Mediator Dei 4

Pope Pius XII praised the Liturgical Movement, begun in the 19th century, rooted in good scholarship, moved forward with “initiative,” and driven in part by Benedictine communities.

4. You are of course familiar with the fact, Venerable Brethren, that a remarkably widespread revival of scholarly interest in the sacred liturgy took place towards the end of the last century and has continued through the early years of this one. The movement owed its rise to commendable private initiative and more particularly to the zealous and persistent labor of several monasteries within the distinguished Order of Saint Benedict. Thus there developed in this field among many European nations, and in lands beyond the seas as well, a rivalry as welcome as it was productive of results. Indeed, the salutary fruits of this rivalry among the scholars were plain for all to see, both in the sphere of the sacred sciences, where the liturgical rites of the Western and Eastern Church were made the object of extensive research and profound study, and in the spiritual life of considerable numbers of individual Christians.

I bow to the knowledge of liturgical scholars who have more background than I in developments coming from American centers like Collegeville. It’s actually amazing that liturgical learning persisted in spite of Pope Pius X’s pogrom against scholarship. What a difference forty years makes.

Mediator Dei on the Vatican web site.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Mediator Dei 4

  1. KDS says:

    Although not a liturgical scholar per se, I would venture to say that the study of liturgy was less hampered than other theological disciplines (e.g the study of scripture, dogma, etc.) during the so-called Modernist crisis of the early 20th century. (This is not to say; however, that it was not hindered whatsoever.) Furthermore, we should not discount or neglect those liturgical reforms encouraged by Pope Pius X as they were important stepping stones in the process. Religious communities in Europe and the U.S. (most notably among the Benedictines as indicated here in the text of MD) made steady progress throughout the decades leading up to the Second Vatican Council. At St. John’s in Collegeville, the work and contributions of Virgil Michel (1890-1938) were extremely important.

  2. FrMichael says:

    St. Pius X was not against scholarship. He was against heresies, particularly Modernism, the synthesis of all heresies. I wish the Oath against Modernism was still on the books today.

    • Todd says:

      Modernism is a very vague, touchy-feely label applied to intellectual inquiry that some people, usually conservatives, get nervous about. I think Fr Ron Rohlheiser had a good distinction in his syndicated column a few weeks ago. Theology, by its very nature, is an open-ended inquiry, and might brush up against the boundaries of faith. Catechesis, by definition, is very far from the borders.

      I think Pius X thought there was a lot to be scared about with intellectual inquiry in theology in the early 1900’s. But he was looking for catechesis, not theology. The fact is that he was the root of American seminaries being eviscerated in terms of theological education. We had catechists as priests and bishops, not theologians.

      Saint or not, the man had serious flaws. It’s not likely he’ll ever be considered doctor material.

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