Liturgical Changes to the Roman Rite-Part 6

The next step in liturgical development is marked by the ecclesiastical reforms initiated by Pope Gregory VII. His reforms spread to the liturgy also, as he required of all bishops to celebrate the liturgical rite of the Roman curia(17). The spread of the Roman Rite was further enabled by the rise of mendicant orders that adopted the rite and took it wherever they went in the Western Church(18). According to Alcuin Reid, there is little evidence of major liturgical development at this time. In his notable work The Organic Development of the Liturgy, Reid cites liturgical historian Klauser as lamenting of this period:
…”among other things the multiplication of private Masses and the allegorical methods of piety adopted by laity who could not directly participate (in the late twentieth-century meaning of participation) in an increasingly clerical liturgy”(19). The development of the mass being said without a congregation was aided by the availability of complete missals(20). The presence of a choir screen dividing the clergy and the congregation further emphasized separation between clerical and communal participation in the liturgy(21). One of highest priorities of the Second Vatican Council was to recover the people’s active participation in the mass, so the Council spoke of a preference of masses as communal celebrations (without condemning private masses) in the Constitution for the Sacred Liturgy: “Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the ‘sacrament of unity,’ namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops.”(22) This view of communal participation is no innovation, as we find the concept in the writings of Saint Cyprian, towards the middle of the third century(23).


17. Adolf Adam, Foundations of the Liturgy, p. 29.
18. Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy, loc. 378.
19. Klause, in Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy, locations 370-371.
20. Adolf Adam, Foundations of the Liturgy, p. 30.
21. Ibid.
22. Sacrosanctum Concilium #26.
23. Sacrosanctum Concilium note #33.

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