Roman Catholic Liturgical Renewal Forty-Five Years
After Sacrosanctum Concilium: An Assessment
On the 4th of December 1963 the Bishops of the Second Vatican Council voted on the Liturgy Constitution `Sacrosanctum Concilium' with astounding results: 2,147 bishops in favor and 4 opposed. Like Vatican II itself, the Liturgy Constitution was as much a ratification of the lobbying efforts at reform and renewal that preceeded the Council as it was a starting point for what would unfold in the years after the Council. There has been much "water under the bridge" since that historic Council and its ground-breaking Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. This lecture will examine the fundamental conciliar principles inherent within `Sacrosanctum Concilium,' the work of the international Consilium charged with the task of implementing the conciliar liturgical reforms, and the reception and implementation of those reforms within the U.S. Catholic Church. Both positive and negative aspects of the Conciliar liturgical implementation will be considered, including an analysis of the critque offered by members of the "reform the reform" movement, the contentious issue of liturgical translation and implications for ecumenical collaboration, and the recent Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict XVI on the universal restoration of the Tridentine Mass of Pope Pius V. It will conclude with a consideration of the challenges facing the future of Roman Catholic liturgical renewal in North America.