The Vatican's top liturgy official said he expects Pope Benedict XVI to move against liturgical abuse with firm teaching and a gentle manner, recognizing that such mistakes often reflect ignorance, not ill will.
At the same time, the pope wants to offer reconciliation to followers of the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre -- but not at the cost of "disowning" the Second Vatican Council, said Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Nigerian who heads the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
Cardinal Arinze spoke about the direction of the new papacy in an interview with Catholic News Service in early February. He said he expected important moves -- but not a purge -- to improve liturgy under Pope Benedict.
"I do not expect an aggressive correction of abuses. I don't think the pope is going to use the ecclesiastical hammer," Cardinal Arinze said.
"Pope Benedict has very clear doctrine and convictions. What many people may not know is that he is not rough. He is gentlemanly, in the sense of what the prophet Isaiah said: 'A bruised reed he will not break,'" the cardinal said.
Many liturgical abuses, Cardinal Arinze said, are "based on weakness of faith or ignorance" or on a wrong idea of creativity. Where improper practices occur, it is important to begin identifying them and talking about them, but without harming the people involved, the cardinal said.
That could be one reason the pope is focusing on the bigger faith issues, understanding that the quality of worship reflects knowledge of the faith, he said. A good example, he said, is the pope's first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" ("God Is Love")...
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