According to Piltz "All of [medieval] existence was framed by a number of ceremonies and behavioral patterns which were a matter of course for people at the time", among them the Latin liturgy. When, then, was this all important taxis allowed so much variety from place to place and why was time allowed to obliterate certain things within the arrangement? One point of curiosity is the offertory procession. Now a piece of playacting, the medieval offertory procession is not recorded in the Ordo Romanus Primus; the compiler records that the deacons simply prepared the gifts after the pope received them from their fashioners. By the time of Burchard the bread and wine were still brought to the altar rail by the people who provided the gifts and they now received a blessing from the celebrant, suggesting the ritual was not restricted to cathedral Mass; this would become the basis of Paul VI's offertory in 1964. In the Gallican traditions the oblata were initially brought in procession, preceded by incense; as the Middle Ages progressed there came about the practice of the acolyte or subdeacon bringing forth the gifts using the hummeral veil after the Epistle, emphasizing the gradual unfolding of the mystery of the Eucharist which culminated at the moment of transubstantiation. The Roman and Norman processions with the oblata differed both in purpose and manner, yet both appear to have originated in their known forms in the high Middle Ages. Perhaps the only thing the two rituals have in common is that they are both defunct. Why?
Ceremonies and rites construct an "arrangement" or order that frames the Church's relationship with God, singing His praises for His own sake during the Hours, awaking and sleeping with Him at the vigils and vespers, and meeting Him in the miracle of the altar at the Eucharistic sacrifice. The liturgy contains many echoes and whispers of past pieces that time has de-emphasized but not obliterated, such as the Kyrie, once sung at the end of the vigil during the procession to the altar until it was abbreviated and the Introit replaced its former function. The Church adds to its liturgy and retains older parts that crystallize the taxis of the Church. The prayers before the altar and the Last Gospel, as old, or young, as the various Latin offertory rites, survived while the blessing of water at the Gradual died. The Iudica me psalm and St. John's Prologue bookended the action of the Mass, the former ritual ascending the altar and the latter summarizing what just happened. These contemporary additions complimented the Mass at all levels—pontifical Mass, solemn Mass, parish Mass, and private Mass—while the offertory processions (Roman and Norman) could only be observed in solemn functions. This is not to say that the offertory variants lacked merit, but they did not enrich the Latinate concept of the Mass as an act of Theophany that was translatable to every level of celebration. By contrast, the Little and Great Entrances in the Greek tradition introduce the two main events of the Divine Liturgy, the proclamation of the Gospel and the Eucharist and were very easy to translate from the cathedral liturgy of Hagia Sophia to the parish level.
The principle of fitting with the liturgical framework should not preclude unique features that belong to particular gradations of celebration, such as the acts of obeisance and external symbols of high priesthood in episcopal celebrations. While the 1568 and 1570 documents from St. Pius V made wider use of the Roman rite possible (only with the approval of the bishop and the unanimous consent of the cathedral chapter), the 1588 erection of the Congregation of Sacred Rites and book printing probably did more to standardize the liturgy that Papa Ghislieri. Robert Nisbet observed that government intervention into realms usually occupied by traditional social institutions—the Church, the family, the local union—rarely accomplished good and often created a "vacuum" in the wake of what it pushed aside. Something similar can be said for liturgical additions which might further enhance the Church's worship. Whether one uses the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the "EF", the Mass of Paul VI, or something of exotic oriental extraction, we are bound to the books. My university chapel adopted the novel practice of inverting the lines for Holy Communion in reference to Christ's words "the first shall be last and the last shall be first." Did this add anything to the Roman tradition? Of course not, but it does betray an inherent need for local expression and variety in liturgical worship which has enriched the Church over the years. Centralization has yielded a vacuum.