Thursday, January 04, 2007

New On the Bookshelves, Still On the Altar

OK, so the Year of International Celebration marking Archbishop Piero Marini's 20th anniversary as Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations has begun. Need anyone be reminded, the observances are taking place under the theme "The Habit of Being... Still There."

Sure, the rumors could, eventually, prove themselves right and find Marini in another post. But even so, the continuing presence of the quiet architect of papal worship at the side of the liturgist-Pope has gone on about 630 days longer in this pontificate than his infuriated critics have wished it to, and as the agitprop campaign for the promulgation of a certain document continues, the state of affairs remains that Marini's role in papal liturgies is as concrete as the universal indult is fantasy.

As if that wasn't enough for his friends and fans to quietly mull on while the critics continue to bear down with the fury that makes one realize he's doing work as valuable as the peanut gallery is livid, at 19 years and roughly ten months, in this month of his 65th birthday, the quiet prince of Piacenza will surpass the record of the legendary Enrico Dante as the longest-serving chief of papal ceremonial of the modern era. And all without having worn lace once.

Indeed, in the Petrine reign whose first moment was supposed to signal curtains for him -- at least, if Cardinal Ratzinger's horde of self-appointed (and, clearly, quite out-of-the-loop) spokespeople were to be believed -- how sweet it is.

Anyways, to help kick off the year, remember that new Marini volume you heard a bit about pre-Christmas? Well, it's available; only in Italian for now, but there'll likely be an English translation somewhere down the line.

Yes, I want a signed copy. Please.

And speaking of Vatican books, the year's big release -- Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth -- is slated for English release on Easter Tuesday. It's all ready to be pre-ordered.

Libreria Editrice Vaticana