New Consultants for Liturgies with Pope

Today the Vatican Information Service reports that the Holy Father has appointed consultants of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. It appears to be a sea change.

Newly appointed are Fr. Silvano Maria Maggiani, OSM of the Marianum and Sant’ Anselmo; Fr. Corrado Maggioni, SMM, office head in the CDW and member of the Academic Council of the Pontifical International Marian Academy; Fr. Giuseppe Midili, O Carm of the Liturgical Office of the diocese of Rome and Sant’ Anselmo; Msgr. Angelo Lameri of the Lateran Pontifical University; and Archimandrite Fr. Manuel Nin, OSB of the Pontifical Greek College.

The 5-year term of the previous members had expired, and not a one of them was retained. Among those departing are people associated with the “Reform of the Reform” such as  Fr. Paul Gunter, OSB, Msgr. Nicola Bux, and Fr. Uwe Michael Lang, all of whom spoke at the 2013 Sacra Liturgia conference in Rome. Bux is author of Benedict XVI’s Reform: The Liturgy between Innovation and Tradition (Ignatius Press, 2012). Lang is author of Turning Toward the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer (Ignatius Press, 2005), a book which argued for the eastward (away from the people) direction of the priest and was praised by Benedict XVI.
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11 comments

  1. Would someone with greater knowledge, fill us in on what the consultants do? I have an idea, but I’d like more reliable source beyond my own intuition.

    I often wonder what it’s like to be Guido Marini with Pope Francis’ liturgical style and aversion to refinement and fastidiousness. (And I mean that with no disrespect to Marini or Francis.)

  2. In order to know how significant this change actually is, I think we need to know two things which have been absent from all of the reports that I have seen so far:

    (1) What are the liturgical views of the new consultors? (I am aware of some of the academic work of Archimandrite Manuel Nin, but the other names on the list are completely new to me.)

    (2) Perhaps more significantly, we need to know what the practice has been regarding the five-year terms of consultors. Are they often appointed to a second consecutive five-year term, or is the norm for all of them to go out after five years and be replaced? If the latter is the case, then there ought to be nothing surprising about the departure of the former consultors. By contrast, if there was a practice of regularly re-appointing consultors then the failure to do so in a particular case would appear to be significant.

    1. @Dwayne Bartles – comment #6:
      Maybe I’m missing your meaning, but I would say that it’s a both-and. And his style isn’t to “clean out” but to move things decisively in his direction without knocking heads or hurting people. Finally, I don’t see papal liturgies, or consultants for them, as entirely irrelevant. In our era of globalized instant media coverage, the papal style has all too much instant influence on the whole church. That is quite untraditional, but it’s the reality now.
      awr

  3. Does anyone know how often these consultants are consulted? I was surprised even to learn that there were such consultants to the Office.

    1. @Fr. Ron Krisman – comment #8:
      I suppose their role depends on the MC. I’m told it was Bux under Benedict who went though the old vestments and supplies to find historic items to use again in the papal liturgy.

      I think the main import of this story is what it says about the direction of liturgy at the official level under Francis. When I heard the news my first thought was, “Who is advising the pope to make these appointments? Who has influence now?” I immediately thought of Piero Marini. And sure enough, yesterday the rumors starting coming from Rome that he is about to be named head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and the trad blogs are all aflutter.

      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #9:

        Francis has repeatedly said that he distrusts his first impulses, takes his time, but often comes back to them.

        Cardinal Rodríguez also revealed that, within four days of his election, the pope had already decided on Archbishop Pietro Parolin as his secretary of state even though the announcement did not come until the end of August.

        http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/cardinal-chair-curia-reform-says-old-structure-over

        The chair of the committee of cardinals charged with reforming the Vatican curia said that the current system is over, and it is time for something different. As a result, the reform will not come quickly but will require “long discussion and long discernment.” “It is not just taking the constitution Pastor Bonus and trying to change this and that,” referring to the 1988 papal constitution governing the organization of the Roman curia. “No, that constitution is over,”

        In regard to the liturgy Rodriquez is correct that it will take time not just personnel changes if Francis is serious about giving bishops effective and lasting authority that cannot be easily undone under future Popes.

  4. In October 1998 I was one of ten invited international participants, and the only one from an English-speaking country, at a three-day Vatican conference on papal liturgies for the Jubilee Year 2000. The line-up included people like Gelineau, so it was not exactly low-powered. The person behind it was Piero Marini, who wanted to change the character of the papal millennial liturgies to reflect more closely the international nature of those who would gather for them.

    Surrounding the ten guests was a large contingent of the local Roman liturgical functionaries. We began our work, and the attitude of the locals started off as “Oh, those who come to Rome should feel privileged to experience what we, the Romans, have served up for them”. We pressed harder, made many concrete suggestions for changes in praxis, especially on the musical front. By day two, the attitude had changed into “Oh, we’ve been doing all that sort of thing for years now” (which was, of course, completely untrue). To say that there was resistance to admitting that international liturgies require a different approach would be a huge understatement. Marini I’s plan, I think, had been to effect a change not only in the Jubilee Year liturgies but, having established a precedent, also in the character of papal liturgies across the board. Unfortunately, the conference failed completely because the locals left at the end of day three and just continued to do exactly what they had always done. A failed opportunity, alas.

    The cynic in me wonders whether the consultants under Guido Marini have been (with the possible exception of Bux) more than token presences to make him feel comfortable and supported in his preferred philosophy and modus operandi. I suspect that actual consultation might have been small or non-existent. And, given that the new ones appear to be so many miles away from Marini II’s preferences, it may be that they will not be consulted very much either — unless Francis is able to insist that they are.

    If Piero Marini is made Prefect of CDW, though, that would change things totally, but the question of the local functionaries who control different aspects of what goes on would still have to be dealt with.

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