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Old Jun 23, '08, 6:24 am
mitch2007 mitch2007 is offline
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Default 1960's liturgical changes

Good day,

I am very interested in the history of the transition from the old Tridentine Mass to the Novus Ordo...sorry, Ordinary Form! the 1960's. I grew up entirely post-Vatican II, so never lived through that era. Those I ask have varying recollections...some put the "big change" as at 1964, others 1965, others still 1967, others 1969....admittedly the pace of change varied from place to place, parish to parish, country to country; the date on which Latin disappeared varies, the date on which Mass facing the people came in varied, etc.

For those senior enough to remember, what is your recollection of the sequence of changes? When did English come in? How long did Latin linger? When was the freestanding altar introduced? The communion rails removed/stopped being used? Mantillas disappear? The New Missal come into effect? were these changes received? Was there a big outcry among rank-and-file Catholics or not? what extent, when changes came in, was there leeway for individual priests or even parishes to stick with the older Latin after 1964, old rite after 1969, etc? The impression I get is people focus on the 1969 change, forgetting that 5 years earlier big changes were made, and also that in the early 1970's there were lots of "holdouts" against the changes!

Any comments would be appreciated! (Especially people like JReduction, whom I know was around in the late 1960's at high school and lived through it all!)

God bless
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Old Jun 23, '08, 8:00 am
Deacon Ed Deacon Ed is offline
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Default Re: 1960's liturgical changes


These replies are from my memory and the dates may be off a little. The first "changes" were ad experimentum changes that started in 1967 with the first new missal introduced in 1970. At first Latin remained the predominant language of the Liturgy although English became dominant by the mid 1970s (that varied depending upon one's diocese). My memories of the early revisions were that they were well received by the majority of people, but certainly not all.

When the changes were promulgated I was in the Air Force living in Germany so I can't speak to how the parishes in the United States were receiving the changes although, by the time I returned to the U.S. (1970) the changes were well underway.

AS for "leeway" -- I know that in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Cardinal McIntyre did not permit any changes until he was ordered to do so by Rome. By that time the changes had been pretty well defined. Although Latin was always permitted to any priest as long as he used the Mass of Paul VI very few did.

Deacon Ed
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Old Jun 23, '08, 8:43 am
brotherhrolf brotherhrolf is offline
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Default Re: 1960's liturgical changes

Things went far quicker in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. They started in 1967 in the spring of my sophomore year in high school. Most of the Archdiocese used the "dialogue Mass" in which the congregation responded/chanted in Latin.

Every few weeks an announcement was made from the pulpit that "effective two weeks from now".......we will no longer chant the Kyrie in Greek. We will no longer chant the Gloria in Latin. We will no longer recite the Creed in Latin.................By the fall of 1968, the Mass was completely in English even though the NO Missal did not come into full effect until the First Sunday of Advent 1969.

In the spring of 1967 the Brothers that taught me wore cassocks, had large pectoral crosses, and had these enormous rosaries about their waists. In the fall of 1967 the Brothers wore black pants, a white shirt and a black tie. The nuns that taught my sis went from full habits to modified habits.

I was senior altar boy at my parish when we dedicated our new church in the spring of 67. The altar was free standing although we had communion rails.

DW has a St. Joseph's Missal inscribed for fall of 1966. She never used it and she was in the newly formed Diocese of Baton Rouge. The '65 missal appears to be a translation of the TLM into English. All I can tell you is that by the fall of 1968 we had the NO in pretty much the same shape as we have it today both at my high school and at my parish.
Homo proponit sed Deus disponit.
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Old Jun 23, '08, 11:31 pm
mitch2007 mitch2007 is offline
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Default Re: 1960's liturgical changes

Thanks for the replies.

I have looked at some books / articles on the subject (and someone has promised to send me others, which will be interesting), and it seems 1967 was indeed a pivotal year - with simplifications in the rubrics and a vernacular and audible Canon soon later.

What is pretty evident is that things varied from place to place: I know that the 1965 "Missal" (I use quotation marks as apparently it wasn't strictly a new Typical Edition) incorporated early changes such as the dropping of some of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the Last Gospel, including the Prayers of the Faithful, dropping the genuflection at the Incarnatus in the Creed, etc, and English had (according to a Time Magazine article from November 1964 I found) been introduced around that time too. Mass facing the people and concelebration was also coming in. English author Evelyn Waugh died Easter 1966 and lived to see the first wave of changes which he deplored. A picture of our local cathedral circa 1965/1966 already shows a temporary table altar in front of the high altar. Maybe some dioceses were more progressive than others and enforced the changes more uniformly and earlier than others.

I had heard about the resistance of Cardinal McIntyre - cannot remember where.

My problem is that I have indeed read about the changes, but I never lived through them, and any knowledge I have is purely "book" knowledge not experience, and I find the experiences of more senior Catholics very interesting.

God bless
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Old Jun 23, '08, 11:47 pm
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I_Believe I_Believe is offline
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Default Re: 1960's liturgical changes

Originally Posted by mitch2007 View Post

I had heard about the resistance of Cardinal McIntyre - cannot remember where.

God bless

"In recent times, even in materialist North America, the growth of the Church was magnificent with the liturgy being kept in Latin. The attempts of the Protestants have failed, and Protestantism uses the vernacular. We ask again: Why the change, especially since changes in this matter involve many difficulties and great dangers? All of us here at the Council can recall the fundamental changes in the meaning of words in common use. Thus it follows that if the Sacred Liturgy were in the vernacular, the immutability of doctrine would be endangered.
The introduction of the vernacular should be separated from the action of the Mass. The Mass must remain as it is. Grave changes in the liturgy introduce grave changes in dogmata."
-James Cardinal McIntyre addressing the Second Vatican Council.
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Old Jun 24, '08, 3:49 am
Joannm Joannm is offline
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Default Re: 1960's liturgical changes

I moved from the city to the suburbs just around the time of the changes. I was 12 at the time. I just thought that they did things differently in the suburbs than in the city. I remember really liking going to mass in my new town and within a year I was in the new folk group. Now, in hindsight I would agree that much of what we sang was pretty awful but it kept me going to Mass and staying very much involved during my high school and college years. I don't know if it remained in Latin if I would have continued to attend past HS.

I do not object to portions of the Mass being in Latin and now, as a member of the choir I do sing in Latin (although as a language I still cannot get the hang of it since I have no knack for languages at all having tried to learn a different language over the years), but I love being able to hear the words of the Mass in my own language and pray along with the priest not having to read along in a book.
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