Forty-one years ago, January 25, 1959, Pope John XXIII fìrst announced his intention to convoke a Council. The first fruit of Vatican II was the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, promulgated solemnly on December 4, 1963. Shortly thereafter, on January 25, 1964, the «Motu proprio» of Pope Paul VI, Sacram Liturgiam, established a special commission to review the liturgical rites and prepare new liturgical books for the Roman rite as prescribed by the council fathers in Sacrosanctum Concilium.
The procedure recalls the modality of the preparation of the post-Tridentine liturgical books by special commissions under the direction of a series of Popes in accordance with the principles and criticisms voiced by the council fathers at the various sessions of the Council of Trent. In both cases the actual reform of rites and books was left in the hands of the Pope(s) and the prelates and experts specifìcally delegated for the task by the Pope(s).
If this procedure was valuable and valid and laudable in the earlier example, consistency and logic would have to hold the same for the later one. Yet, «errare humanum est», and both efforts at liturgical renewal were not perfect as the many changes and «improvements» under succeeding Popes from Pius V to the present makes evident. In its whole sweep of history, liturgy has never been completely static, despite the claims of some to that effect.
Thus Ecclesia Orans has consistently included studies that reflect both the continuity and the changes in the development of the liturgy and the wonderful diversity of liturgical traditions in East and West. At the same time, the celebration and meaning of the present rites of the Church provide an important focus of interest for the review and its readers.
The editorial staff of Ecclesia Orans is happy to begin this new year of publishing with studies dealing with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and its interpretation, with the so-called «cursing» psalms and their traditional relation to the daily prayer of the Church in the West and with the reform of the Ordo Missae after the Second Vatican Council.
Later issues will deal among other things with the process of formation of the traditional Roman Canon, the fraction in the Italo-Byzantine rite, a second part of the study on the Ordo Missae, and the liturgical tradition of the seven penitential psalms. It is hoped that this mixture of articles on the present situation as well as on the historical-critical development of the liturgy will truly be of interest to our readers.
Last year the editorial staff expressed the hope to increase the number of book reviews, and that has been done. Another project has been partially realized. We are publishing as an appendix to this editorial the draft of a style sheet for footnotes to be used in submitting material to our consideration. It is a compromise that does not follow exactly the methodology of any country or language, but it should give some consistency to the footnotes in our publications. It is also the style being taught the new students in the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in the methodology seminar. The list of standard abbreviations to accompany the style sheet is stili a desideratum.
As always suggestions and contributions are welcome from our subscribers and other liturgists as well. An effort is made to keep a balance between articles written by the faculty of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, our alumni, and other scholars.
It is hoped that the variety of studies meets the need and interest of our readers.