Monday, July 16, 2018

World War I Army Mass Kit

Many readers will be familiar with the site Sancrucensis, where they will find the learned lucubrations and edifying epigrams of Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., not to mention a fair share of uplifting photographs of the yearly round of monastic life at the thriving Heiligenkreuz Abbey.

Recently Pater Edmund shared with me the exciting news that he had received the gift of a portable Mass kit that once belonged to a World War I chaplain, which an antique store in Oberösterreich had put up for sale.[1] It features a built-in altar stone and altar cards that fold out, and in the compartments inside there are not only chalice and linens, etc., but even four chasubles in different colors (!). The chalice seems to have been made in Fulda, while the Missal is from Regensburg. The whole set-up is typical of kits in the World War I era.

Pater Edmund asked that I share these pictures at NLM. I must say, it is both a pleasure and a challenge to do so. A pleasure, for obvious reasons; how could a more complete and better portable kit ever be devised? A challenge, because this war-time worst, this compact gear meant to be carried through mud and bullets, is more complete and more appropriate than what one might find in many peace-time sacristies today!


NOTE [1]: Here is the German description, for those who are interested:
Sehr schöner antiker Messkoffer aus der Zeit um 1910; schöner brauner Lederkoffer mit original Überzug und reichlichem Zubehör: 4 Kaseln, Stolen, Pallen, Kelchwäsche, Tücher, Albe, Missale Romanum, Messing Buchablage, Altarstein, Kelch mit Patene, zwei Versehpatenen, Glocke, Kerzenetui inkl. zwei Kerzen..... Kelch und Patene aus 800er Silber und Kelch mit Meistermarke Wilhelm Rauscher, päpstl. Hofjuwelier, Hof- und Domgoldschmied; Buchablage aus Messing ebenfalls mit Meistermarke Wilhelm Rauscher. Masse Koffer ca. 48 x 30 x 19,5 cm. Insgesamt sehr schöne gepflegte Erhaltung mit natürlichen Alters-/Gebrauchs-/Anlaufspuren.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Musica Sacra Florida 2018 - Registration Extended

There’s still time! The registration deadline for Musica Sacra Florida 2018 has now been extended to Tuesday, July 24.

Musica Sacra Florida 2018
10th Annual Gregorian Chant Conference
Friday, July 27 & Saturday, July 28, 2018 
“Treasures of the Catholic” Church Camp
Monday, July 23 to Friday, July 27

at Royal Palm Academy and Saint Agnes Chapel, Naples, FL 

The conference will include:
“Treasures of the Catholic Church” Camp (July 23-27): For young people from 8 to 18. Children will receive instruction in Gregorian chant and Catholic culture (including great art) from an expert faculty, including Father Jonathan Romanoski, FSSP, Susan Treacy, Ph.D., and others.

Musica Sacra Florida 2018 Workshops (July 27-28): 

“What Came before the Square Notes” (Edward Schaefer, D.M.A.) - Learn the fascinating history of pre-square-note notation.

“A Plain and Easy Guide to Square Notation” (Susan Treacy, Ph.D.) – Are you mystified or intimidated by those little square notes? Fear not! In this workshop you will receive basic instruction on how to read Gregorian chant notation. Likewise, if you need a refresher course, come join us.

“Gregorian Chant as the Basis for Choral Excellence” (Larry Kent, D.M.A.) - This workshop will examine various ways that correct chant technique is an essential element in mixed choral ensembles, especially with regard to sacred music of the sixteenth century. Participants will work with excerpts of works by Byrd, Victoria, Tallis, and Palestrina.

Keynote Lecture for the Musica Sacra Florida 2018 Gregorian Chant Conference:
Dr. Edward Schaefer (University of Florida): "The Place of Gregorian Chant in Western History and Its Importance Today”

Gregorian Chant Conference Faculty 
Larry Kent, D.M.A., Director of Florida Pro Musica, Tampa
Edward Schaefer, D.M.A., University of Florida College of Fine Arts
Susan Treacy, Ph.D., Ave Maria University

For all the details about registration, schedule and conference hotel, visit their website:

Friday, July 13, 2018

Santa Maria in Organo in Verona, Italy

The church of Santa Maria “in Organo” in Verona takes its name not from its own organ, but from an ancient Roman water clock which was powered by the river Adige, which runs through the city; as the water flowed through the device and turned it, it also passed over pipes that played music. The clock was perhaps already badly damaged by the flooding of the Adige when it was destroyed by the Lombards in the 8th century.

In 1444, the church was given to the Olivetan monastic order, who held it until the suppressions of the Napoleonic era, in 1808. At the very end of the 15th century, a monk of this order, Fra’ Giovanni da Verona, built and decorated the sacristy, a work of which the great artist historian Giorgio Vasari described as “the most beautiful sacristy in all of Italy. ” Here are some photos taken by Nicola; those of the church itself are given below.

“ the lunettes he painted various Popes in pontifical habit, two per section, those who were elected to the papacy from the order of St Benedict. Around the sacristy ... there is a band ... in which are depicted in monastic habit various emperors, kings, dukes and other princes, who left the states and principalities which they had, and became monks.” (Vasari)

“And truly it was because of this decoration that this became the most beautiful sacristy in all of Italy, because, apart from the beauty of the well-proportioned space of a reasonable size, and the fact that the paintings are very beautiful, there is also in the lower part the doors of the cupboards, worked in cut and inlaid wood, with lovely images in perspective, done so well that in those days, and perhaps also in our own, none better are to be seen, since Fra’ Giovanni da Verona, who made the work, truly excelled in that art...  as is also demonstrated (by his other works.)” (Vasari)
The city of Verona has an ancient Roman amphitheater, known simply as “the Arena”, built in the first century, but severely damaged by an earthquake of 1117, as seen here in Fra’ Giovanni’s representation of it. After various modern restorations, it is now used for operatic performances and many other events.

Card. Arinze to Celebrate Patronal Feast at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in NYC

On Sunday, July 8, the Divine Liturgy (Qurbono Qadisho) was offered according to the rite of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch at the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in New York City. This annual liturgy is part of the Pallottine tradition of presenting Eastern Catholic Liturgies during the Octave of the Epiphany, and now also as part of the Novena in preparation for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. (Photographs by Father Christopher Salvatori S.A.C.)

Here is the schedule of Masses and other liturgical celebrations for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Saturday, July 14
9 AM - EF Sung Mass, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and praying of 1,000 Hail Mary’s until 5 PM

Sunday, July 15
10:25 AM - EF Sung Mass
Noon - 1:30 PM - Rosary Rally & Street Evangelization in front of the Rectory, East 116th Street
5:30 PM - EF Sung Mass
7:30 PM - 1st Solemn Latin Vespers (EF), & Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament
9 PM - Outdoor Candlelight Procession
11 PM - International Rosary & Litany of the Blessed Virgin chanted in Latin
Monday, July 16
12 AM - EF Solemn Massm starting at Midnight
6 AM - EF Low Mass
7 AM - EF Low Mass
(Masses offered every Hour, Last Mass at 8 PM)
10 AM - Solemn Mass, Ordinary Form (ad orientem) celebrated by His Eminence Francis Arinze, Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments
11:30 AM - Grand Procession

See this recent post for the schedule of events on Saturday, July 21, when the church will hold its the Seventh Annual Traditional Mass Pilgrimage as the culmination of the 134th annual feast of the Shrine and Parish’s Patroness.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Feast of St John Gualbert

On the calendar of the Extraordinary Form, today is the feast of St John Gualbert, founder of the monastic congregation known from their mother-house as the Vallumbrosians (the “Shady Valley” monks.) Like his contemporaries Ss Romuald and Peter Damian, he played an important role in the great reform movement taking place within the Church in the 11th century. The life of the Vallumbrosians was extremely austere in an age of terrible laxity among monks, and Pope Alexander II (who died very shortly before him in 1073) testified that it was largely though St John’s efforts that the vice of clerical simony, which had become so common it was hardly even noticed, was largely extirpated in central Italy.

The Vallumbrosa Altarpiece, by Perugino, 1500. The Saints at the bottom are, from left to right, Bernardo degli Umberti, a member of the Vallumbrosian Order who became a cardinal in 1097, and bishop of Parma in 1106, John Gualbert, Benedict and the Archangel Michael.
However, St John is particularly known for an episode that took place in his early life, before he embraced the monastic state. He was born into a Florentine noble family in the later 10th century, when faction-fighting and street-battles among the nobility were a routine fact of life. In the course of this, his older brother Ugo was murdered, and John determined to avenge him privately. One day (the Breviary says it was Good Friday), when he was in the company of his friends and supporters, all of them fully armed, he came across the murderer, unarmed, in an alley from which there was no way to escape. As John advanced to kill him, the man fell on his knees and threw out his arms like those of Christ on the Cross; the sight of this moved him to repent, and he not only forbore his revenge, but embraced and forgave the murderer. John then went to pray at the church of St Miniato on a hill outside the city, where the crucifix on one of the altars nodded to him, signifying the Lord’s acceptance of this gesture of true Christian forgiveness. For this reason, the Gospel of his feast day is not the taken from the Common of Abbots, but repeated (in part) from the Friday after Ash Wednesday.

“You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this? Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5, 43-48)

In the altarpiece show above, by Giovanni del Biondo, (ca. 1370), St John is shown forgiving his brother’s killer in the upper left section. Below it is depicted an especially famous episode in the ecclestical history of Florence, one which is connected to a contemporary of St John known as “Petrus Igneus - Fiery Peter.” A simoniac bishop, Peter of Pavia, was made bishop of Florence, much to the indignation of the populace, who demanded a trial by fire to determine the legitimacy of his appointment. Their appellant, a monk of St John’s order also called Peter, celebrated Mass in the presence of a crowd of some 3000 people, then, removing his chasuble (of course), walked between two raging pyres set close very to each other, remaining totally unscathed, even though the fire seemed to fill his alb, and he sank into the hot coals up to his ankles. This was taken as God’s judgment that his cause was just, and Peter of Pavia was removed from the See at the order of Pope Alexander, while Peter the monk was eventually made a cardinal and Papal legate. His feast is kept in Florence and by the Vallumbrosian order on February 8th.

Liturgy and Laity: Dom Alcuin Reid Reviews a History of Una Voce

First Things has just published Dom Alcuin Reid’s very interesting review of a history of Una Voce by Leo Darroch, who was president of that organization from 2007-13. (Una Voce: The History of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce) Here we give a few excerpts; I encourage you to read the whole of the original. The title of the review reflects one of the many ironies with which the post-Conciliar liturgical reform was fraught from start to finish, namely, that the greatest opposition to it came largely from the lay people for whose benefit it was purportedly being done.

“Una Voce’s history, faithfully compiled by Leo ­Darroch in the present volume, is indeed the history of lay men and women coming of age in the life of the Church. It is not too much to say that following the Second Vatican Council, Una Voce formed a lay movement that, in spite of at times not insignificant opposition, came to be of singular importance. For at a time when the required obedience had anesthetized the greater part of the clergy ... it was the laity who enjoyed the freedom necessary to organize themselves to ­promote the goods that were ­seemingly being squandered by the Church herself.

... The history of Una Voce is the history of devout, intelligent, and indeed obedient Catholic men and women (at times, to be sure, severely frustrated and almost driven to distraction) seeking for decades to convince ecclesiastical authorities at every level, including the highest, that the Church had made a fundamental error not in reforming or developing her public worship—that she had done throughout history—but in excluding substantial and important elements of her liturgical tradition (including Latin) in so doing. They argued that the almost complete prohibition of the older forms of worship was pastorally harmful, culturally deleterious, and gravely unjust to the worthy aims of the fathers of the Second Vatican Council.”

In mid-March of 1964, when the Consilium ad exsequendam was not yet two months old, Dom Gregory Murray of Downside Abbey in England wrote in the Tablet, “The plea that the laity as a body do not want liturgical change, whether in rite or in language, is, I submit, quite beside the point. … (it is) not a question of what people want; it is a question of what is good for them.” The great Michael Davies, who of course figures very prominently in Darroch’s book, rightly observed in “Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II”, that this contempt for the laity was no different from that of the Soviet Communist Party for the people; as the Party “ ‘interpreted the will of the people,’ so the (liturgical) ‘experts’ interpret the wishes of the laity.” Dom Reid gives an excellent example of the the very Soviet behavior characteristic of those sad and difficult years from no less a person than the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worhsip.

“It is by no means an easy task to inform a naked emperor that he is wearing no clothes, as the early Una Voce leaders learned only too quickly. Darroch’s history is replete with polite but firm reminders from ecclesiastics that the old ways have been replaced by newer and better ones and that everyone needs to make the best of them. A 1970 petition to Pope Paul VI requesting the preservation of the older rite of Mass received this reply from Cardinal Benno Gut, prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship: ‘You know that the decree . . . ­issued with the ­publication of the new Ordo provided for a certain period of transition. . . . But after this period of transition all the faithful should get used to the new form.’ His Eminence conceded that the difficulties ex­perienced by many of the faithful with the new order were ‘due to (very genuine) psychological inhibitions.’ He concluded: ‘Your letter, written in such a ­distinguished tone, gives us the ­assurance that you will find the ­correct attitude.’ ”

In this age of the Church’s life, as in every other, there are many reasons to take encouragement, and many for discouragement. For those are for whatever reason inclined to the latter, it will certainly be useful to read this remarkable prophecy made by the first President of Una Voce, Dr Eric de Saventhem, in 1970.

“...from the outset Una Voce was blessed with the leadership of the German-born convert from Protestantism Eric de Saventhem—a providential unifier, spokesman, and coordinator of the movement. While for many years he too had received polite but firm replies entreating him and his associates to adopt the “­correct attitude,” his vision was ­nothing less than prophetic. As early as June 1970, speaking as the guest of honor at the annual meeting of Una Voce USA at the Liederkranz Club in Manhattan, de Saventhem would assert:
A renaissance will come: asceticism and adoration as the mainspring of direct total dedication to Christ will return. Confraternities of priests, vowed to celibacy and to an intense life of prayer and meditation will be formed. Religious will regroup themselves into houses of strict observance. A new form of Liturgical Movement will come into being, led by young priests and attracting mainly young people, in protest against the flat, prosaic, philistine or delirious liturgies which will soon overgrow and finally smother even the recently revised rites.
He continued:
It is vitally important that these new priests and religious, these new young people with ardent hearts, should find—if only in a corner of the rambling mansion of the Church—the treasure of a truly Sacred Liturgy still glowing softly in the night. And it is our task, since we have been given the grace to appreciate the value of this heritage, to preserve it from spoliation, from becoming buried out of sight, despised and therefore lost forever. It is our duty to keep it alive: by our own loving attachment, by our support for the priests who make it shine in our churches, by our apostolate at all levels of persuasion.”

TLM for Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Newark, New Jersey

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Newark, New Jersey will celebrate a Solemn High Mass in the traditional rite on the eve of the patronal feast day of his parish, this Sunday, July 15th, starting at 5:00 p.m. Following Mass there will be a grand procession with a statue of Our Lady and a full symphonic brass band, and the streets of the parish will host an Italian festival with live entertainment. The church is located at 259 Oliver Street; there is ample parking on premises.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Recent TLM Pilgrimage In Spain

Our thanks to reader Daniel Martínez Pasamar for sharing with us this account of a pilgrimage / retreat recently held in Spain for a group of the faithful attached to the traditional Latin Mass.

From Thursday, June 28th to Sunday, July 1st, the first edition of the Family Retreat ‘Vayamos Jubilosos’ for people attached to the Traditional Liturgy of the Roman Rite in Spain took place. This is the first time ever that such an initiative, geared at deepen knowledge of the Mass of Ages and the values and principles of Christendom has been held in Spain.

In addition to the lectures for adults, and the parallel educational activities and talks specifically designed for the children, the participants in the retreat were able to attend Mass every day, either one of the Low Masses celebrated by the priests present at the event, or the Solemn High Mass which was the spiritual core of each day. Furthermore, the attendees took part in different traditional devotions: daily solemn Vespers in Gregorian chant, Benediction and the Holy Rosary.

On Saturday, the group walked on pilgrimage to the shrine of Blessed Virgin Mary of the Cross, the site of a famous and offically recognized apparition of the Virgin Mary to a young shepherd girl named Inés, which took place in 1449. This shrine was visited by personages such as the Emperor Charles V, Don John of Austria (the victor of Lepanto), and Cardinal Franisco Cisneros went on pilgrimage to the shrine when Saint Juana de la Cruz was the abbess of the convent attached to it. The Stations of the Cross were prayed on the way to the Shrine.

Card Müller Keynote Speaker at 2018 Society for Catholic Liturgy Conference

The Society for Catholic Liturgy is pleased to announce its 2018 conference, to be held September 27–29 in Miami, Florida, at the Cathedral of St. Mary. The conference theme is the centenary of the publication of Romano Guardini’s Spirit of the Liturgy.

The conference will feature keynote addresses by His Eminence, Gerhard Cardinal Müller (“Lex orandi - lex credendi”), Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, and the Secretariat of the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship.

The liturgies of the conference are a solemn Mass in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite to be celebrated by Cardinal Müller, and a solemn pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form, celebrated by Archbishop Wenski.

Papers on the conference theme will be delivered by Steve Baker, Rev Mr Samuel Bellafiore, Dr Michael Brummond, Rev Daniel Cardó, Peter Carter, Jonathan Ciraulo, Dr Andrew Dinan, Rev David Friel, Dr Michael Foley, John Haigh, Barnaby Hughes, Dr Kevin Hughes, Dr Nathan Knutson, Kevin Magas, Dr William Mahrt, Dino Marcantonio, Dr Michon Matthiesen, John Monaco, Rev Michael Monshau, Sr Esther Mary Nickel, Dr Timothy O’Malley, Dr Edward Schaefer, Dr Jeremy Sinkiewicz, Joshua Wopata, and Zachary Watters. Topics can be viewed on the schedule available on the conference website

All are welcome to attend the conference; there is a discount for members of the Society, as well as for seminarians. Day passes are also available. Registration and more information is included below and at the Society’s webpage

The registration deadline is Monday, September 17th. Please also note that discounted hotel prices are good only until July 27th. Please book early if you'd like the discount. 

I hope you'll be able to join us in Miami in September!

Guest Article: Time to Say “No Thanks” to Liturgical Deviations

Today NLM is pleased to present a translation of the response by Monika Rheinschmitt, president of Pro Missa Tridentina, to an article by Fr Engelbert Recktenwald, FSSP, entitled “Time to say ‘Thanks’ ”, which was published on June 28 in Die Tagespost.

Time to Say “No Thanks” to Liturgical Deviations
Monika Rheinschmitt

Together with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, we rejoice over its 30th anniversary and wish God’s blessing upon its current General Chapter.

After Fr. Recktenwald, FSSP in his article from June 28, 2018 (“Time to say ‘Thanks’”) has finished discussing the history of the birth of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and, as a second theme, the mutual trust between Rome and the Fraternity as well as between bishops and members of the Fraternity who care for individual parishes, he busies himself in the last two paragraphs with “the danger of a hyperliturgization [Hyperliturgisierung], especially among traditional laity.”

In response, I would like to offer a few thoughts to ponder. In my work for the lay association “Pro Missa Tridentina,” I have many contacts with about 230 sites of classical Roman tradition in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Not surprisingly, while I encounter a wide variety and certainly a diversity of different views, I cannot confirm the existence of such a tendency. The faithful, who often travel long distances to be able to assist at Holy Masses in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, are well aware of what a great treasure the Catholic Church preserves in this liturgy, and what a unique historic opportunity is the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which ensured that the liturgical books in use in 1962 might continue to be used, and used without restriction. According to the will of Pope Benedict XVI, this treasure of the classical Roman Rite is not intended for a small, elite group, but rather “offered to all of the faithful” (Instruction Universae Ecclesiae).

People find their way to the traditional Roman Rite along many paths: the beauty of the music in the churches, the great painting and architecture, the solemn liturgies, things they read—all that expresses reverence and adoration of the Most High. As in the Gospel parable about the treasure in the field (Mt 13:44-46), they do not want to lose again what they have found, but rather to conserve the beauty of this treasure. They respect and practice forms grown up over the centuries and maintained in the life of the Church—forms that also help Catholics today to pray more devoutly and reverently and to believe more deeply.

It is not “pastoral,” therefore, when priests carry out their own little private liturgical reform and, for example, replace Latin Scripture readings with German ones, or the sung Ordinary of the Mass with Schubert Mass-paraphrases (as Fr. Recktenwald advocates), or allow certain liturgical prayers to be said in German rather than Latin. Especially today in the age of globalization, in which communities of the faithful in places like Frankfurt or Bonn or Stuttgart can easily show a linguistic diversity like that of Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost, a common liturgical language and a single worldwide form are of inestimable value for preserving a spiritual homeland.

The desire to remove deviations accumulated over the course of years in order to keep this form visible and available is also expressed in the following papal provisions:

1) The motu proprio Rubricarum instructum of Pope St. John XXIII: As of January 1, 1961, all who belong to the Roman rite must obey the rules set forth in the liturgical books. All conflicting provisions, privileges, exemptions, permissions, and customs of any kind are withdrawn—even if they have existed for centuries or from time immemorial.

2) The Instruction Universae Ecclesiae, enacted by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in the name of Pope Benedict XVI, frees the celebration of the usus antiquior from any laws adopted after 1962 that concern the sacred rites and are incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in force in 1962.

Edifying, perhaps, but not the Mass

Here, the intention of the papal legislators is clear: to eliminate any possible deviations from the rubrics, whether they are matters of custom or are motivated by “pastoral” or “contemporary” adjustments. This ought to receive complete agreement on the part of all traditional believers, clergy as well as laity, and especially members of priestly communities that make an exclusive use of the liturgical books of 1962.

The authentic celebration of the liturgy by no means neglects pastoral care in favor of a self-sufficient aesthetic. As the well-known formula puts it: lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi: worship, faith, and concern for the salvation of souls belong together. Prayer, faith, and life are based on the same foundations and are supported by an authentic liturgy that is faithful to its rite.

Accordingly, in the decree of establishment of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, October 18, 1988, it says:
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is dedicated to the sanctification of priests through the exercise of pastoral ministry, principally through the uniformity of their lives with the Eucharistic sacrifice and by observing the liturgical and disciplinary traditions about which the Pope writes in his Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei of July 2, 1988.
It may be taken for granted that the statutes of the Priestly Fraternity have meanwhile been conformed to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of 2007 and the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae of 2011, but this would not modify anything in the assertion that the statutes of the Priestly Fraternity imply adherence to the liturgical rites.

Let us take up an example from Fr. Recktenwald’s article: the presentation of the Scripture readings immediately in the vernacular, instead of (as intended for High Mass) first being sung in Latin, and then optionally read out in the vernacular. On this point Rome has expressly spoken. The already-mentioned Instruction Universae Ecclesiae specifies: “As foreseen by article 6 of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the readings of the Holy Mass of the Missal of 1962 can be proclaimed either solely in the Latin language, or in Latin followed by the vernacular or, in Low Masses, solely in the vernacular.” This means: in all sung Masses on Sundays and Holy Days as well as feasts of the first class such as St. Joseph on March 19, or the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or SS. Peter and Paul on June 29, or the Assumption on August 15, the Epistle and the Gospel must first be sung in Latin (if the priest is not ill such that he may only read out the text in Latin).

It remains incomprehensible why, after this clear statement in the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae, many priests (above all in the sphere of the German language and in France) ignore the latreutic aspect of the Scripture readings and insist, even at High Masses, on reading out the Scripture immediately in the regional language—and then accuse those who “dissent” from this abuse of “rubricism,” and complain about “hyperliturgization.”

In support of his position, Father Recktenwald refers to the Pontifical Mass that was celebrated this year by Cardinal Sarah at the conclusion of the Paris-Chartres pilgrimage. There, after all, the Epistle and Gospel were read aloud immediately in French, and Cardinal Sarah in his homily issued a reminder about how one should celebrate the liturgy: “with noble simplicity, without useless additions, false aestheticism or theatricality, but with a sense of the sacred that first and foremost gives glory to God.”

This quotation seems to me to be torn out of context and not taken in the sense in which Cardinal Sarah meant it. In the same homily, the celebrant refers in a positive way multiple times to the Pontifical Mass just celebrated, with the following words:
Let us take today’s Mass as a model: it brings us to adoration, to a filial and loving fear before the greatness of God. ... Dear brothers and sisters, let us love these liturgies that enable us to taste the silent presence and transcendence of God and turn us toward the Lord. ... What the world expects of the priest is that he proclaim God and the Light of his Word, without ambiguity or falsification. Let us know how to turn together to God in a liturgical celebration full of reverence, a silence that expresses holiness. We invent nothing new in the liturgy; we receive everything from God and His Church. We don’t want to put on a show or seek our own success. The liturgy teaches us: To be a priest is not to do a lot, it means, far more, to be with the Lord upon the Cross. ... Whether in the Ordinary or the Extraordinary Form, let us always celebrate, as we also do today, according to what the Second Vatican Council teaches: with a noble simplicity, without useless additions, false aestheticism or theatricality, but with a sense of the sacred that first and foremost gives glory to God, and with the true spirit of a son of the Church.
Whether Cardinal Sarah, in a Pontifical Mass for 15,000 international pilgrims, many of whom did not understand French, really endorsed (a) the disregarding of the Roman requirement that the Scripture readings be first given in Latin and (b) the reading of them immediately and exclusively in French, eludes my knowledge, but it appears to me to be questionable.

Presumably, this remark (“useless additions, theatricality”) referred more to other elements of large-scale Mass celebrations that can be witnessed at the Pope’s Masses, and most recently at the Catholic Day [in Germany]: liturgical dance with the Gospel book, guitars, percussion, even drum kits, never-ending Offertory processions in which many people bring all sorts of gifts down the aisle to the altar, a lengthy and excessive Kiss of Peace, and so forth.

Comparable to the prescriptions about the Scripture readings are the provisions concerning church music, especially what is to be sung during Holy Mass. Ever since the motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini (1903) of Pope St Pius X, all the popes as well as the Second Vatican Council have stressed the importance and primacy of the Gregorian chant in the liturgy and have highlighted that, in addition to the cantors (Schola), the others who are assisting at Mass should also learn the Gregorian melodies and sing the parts that pertain to them. All the worshiping communities at locations where Holy Masses in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite are regularly offered make an effort to build up a schola cantorum. This should also be encouraged and appreciated by the celebrants, because the Gregorian chant is a necessary, indispensable part of the liturgy.

For the greater glory of God, believers of all centuries have made the best of what has been available to them in the fields of architecture, painting, fine arts, paraments, goldsmithing, and music. We should continue to do this today, so that the sacraments, especially the Mass, “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven,” may be celebrated as fittingly as possible.
Almighty God,
grant me the grace
to desire ardently all that is pleasing to Thee,
to examine it prudently,
to acknowledge it truthfully,
and to accomplish it perfectly,
for the praise and glory of Thy Name.
Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas
[The original German text of this article may be found here.]

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