This morning, the eve of Palm Sunday mind you, the Vatican announced several new appointments, including the one excerpted below. Love it or hate it, the Vatican has a playful sense of timing.
**After reading this, do go to the UPDATE here, where there is a little more news**
One cannot help but wonder if the gales of change sweeping through Vatican corridors are causing some unforeseen damage in their progress (unforeseen by me at least). Some things seem to have been blown out of curial in-trays.
Over a year ago I asked Archbishop Coleridge about the progress of the touted new English lectionary, and he was gracious enough to answer in some detail. A few months back I wrote to him again in his new diocese to ask about any progress. So far there has been no answer. To be fair, I have not emailed him again since I am loath to be pestering him. But it coincides with a deafening silence around the traps about the lectionary and its progress. Which raises the question: is there still any progress?
This is not an unreasonable question if you keep in mind some other possible casualties of the gales of change.
A Vatican document, planned for a July release, concerning concelebration at Mass has not eventuated. And word is that it is unlikely to appear at all. It would have given some authoritative interpretation for a practice introduced after the Council and for which the Church was ill-prepared, and some guidelines to ensure its effective and consistent use in the Church’s liturgy. I must admit, though I do concelebrate, there are times when I would be grateful for stronger rubrical guidance for concelebration. Too often in various places it seems an occasion for a priest to don an alb and stole, and then doze quietly for the rest of the Mass, though hopefully waking in time for the Eucharistic Prayer. Does this form of concelebration really equate to celebrating with the principal celebrant, or is it little more than a muted reinforcement of clerical identity? Some magisterial guidance would have been very welcome.
Another document being prepared for release this summer was a manual for priests on how to say Mass being prepared also by the Congregation for Divine Worship. It seems to have been intended as a separate document to the concelebration one. Yet regarding this one too there is silence as summer slips away (nothing much happens in the Vatican in the furnace-like conditions of Rome in August). Has it bitten the dust? One Roman contact had no idea, having heard nothing about it for some time.
Perhaps the reform of the reform is over. Or maybe the Vatican has learned to plug leaks during the preparation of documents. Let’s pray it’s the latter.