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Ole Martin Stamnestrø fokuserer i sin avhandling (som jeg har nevnt tidligere, HER, HER og HER) på to temaer i den liturgiske bevegelsen; på den organisk utviklinga av liturgien og lydighet overfor kirkelige myndigheter mht til liturgiske forandringer. Han mener å finne et skille rundt 1930 når det gjelder lydigheten og på 60-tallet når det gjelder organisk utvikling (og begrepet organisk utvikling er også vanskelig å få definert klart) – om jeg har forstått ham rett. I oppgavens konklusjon skriver Stamnestrø bl.a.:

This thesis has traced the history of the Liturgical Movement within the Roman Catholic Church from its French nineteenth-century origins to the eve of the appearance of the 1969/1970 Novus Ordo Missae. Attention has been principally directed to an examination of the interplay of the two principles of organic development and obedience to legitimate ecclesiastical authority. The importance of these two principles for liturgical reform within the system of Roman Catholicism has been demonstrated, but it remains to determine their precise relationship and to explore what conclusions should be drawn from this.


The most thorough modern study of the Liturgical Movement in English, Alcuin Reid’s The Organic Development of the Liturgy, evaluates the history of the Liturgical Movement up to the year 1962 in the light of the principle of organic development. Whilst, as has been noted, this principle is formulated clearly in Sacrosanctum Concilium, it is nevertheless Reid’s achievement to draw attention to the importance of this principle. Organic development, according to Reid, is “the one fundamental principle of liturgical reform in which all Catholic reform finds its legitimacy.” This thesis takes as its starting point Reid’s scholarship in establishing this as a fundamental principle for liturgical reform. However, this thesis differs from Reid when he concludes that this principle holds supreme authority in the realm of liturgical reform, even to the detriment of the principle of obedience to legitimate ecclesiastical authority. True, Reid is not blind to the importance of authority within the Roman Catholic Church:

The principle of authority in the development of the Liturgy has been seen to be crucial, particularly given the increase of centralism and of ultramontane obedience in the Catholic Church. Yet, it is clear that authority cannot stand alone as a principle of liturgical reform. This thesis does not argue that authority should stand alone as a principle of liturgical reform. Along with secondary principles, to be examined separately, the principle of organic development operates in a close relationship with the principle of authority. However, when organic development and authority stand together as the two most important, even fundamental, principles of liturgical reform, in the hierarchical system of Roman Catholicism the principle of authority must be the pre-eminent one. …

The fundamental reason why the liturgy, according to Reid, is of such importance that even authority is in some sense secondary, is the assertion of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that the liturgy is part of Tradition (with capital “T”), and hence part of revelation: “Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition.” This certainly means that it would be impossible even for a pope to abolish liturgical worship in the Catholic Church in favour of some other cultic system. What is less certain is that this section of the Catechism necessitates Reid’s interpretation: “Catholic Liturgy is a singularly privileged and an objective and constituent element of Christian Tradition. The liturgical rites and formulas themselves share in this objectivity.” Whilst parts of the formulas, such as the Words of Consecration, may be said to share in this objectivity, the difficulty arises when Reid includes so much of the formulas in the objective and unalterable Tradition that a pope may not even rearrange the distribution of the psalter in the Breviary without sinning against the principle of organic development.

The identification of organic development as a thread running through the history of Liturgical Movement is persuasive, but this principle can stand on its own even less than that of authority. The reason for this has become apparent in that organic development is not a clearly defined concept. What constitutes legitimate organic development to Reid, e.g. the approach of Pius Parsch, is found to be wanting by this thesis when judged against the same principle. What counts as a crime against organic development in Reid’s eyes, e.g. the revised psalter of Pius X, is defended by this thesis as within the boundaries of the principle. Thus, whilst Reid is correct in asserting that anyone, even a pope, engaged in liturgical reform should keep the principle of organic development constantly in mind, nevertheless its subjective nature must demand that within the Roman Catholic Church this principle too can operate only under legitimate authority.


This thesis’s study of the principles shaping the Liturgical Movement forces one to conclude that the principle of obedience to authority, principally Roman authority, does not receive sufficient attention by Reid. In spite of the new approaches to ecclesiology within the Roman Catholic Church noted at the beginning of Chapter Seven, the hierarchical nature is still a dominating feature of that religious system. …. …. It has been observed on numerous specific occasions throughout this thesis that Roman authority, either directly from the pope, or indirectly through an agency such as the Consilium, sought to remind the driving forces in the Liturgical Movement that any change in the liturgy – however slight – must have Roman approval. This is the first principle observed in the process of liturgical reform. Organic development, important as it has been observed to be, has nevertheless been dependent on the first principle of obedience to authority.

This relationship became clear even when the attitudes of Guéranger were examined. Guéranger, whilst proposing liturgical restoration not reformation, nevertheless failed to appreciate the principle of organic development with regard to French local diocesan uses. Conformity to Rome was so important to him that even local variations legitimate on account of their antiquity were lost in the process.

In Chapter Three it was noted that passages from Beauduin’s Liturgy the Life of the Church point to obedience to Roman authority before any concern with organic development. True, Beauduin does not argue for a programme of liturgical reform at odds with the principle of organic development, but he displays more appreciation of the horizontal-contemporary dimension – in that the value of the liturgy rests principally on the liturgical action being carried out in communion with the pope – than the vertical-historical organic continuity of the liturgy. Later in Chapter Three it was reported how Pius XI in Divini Cultus deplores the neglect in some places to conform to liturgical law and explains that the popes have always been as assiduous in preserving the liturgy “from adulteration, as they have in giving accurate expression to the dogmas of the faith.”

In Chapter Four it became clear that an important turning point for the Liturgical Movement occurred on Holy Saturday 1930 when Pius Parsch decided to celebrate the Easter Vigil in the evening. Parsch knew he was acting contrary to ecclesiastical authority. However, he decided not to wait for a patient lobbying of Rome, but to proceed on his own authority. In spite of this, his approach to liturgical reform is defended by Reid, as he concludes that Parsch’s “desire for reform respected the principle of organic development of the Liturgy.”

In Chapter Five it was noted how Pius XII on a number of occasions called the liturgical innovators to obedience. An example is found in Mediator Dei: We exhort you, Venerable Brethren, that each in his Diocese or ecclesiastical jurisdiction supervise and regulate the manner and method in which the people take part in the Liturgy, according to the rubrics of the Missal and in keeping with the injunctions which the Sacred Congregation of Rites and the Code of Canon Law have published. This was in line with the Ultramontane character of Pius XII; the authority of Rome was certainly not weaker under this pope than it had been under any of his predecessors. His successor, as noted in Chapter Six, continued to stress “the need for obedience to Bishops and hierarchies.” Thus, John XXIII reminds the Church that “it is, in fact, of supreme importance that a sound harmony should reign between the Catholic Credo and the liturgical action of the Church.”

Furthermore, in Chapters Seven, Eight, and Nine, it became clear that under Pope Paul VI – the last pontificate to be examined in this thesis – the call for obedience was heard even more frequently than under any of the previous popes discussed. Sacrosanctum Concilium itself is clear on this matter:Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop. … Therefore, absolutely no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. After the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium the calls for obedience came from the Consilium as well as from the Pope. Inter Oecumenici states clearly:

Regulation of the liturgy belongs to the authority of the Church; no one, therefore, is to act on individual initiative in this matter, thereby, as might well happen, doing harm to the liturgy and to its reform under competent authority.

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