A Deep Dive Into Liturgical Reform

The Church’s existence lives from proper celebration of the liturgy, and the Church is in danger when the primacy of God no longer appears in the liturgy nor consequently in life.

Pope Benedict XVI

If you would like more insight into the reform of the liturgy, both before and after the Second Vatican Council, this article from Adoremus is worth your time. In it, the author traces liturgical developments in the 20th century through the eyes of Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI. 

As you may know, Pope Benedict spent much of his career thinking and writing about the sacred liturgy. In particular, he explored how we might arrive at a synthesis between traditional liturgical practice and the post-conciliar reforms, proposing that we understand and implement those reforms through what he called a “hermeneutic of continuity,” as opposed to a “hermeneutic of rupture.” Unfortunately, it’s not hard to see which interpretive framework has carried more weight since the Council.

You might recognize in Pope Benedict’s train of thought some of the elements we have incorporated in our liturgies at St. Mark. Practices like using Latin, singing chant-based music, and celebrating ad orientem are not novelties we came up with just to be different, nor are they merely attempts to “turn back the clock.” They are part of a long tradition that the Church desires to restore, and in fact never intended that we abandon. 

Our goal at St. Mark is to embrace the liturgical reforms as Pope Benedict did: as flowing directly out of, not departing from, what came before. 

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