In Rome, journalists speculate about new liturgical norms.
In the middle of the Italian - and the Vatican - summer break the subject of "liturgical reform" has emerged in the media. With two exclusive contributions from a usually well-informed Vaticanist the newspaper Il Giornale, "concluded the Pope and the Vatican are considering a " reform the reform ". The Holy See has already contradicted the report.
First, the paper documented a letter with the perspectives of the current Pope on the liturgy: "The fact that in the long term the Roman Church must have again a single Roman rite, makes the existence of two official rites difficult in practice for the bishops and priests to manage."
This letter, however, is already six years old. The then curial prefect, Joseph Ratzinger was answering in June 2003 a Bonn based philologist and traditionalist. The reason that "Il Giornale", publishes the text which can be read on the internet, is that in September publication is pending of the letter in an Italian specialist book. At the "Catholic Meeting" to be opened on Sunday, there will be a preview presentation.
The second document from the "Giornale" has so far not yet been published in detail, but its date of origin is also a bit back in the past. On April 4th, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, forwarded to the Pope, a recommendation of its General Assembly. The cardinals and bishops are proposing in a new introduction of the Missal that the sense of the sacred and the importance of worship should once again be highlighted and liturgical "creativity" should be limited; that Latin should be promoted alongside the national language, the wish being that Communion in the mouth should be the normal form of giving Communion at the Eucharist and receiving communion in the hand should be represented as an "extraordinary concession", that the celebrant should turn towards the east and thereby turn his backs to the people, at least for the moment of consecration.
Observers have already puzzled about the meaning and obligation of these recommendations, however, as well as of the date of disclosure. So far, the impression was in Rome, after the approval of the old Tridentine Mass as an "extraordinary rite" of the Catholic Church, the Pope would initially leave everything to rest in the liturgy. It was assumed that no further amendments were pending and liturgical reform should not be a permanent building site. Meanwhile, the Vatican press office made it clear on Monday that at present neither a new a liturgical reform nor a modification of the liturgical books is planned.
Pope stands fully behind the Liturgy Constitution of the Council
Vatican experts point out that the Pope fully stands behind the Liturgy Constitution of the Council. Of course, he had already passed judgement as a professor and Cardinal on some abuses and exaggerations. With the Motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum" of July 2007. he had softened some sharp points of the liturgical reform of Paul VI. and placed in addition the Old Rite next to the "Ordinary Rite" of the post-conciliar liturgy. Apparently, Benedict XVI has the vision that both rites complete each other, it is said. But time and peace is needed - not another new regulation or reform.
Of course, the discussion and controversy in recent months about traditionalists and the SSPX made clear their different positions also about the liturgy. After the communication breakdowns at the beginning of year, the old Commission "Ecclesia Dei was reorganised and placed under the responsibility of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The reason for this, it is said, it that the relationship to Lefebvre supporters in particular is to do with differences in doctrinal matters. The new leadership of "Ecclesia Dei" has prescribed for the first phase a focus on specialist work without substantive public statements, projects, and media coverage. And a new "reform the reform" in the liturgy would be of little help here.