Dom Lambert Beauduin's 1914 Programme for (Genuine) Liturgical Restoration

Dom Lambert Beauduin, OSB (1873–1960) was one of the important figures of the early Liturgical Movement and in 1914 he wrote La Piété de l'Eglise (published in English translation as Liturgy the Life of the Church) where he detailed his proposal for a programme for the Liturgical Movement.

It goes almost without saying that the Liturgical Movement would, in retrospect, come to be a very mixed bag with some elements of it (especially later one's) promoting an agenda which not only did not contribute to the sorts of aims that Beauduin lays out here, but which arguably can be understood as having worked rather contrary to them. In fact, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say that these elements 'hijacked' this movement and its promise. However, as the old adage goes, one must sift the wheat from the chaff and one does not toss out the baby with the bathwater, so it surely is of some relevance and interest to look back at documents such as these. Indeed, as the liturgical life of the Church now arguably finds itself in an even worse position than it was in the earlier twentieth century, it is that much more important to go back to sources such as these, learn from the mistakes of the past century, find the 'wheat' and plot a new path forward.

With that in mind, and bearing in mind that Beauduin was writing all of these things in view of a genuine restoration of the venerable and historical Roman rite (now referred to as the "Extraordinary Form" by some or the "usus antiquior") at the parish and domestic church level, here was Dom Beauduin's impressive vision for accomplishing this:

The central idea to be realised by the Liturgical Movement is the following: 
"To have the Christian people all live the same spiritual life, to have them all nourished by the official worship of holy Mother Church."

The means to be employed towards this end are of two kinds. The first have reference to the acts of worship itself; the others to the liturgical activity exercised outside these acts.

Acts of Worship. In this field, the members of the Liturgical Movement desire to contribute with all their strength to attain the following aims:

1. The active participation of the Christian people in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass by means of understanding and following the liturgical rites and texts.

2. Emphasis of the importance of High Mass and of the Sunday parish services, and assistance at the restoration of the collective liturgical singing in the official gatherings of the faithful. [LAJ: This reference to liturgical singing refers to the recovery and re-appropriation of Gregorian chant.]

3. Seconding of all efforts to preserve or to re-establish the Vespers and the Compline of the Sunday, and to give these services a place second only to that of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

4. Acquaintance, and active association, with the rites and the sacraments received or assisted at, and the spread of this knowledge among others.

5. Fostering a great respect for, and confidence in, the blessings of our Mother Church.

6. Restoration of the Liturgy of the Dead to a place of honour, observance of the custom of Vigils and Lauds, giving greater solemnity to the funeral services, and getting the faithful to assist thereat, thus efficaciously combating the de-christianising of the rite of the dead.

Liturgical Activity outside of acts of worship. In this field there are four ways in which the members can assist at the furtherance of the Liturgical Movement:

A. Piety.

1. Restoration to a place of honour among Christians of the traditional liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas Time, Lent, Easter Time, octaves of feasts, feasts of the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles, and the great missionary saints of our religion. 

2. The basing of our daily private devotions, meditation, reading, etc., on the daily instructions of the Liturgy, the Psalms, the other liturgical books, and the fundamental dogmas of Catholic worship.

3. Reanimation and sublimation of the devotions dear to the people by nourishing them at the source of the Liturgy.

B. Study.

1. Promotion of the scientific study of the Catholic Liturgy.

2. Popularisation of the scientific knowledge in special reviews and publications.

3. Promotion of the study and, above all, the practice of liturgical prayers in educational institutions.

4. Aiming to give regular liturgical education to circles, associations, etc., and to employ all the customary methods of popularisation to this end.

C. Arts.

1. Promoting the application of all the instructions of Pius X in his Motu proprio on Church music.

2. Aiming to have artists that are called to exercise a sacred art, architecture, painting, sculpture, etc., receive an education that will give them an understanding of the spirit and the rules of the Church's Liturgy. 
3. Making known to artists and writers the fruitful inspiration to art that the Church offers in her Liturgy.

D. Propoganda.

1. Using all means to spread popular liturgical publications that show the import of the principal part of the Liturgy: Sunday Mass, Vespers, Sacraments, Liturgy of the Dead, etc.

2. Reawakening the old liturgical traditions in the home, that link domestic joys with the calendar of the Church, and using for this end especially the musical works composed for such purposes.

To all Catholics we address a burning appeal in favour of the activities that aim to realise as far as possible the programme of liturgical restoration we have here outlined.

While the natural temptation here might be to read some of these (particularly those things that would become popular 'catch phrases' such as 'active participation') in the light of the way these were mis-appropriated by progressivist elements, Beauduin meant all of these things within the context of the traditional understanding and worship of the Church. 

Read in that same light, this programme is not only laudable, it is entirely desirable. 

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