The Liturgical Movement – Major Advancements Every 60 Years?

I mentioned in the comment box on one of Jeffrey’s recent posts that in a course I’m currently taking on the 19th and 20th century “Liturgical Movement”, a classmate remarked that we are, now in 2010, almost as far away from Vatican II as Vatican II was away from Pope Pius X’s 1903 Motu Proprio, Tra le Sollecitudini.

This was a very keen insight, one that the professor himself had not yet thought about. I was thinking about this more and I realized that there was another equally important event 60 years earlier than Pius X’s 1903 Motu Proprio: Prosper Guéranger’s “The Liturgical Year” was begun and first published. This 15 volume work on the liturgy really was the first substantial rumbling in the 19th c. Liturgical Movement, perhaps the “soft” inauguration, or initiation of the movement.

So it seems a paradigm shifting event has taken place just about every 60 years in the modern liturgical movement since it first begun:

  • 1841 – Guéranger’s “The Liturgical Year” is first published (the Liturgical Movement initiated)
  • 1903 – Pius X’s “Tra le Sollecitudini” on Sacred Music is given Motu Proprio (the Liturgical Movement is officially inaugurated by the Church)
  • 1963 – “Sacrosanctum Concilium” of the Second Vatican Council is promulgated (the Liturgical Movement is codified in a Dogmatic Constitution of the Church)
  • 2023 – ???

What’s coming friends? Each of the previous events was a forceful and paradigm shifting event in the modern Liturgical Movement. Each built upon the other, no doubt amidst the simultaneous chaos of the developing modern world, but each was a substantial and clear turning point in the movement. If history repeats itself, we are due for the next 60 year installment of the Liturgical Movement in about 13 years.

Here is my initial prediction, if my logic is on-target:

1. Initiation
2. Inauguration
3. Codification
4. Implementation

This is great reason to hope, friends. This is clearly where our Pope is leading us. What will be the next paradigm shifting event that future generations will study in their liturgy courses? There is great reason to hope!

6 Replies to “The Liturgical Movement – Major Advancements Every 60 Years?”

  1. "Although your math is off… it'd be 2023"

    Oops–Math was never my strong point… thanks for the correction.

    I'll update this. I think the point is still there though. Another 13 years sounds reasonable for the Benedictine reforms to really come to a head.

  2. I think we may be able to move the next date to a bit sooner than 2023…

    Technology has accelerated communication and the pace of development in every other "mega-trend" studied. There is no reason why this would be an exception. I would argue that we may well be on the cusp of the next event right now….or as I have said before, in the next several years.

    Remember that Tra la sollecitudini was somewhat unforseen…a reaction to a very immediately felt need and not the product of 60 years of continuous development. Pius X issued this document because of his personal feelings on the subject and proposed it as a solution to a problem, not as a step towards some future goal. I strongly believe that the next "move" like this will be an effort to put actual practices into place rather than a legislative document setting policy. I also think that there may be some connection between this and the newly created Office for the New Evangelization… it's emphasis seems to be heavily liturgical.

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