Signs are growing that Benedict XVI intends to bring the liturgy back to a more traditional form after a top Vatican official protested the use of "do-it-yourself" services.
In a keynote speech delivered at Westminster Cathedral recently, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, also said that individual priests should not add to or subtract from the approved rites, mentioning the practice of playing background music in particular as one practice that should stop.
"The Mass is the most solemn action of the sacred liturgy, which is itself the public worship of the Church," the cardinal said
Quoting John Paul II, he said liturgy is not a "private property" and that priests and lay faithfuls are "not free to add or subtract any details" from the official liturgy. He said communities that are faithful to the Church's liturgical norms demonstrate their love for the Church.
"A do-it-yourself mentality, an attitude of nobody-will-tell-me-what-to-do, or a defiant sting of if-you-do-not-like-my-Mass-you-can-go-to-another-parish, is not only against sound theology and ecclesiology, but also offends against common sense," the Cardinal said.
"Unfortunately, sometimes common sense is not very common, when we see a priest ignoring liturgical rules and installing creativity, in his case personal idiosyncrasy, as the guide to the celebration of Holy Mass."
The cardinal's comments come a week after proposals were announced by a Vatican commission to outlaw the use of drums and electric guitars from church services. The commission outlined 50 proposals on reforming the liturgy, with Vatican insiders saying that the commission also proposed to increase the use of Latin during mass.
But Fr Tom Jordon from the National Conference of Priests, said he was unaware of any deviation from the Rubrics provided by the Roman Missal in the nation's churches but added that since Vatican II in was inevitable that the personality of priests shone through during Mass.
Top Vatican Cardinal Slams "Do-It-Yourself" Liturgies (The Universe 6/4/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cardinal Francis Arinze: Hearts and Minds - Thinking about and Celebrating the Liturgy (Text of address)
Cardinal says pope will opt for 'gentle' fix of liturgical abuses (CathNews 13/2/06)