The Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, continues to remind us that what has edified Catholics before can continue to edify us now and can edify us more than what a banal "noontime TV show" liturgies can.
Il Tempo: Are we witnessing simply a process of liturgical restyling or something deeper?
Marini: It is something deeper in the line of continuity, not of a break with the past. There is a development with respect for tradition.
Il Tempo: Since he has arrived, changes or corrections have been made. Some subtle, others more blatant.
Marini: The changes are diverse. One was the placement of the crucifix on the altar at the centre to indicate that the celebrant and the assembly of the faithful do not look at each other, but together they look to the Lord who is the focus of their prayers. The other aspect is the communion given kneeling by the Holy Father and distributed on the tongue. This to demonstrate the greatness of the mystery, the living presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. This attitude and posture is important because it helps the worship and devotion of the faithful.
Il Tempo: When we will see Pope Benedict to celebrate the Mass in Latin according to Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite, that of St. Pius V? The Motu proprio. I, personally, interpret it as an act of generosity, openness, not closure.
Marini: I do not know. Many of the faithful have themselves taken advantage of this possibility [of the motu proprio]. The Pope will decide if he believes it to be opportune.
Il Tempo: In the post-synodal "Apostolic Exhortation" on the liturgy, Joseph Ratzinger has touched on many aspects. He even suggested that churches should face East, towards the Holy City of Jerusalem. A year ago, he celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel with his back facing the people. Why?
Marini: I proposed it. The Sistine Chapel is a treasure trove. It seemed to arbitrarily alter its beauty by building an artificial stage. In the ordinary rite, Mass celebrated "with one's back facing to the people" is an envisaged possibility [una modalità prevista]. But I would stress: [The celebrant] does not turn his back to the faithful, but rather the celebrant and the faithful are facing that thing which matters: the crucifix.
Il Tempo: "The Pope puts on Christ not Prada" was read in L'Osservatore Romano. The look of Benedict XVI is striking and intriguing. Vestments, mitre, pectoral crosses, the cathedra upon which he sits, and the mozzetta and stole. This is an elegant Pope. Is it a media invention?
Marini: Even to say "elegant" in the language of today, seems to suggest a Pope who simply loves outer aspects. A watchful eye sees that there is research which marries tradition and modernity. It is not the logic of a simple return to the past but it is a balance between past and present. It is the exploration, if you like, of beauty and harmony, which is the revelation of the mystery of God.
Translation: New Liturgical Movement