George Pell Biography
A couple of weeks ago I bought the biography of Archbishop
Pell by Tess Livingstone. I have found it particularly interesting
as an account of his time as Archbishop of Melbourne, when I
was a seminarian for 18 months.
But the portrait of him regarding liturgy is complicated.
From page 347:
"The supreme irony of pointing the finger at Pell and
his friends in regards to "bells and smells" is that
many of his friends, including Fisher and Peter Elliott, an internationally
respected author on liturgy, have often quipped that "George
doesn't have a liturgical bone in his body" and sometimes
has trouble remembering where to stand, where to put his hands
and many of the other complex rubrics of Catholic liturgy. "Just
like Pope John Paul II, it doesn't interest him," Fisher
This "Fisher" is Father Anthony Fisher, who taught
me medieval philosophy last year.
But on page 390 a different picture is presented:
"Catholics in some parts of Australia are accustomed
to priests: making up their own words even for the most solemn
parts of the Mass, including the Eucharistic prayer; leaving
out the Creed or substituting a different one that talks about
the environment and Church's weaknesses instead of 'the one holy
Catholic and Apostolic Church'; substituting the scriptural readings
of the day with different Biblical passages or non-scriptural
readings; and the regular omission of significant sections of
the Mass, such as the preparation of the gifts for the Consecration.
Like Cardinal Ratzinger, Pell sees some merit in the idea
of the priest facing away from the people during the Consecration,
as he believes that facing the people can put too much emphasis
on the priest himself at the expense of concentrating on God
and the Consecration. However, to set an example to his priests,
he follows the rubrics of the Roman Missal to the letter when
saying Mass and celebrating all the Sacraments."
At least following the rubrics to the letter is a good ideal
for him to have. But at the last Mass I saw him (in Melbourne
for an ordination on 19 June 2002) he was sitting for the Gloria,
which the rubrics say to stand for.
Father Fisher seems to be saying that Archbishop Pell is not
interested in rubrics. I think there is some truth in that. But
its also a difficult area to be interested in.
Archbishop Pell is chairman of the Vox Clara committee helping
approved the translation of the Roman Missal. In this role it
would be difficult to justify not being interested in rubrics.
Its encouraging to see in their press release the involvement
of Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine
Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
By J.R. Lilburne 26 November 2002. I give what I have written
on this page to the public domain.