Some wished to modernize it opening free entrance to “reasonable” proposals and ideas inspired by the spirit of “Humanism.” This tendency represented an overt departure from the Roman tradition. One of the experiments gained wide acceptance: a new breviary published under the name of cardinal Quignonez made the Office more “rational.” It ousted a great part of the traditional repertory, made the Hours quite uniform (with three psalms in each), and removed the chanted genres. The result was a short, “geometrically” arranged breviary, destined for reading. Since this breviary shortened the portion of the priests’ daily prayer considerably, it gained rapid and wide acceptance.

The other proposal was to “purify” the Office from the “ballasts” and restore it in the spirit of tradition. This trend found a good argument partly in the results of the “humanistic” reforms, partly in the liturgical innovations of Protestantism, which made clear (in a negative way) how closely the cult is connected with the depositum fidei (the preservation of the purity of faith).

The Tridentine Council rejected the reform Offices (the Quignonez breviary included). Those who were obliged to pray the Office could either return to their traditional local (-Roman) rite, or take over the new Roman-Tridentine liturgical books planned to be prepare subsequently. The new breviary published with the authority of St. Pius V was a slightly modified version of the Officium Romanae Curiae which was the supposed “authentic” form of the Roman tradition. The medieval additions and the legacy of the Carolingian or Post-Carolingian times (accepted earlier in great parts of Europe) were to a great extent omitted, and the Tridentine Breviary (like its predecessor, the Curial one) also ousted the “pastoral” elements taken over from the tradition of ancient Roman basilicas.

Laszlo Dobszay, The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform (2003)


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