Wednesday 22 April 2015

PDF Download: C. Vagaggini, “The Canon of the Mass and Liturgical Reform”

Dom Cipriano Vagaggini, O.S.B., was one of the more influential members of Group 10 of the Consilium, the group responsible for the revision of the Ordo Missae. This revision was to involve, among other things, the composition of three new Eucharistic Prayers to sit alongside the Roman Canon. (For more information on how new anaphoras were transplanted into the Roman Rite, see the Adoremus article From One Eucharistic Prayer to Many: How it Happened and Why by Dom Cassian Folsom, O.S.B.)

As part of this work, Dom Vagaggini published a book called Il canone della messa e la riforma liturgica in 1966, and this was translated into English the following year under the title The Canon of the Mass and Liturgical Reform. In this book, Vagaggini went through what he saw as the ‘merits’ and ‘defects’ of the Roman Canon (perhaps unsurprisingly, the defects outnumber the merits by a ratio of more than 2:1), argued for the introduction of one or more new Eucharistic Prayers to ‘enrich’ the Roman Rite, and gave a couple of examples of what they might look like.

Vagaggini’s book is, in my opinion, one of the more important works contemporary to the post-Vatican II liturgical reform itself, and is illustrative of some of the attitudes of the reformers towards the liturgical tradition. Unfortunately it has been out of print for a good while, and, at the time of writing, second-hand copies of it are difficult to come by. So, I am happy to say that a PDF copy is now freely available by clicking the link below:

Also, since what we now know as Eucharistic Prayer III has its genesis in Vagaggini’s book above, I have also put together a side-by-side comparison of his “Canon B” (see chapter 4 in the book above) with EP III, which can be downloaded by clicking the following link:

There are more historical goodies and curiosities to come very soon, so watch this space!


  1. All the Roman Canonisms in "Canon B" amaze me.

    --"Te igitur, clementissime..."
    --Reference to Christ's "blessed and venerable hands" and "looking up to you, O God"
    --"Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta..."
    --"Hostiam puram, Hostiam sanctam, immaculatam hanc Hostiam"
    --"Supplices te rogamus . . . ut quotquot Filii tui Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus..."
    --"Maria, Genetrice Dei et Doministri Jesu Christi"

    If Canon B had been the final version of EP III, I'd be much less saddened about never hearing the Roman Canon. Thank you very much for sharing!

  2. I, too, was amazed and surprised at the parallelisms.... hmm, something to ponder...

  3. Having looked at the proposed "Canon B", my disdain for the work of Vagaggini has lessened. Should we presume that its similarities to the Roman Canon were the reason why it was drastically modified into EP III ? In other words, that it have nothing in common with the Roman Canon and therefore a complete alternative?

    Thank you for continuing to give us these most interesting posts.

  4. I much prefer Mr. Hazell's version. EPIII on the right clearly shows a desire to minimize sacrificial language to please protestant heretics. Obviously the hand of archbishop Bugnini at work here. What a pity.


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