Benedict XVI: The Liturgical Pope?
In the same regard, we are only two and a half years into the pontificate of Benedict XVI, but it seems to me that we might already be able to refer to Pope Benedict as "the liturgical Pope".What is even more key is this observation:
When one considers how much work has gone on under this pontificate as regards the sacred liturgy it is really quite astounding. As Dr. Alcuin Reid pointed out in Columbus, Ohio at the annual Society for Catholic Liturgy conference, we are already beginning to be able to speak of the "liturgical reform of Pope Benedict XVI" -- a sentiment that was made even prior to recent Vatican liturgical developments.
One need only consider the numerous statements the Pope has made as regards sacred music and its relation to the sacred liturgy, or the statements at Heiligenkreuz Abbey on liturgical solemnity, beauty and theocentricity. Then of course there is Sacramentum Caritatis and Summorum Pontificum. More recently we have seen the re-appearance of more traditional vesture and vestments, papal thrones and the re-arrangement (or better: re-orientation) of the papal altars. Beyond that, the papal liturgies have themselves been noted for their changes as regards language and music and the Pope recently instructed those compiling his "Opera Omnia" to begin with his liturgical writing, which he personally gave a prominence as most characteristic of his thought.
What is particularly important, however, are that the liturgical initiatives of Benedict are not merely limited to the intellectual discussion of the liturgy. Such is important of course, but action and actionable items as regards the sacred liturgy are also needed to coincide with that teaching. This has not been absent. Summorum Pontificum has set off a chain of liturgical activity both in Rome and abroad, enough so that we can seriously and legitimately speak of a "post-Motu Proprio Church". Moreover, the recent changing of the papal liturgies, both as regards the vestments, but particularly as regards the papal altar, also sets an important precedent. The fact is, many look to Rome for direction and the direction of the Pope can establish the needed precedent and example that many priests and bishops look for as regard their own liturgies. Benedict then has clearly set forth that beautiful and traditional vestments have a place of citizenship in the modern liturgy of the Church, and further, he has made a clear statement about the orientation of the liturgy.