caprio, a private letter to Monsignor Pietro Palazzini and eight letters in response to the wishes of Cardinal Jean Villot to highlight Montini's attention to his collaborators. There are certainly many others of similar autographs. The writer has had in his hands some of these writings, illuminating the way in which the Pope followed the reform and renewal of the liturgical life: some rites, instructions such as those on the Eucharistic mystery and that on the translations of liturgical texts ("Comme le prévoit ") written down and corrected in his own hand.
A special autograph is the one that concluded the process of reforming the missae agreement where Paul VI claims to have worked with Monsignor Annibale Bugnini and to appreciate how the experts had taken account of his observations and included them in the final drafting. And precisely on the "ordo missae" the Pope intervened, considering his achievements with the help of his collaborators and defending the whole of the reform, in the consistory of 24 May 1976 (see "Acta apostolicae sedis", 68, 1977, p 374), when he compared his promulgation to the approval by Pius V of the missal wanted by the Council of Trent.
In the illustration the autograph of Paul VI on the reform of the "ordo missae" dated November 6, 1968. The text was published in the new edition of the work of Annibale Bugnini "The liturgical reform (1948-1975)", Rome, Vincenziano Liturgical Center, 1997, p. 380.