Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of launching a liturgical "return to the past" but would like to recover some important elements that have been lost or forgotten in recent decades, the Vatican's liturgist said.
Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, made the comments in an interview Jan. 19 with Vatican Radio. He was asked about fears that the pope wants to abandon the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.
On Jan. 13 the pope celebrated a Mass in the Sistine Chapel using the original main altar, which meant he faced away from the people during parts of the liturgy. Since Vatican II, Mass usually is celebrated facing the people.
Msgr. Marini said the change in direction reflected the special artistic circumstances of the Sistine Chapel and was not out of line with Vatican II reforms.
In general, Msgr. Marini said, the orientation of every celebration of Mass is toward "the Lord, the savior who was crucified and rose from the dead." This should be the interior orientation of the faithful and the exterior celebration as well, he said.