National Catholic Register


‘Reform of the Reform’ Update

BY Edward Pentin

| Posted 9/8/09 at 12:02 PM


The Congregation for Divine Worship is declining to comment further on reports that the Vatican is considering a “reform of the reform” of the liturgy, but a formal statement on the matter is expected soon.

An official told the Register this morning that “everything is under study and is progressing” but added that he could say no more until Cardinal Antonio Llovera Cañizares, prefect of the congregation, or the Holy See Press Office, issues an official statement.

At the end of August, veteran Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli reported that cardinals and bishops of the CDW voted almost unanimously at their plenary meeting in March “in favor” of 30 proposals aimed at increasing reverence in the liturgy.

Tornielli said the bishops also reaffirmed the importance of receiving Communion on the tongue rather than the hand, and that Cardinal Canizares was studying the possibility of “recovering” the practice of celebrating Mass with the priest facing east. However, there are conflicting reports over whether these last two proposals were included in the propositions that Tornielli said were delivered to Pope Benedict XVI on April 4.

The deputy director of the Holy See press office, Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, played down Tornielli’s report, saying there were “no institutional proposals in existence regarding a modification of the liturgical books currently in use.” However, Tornielli stood by his story, saying that he didn’t mention “institutional proposals,” but had reported instead that a period of “study had begun” on what will probably amount to long-term reform after plenty of consultation.

The lack of clarity over this story is partly due to the absence of senior officials, most notably Cardinal Cañizares, who has been on holiday and returns to Rome later this month. Also the Congregation for Divine Worship’s new secretary, American Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, has only recently been appointed and is not prepared at this time to comment on the cardinal’s behalf.

“We’re waiting for the cardinal to return at the end of the month,” the CDW official told the Register today. “Then there will be a statement from the press office or the cardinal himself.”