DPPL 45: Romanticism and a Budding Liturgical Renewal

STA altar at night smallAccording to the DPPL, the Church experienced renewal in both liturgy and popular piety in the 1800’s. It’s interesting that “revival” is used in the English translation of the text here, as “revival” is also how religious awakening in Protestant circles was described in the US.

Some developments are cited, including music:

45. The revival of the Liturgy was not the sole activity of the nineteenth century. Independently of that revival, popular piety experienced significant growth. The revival of liturgical song coincided with the development of many popular hymns, the widespread use of liturgical aids such as bilingual missals for the use of the faithful, and a proliferation of devotional booklets.
The culture of Romanticism rediscovered (a human) religious sense and promoted the quest for, and understanding of, the elements of popular piety, as well as emphasizing their importance in worship.

Romanticism, as you art and music historians know, has a cultural context for Western civilization.

The nineteenth century experienced a phenomenon of crucial significance: expressions of local cult arising from popular initiatives and often associated with prodigious events such as miracles and apparitions. Gradually, these received official approval as well as the favor and protection of the ecclesial authorities, and were eventually assumed into the Liturgy. Several Marian sanctuaries and centers of pilgrimages, and of Eucharistic and penitential Liturgies as well as Marian centers associated with popular piety are all emblematic of this phenomenon.

The 1800’s weren’t the beginning of Marian apparitions, but claims of appearances continue to the present day. The problem of magic and its perception seems to have strengthened in the decades since. It certainly hasn’t gone away.

While the relationship between popular piety and the Liturgy in the nineteenth century must be seen against the background of a liturgical revival and an ever increasing expansion of popular piety, it has to be noted that that same relationship was affected by the negative influence of an accentuated superimposition of pious exercises on the liturgical actions, a phenomenon already evident during the period of the Catholic Reform.

Further thoughts and comments are yours. The full document, the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, is online at the Vatican 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.
This entry was posted in Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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