Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (School of Philosophy and Theology)

Schools and Centres

Philosophy and Theology

First Supervisor

Doctor Angela McCarthy

Second Supervisor

Doctor Andrew McGowan


The first fruit of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) was Sacrosanctum Concilium – the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Within eight years of its promulgation Roman Catholic worship across the world was transformed, as the language and practice of the rites of the Church underwent significant change. One of the most noticeable changes was the relaxation of the requirement for the Church’s liturgy to be celebrated in Latin and instead be in the local language of the people, the vernacular.

Case studies of the implementation of the post-conciliar reform, as advocated by the Council, are infrequent, especially in the context of monastic communities. Through utilising both historical research method and case study methodologies, alongside a wide-ranging interview and archival work, this project documents how the Benedictine Community of Holy Trinity Abbey, New Norcia responded to this challenge. During this time of liturgical transition, the Abbey administered a number of parishes in addition to the monastic foundation, making it a valuable location for researching how the vernacular reforms were received amongst both monastics and lay-people.

Histories of liturgical adaption, renewal and change in the post Vatican Council period are invaluable as they tell of communities’ journeys into increased understanding and participation. This research provides an example of how the significant liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council were manifested in an isolated monastic community.

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