Today under the auspices of the Society of St Catherine of Siena, I hosted a Study Day for Priests at Blackfen. We had a most fascinating and informative lecture from "Rubricarius" on the reform of the breviary that was undertaken from 1911-1913 under Pope St Pius X. You can see download the powerpoint file at the website of St Lawrence Press.
We heard in some detail about the cursus of the psalms in the Roman breviary, in comparison with the monastic breviary, the changes to this cursus under St Pius X, and the effect of the changes in the precendence of feasts, especially the raising of the rank of the Sunday so that feasts of double rank were no longer allowed to "outrank" the Sunday.
We looked at the way in which various celebrations were at one time allowed to interweave, creating a liturgical complex that allowed the recognition of feasts, of the temporal cycle, and of the penitential days.
There was, I think, a consensus that liturgical reform, whether of the calendar or of the psalter, was fraught with difficulties, and that a "liberal" approach to the celebration of the liturgy, within the tradition, should be preferred to a prescriptive establishment of a new calendar, a new arrangement of the psalms, or an entirely new breviary.
After an excellent lunch cooked by parishioners, we celebrated Vespers as best we could. Although we stumbled here and there, I think that it was a sublime demonstration of how the liturgy of the Church provides us with a means of worship that we could never invent for ourselves.
The priests who came were most appreciative of the help of the enthusiastic laity who assisted at the sacred ceremonies, and of the opportunity to meet with brother priests, and exchange ideas.