In light of the debate over Traditiones Custodes, I’ve been doing some research into the history of the Church’s liturgical reform. A lot of historical claims have been made on social media about the state of the liturgy prior to the Second Vatican Council, and I’ve been digging through primary and secondary sources to understand the context and rationale that led up to the Missal of St. Paul VI.

I found this lecture by John F. Baldovin, S.J., professor of historical and liturgical theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry to be a helpful, if a bit lengthy, overview of the the liturgical reform movement.

He seems to be a bit more liturgically progressive than I am, but as a historical overview, I thought he provides a good and accurate summary of the history.


Image: Buzet-sur-Tarn – L’église Saint-Martin – Messe de Saint Martin 1896 – Bernard Benezet PalissyPM31002598. By Didier Descouens – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93357516


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Mike Lewis is a writer and graphic designer from Maryland, having worked for many years in Catholic publishing. He's a husband, father of four, and a lifelong Catholic. He's active in his parish and community. He is the founding managing editor for Where Peter Is.

The History of Liturgical Reform
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