Rorate Caeli

Abp. Gänswein: "Yes, Francis' and Benedict's liturgical sensibilities are different, it's not an offense to say so."

On the first anniversary of the renunciation of Benedict XVI as Bishop of Rome, the Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who still assists the Pope Emeritus in his new life at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, granted an interview to the daily owned by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), Avvenire. The most interesting excerpt is the following:

Do the Pope and the Pope emeritus interact frequently?

There is an excellent relationship. The ways in which they interact are various. They telephone, they write, they meet, they eat together. Pope Francis has been a guest for lunch in the monastery several times. Once, after Christmas, the Pope emeritus was also in Santa Marta.

The are some who contrast them.

It is a favorite game, especially for some journalists. Which does not please me. I have the grace of living with one and working with the other. And I can thus allow myself to say that I know both very well. I do not see them as opposed, but as complementary. It is obvious that the style, the gestures, and even the form of government of Pope Francis are different from those of Pope Benedict. But an opposition cannot be established only based on this. Doing things in a different way does not mean doing them in an opposite way. One must always have in mind that which the Pope emeritus wrote to professor Hans Küng and repeated to Andrea Tornielli, when he expressed "identity of views and heartfelt friendship" regarding Pope Francis.

Also in the liturgy the sensibilities are different.

That is true, this is an objective fact, and it is not an offense to say so. But even in this case, I repeat, doing things in a different way does not mean doing them in an opposite way.

Quite a warning for those who worship the man instead of venerating the office and esteeming its occupants.

Abp. Gänswein observation on the liturgy is quite true. It can be said that Pope Benedict showed as Supreme Pontiff a specific sensibility in liturgical matters, but one of the major reasons it can also be said that a fundamental "reform of the reform" of the new rite is a matter of the past is that its major proponent and almost father, Joseph Ratzinger, in the end felt it better not to propose any change of the Typical texts of the Rite of Paul VI or of its liturgical law (even the "pro multis" affair was a reminder of error in translation - still not effected in most languages - not a reform of the reform in texts or liturgical law). During the same pontificate, in contrast, the indult allowing communion in the hand was extended to the one major European country still not allowing it, Poland. Personal liturgical sensibilities alter the visual perception but do not a fundamental reform make.

The liturgical reform of Benedict XVI, the document that will forever stand in history (no wonder it was included in the Denzinger) is Summorum Pontificum: "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful." (Letter to bishops) 

Ecce nova facio omnia: Amen