From our friends at the New Liturgical Movement and Fr. Z's blog comes this news of great importance:
In the coming weeks a document of Benedict XVI will be released which reorganizes the competences of the Congregation for Divine Worship, entrusting it with the task of promoting a liturgy more faithful to the original intentions of Vatican II, with less room for arbitrary changes, and for the recovery of a dimension greater sacredness.
The document, which will take the form of a motu proprio, is the fruit of a long maturation - it has been reviewed by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts and the offices of the Secretariat of State -, and is motivated mainly by the transfer of jurisdiction over matrimonial cases to the Roman Rota. These are the so-called "ratum sed non consummatum" causes, i.e. regarding the marriages which took place in church but have not been consummated because of the lacking carnal union of the spouses. There are about five hundred cases a year, and they mainly affect some Asian countries where there are still arranged marriages with girls of a very young age, but also Western countries for those cases of psychological impotence to perform the conjugal act.
Losing this section, which will go to the Rota, the Congregation of Divine Worship will de facto not be concerned anymore with the sacraments and retain only jurisdiction in matters liturgical. According to some authoritative leaks, a passage of the motu proprio of Benedict XVI might explicitly mention that "new liturgical movement" of which has spoken in recent days Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, speaking during the consistory of last November.
Cañizares told Il Giornale, in an interview published on the eve of last Christmas: "The liturgical reform was carried out with great haste. There were very good intentions and a desire to apply Vatican II. But there was precipitancy... The liturgical renewal was seen as laboratory research, the fruit of imagination and creativity, the magic word then." The cardinal, who had not been unbalanced in talking about the "reform the reform", had added: "What I see as absolutely necessary and urgent, according to what the the Pope wishes, is giving life to a new, clear and vigorous liturgical movement throughout the entire Church", to put an end to "arbitrary deformations" and the process of "secularisation, which unfortunately is at work even inside the Church."
It is known how Ratzinger has wanted to introduce in the papal liturgies significant and examplary gestures: the cross at the center of the altar, communion kneeling, Gregorian chant, the space for silence. It is known how much he values beauty in sacred art and how much he considers it important to promote Eucharistic adoration. The Congregation for Divine Worship - which some would also like to rename [sc. Congregation] for the Sacred Liturgy or for Divine Liturgy - will thus have to concern itself with this new liturgical movement, also by opening a new section of the dicastery dedicated to sacred art and music.
The report comes from Andrea Tornielli, one of Italy's most notable Vatican reporters. The news is certainly welcome. Fr. Z calls Pope Benedict XVI the Pope of Christian Unity and there is certainly merit to this designation. However, for me, Pope Benedict XVI is also the Pope of the Reform of the Reform.