Liturgical Changes

Liturgical Changes

Many critics and supporters alike of the 1962 liturgical books tend, quite incorrectly, to equate them with the books published after the Council of Trent by Pius V and his immediate successors.  Differences over the next four centuries are generally glossed over and the 'Tridentine' rite described as 'identical' apart from minor 'rubrical' or 'calendar' changes to that found in the books published immediately prior to and during the opening session of the Second Vatican Council.  The latest fashion for erroneous and misleading euphemisms has, for example, created the 'TLM' (Traditional Latin Mass) and the idea of  'organic' development before the Second Vatican Council and, presumably, something 'inorganic' after.  In fact, in the vast majority of cases, the Conciliar Latin Mass of 1961 - 1964 is the rite being used : perhaps 'CLM' would be more appropriate? These claims ignore, the effect both the rubrics and the calendar have on the celebration of any given liturgical rite, and the temporary nature of the 'CLM'.

The Second Vatican Council is considered to be the cause of the liturgical problems in the Roman rite whilst in fact the malaise goes much deeper.   The aliturgical practice of versus populum celebration is a case in point with nearly all commentators stating that the Council 'turned around the altars'.  In fact it ordered no such change but the practice of versus populum had become fashionable and widespread in Europe and some parts of the USA by the 1950's.  

 An example from Ellard, G., 'Men at Work at Worship', Longmans, 1940

Calendar Comparisons

The Word ® files, downloadable below, for various months, confining consideration to the Office and Mass, aim to explore the veracity of the 'unchanging rite' hypothesis.  We give, by way of example, an indication of how the Roman rite would have been celebrated  according to different editions of the liturgical books for some sample months from 2002.  For ease of comparison we have transposed the 1570 rite to the Gregorian Calendar, whilst it followed the Julian system until 1582 in Rome and later in other countries.  What follows is, by necessity, extremely incomplete.  We have not included such changes as the omission of bows to the altar Cross at the Holy Name (1962 rite), the omission of Pater, Ave and Credo before some of, and, in the case of Compline after, the Canonical Hours (1956 rite) or the radical re-distribution of the Psalter in 1911.  By having 1570 and 1939 in adjacent columns we do not equate these rites as there were a succession of significant changes between 1570 and the mid-1920s. Rather, for the sake of simplicity, we have chosen to show the significant steps that immediately preceded the Second Vatican Council.

Subsequent articles on this website will consider the differences between the Office as in 1570 and 1911 but, for the moment, we beg the indulgence of the patient reader. Likewise, we have not shewn the changes of 1964, 1965 and 1967 (such as the abolition of choir ceremonies, solita oscula and the widening of permission for the vernacular) to do so, we feel, would rather confuse the illustration we are attempting to make. In the Word files, each day of the month is given starting with the 'Tridentine' rite and at the right of the page the Paul VI rite. The format has been adopted of generally saying what happens rather than what doesn't: we have not said 'No preces', 'No suffrages' etc. When an entry says 'At Compline preces' and there is no entry for that day in a subsequent rite this does not mean Compline is not sung rather that the preces are not part of that hour in that version of the Roman rite.

March 2002 Comparison March2002
April 2002 Comparison                April2002
May 2002 Comparison May2002
June 2002 Comparison June2002 
July 2002 Comparison July2002