Articles 15-20 articulate the process by which the Council Fathers hoped that liturgical instruction and full, conscious and industrious participation in the liturgy by the faithful would be achieved. Formation programs for clergy (i.e., seminaries and their equivalents) are to be changed so that instruction and formation in the liturgy takes its place alongside instruction and formation in, e.g., scripture, doctrine, and pastoral care. In order to do so, article 15 decrees that seminary instructors in liturgy (and their equivalents) are to receive the training needed for their task.

Vatican Website Translation:

15. Professors who are appointed to teach liturgy in seminaries, religious houses of study, and theological faculties must be properly trained for their work in institutes which specialize in this subject.

Latin text:

15. Magistri, qui sacrae Liturgiae disciplinae in seminariis, studiorum domibus religiosis et facultatibus theologicis docendae praeficiuntur, ad munus suum in institutis ad hoc speciali cura destinatis probe instituendi sunt.

Slavishly literal translation:

15. Master teachers, who are assigned for teaching the discipline of sacred Liturgy in seminaries, religious houses of studies, and theological faculties are to be properly instructed for this office/task in institutes designated for this by special attention.


We should be aware that at the time of the Council, if liturgy was addressed at all in a seminary curriculum, it was normally seen as part of the pastoral curriculum, something one “caught” by celebrating Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours every day and being part of seminary ceremonies crews. If liturgy was taught in the classroom, it was often as an aspect of moral theology (an instance of the virtue of religion), canon law (the requirements for valid and licit celebration of sacraments) or church history (especially patristics). However, the Council Fathers were also aware that Institutes for the scientific study of Liturgy had been established in Paris (the Institut Supériur de Liturgie) and Rome (the Pontificio Istituto Liturgico at the Ateneo Sant’Anselmo); while the Council was still in session the liturgical institute at Trier was converted to a center for scientific liturgical studies. In the United States institutions of higher education such as St. John’s, Collegeville, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, all developed significant programs for liturgical study.

It might be of interest to trace how seminaries and other institutes of formation for pastoral leadership have responded to this decree of the Council over the last fifty years. Are professors of liturgy appointed to their faculties? If so, in what proportion to the other disciplines? What academic qualifications do these professors bring to their appointments? Is there a trajectory that we can trace in such appointments (i.e., have these appointments declined over the last fifty years, remained level, or increased)? It might also be of interest to discover if seminary professors of liturgy are ordained or non-ordained.

Note that this article only concerns itself with the training and appointment of liturgy faculty in seminaries and their equivalents. Discussion of the liturgy curriculum in seminaries and their equivalents will be treated in article 16.

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