Wednesday, September 02, 2009

“Reform of the reform”

VATICAN media has been expectedly aggressive like a hornets’ nest stirred by a blog of a known Vatican analyst, Andrea Tornielli, who has commented that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, headed by Cardinal Antonio Canizares is reforming the reforms of the Second Vatican Council—“riforma della riforma,” he calls it.

He finger points to the Holy Father as the principle of the ongoing “reforms” that includes the greater use of Latin in the mass, the possibility of celebrating the Eucharist “ad orientum” at least during the consecration, and the greater emphasis on communion on the tongue.

This whole flack may have had its beginnings in 2007, or perhaps even earlier, with the motu proprio issuance of the Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum that reintroduced and granted more freedom in the celebration of the Tridentine liturgy in its 1962 form—which came as a surprise even to some sectors of the church, even to some bishops themselves; although a purported reconciliation with the with the Society of St. Pius X and some traditionalist Catholics was an acceptable justification.

But what is more interesting is the quick response by no less than the Secretariat of State himself, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who firmly denied the media rumors that the Pontiff is working to gradually undo the changes implemented after the Second Vatican Council.

It may have been a misunderstanding of the Holy Father’s intentions which, according to Cardinal Bertone should be taken from “his personal history” or one that included involvement “as a genuine protagonist” in the Conciliar Church. “It is above all a question of interiority and holiness,” he says perhaps to the bewilderment of the benchers as the cardinal explains like a good academician.

The only rub is Tornielli with the media and a growing number of supporters in tow is in the contest mode saying: “All of this is an attempt to tell people not to believe what I wrote, saying there is nothing happening, that the Pope and the Congregation for Divine Worship are not considering anything, that the ‘reform of the reform’ and the recovery of a greater sense of the sacred in the Liturgy is a false story reported by me.”

It may not be farfetched to say that there is a storm brewing right from bowels of the Church. But then, here at the cold front some would rather train their eyes to the urgent and prevailing—true to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Right at the doorstep, are social imperatives hanging in the balance of life and death that needs addressing rather seriously by the brethren.

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