When I’m on the lecture circuit, there’s a story I like to tell to illustrate the sometimes surprising diversity inside the Vatican. It’s set in the summer of 2002, when Pope John Paul II was in Mexico City to canonize Juan Diego, the Aztec visionary in the Our Lady of Guadalupe devotion.Bear in mind that this is not a "rad trad" commentator but widely respected, middle-of-the-road observer reporting on puzzling events in the papal liturgy of the John Paul II era. Allen continues:
At the moment in the canonization Mass when John Paul read out the Latin formula declaring Juan Diego a saint, pandemonium broke out in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Confetti fell from the ceiling, drums beat and horns blared, and a knot of indigenous dancers began to gyrate down a catwalk. Inside, it felt like Michael Jordan had just hit the winning shot in Game Seven of the NBA Finals; an American TV correspondent standing next to me, who happens to be Jewish, shouted in my ear, “If they did it this way every Sunday, even I would show up!”
The next day, when John Paul beatified two indigenous martyrs, the atmosphere was equally electric. Once again, confetti fell, music rang out, and native dancers did their thing. The dancers in this case were Zapotec Indians from the State of Oxaca, but there was a notable difference from the day before. In their midst was an elderly female shaman carrying a cluster of burning herbs. She performed a purification ritual known as a limpia, believed to drive off evil spirits. The shaman ritualistically brushed the herbs first on Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, and then on John Paul II himself.
In effect, the shaman performed an exorcism on the pope.
Watching this surreal scene play out, I couldn’t help but wonder what the personnel in the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Vatican office responsible for policing the liturgical rules, were thinking. I took out my cell phone and dialed the number of a friend who, at the time, worked in the congregation. I asked if he had seen the ceremony on Vatican TV, which he had, and then I asked for the reaction in the office.Havng now "gone" from the papal liturgy, Archbishop Marini has launched his new book in Westminster and will soon be touring various venues in the USA in February (see Fr Z for details)
Summoning his deepest baritone, the official thundered back a three-word reply: “Marini must go!”
Not having yet received my copy of "A Challenging Reform", it was news to me that it was edited by what Allen refers to as a "triumvirate": Jesuit Fr. Keith Pecklers, John Page, former executive secretary of ICEL, and Fr Mark Francis who achieved notoriety in the Catholic blogosphere and various traditionalist events for his assertion in the Tablet that Pope Benedict was "not a trained liturgist."
The book was also endorsed by Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop John Quinn, and Fr. Timothy Radcliffe. The presentation at Westminster was attended by Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the papal nuncio in Great Britain, a personal representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, and Mgr Bruce Harbert, executive secretary of ICEL.