The Vatican’s Master of Papal Liturgical Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini explained that the distinct ancient liturgical ornaments and vestments being used by Pope Benedict XVI underscore “the continuity of the current liturgical celebration with that which has characterized the life of the Church in the past. The hermeneutic of continuity is always an exact criterion for reading the course of the Church in time. This also applies to the liturgy.”
In an interview with the L’Osservatore Romano, Msgr. Marini said that “just as a Pope cites the Pontiffs that preceded him in his documents in order to indicate the continuity of the Magisterium of the Church, so in the area of liturgy, a Pope also uses liturgical vestments and sacred accessories of the Popes that preceded him to indicate the same continuity in the lex orandi (law of prayer).”
“I would like to note that the Pope does not always use ancient liturgical vestments. He often uses modern ones. The important thing is not that they are ancient or modern but that they are beautiful and dignified, aspects that are important for all liturgical celebrations,” he added.
Asked about accusations that Pope Benedict XVI is trying to impose “pre-conciliar models,” Msgr. Marini said, that terms such as “pre-conciliar” or “post-conciliar” are used by some “with the intent of indicating a discontinuity in the Church’s journey, I consider [the terms] to be erroneous and typical of very narrow ideological visions.”
“There are ancient things and there are new things that belong to the treasure of the Church of the ages and as such they are taken into consideration,” he continued, adding that “not everything that is new is true, and neither is everything that is ancient. The truth transcends the old and the new and we must tend towards it without prejudice.”
Asked about the gold staff that is in the form of a Greek cross which the Holy Father has been using lately, Msgr. Marini said this choice “does not mean simply a return to the ancient, but rather it is a testimony to development in continuity, a rooting in tradition that allows for moving forward in history in an orderly fashion,” and in addition it is “lightweight and easily manageable,” and as such is a practical choice.
Regarding the changes in the pallium which Pope Benedict will give to 41 new archbishops on June 29, Msgr. Marini said they were developments to the design used up until the time of Pope John Paul II and that they will be slightly wider and longer.