The awkwardness of having two popes is dramatised by controversy over the rumoured appointment of a new head of the Congregation of Divine Worship, writes Michael McGough in the LA Times.
The Catholic News Agency reports that Pope Francis is considering entrusting the post to Archbishop Piero Marini, who served as 'master of ceremonies' for Pope John Paul II. As I discussed in an Op-Ed article for The Times several years ago, Piero Marini is the 'bad Marini' in the eys of Catholic traditionalists, who prefer the 'good' Guido Marini, the master of ceremonies for Pope Benedict XVI who was inherited by Pope Francis.
The first Marini is associated with modernistic liturgies, including those that drew on indigenous customs. Marini No. 2 is a fastidious traditionalist. With his assistance, Benedict excavated the golden vestments and jeweled miters of the pre-Vatican II papacy, trappings that the ostentatiously simple Francis has put back into mothballs.
The possibility that the old Marini might soon be presiding over the office responsible for worship appalls Catholics who revere Benedict for reviving the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass and 'reforming the reform' of the liturgy undertaken after Vatican II. Damian Thompson, a columnist and blogger for The Daily Telegraph in Britain, wrote Sunday:
'Please, Pope Francis, do not let this happen. The archbishop (not to be confused with the current Vatican MC, Msgr Guido Marini) devised some of the ugliest liturgies in Catholic history for John Paul II -- and, moreover, was distinctly snide in his attitude toward Benedict XVI's much-needed reforms.'
That’s an odd position for a supporter of a powerful papacy to take. And it's hard to reconcile with Benedict’s own assurance when he stepped down that he would show 'unconditional obedience' to his successor.