Mediator Dei 51-53

Among others, doctrines on Christ and the Blessed Mother developed independently of the liturgy, but later contributed to a wider embrace by the faithful:

51. Several causes, really have been instrumental in the progress and development of the sacred liturgy during the long and glorious life of the Church.

52. Thus, for example, as Catholic doctrine on the Incarnate Word of God, the eucharistic sacrament and sacrifice, and Mary the Virgin Mother of God came to be determined with greater certitude and clarity, new ritual forms were introduced through which the acts of the liturgy proceeded to reproduce this brighter light issuing from the decrees of the teaching authority of the Church, and to reflect it, in a sense so that it might reach the minds and hearts of Christ’s people more readily.

Not the very best of examples:

53. The subsequent advances in ecclesiastical discipline for the administering of the sacraments, that of penance for example; the institution and later suppression of the catechumenate; and again, the practice of eucharistic communion under a single species, adopted in the Latin Church; these developments were assuredly responsible in no little measure for the modification of the ancient ritual in the course of time, and for the gradual introduction of new rites considered more in accord with prevailing discipline in these matters.

Three examples of ritual practices more in keeping with “discipline” (read: small-t tradition) but which we’ve seen change in substantial ways over the past half-century. It’s probably well-established as a precedent that radical changes can be made in sacramental practice as human understanding of God develops and deepens.

Mediator Dei on the Vatican web site.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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