December 4th, 2023 marks the 60th birthday of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council, and Dom Alcuin Reid has a superlative take on the history, and possible future, of the fateful document.
Many of the radical revisions made to the liturgy, especially the Mass, had little to do with the text of the conciliar document itself, which, as we have pointed out before, is in the main quite conservative and reserved, even if there are ambiguous phrases through which terminological gaps Archbishop Bugnini and company took certain, shall we say liberties.
Sacrosanctum, now well into middle age, has had a tumultuous life, and whither it all goes now in the wake of Traditionis, as Dom Reid points out, is anyone’s guess. The lines are drawn, and we may hope for some sort of reconciliation. The fourth of December is the memorial of Saint John Damascene, a doctor of the Church and a defender of creedal and liturgical orthodoxy, and a foe of iconoclasm in all its insidious forms.
After all, to paraphrase Pope John XXIII, it’s ultimately God’s Mass, and, in His own time, He will see His work vindicated and restored.