8/7/12 – Fifty Years Since Vatican II: A Gradual Process of Renewal

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, remembered by many as a time of great change within the Church.

Council of Trent
The Council of Trent

The liturgical changes the occurred in the Church at this time were the result of a long, ongoing process of renewal within the Church.  Some of what bishops decreed at the Second Vatican Council brought to completion matters raised at the Council of Trent at the time of the reformation.  For example, the matter of the language to be used when celebrating Mass was raised.  Many decrees were made at Trent on the celebration of the liturgy and the sacraments, and reforms were instituted.

First Vatican Council
First Vatican Council

Closer to the time of the Second Vatican Council, however, the desire to for further liturgical reform within the Church gained momentum.  This was present as early as the First Vatican Council in the second half of the nineteenth century.

This growing liturgical movement was driven by several factors.  The first was a desire to see people better understand, and participate in the liturgy.  Secondly, there were many very ancient liturgical manuscripts that had been uncovered in more recent times.  Thirdly, there was also at the same time a growing movement in biblical scholarship.  Each of these would ultimately serve to influence significantly the reforms that were decreed by the bishops of Vatican II nearly a century later.

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