Sunday, May 22, 2011

Organic Development of the Roman Liturgy

There's lots of talk about the Roman liturgy developing organically rather than being created "on the spot." We know what "being created on the spot" looks like: the Novus Ordo is the prime example of that. But what exactly would organic development of the Roman Rite look like?

In the East, development of the liturgy is nearly an oxymoron. In the West there has been development of the liturgy, but this occurred during eras when control of the liturgy was much less centralized than it currently is now. Until St. Pius V's Quo Primum, there was an abundance of local liturgies, liturgies whose overseer was the local bishop, not the Pope. Since Quo Primum, Rome has had direct control over all Western liturgy, right? So how is development possible EXCEPT from above (i.e., except by decree from Rome), in which case it would not seem to be organic development?

Put more concretely, how will the Extraordinary Form develop "organically" if you are required to follow the rubrics exactly? Wouldn't "organic development" always be considered abuse -- whether it's adding or removing words, or adding or removing gestures, etc.?


1 comment:

  1. That's a big question with an even bigger Catch-22. At this point in time, sensus Catholicus is lacking enough such that granting greater autonomy is, on balance, a bad idea. Too bad decentralization's loudest advocates are the Collegialists since there are a lot of good customs that emerge from local and fully orthodox churches.

    It's also a lot easier to make the case for adding things to the liturgy than it is for the removal of some gesture or prayer.

    I don't know, the circumstances that led to the various local liturgies prior to the Tridentine do not really exist today.