One of the most visible Catholic bishops in the world was Archbishop Piero Marini. From 1987 until 2007, he served as Master of the Office of Pontifical Liturgical Ceremonies. In this role, he was responsible for organizing all of the various papal liturgies. He was most often seen, as he is the photo here, standing to the right of the Pope. His job, as well as that of the other Masters of Ceremonies who assisted him, was to assist the Pope in the celebration of Mass and to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
One of the most challenging things he and his staff had to cope with was the health of Blessed John Paul II and his continual decline. It soon became impossible for the Pope to even walk. Archbishop Marini and other members of the Vatican’s staff had to come up with ways of helping an increasingly frail and infirm Pontiff continue to travel and continue to celebrate Mass.
Canada’s Salt + Light Television has an interesting series of interviews with various important people in the Church. One of them was with Archbishop Piero Marini. Father Thomas Rosica, CSB interviews him in Italian here. There are subtitles. In this interview, Archbishop Marini speaks about his fascinating and long career in the Vatican. He began by working for the late Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, C.M.. Archbishop Bugnini is a still a very controversial prelate. As secretary of the Consilium which oversaw the liturgical reforms following Vatican II, Archbishop Bugnini wielded immense power. Some have accused him of being a Freemason. (Being a Freemason then carried an automatic excommunication. It is still not recommended today, as Masons can be denied the sacraments and a church burial.) It was Bugnini who oversaw much of the process of revising the Church’s liturgy. There is much disagreement with how it was done. There have been some reforms to the liturgical books following Vatican II, however these have largely been minor, except in English-speaking countries where an entirely new translation was implemented. Archbishop Marini is seen as a more progressive liturgist than his successor, Monsignor Guido Marini (no relation).
I’m posting this interview with Archbishop Marini, mostly because he was someone who worked with the late Blessed John Paul II on an almost daily basis for nearly 20 years. He was one of the people who was closest to him. Blessed John Paul II had lost his entire family by the time he became a young man. In some sense, his staff were his family. His successor in Krakow, Cardinal Dziwisz, was his secretary when he was the cardinal archbishop there. Both Archbishop Marini and Cardinal Dziwisz were ordained bishops together in 1998 by Blessed John Paul II. In 2003, Bishop Marini was raised to the rank of an archbishop. Rumours are flying wildly through Rome that Archbishop Marini will become the next Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Dignity of the Sacraments.