Right at the very beginning of my review I need to acknowledge that I have a great deal of respect for Archbishop Piero Marini, particularly from his days as Master of Papal Ceremonies. It was in this role that I tried to emulate his quiet but powerful presence on those occasions when I have had the privilege to act as Master of Ceremonies to the Bishop.
In this book, Archbishop Marini provides a thorough historical sketch of the birth pangs of the post Vatican II liturgical reforms, with unique access to the archives of the Consilium that was responsible for the implementation of those reforms. Archbishop Marini, who was privileged to serve as personal secretary Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the secretary of the Consilium and later the Congregation for Divine Worship, also has the unique advantage of being closely associated with the primary architect of the post conciliar liturgical reforms.
Archbishop Marini doesn’t pull any punches in this book. The story of the implementation of the reform of the Church’s liturgy is as much a story of Curial politics and resistance – if not downright animosity – as it is about scholarly reflection, discussion, proposal and counter proposal. For any student of the post conciliar liturgical reform, this book provides valuable insights into the development of the post conciliar reform, and the efforts of those who worked so hard to implement the vision contained in Sacrosanctum Concilium as we draw closer to the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of that watershed moment in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church.
In the lead up to this portentous event, and in light of the ongoing attempts to bring about a ‘reform of the reform’ by some within the Church, I would strongly recommend this easily read book that examines the beginning of that journey.