Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Religious Studies

Major Professor

Michael DeJonge, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tori Lockler, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Garrett Potts, Ph.D.


Catholicism, Liturgy, Mass, McLuhan


The liturgical changes of Vatican II sought to bring a period of renewal to the Catholic laity by encouraging active participation and making the Mass more simple to understand. However, the time after the Council was characterized by confusion and disengagement by the laity. I will be discussing three significant changes to the liturgy at this time, The change from Latin to the vernacular, the change in the orientation of the altar and priest, and the change in acoustics, sound, and music. I will be examining all of these changes through the media theory of Marshall McLuhan, famous for coining the phrase, “the medium is the message”. By doing this, I will argue that the liturgical changes of Vatican II had the unintended consequence of undermining the sacredness of the Mass. I will begin by giving a brief overview of Vatican II and the proposed liturgical change and then give an introduction to Marshall McLuhan’s media theory. After this I will write about Latin as a medium, the position of the altar and priest as a medium, and acoustics, sound, and music as a medium. By doing this, my aim is to show how changing these traditions of Catholic liturgy had a desacralizing effect on the laity.

Included in

Religion Commons