Wednesday, May 04, 2011

NLM Reprint: Dom Lambert Beauduin's Programme for the Liturgical Movement: Foundational Principles for a New Liturgical Movement

The following was originally posted on the NLM in August 2009. Various factors in recent weeks have brought these principles -- which Beauduin put forward nearly a century ago in the context of the original Liturgical Movement -- to the forefront of my mind, and I continue to believe they can and ought to serve as foundational principles for a new liturgical movement as well.

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Dom Lambert Beauduin, OSB (1873–1960) is one of the very important figures of the early Liturgical Movement.

In 1914, he wrote La Piété de l'Eglise (published in English translation by Dom Virgil Michel under the title of Liturgy the Life of the Church) where he detailed his proposal for a programme for a Liturgical Movement.

Evidently our own times have their own particular context and, with that, some challenges that are particular to our time as well -- most especially as it relates to the reform of the reform -- but it strikes me that the ideas and principles of his proposed programme (which, in our own context, must be understood and applied in the light of continuity) are yet applicable and relevant today within the context of establishing a new liturgical movement, inclusive of our approach to both the usus antiquior and the modern Roman liturgy.

I invite you to read his proposal, consider it, and further, to foster it and pursue it.

The central idea to be realised by the Liturgical Movement is the following: "To have the Christian people all live the same spiritual life, to have them all nourished by the official worship of holy Mother Church."

The means to be employed towards this end are of two kinds. The first have reference to the acts of worship itself; the others to the liturgical activity exercised outside these acts.

Acts of Worship. In this field, the members of the Liturgical Movement desire to contribute with all their strength to attain the following aims:

1. The active participation of the Christian people in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass by means of understanding and following the liturgical rites and texts. [NLM: Do note the focus Beauduin is presenting here as regards active or actual participation.]

2. Emphasis of the importance of High Mass and of the Sunday parish services, and assistance at the restoration of the collective liturgical singing in the official gatherings of the faithful. [NLM: This reference to liturgical singing refers to the recovery and re-appropriation of the chant. Since it is likely to be raised, it is probably worth noting today that this laudable principle needn't exclude or make inappropriate the use of choral polyphony in addition.]

3. Seconding of all efforts to preserve or to re-establish the Vespers and the Compline of the Sunday, and to give these services a place second only to that of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

4. Acquaintance, and active association, with the rites and the sacraments received or assisted at, and the spread of this knowledge among others.

5. Fostering a great respect for, and confidence in, the blessings of our Mother Church.

6. Restoration of the Liturgy of the Dead to a place of honour, observance of the custom of Vigils and Lauds, giving greater solemnity to the funeral services, and getting the faithful to assist thereat, thus efficaciously combating the de-christianising of the rite of the dead.

Liturgical Activity outside of acts of worship. In this field there are four ways in which the members can assist at the furtherance of the Liturgical Movement:

A. Piety.
1. Restoration to a place of honour among Christians of the traditional liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas Time, Lent, Easter Time, octaves of feasts, feasts of the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles, and the great missionary saints of our religion. [NLM: Perhaps to this we might also add the feasts of the martyrs.]

2. The basing of our daily private devotions, meditation, reading, etc., on the daily instructions of the Liturgy, the Psalms, the other liturgical books, and the fundamental dogmas of Catholic worship.

3. Reanimation and sublimation of the devotions dear to the people by nourishing them at the source of the Liturgy.

B. Study.
1. Promotion of the scientific study of the Catholic Liturgy.

2. Popularisation of the scientific knowledge in special reviews and publications.

3. Promotion of the study and, above all, the practice of liturgical prayers in educational institutions.

4. Aiming to give regular liturgical education to circles, associations, etc., and to employ all the customary methods of popularisation to this end.

C. Arts.
1. Promoting the application of all the instructions of Pius X in his Motu proprio on Church music.

2. Aiming to have artists that are called to exercise a sacred art, architecture, painting, sculpture, etc., receive an education that will give them an understanding of the spirit and the rules of the Church's Liturgy.

3. Making known to artists and writers the fruitful inspiration to art that the Church offers in her Liturgy.

D. Propaganda.
1. Using all means to spread popular liturgical publications that show the import of the principal part of the Liturgy: Sunday Mass, Vespers, Sacraments, Liturgy of the Dead, etc.

2. Reawakening the old liturgical traditions in the home, that link domestic joys with the calendar of the Church, and using for this end especially the musical works composed for such purposes.

To all Catholics we address a burning appeal in favour of the activities that aim to realise as far as possible the programme of liturgical restoration we have here outlined.

Source: Liturgy the Life of the Church

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