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Vatican Says Pope Doesn’t Want to Roll Back Modernization

Associated Press
Vatican City – A Vatican official says Pope Benedict XVI doesn’t want to roll back the modernizing liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
The pope last year removed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass, a rite that was all but swept away by the Second Vatican Council. But Monsignor Guido Marini told Vatican radio that Benedict only wants to maintain continuity with Roman Catholic tradition.
“This may also require, in some cases, the recovery of precious and important elements that along the way have been lost or forgotten,” Marini said in a Jan. 19 interview.
On Jan. 13, the pontiff celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel using the original main altar, facing away from worshippers during parts of the prayer. Under the modernizing reforms, clergy generally celebrate Mass facing the altar.
Marini said special conditions of the church allowed the stance, which he said was in line with Vatican II, according to Catholic News Service.
“There may be particular circumstances under which, because of the artistic conditions of the holy place or its singular beauty and harmony, it becomes desirable to celebrate at the ancient altar, where among other things the exact orientation of the liturgical celebration is preserved,” he said.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • pagansister

    Sure, Benny really doesn’t want to take the church back to pre- Second Vatican Council times! Like I believe that. He is demonstrating that in the article, with the way he did Mass.
    In order to “maintain the continuity with Roman Catholic tradition”, he might have to “recover precious and important elements that have along the way been lost or forgotten.” In other words, let’s take the church backwards some more. Let’s hope that he will give the churches the option to do or not do the “traditional” elements and not decree that it has to be done “his” way.
    Guess considering marriage for priests, and women priests are out of the question for consideration….with this pope.

  • JohnQ

    “Guess considering marriage for priests, and women priests are out of the question for consideration….with this pope.”
    Female clergy and marriage for priests (except for those that are already married) is not even in the realm of possibility.
    Funny how the Vatican continually explains the Pope’s intentions. Even funnier is that his actions indicate just the opposite of what the Vatican says they are.

  • Joey

    To be fair, the Vatican statement only had to do with the liturgy; the AP’s headline is misleading, since they did not comment at all about modernism in general. May God bless him as he rolls that back as far as he can. :-)

  • Nate W

    Once again, pagansister, you pretend know something regarding that about which you actually know nothing. Please, familiarize yourself a bit more with the theologican tradition in which Benedict fits (ressourcement) before you go making such sweeping condemnations of everything the man says.
    Recovering lost elements of the past has nothing to do with taking the Church backwards. It’s pretty simple, really: as history progresses, some ideas and practices get left behind or aren’t fully developed, for whatever reason, and sometimes its quite helpful to go back and mine the tradition things that might have been lost. In all honesty, several theologians who are using this kind of hermeneutic are putting it to ends that are quite “progressive,” as the whole point of ressourcement and the movements influenced by it was to use tradition in progressive, even radical, ways. Benedict is admittedly among the more conservative of these theologians, but anyone who really digs into his theological corpus will quickly realize that the caricatures of him as being extremely regressive are simple misleading; they’re little more than the rantings of liberals and non-Catholics who are upset that the Catholic hierarchy isn’t bending to their will on every issue.
    And no, Benedict does not intend to force liturgical reform onto local parishes. He’s only trying to open up avenues for using older liturgical forms for those who wish to do so when they feel it is appropriate. This has been made clear many, many times, even in articles here on this website. It would seem that someone who is so intent on criticizing everything the Pope does would have picked up on that fact.

  • Mia

    “Guess considering marriage for priests, and women priests are out of the question for consideration….with this pope.”
    I don’t think it has anything to do with this Pope or any other. Pope John Paul II was adamant against ordaining women and he believed in celibacy for clergy, and he’s credited with the upswing in younger Catholics getting involved in the Church. Those younger Catholics are the ones who are flocking to the Latin Mass and yearning for the old traditions of the Church. In my lifetime (GenXer here) I don’t expect to see it change. As a progressive (dare I say it?) Catholic, oddly enough, it doesn’t upset me.
    As a recent revert to the Catholic Church, (I spent years as more of a cultural Catholic than practicing one) I’m not overly enamored with a lot of the “modernisms” I’ve discovered: the sappy music, liturgical dancing, hand gestures, communion in the hand (that came about when I was in high school and didn’t really care for it then). I don’t mind holding hands during the “Our Father”. Does my dislike of some of the modernisms, mean I want to roll back to the old days before Vatican II? Certainly not because there were some good things that came out of V2, but I do like the ritual and traditions of what was so defining about Catholicism.

  • pagansister

    NateW. Whatever.

  • Anonymous

    Right on the money, Nate W and Mia. Good posts, both of you!

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