Skip to comments.Liberal liturgists try to explain away a key appointment by Pope Francis (Catholic Caucus)
Posted on 03/12/2015 3:43:23 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
Within a few weeks after the election of Pope Francis, rumors began to circulate in Rome that the new Pontiff would appoint Archbishop Piero Marini as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW). For liberal liturgists, these rumors were cause for celebration; for conservatives, for despondency.
It never happened. After many months of silenceduring which time the rumors continued to swirlthe Pope announced that Cardinal Robert Sarah would be the new head of the CDW. Catholics who favor a reverent liturgy should rejoice at that appointment; the cardinal from Guinea is an excellent choice.
Archbishop Mariniwho was once private secretary to Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the chief architect of the liturgical reforms following Vatican IIsupervised the planning of liturgical celebrations at the Vatican from 1987 until 2007, under Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict, whose preference for a more traditional approach to the liturgy was well known, replaced him with Msgr. Guido Marini (no relation), who continues in that post today.
Archbishop Marini, meanwhile, was just confirmed by Pope Francis in the post to which Pope Benedict assigned him, as president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses. There he can do much less harm.
However, if some liturgists are happy to have Cardinal Sarah ensconced at CDW, others are lamenting the absence of Archbishop Marini. Liberal liturgists, who were anticipating the support of a Marini-led CDW, are having trouble accepting the possibility that those rumors might have been inaccurate.
Father Anthony Ruff, OSB, the doyen of the American liturgical establishment, recently announced that he knows what went wrong:
I have learned that Pope Francis had pretty much decided to appoint Piero Marini to the CDW post. But this was opposed by the very highest levels of the previous administration, and Francis relented out of respect for his predecessor.
In response to a query from a reader of his blog, Father Ruff added that when he referred to the very highest levels of the previous papacy, he meant very highestthus implying that the resistance to Archbishop Marini came directly from Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI.
Now where did Father Ruff get this information? Its not likely that he was sipping a cappuccino with the retired Pontiff. Nor is it plausible that Benedict, who has been so careful to avoid putting any pressure on his successor, suddenly blurted out his opposition to the Popes chosen man. No; someone talked to someone, who talked to someone else. Its a rumor, much like the rumor that the Pope would appoint Archbishop Marini.
Is it possible that Pope Francis consulted with Benedict, who advised against appointing Marini? Certainly. But now we come to the 2nd problem with Father Ruffs report: Pope Francis was under no obligation to accept his predecessors recommendation. If he really had pretty much decided to appoint Marini, he could have done so; opposition from the previous administration could not have stopped him. For that matter, if Francis did consult with Benedict, doesnt that suggest the Pope was looking for advice because he had not yet made his decision?
So if we unpack Father Ruffs report, were left with this more realistic scenario: Pope Francis may have been uncertain whether or not he should appoint Archbishop Marini. He may have consulted with Pope-emeritus Benedict (and with others, too), and decided against the appointment. Thats a moderately interesting story, if its true, but its not the stuff of headlines, much less of conspiracy theories.
Theres a tendency on both sides of the spectrumliberal and conservative, or progressive and traditionalist, or however you want to characterize the opposing viewsto claim that the Pope really wants to do certain things, but powerful forces have prevented him from acting as he wants, or forced him to act differently. So diehard traditionalists say that Pope Benedict was forced to resign, and now diehard liberals say that Pope Francis was forced not to appoint Archbishop Marini.
We dont know exactly how the decision was made, but we do know this: Ultimately it was the Popes decision. Pope Francis chose to appoint Cardinal Sarah.
0% chance Pope Benedict had anything to do with this. Pope Benedict does not offer Pope Francis advice unless he specifically requests it.
It’s that darned Holy Spirit again mucking up rumor plans. Who let this guy in?
Cdl Sarah is a very intelligent, very conservative African bishop. I think Francis probably appointed him to this because it will be something that occupies him and keeps him out of doctrine. The Africans who are being appointed as the reps at the Synod seem to be among the few raving liberal Africans that exist (especially Palmer-Buckle) and Cdl Sarah recently wrote an excellent critique of these opinions. I think he himself may be one of those at the Synod, but I’m not certain...in any case, this may be a way of trying to neutralize him.
Whatever the reason, I doubt that BXVI had anything to do with it.
Yes,it is a relief CDW is relatively safe, but we still don’t know if the Pope will endorse Kasperite heresy in wake of the horrible Synod of bishops this fall.
Kasperite heresy?! Walter Kasper is the pope’s theologian by all the evidence. I certainly didn’t call him “a clever theologian, a good theologian”, that was Pope Francis.
Just google walter kasper pope’s theologian... there’s enough junk out there to make one sick. I was “thrilled” to learn that kasper just made age limit at the last conclave by 24 hours.
“I think Francis probably appointed him to this because it will be something that occupies him and keeps him out of doctrine”.
Why would you think this?
It could be absolutely untrue.
The Pope certainly has called Kasper’s theology a serene one, and that is the concern, as well as the attempted railroading of the first Synod last year. However, the issue is whether the Pope will ultimately officially endorse or enact the heretical proposal to grant communion to divorced and remarried despite the words of Our Lord. Hopefully, the Holy Spirit will prevent him from formal error in the end, like Pope Paul Vi with Humanae Vitae. Cheers.
And then again it could be true.
I think it based on the Pope’s habit of neutralizing people by moving them off to other jobs (witness Burke).
I read the many posts here about Pope Francis and I am reminded of the vision of Don Bosco.
“God addresses every individual by a name that no one else knows, as Scriptures tells us (cf Rev.2:17). God’s love for each individual is totally personal and includes this mystery of a uniqueness that cannot be divulged to other human beings.” ...Pope Benedict XVI...
That’s why I believe it’s not prudent to try to analyze another person’s thought and then proceed to claim that analysis as “truth”.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.