What are these "Benedictine reforms?"

I’ve seen them mentioned on New Liturgical Movement in the comments box of certain blog posts, but only fleeting examples. Can someone go into further detail?

The following book by French bishop Marc Aillet may be helpful in examining the emergence of a new liturgical movement.


Moreover, the new liturgical movement is not a formally established movement within the Church, at least at this point, but in many ways it entails a process of bringing greater continuity between the Missal of Paul VI (Novus Ordo) and the Missal of Blessed John XXIII (Vetus Ordo).

This is outside my area of knowledge, but here is a three year old post on the New Liturgical Movement website which may offer a clue:

Last Saturday, a well-attended, International Liturgical Conference was held in the Sheraton Hotel Fota, Co. Cork, devoted to the topic: “Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy”. It was the second such conference. The first was held in Columbus, Ohio last September. The third will be held in Budapest next August. These conferences explore the unexpected phenomenon of what is being called the “Benedictine reform” of the Liturgy – sometimes called the reform of the reform. The starting point for all the papers was the frank recognition that to date the reform of the Sacred Liturgy (i.e. the way we celebrate the sacraments, in partiuclar the Mass) ordered by the Second Vatican Council has been, to put it mildly, a mess. It is in urgent need of correction, a standpoint, it is claimed, which is shared by the Holy Father.


As with many things that have not been formally defined by the church, this is used to describe different things by different people. The only authoritative “Benedictine reforms” of which I am aware are formal proclamation that the “Extraordinary Form” can be used by any priest without special permissions, and the changes to the Good Friday prayers in the Extraordinary Form. There are many other changes that are shaping the church and the liturgy, though, some of which are being encouraged by the pope, even if he has not formally changed things. In general, this has become code for “making the Ordinary Form” more traditional, though, and mostly by people who support these changes.

I have heard the altar with 6 candles and a cross on it, facing the people, called the Benedictine arrangement. :twocents:

Sounds strangely like a pre-Paul VI arrangement, now doesn’t it…

I’ve heard of that as well, and the priests on EWTN use that arrangement exclusively when they celebrate versus populum. They don’t have a bare altar. Otherwise they do ad orientem. I quite like it as a compromise, at least for now.

I didn’t mean that as a complaint; I just find it funny that it would be labelled “Benedictine” unless, perhaps they were looking back to Pope Benedict XV?

Well I feel super stupid. Perhaps what they were actually referring to calling that the “Benedictine Arrangement” is Benedict’s Papal Masses. He does the same thing, something I do not think Pope John Paul II did.

I think you are correct about that. I’m not old enough to remember what Paul VI did, and I’m not sure that John Paul I had any enough public masses to set any kind of trend. Before that, though, I’m quite sure that everyone else used this.

I didn’t mean to make you feel stupid, though. My point is that a lot of the things that are being labelled “Benedictine Reforms” are actually just the restoration of the normal practices of the church that disappeared for 40 years. 40 years is long in a person’s life, but in the life of the church, it hardly seems to matter. In 200 years, I should wonder how much of this will even be mentioned in histories.

No, lol. You didn’t make me feel stupid. It was me. I thought the “Benedictine” in Benedictine Reforms was referring to the Benedictine Order. But then I realized that it is very likely that they are referring to His Holiness.

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