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Liturgical Movement

There have been many liturgical movements in the history of the church, and the modern one had its immediate precursor in the revival of Roman Catholic Benedictine worship associated with Guéranger at Solesmes in nineteenth-century France. This stimulated scientific liturgical research and a concern for the correct performance of the liturgy. In the present century, this rather reactionary and limited movement in the Roman Catholic Church has been transformed into a powerful and remarkably ecumenical force through a revolution in theology. The rediscovery of the corporate nature of the church has resulted in a widespread attempt to restore to the laity a full and active participation in worship, in place of a solo performance by Catholic priest or Protestant minister. In the Roman Catholic Church this may be traced from the congress at Malines (1909), through the encyclical Mediator Dei (1947), to the constitution on the sacred liturgy of Vatican II* (1963) and the radical changes in the services which have followed. In England the modern movement did not appear until the 1930s, but since the war it has had a profound effect on the design of church buildings, and the adoption of a parish Communion as the main Sunday service, house meetings, and various attempts to integrate church services with daily life.

E.B. Koenker, The Liturgical Renaissance in the Roman Catholic Church (1954); J.H. Srawley, The Liturgical Movement: its Origin and Growth (1954); A.R. Shands, The Liturgical Movement in the Local Church (1959; rev. 1965); M. Thurian, “The present aims of the Liturgical Movement” in Studia Liturgica, iii (1964), pp. 107-114.