Jerusalem, Feb. 28, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The Latin Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, has written a letter to members of the Neocatechumate Way, urging them to be faithful to liturgical norms.
“We are grateful for your presence in some of our parishes, for the proclamation of the Gospel and the aid which you bring to our faithful,” wrote the Patriarch to members of the lay movement, which has been active in the Holy Land for over 25 years.
However, Archbishop Sabbah reminded the Neocatechumenate members that they are required to follow the Church’s norms for the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy. “We are very attached to our liturgy and our traditions,” he wrote. “We beg you to understand and respect them.”
Questions and complaints about the distinctive liturgical practices of the Neocatechumenate Way came to a head in December 2005, when the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Francis Arinze (bio - news), wrote to leaders of the lay movement insisting that they “follow the liturgical books approved by the Church, without omitting or adding anything."
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Jerusalem, Feb. 28, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The Latin Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, has written a letter to members of the Neocatechumate Way, urging them to be faithful to liturgical norms.
[From the Catholic Herald]
Of all the cardinals in the Roman Curia, few are as disarming, good-humoured and at ease with themselves as Cardinal Francis Arinze. A natural leader with a common touch, the Nigerian cardinal, now 74, has long been expected to reach great heights. He has even been described as a potential Successor to Peter. “Yes, according to journalists,” he chuckles when I meet him.
But his ready laugh and broad grin belie a serious approach to many Church matters, particularly in his area of responsibility: the liturgy. When I raise ongoing concerns such as continued lack of reverence at Mass, and cite as examples Holy Communion in the hand and standing up, and ubiquitous banal hymns, his own reservations about these practices are obvious.
Certain bishops, he says, “pushed and pushed and pushed” for Communion in the hand to be accepted practice for past 40 years, in effect forcing Rome to ratify it. Now, he says, “we have problems”, and he speaks with visible anger about the dropping of particles of the Sacred Host on the ground, tourists putting the Host in a photo album as a souvenir of their trip to Rome, and desecration of the Host through black magic. On Church music, he blames the “banalising” and “secularising” of hymns on both priests and laity. “There’s a type of music suitable for the parish hall, for a picnic, for dancing, for enjoyment,” he says, “but there’s another music suitable for prayer and adoration.”
On whether priests should celebrate Mass facing the congregation or facing East as they did before the Second Vatican Council, he sees arguments for both positions, although his preferences are clear. “The Mass is not a mutual entertainment gathering between the priest and the people – you admire me and I admire you,” he explains. “The priest is not a reverend showman.” Still, Cardinal Arinze is not prepared to make changes, believing it unwise “to order the people of God around again and tell them to shift around the altar again”. “If you were in my shoes would you go so far?” he asks.
[NLM Comment: While we indeed shouldn't underestimate the importance of legitimate pastoral considerations, there must be a middle ground in which we pursue liturgical action, while avoiding the errors of the past. Of course, in this particular question, since one needs no permission to say Mass ad orientem the point is rather moot. The only thing that could be done would be to enforce the ad orientem posture. While I can understand the hesitance of the Holy See to go to that extent at this time, what would be helpful would be to encourage, in the strongest and clearest possible terms, the legality and liturgical and theological reasons that make our traditional liturgical posture desireable -- and by consequence also teach how the liturgy should be approached and understand even when said versus populum. This would go a long way to help empower priests and the faithful who desire to help do their part to resolve the present liturgical crisis. The Cardinal may well not be saying anything contrary to what I have just said of course. I think it just bears being stated, and also that at least some kind of action, even the action of clear pronouncements, would be very timely and helpful.]
Indeed, he quickly dismisses the mere suggestion that wielding a little more authority would help. “You do not create reverence by decree from the Vatican,” he says with an enormous smile. “It’s not a work that one person alone can do. Reverence is based on faith.” [NLM Comment: Again, while it is true that decrees alone aren't sufficient, we do need clear decrees and direction from the Holy See to empower those who seek to restore the liturgy in a hermeneutic of continuity, and very clearly draw the lines of what is liturgically discontinuous and a distortion. We also need resolutions to any sort of vagueness in liturgical law. So while decrees and authority are not the sole answer, they are certainly a part of it I would propose. We need our pastors to be very clear on these points. This will also help that very large segment of the faithful who aren't certain what the mind of the Church is on these matters, or have been taught something contrary.] As an example, he recounts a time when a Protestant asked a Catholic about the purpose of the Tabernacle. When the Catholic replied that it was where Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament was kept, the Protestant said (and the cardinal tells this part with added verve): “If you believe that it is Jesus Christ, why don’t you genuflect? Why don’t you crawl on the ground?” The Protestant, says Cardinal Arinze, was correct. “Many people’s faith in Christ in the Holy Eucharist is weak,” he says, “and they show it by lack of reverence.”
We move on to the long-awaited motu proprio in which the Pope is expected to liberalise usage of the Tridentine Rite (the pre-1962 Mass). The cardinal has little to say on this as it is not his responsibility, but he maintains it is still under consideration and that the Pope is keen that it won’t create division, hence the delays. But he uses the subject to censure those who still refuse to accept the Second Vatican Council and who blame it for the Church’s current ills. Just because a priest may depart from the rulebook doesn’t mean it was the Council’s fault, he argues. And secular society also plays a role. “Some blame the Vatican Council for everything – they say if it rained last week it was the Second Vatican Council that caused it,” he laughs.
He believes that to tackle all these challenges all Catholics need to get to grips with their faith by reading the Catechism or the Compendium. Then it’s up to the priest. “The way he celebrates and the people around him – does that manifest the faith of the whole Church?” he asks. “Does that wake up those who are half asleep [or] when, next Sunday comes, do they feel, ‘Oh Lord help us, we have to go back to that Church and be again with that priest for one and a half hours?’ ”
In common with most Africans, Cardinal Arinze has a refreshing fervour and frankness about the faith that Europe largely lacks. Perhaps, then, he may still be an ideal candidate to lead the Church’s new evangelisation. But that, as the cardinal would say, is just a journalist’s presumption.
You can read the rest of our news coverage in this week’s Catholic Herald
© 2006 The Catholic Herald Ltd
[Final NLM Comment: I would urge people here who might be tempted to "bash" Cardinal Arinze to not do so. Overall, the Cardinal has an evident love of the tradition and our traditional liturgical piety and principles. There is much we agree on, and where there are disagreements, it seems to me they tend to be on the practical level of what we are to do now in the face of our present situation.]
A few posts back I blogged about GIA's serviceable book on Passion narratives in English - a wonderful book.
But let's say you are in a parish where more is possible: Latin, ideally. Well, resources have been scarce until now. Thanks to the Lenten sacrifice of a reader of NLM, a book with the full Holy Week chants in Latin with music is now back in print, all 533 pages of it. The nearly impossible-to-find 1922 book was scanned in high quality and is now available in book form.
This book saves readers and singers vast amounts of work in pointing the text. And while the Ratisbone neumes are not as beautiful as Solesmes, one person who bought this book praised the typeface because of its supreme readability. The blocky old-style neumes serve a purpose in this case: mitigating against errors. All the Gospels are here, along with the propers and all chants of the week.
The book is Officium Majoris Hebdomadae, et Octavae Paschae, Cum Cantu. It offers far more detail and much larger typeface than the Liber Cantualis. It was the kind of book that was a staple in any cathedral in the past, and it is a great pleasure to see it available again, not just for someone lucky enough to find it in some dusty old shop but in a shiny new edition. Old treasures, for new times.
Our parish is not ready for this step yet, but owning it provides a ideal to which we can look forward - someday.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
A few days back, Matt Alderman posted on the celebration of a classical Roman liturgy in St. Mary's, Stamford, Connecticut.
This mass was celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego, Salvatore Cordileone.
In a piece on this event by Jamie DeLoma for a local newspaper, Bishop Cordileone is reported as having said:
"It is my hope that the Latin Mass, according to the 1962 Missal, would be not a relic of the past but a living, viable expression and experience of faith and worship to help strengthen us in our Catholic heritage to resist the false promises the world holds out to us and live a life of virtue and authentic joy..."
The following image is of Cordileone, though not at this particular event:
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Here at Saint-Wandrille, we have just finished our weekly chant practice. It's a Friday penance for our maître de choeur! Those who are familiar with the Graduale won't be surprised that we spent much of the time working on the tract for the first Sunday of Lent, which consists of a goodly portion of psalm 90, "Qui habitat in adiutorio Altissimi". The Sunday tracts are one of the most splendid aspects of Lent, as well as fair bit of work. This time round, I was particularly struck by the last verse "Eripiam eum, et glorificabo eum: longitudinem dierum adimplebo eum, et ostendam illi salutare meum." "I will deliver him, and glorify him: I will fill him with length of days, and I shall show him my salvation." Until "adimplebo eum", the melody follows the pattern of the preceeding lines. Throughout the piece, the highest note is La. Then the last "illi" goes up to Si flat, and the rest differs from what preceeds. It sounds like somewhere behind the melody, there's an alleluia hiding, not quite showing itself. St. Benedict tells his monks that during Lent they should await Easter with the joy of spiritual desire; it seems to me that this joy suddenly erupts at the end of the tract.
During the rehearsal, our maître de choeur told us something he learned from the choirmaster of Le Mans cathedral, who is one of our secular oblates and one of the best non-monastic experts on Gregorian chant in France. In one of the folio Graduales in the chapter library in Le Mans, there are annotations to the longer tracts which read, "Here the cantors have a drink." It made me think of how St Benedict says that the servers in the refectory are to have a snack ("mixtum") before serving a meal, so that they can acomplish their task without undue fatigue. We must always bear in mind the needs of human weakness in the service of God! Nonetheless, we will get through this Sunday's tract without having a drink, as we do every year.
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
A question came into NLM about an edition of the Passion narratives in English. An answer points to here, an edition published by GIA.
I'm particularly intrigued by this very blunt advertising copy, which does make one think: "Liturgists, theologians, Scripture scholars, and pastors alike are growing in their awareness of the total inappropriateness of having the assembly 'play act' by shouting, 'Crucify him!' and 'Let his blood be upon us and upon our children.' Why do some insist on asking people to say things they don't mean? No wonder assemblies never really shout, 'Crucify him!' This edition restores the Passion Gospels to the idiom of proclamation before the assembly."
Over at Fr. Zuhldorf's blog, he provides a link to a translated piece (coming originally via the Cafeteria is Closed) wherein Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn discusses ad orientem and versus populum: Ad orientem versus at the Viennese Cafeteria
Fr. Zuhlsdorf gives some interesting commentary through the piece.
I believe that one question which fails to be given enough emphasis when this issue arises in this kind of context (I speak of the Cardinal, not Fr. Zuhlsdorf) is that practical consideration, apart from the question of theology (which indeed would find neither orientation inadmissable inherently), of how this shift to versus populum liturgies has been understood and implemented by faithful and priests alike and the fruits that have come from that in our current secular and ecclesial culture.
A great problem in the liturgy today is the over-emphasis upon the communal, as well as a fundamental misperception of the nature of the Christian community in the liturgy and the ultimate horizontalization of the liturgy. That being the case, a pragmatic question enters in addition to the questions of our longstanding liturgical tradition of ad orientem and that is this: which practice can best serve as a corrective to this problem, or help prevent the problem in the first place, and also best stand in continuity with our tradition and acting in unison with the various ritual traditions of the Church? The answer is clearly ad orientem.
While versus populum is not inherently wrong, and could be received properly under the proper conditions and disposition of both the priest and the laity, we can ask, what have been the effects as we've found them in our climate and conditions?
We can argue for intellectual catechesis as the answer, but as we all know, in liturgical matters, while catechesis is great, liturgical praxis itself is often the best form of catechesis. This is particularly the case when you are dealing with two warring liturgical theologies. In such an instance, what is needed is enforcement and actions which speak of the message the Church wishes to get across.
Somehow, the William Mahrt statement before the USCCB subcommittee on "Music in Catholic Worship" was lost in the transition to a new site. Fortunately, it will appear in the Spring 2007 issue of Sacred Music, and it is posted again with a new layout. Here is where Professor Mahrt takes apart the document piece by piece, as a good editor might, bring to bear his lifetime expertise on the history and meaning of the relationship between liturgy and music.
Something tells me that when, in forty years, people look back to find the major milestones in the restorative efforts concerning liturgical music, this statement will stand out. I don't believe that anything so thorough, calm, sweeping, and ultimately withering, has ever been written about this document that has had such an enormous impact on American liturgical life.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
The Baltimore Sun runs a story on that community's classical Roman liturgy, titled: Enthusiastic Catholics clamor for Mass of past
Posted Sunday, February 25, 2007
Back during the 2006 RICL conference with Alcuin Reid and others, I had the pleasure of meeting a handful of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, the Mother of the Eucharist whose convent is near Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Recently a news story was aired on NBC. You can click here to see the video -- you'll have to put up with a preliminary commercial, be forewarned.
Incidentally, aside from the rapid growth of this particular Dominican community (which has apparently risen from 4 to over 70 sisters in a matter of a decade), one of the things I most noted about this community is their astounding (and new) chapel:
One wonders if they have, or have any plans, to try to get the (at least) occasional celebration of the Dominican rite liturgy in this beautiful chapel as well.
If they do, I hope they might record it, or, if the public is allowed, to advertise such so that we might avail ourselves at times to this rich and wonderful liturgical treasure of the Church, and enjoy the company of these fine sisters and their beautiful foundation.
Posted Sunday, February 25, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
An interesting description of the Carthusian liturgy as it stood in pre-conciliar times:
The conventual Mass, which is always sung, is preceded by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the litanies of the saints.
The Carthusian liturgy differs considerably from the Roman Rite, being substantially that of Grenoble in the twelfth century with some admixture from other sources.
There are no servers at the high Mass, and the priest is attended by the deacon, who wears neither alb nor dalmatic, but the cuculla ecclesiastics and, for the Gospel only, a stole.
The subdeacon merely reads the Epistle at the lectern in the middle of the choir.
There are many other points of difference. Copes and monstrances are unknown in the charterhouse.
After the conventual Mass the priests say their private Masses, reciting Terce with the server before vesting and Sext de Beata after their thanksgiving.
Posted Saturday, February 24, 2007
Latin rite Catholics are accustomed to condensed books such as the Breviarium Romanum or Liturgy of the Hours. As such, it can be frustrating to a Latin rite Catholic that is accustomed to a comprehensive single, two or four volume set for the divine office, when they determine they are interested in learning more about the divine office as celebrated in the Byzantine liturgical tradition.
The trials and tribulations within our own Latin rite liturgical tradition has had the positive effect of not only a greater appreciation and interest being taken in our own liturgical tradition and legitimate diversity, but also that of the venerable Christian East. Inevitably, this interest can result in a certain percentage of Latin rite Catholics choosing to worship in one of the Eastern Christian traditions, of the Byzantine in particular, or wishing to adopt some of the richness of that tradition into their personal prayer lives. That might find them going to the Divine Liturgy regularly or from time to time, or it may be as simple as praying the Jesus Prayer, or the Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God, or it may result in a desire to shift over to praying to the Byzantine equivalent of the liturgy of the hours.
The trial that a Latin rite Catholic (if not also a Byzantine Catholic!) interested in the Byzantine celebration of the Hours is that they are often faced with the fact that, unlike the Western tradition, single compilations of the divine office where typically not produced. The Hours in the Eastern Church often are made up of a variety of different books. The normal celebration of the divine office can be confusing enough for a Catholic not accustomed to praying in accordance with the liturgical seasons or feast of the day, but if page-turning can be confusing, having to navigate multiple volumes can be even moreso.
Until this time, the only single volume option was Byzantine Daily Worship by the respected Eastern Archbishop, Joseph Raya. This volume included a selection of the Byzantine Hours, and also included the Eucharistic liturgies of the Byzantine tradition. A handy volume yet, but by no means complete, and not always terribly easy to find.
I was thus delighted when I happened across another volume, picking up from this tradition, published by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford, Connecticut in 2003. The book is 1373 pages, and is published in a very attractive volume that looks like the typical single volume breviary Latin rite Catholics would be accustomed to in our own rite, including six sewn in ribbons. It is also an extremely attractive volume, with an ornate gold Byzantine cross on the front and embossed into the black leather of the cover and spine are ornate, floriated ornamental designs. When I first saw the book, I was stunned by its beauty as a liturgical book -- and this ought to be our impression of our liturgical books. The interior of the volume is also quite nice, incorporating red rubrical texts and borders, and employing traditional Byzantine ornamental banners throughout the book.
The volume is titled: Divine Office: Horologion, Octoechos, Triodion, Menaion
Of course, my perception of this book is primarily as a handy reference for the divine office in the Byzantine tradition. It seems to me, however, that for a truly rounded review, what is best is to gain the perspective of a Byzantine Catholic priest who is already accustomed to the Byzantine Hours. They will provide the best insight into the useability of the book. To that end, I happened across this very recent post on this very book by a Melkite Catholic priest on his blog, Byzantine Ramblings. I felt in best to offer up his review in combination with my own perceptions, to give the greatest overall perspective on this volume:
For handiness, the Ukrainian Church wins hand down. The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford published a one volume edition of the Divine Office in 2003. This book is a step forward from earlier attempts at an English language one volume Byzantine Divine Office, such as the monumental Byzantine Daily Worship by Archbishop Raya and Barn de Vinck, originally published in 1969.
My deacon and I have started using this volume to fulfill our obligations to pray the offices on a daily basis. I recommend it, with qualifications. At 1373 pages, it contains a sufficient number of selections from the Ochtoechos, the Menaia, the Triodion and Pentecostarion to allow keeping the offices, with the convenience of all being contained in one fairly handy and handsome volume. The text is of a comfortable font and size. Rubrics are in red and each page features a nice red border. Six coloured ribbons allow one to mark the necessary pages to pray the offices.
There are drawbacks and shortcomings, however. These do not disqualify the volume, but should be considered by anyone pondering whether to spend $100 plus shipping.
The first shortcoming is the arrangement of the material. The common texts of the services are placed at the beginning of the book. As these pages get used most frequently, wear on them is inevitable. Placing them at the beginning of the volume immediately leads to a weakening of the spine. A better option would have been to follow the custom of the Roman Hours (proven through experience) and locate this section somewhere in the middle of the volume. While this may seem counter-intuitive, a service book so arranged is much easier to use.
Mirroring this shortcoming, the volume places the Troparia, Kontakia, Theotokia and other common hymns just before the calendar at the very end of the volume. This typically leads to several ribbons marking the Troparia, Theotokia and calendar, all bunched together. At the cost of a few extra pages, the Troparia, Kontakia and Hypacoe could have been distributed appropriately in the Ochtoechos section, leaving the Theotokia and common Troparia to share a single ribbon. The calendar might have been better placed just before the Menaia section.
The layout of the services themselves could benefit from a slight revision. A highlighter aids clarity in keeping Vespers and Orthros (Matins in this edition) as the order of the service printed is that of Sundays and Feast Days. That said, the only real complaint here is that the ending of the services requires that one refer back to the conclusion of Vespers. These 'variations on a theme' might have been printed on the fly leaves, similar to a popular French language edition of the Roman Hours. Not being very familiar with the Ukrainian usage, I'm not sure whether what appears to be several 'mis-locations' are errors or simply a different practice than that with which I am familiar.
An almost to-be-expected shortcoming is the presence of a considerable number of misprints, typos, if you will. Given the size of the project it is understandable that this would happen.
As to the texts used in this volume, the Psalms are from the Grail Psalter (second edition, I think; with jarringly silly "inclusive language"). The Scripture passages are seemingly taken from the New American Bible (don't get me started). The text of the services themselves would seem to be the approved English version used by the Ukrainian Archeparchy. Personally, I don't have a problem with this, although it is not the text familiar to Melkite Catholics.
Not perfect by any means; but as I said at the outset, worth a recommendation, if only a qualified one.
As one can see from Father's review, there are some elements, such as inclusive language psalms, which are unfortunate. That being said, to date this is the single best and most comprehensive collection of the Byzantine Hours that I have come across and I would recommend it for anyone looking to say the Byzantine Hours, or have a handy reference to them. As you will note in Father's review on Byzantine Ramblings however, this should not be understood to be utterly comprehensive as this comprises a selection of the various books that form the Byzantine Hours. But it perhaps represents the greatest and most comprehensive selection to date in a single volume, and one which at least gives a good and thorough representation of the Byzantine tradition.
Those interested in this title are likely best to contact the Eparchy of Stamford by email.
Posted Saturday, February 24, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
I wanted to draw readers attention to two books, which while not liturgical, I think would be of interest.
The first book was written by Fr. Peter Milward, S.J. and is titled, Shakespeare the Papist, published by Sapientia Press. ($27.95. ISBN1-932589-21-X. Link to Product)
Recently, Clare Asquith made headlines with her own book on this subject, but Fr. Milward has been another important entity in this discussion about William Shakespeare and the theory that he may have secretly been a Catholic. Early on he wrote a book, published by the Saint Austin Press, The Catholicism of Shakespeare's Plays. Shakespeare the Papist is similiar to this original smaller work, but gives a more dense consideration of the subject.
Fr. Milward begins the book by introducing the basic question that drives the considerations of the rest of the book: was William Shakespeare a recusant Catholic? Milward sets the scene of Elizabethan England and the dangers for any professed or discovered Catholic, and particularly priests. He considers the Shakespeare's own family and also the possibility of Catholic connections with the likes of St. Edmund Campion or others.
After making this general consideration, Milward proceeds to analyze various aspects of each of Shakespeare's plays to analyze them for Catholic content. In so doing, Milward is forced to consider some aspects of Shakespeare's plays which might, at first glance, appear to speak against his thesis. Milward, however, does a good job critically examining these problems and gives possible explanations -- while still acknowledging the difficulties for what they are. Whether difficulties or no, Milward makes a compelling argument for an underlying Catholic message and influence.
The essential beauty of a book of this sort is two-fold. On the one hand, one gains insight into an interesting thesis that looks at an interesting, if dismaying, period of English Catholic history. In the second instance, it also provides an opportunity to become more familiar with Shakespeare's plays themselves, with some of their basic themes.
I would propose that any Catholic interested in literature would be extremely intrigued by this particular volume, and it would be an interesting exercise, the next time you are set to see one of Shakespeare's plays, to read the particular summary of Milward for that play. One might just see the play in a new and possible light.
The second book I wished to draw your attention to is published by Gracewing, Faith and Fortune by Madeleine Beard. (Link to Product)
This particular title considers both the prejudices against the Catholic faith in England of the 19th century, and the journey of certain of the English aristocracy back to their Catholic roots.
What is of liturgical interest in this title is that in the course of the book, Madeleine Beard takes readers through some of the experiences of English aristocrats abroad, escaping the cooler English winters for those of the milder Meditteranean. This brought many of these individuals into contact with an uninterrupted Catholicism whose liturgy and piety had continuous growth through the centuries -- unlike its then state in England as a persecuted minority. As such, readers are treated to interesting descriptions of papal Masses, processions and piety of 19th century Italy, Spain and the Catholic continent generally -- which, I have personally found to be of great liturgical interest.
What one gets out of the book will vary, though for myself, this cue as to the liturgical life and popular practices as Rome, Spain and such was particularly of interest. Others will find of greater interest the stories of conversion, or insight into the politics and polemics that English Catholics and English Catholic converts faced.
All said, a very unique and interesting book.
In case you needed any more reason to go to the Tridentine Mass at Stamford, Connecticut, this weekend, the picture above shows the venue, St. Mary's Church. I am reminded of Ralph Adams Cram's comment concerning a Pittsburgh church he did; he said it would be so Gothic, the client's wife wouldn't be able to sleep nights.
I've encountered--with greater and greater frequency--numerous members of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation (CL to its friends) since I got to New York, and while I have managed to forget to attend nearly every meeting I've been invited to, I have ended up at number of cultural events and lectures they have sponsored. They strike me as good folks, faithful, and very welcoming to non-members or occasional participants.
Anyway, while I can't make it to their Way of the Cross this coming Good Friday--I hope to hear Fr. Rutler's famous Seven Last Words Sermons at Our Saviour's--I thought I might pass this along for anyone with their daily planners out right now:
As you may already be aware, on Good Friday, April 6th, the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation, with the support of the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn will lead its 12th annual Way of the Cross procession over the Brooklyn Bridge.The accompanying flyer notes the procession will begin at 10:00 a.m., April 6, 2007, at St. James Cathedral-Basilica,250 Cathedral Place (corner of Jay and Tillary Streets, Borough Hall stop for A, C and F trains), Downtown Brooklyn. It will stop at Ground Zero, arriving eventually at its final destination, St. Peter’s Church, 16 Barclay Street, Lower Manhattan. The event will end at 1:30 p.m.
This email is to invite you and all your friends to this beautiful and
powerful gesture which gives witness to Christ's love to the entire city of New York in a very public way. It would give us great joy if you can join us.
Last year, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, gave us a special Apostolic Blessing for this event. In it, he stated: "[...] this powerful act of witness will encourage Christians to strengthen their commitment to bring the splendor of Christ's liberating truth to the public forum, shining as a beacon of justice, peace, and hope for all."
Yours in Christ,
Responsible of NY Community
Communion and Liberation
For more information, telephone 212 337 3580, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wocbrooklynbridge.com.
Thanks for a few of our readers pointing out this story, Saint Louis Catholic: Traditional Latin Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Feb. 22, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has announced that he will soon release the apostolic exhortation summarizing the work of the Synod on the Eucharist, which concluded its deliberations 16 months ago.
The appearance of the apostolic exhortation is “imminent,” the Holy Father told priests of the Rome diocese, during a traditional early-Lenten meeting in the Hall of Benedictions at the Vatican on Thursday morning.
In June 2006, the bishops who make up the ordinary council of the Synod completed a final text on the previous year's Synod on the Eucharist, to be submitted to the Pope as the basis for his apostolic exhortation.
The Synod of Bishops met in October 2005 to discuss the theme, “The Eucharist: Living Bread for Peace in the World,” with 256 bishops from 118 countries participating in the discussions. In a break from the usual practice, the Synod fathers made public an “unofficial” list of the 50 propositions approved at the conclusion of their deliberations. Ordinarily the propositions remain confidential to be used by the Pope in preparing an apostolic exhortation on the topic of the Synod's deliberations. But Pope Benedict approved the public release of the conclusions.
During his February 22 meeting with priests of Rome, the Pope said that his apostolic exhortation would offer a series of meditations on some of the key points made during the Synod.
Pope Benedict did not mention the motu proprio that he is also expected to release in the near future, allowing broader use of the pre-conciliar Latin liturgy. Several Vatican journalists have suggested that the motu proprio is likely to appear in conjunction with the apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, although the Holy See has not confirmed that speculation.
Here is a wonderful collection of MP3s, from St. Clement's Church in Philadelphia.
A couple of announcements from readers:
On Sunday February 25 at 11:30 AM Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, auxiliary bishop of San Diego, will celebrate a Solemn Pontifical Mass (classical rite) at St. Mary's Church, Stamford CT. The church is one of the largest and best preserved Gothic revival churches in the Fairfield/Westchester county area.
Seeking singers who love Catholic polyphony and/or Chant
Can you sing? A Pontifical Tridentine Nuptial Mass is being offered in South Texas of which a professional CD is being recorded by a Catholic artists' institute. A documentary on the wedding is also being produced.
Are there any singers who are interested in singing some of the greatest music ever written? A schola will be singing chant and a polyphonic choir of 45-55 will be singing great music by Morales, Lassus, Josquin, Gombert, and other masters. However, it is not an excessive amount to learn: most of the pieces are very short 1-2 minutes.
Practice CD's and booklets are available. The Mass is happening in a church with a gorgeous acoustic.
The dates are April 13 (evening) and April 14 (daytime). This is happening in Corpus Christi, TX.
This is happening with the permission of the Bishop of Corpus Christi. Several diocesan priests are also involved.
Anyone who can help, please don't delay. Please E-mail: email@example.com
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
An interview with Abbot Christopher M. Zielinski OSB
Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey
Will the Pope restore the Tridentine Mass?
Abbot: The Tridentine Mass, the Mass of St. Pius V cannot be considered abolished by the so-called new mass of Paul VI. We must never forget that the Second Vatican Council was not a break from the past, but a renewal in continuity. That is why the question regarding the liturgy must be one of seeking the true sense of the Council and implementing it. Therefore, the question that needs to be asked is whether or not the Indult of Pope John Paul II and the creation of the Pontifical Commission of Ecclesia Dei, that gave permission to the Bishops to allow for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, was implemented in the spirit of justice and compassion.
Well, was the Indult of John Paul II implemented in the spirit of justice and compassion?
Abbot: Unfortunately, some Bishops have not always granted the Indult. When this did happen, the conditions were often very difficult and almost impossible for its practical implementation. Therefore, if there is to be a motu proprio regarding a universal indult for the Old Mass, it means that the present one is not meeting the pastoral needs of the traditionalist world.
But is the traditionalist world so important that the Holy Father should risk his pontificate by giving them a motu proprio?
Abbot: Jesus Christ, when talking about the Good Shepherd and the lost sheep, spoke about leaving the ninety-nine in order to seek out the one. We are talking about one percent. But we are also talking about the very vocation of the Good Shepherd. It is interesting to note that some Bishops speak about the Traditionalists as a “drop in the ocean.” As a matter of fact, the traditionalist world constitute a little over one percent of the Catholic Population. How Christ-like indeed it would be to offer a gesture of pastoral love in the form of a motu proprio!
Would a motu proprio be for the intention of bringing the Lefebvrians back to Rome?
Abbot: The motu proprio would be a response of justice and compassion not only to the traditionalist world, but also to the Church as a whole. We must never think that a motu proprio would be written only for the Lefebvrians. As Archbishop A. M. Ranjith, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship stated very clearly, “The Tridentine Mass is a treasure for the entire People of God and not the private property of the Society of St. Pius X.” But I am most certain that those in the Society are praying and waiting with great hope for a motu proprio regarding a universal indult for the Old Mass.
What is your relationship with the Lefebvrian world?
Abbot: I met Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior of the Society of St. Pius X, more than five years ago. During that time, I have come to know many other priests, and also monks and religious who are connected with the Society. I was invited to speak at the recent Congress of “Si, Si. No, No” in Paris. And there, I spoke about my experience of the Tridentine Mass as a recovery of the sacrificial nature of the Mass. The Traditional Rite has a very important role to play in the Church. It can enhance reverence and the sense of mystery and awe before God’s action.
I am honored by their friendship and also their trust. I have been able to listen and enter deeply into not only their preoccupations and fears, but also their immense love for the Church and for the Holy Father. Their words, articles and letters can seem to some to be very strong, and therefore, cause much distress; however, what they say about the liturgy and theology is not to be overlooked or dismissed. Until there is full unity and full mutual charity, one cannot be scandalized if there is some “verbal intemperance.”
But some Bishops affirm that the Lefebvrians should recognize the legitimacy of the Pope.
Abbot: Unfortunately, even at high levels in the Church, there is not always full knowledge of the Society. The Society has always recognized the legitimate successor of St. Peter. There are traditionalist groups that do not recognize the last popes after Pius XII. These are called “empty throne” people. Visiting some of the Societies’ houses, I was amazed to see the photo of Benedict XVI and also to know that they pray daily for him and the Church.
Do you think that a possible motu proprio would help the Lefebvrians return to Rome?
Abbot: I believe that a motu proprio would be a first step towards full communion. However, the simple restoration of the Old Mass is not only what the Society is looking for. They are asking very serious theological and liturgical questions that we must address. Otherwise, we reduce the whole question of Monsignor Fellay and the members of the Society to a question of choreography and not to substantial questions of faith. The motu proprio, therefore, is a beginning. But also, it is the possible beginning of a reform and renewal of the sacramental character of the liturgy; and therefore, the beginning of a liturgical movement that wants for the People of God a new awakening of the faith.
Some Bishops, priests and theologians say that a motu proprio allowing broader use of the Tridentine Rite would “plunge us back into the liturgical life of another age.” What is your thought about this?
Abbot: Liturgical time is a sacred and holy time. I guess we could call it “timeless.” And the reason is that the Mass has to do with eternity and not with days, weeks, months or years.
Is there need of a new liturgical reform?
Abbot: I believe that the Dogmatic Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium was a response to a widely held conviction that the liturgy needed a reform. The Council Fathers were seeking to bring out the community aspects of the mass, as well as make it more effective in teaching the truths of the Catholic Faith. Unfortunately, the theological necessity for a continuity in the underlying doctrine and structure of the celebration of the Mass in its preconciliar and post conciliar forms had undergone a rupture or break with Tradition. That is what we are dealing with today. The Second Vatican Council clearly called for some modest reforms in the liturgy, but it intended them to be organic and clearly in continuity with the past. The Old Rite becomes a living treasure of the Church and also should provide a standard of worship, of mystery, and of catechesis toward which the celebrations of the Novus Ordo must move. In other words, the Tridentine Mass is the missing link. And unless it be re-discovered in all its faithful truth and beauty, the Novus Ordo will not respond to the organic growth and change that has characterized the liturgy from its beginning. This is what should be prompting many of us to the founding of a new liturgical movement which will be able to give back to the liturgy its sacramental and supernatural character, and awaken in us a faithful understanding of the Catholic Liturgy.
Date: June 18-22, 2007
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[Courtesy, Inside the Vatican]
All who are interested in the Church’s liturgy are wondering if the Pope will soon issue a motu proprio allowing the celebration of the "Old Mass," and (if he does), what it will say. One of the Vatican’s liturgists sheds light on the Pope’s plans
ANTHONY VALLE: Your Excellency, you have been generous in giving several interviews to the international press regarding liturgy since becoming the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Some of your statements have been misinterpreted and aroused controversy rather than providing the intended clarity. Would you care to clarify anything?
ARCHBISHOP MALCOLM RANJITH: What I wished to insist on in those interviews was that the post-conciliar reform of the liturgy has not been able to achieve the expected goals of spiritual and missionary renewal in the Church so that today we could be truly happy about it.
Undoubtedly there have been positive results too; but the negative effects seem to have been greater, causing much disorientation in our ranks.
The churches have become empty, liturgical free-wheeling has become the order of the day, and the true meaning and significance of that which is celebrated has been obscured.
One has to, then, begin wondering if the reform process had in fact been handled correctly. Thus, we need to take a good look at what had happened, pray and reflect about its causes and with the help of the Lord move on to make the necessary corrections.
VALLE: It seems as if Pope Benedict XVI will release a motu proprio to liberalize the use of the traditional or Tridentine Mass. Some hope that the Pope’s motu proprio will institute a juridical structure enabling priests to celebrate the traditional Mass without being unjustly harassed and persistently thwarted by, ironically, not people of other faiths or secular authorities, but by their own pastors and bishops. Is this hope for a new juridical apparatus realistic? Is such an apparatus necessary?
RANJITH: Well, there is this rising call for a restoration of the Tridentine Mass. And even certain leading figures of the elite have made public appeals for this Mass in some newspapers recently.
The Holy Father will, I am sure, take note of this and decide what is best for the Church.
You speak of the possible realization of new juridical structures for the implementation of such decisions. I do not think that this would be so much of a problem. Rather what is more important in all of this is a pastoral attitude.
Will the bishops and priests reject requests for the Tridentine Mass and so create a need for juridical structures to ensure the enforcement of a decision of the Pope? Should it go that way?
I sincerely do not hope so.
The appropriate question the shepherds have to ask themselves is: How can I as a bishop or priest bring even one person closer to Christ and to His Church?
It is not so much a matter of the Tridentine Mass or of the Novus Ordo. It is just a question of pastoral responsibility and sensitivity.
Thus, if the Tridentine Mass is the way to achieve an even better level of spiritual enrichment for the faithful, then the shepherds should allow it.
The important concern is not so much the "what" as much as the "how." The Church should always seek to help our faithful to come closer to the Lord, to feel challenged by His message and to respond to His call generously. And if that can be achieved through the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass or the Pius V Mass, well, then space should be provided for whatever is best instead of getting down to unnecessary and divisive theological hair-splitting. Such things need to be decided through the heart and not so much through the head.
After all, Pope John Paul II did make a personal appeal in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta of 1988 to the bishops, calling upon them to be generous in this matter with those who wish to celebrate or participate in the Tridentine Mass. Besides, we should remember that the Tridentine Mass is not something that belongs to the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre only. It is part of our own heritage as members of the Catholic Church.
The Second Vatican Council, as Pope Benedict so clearly stated in his speech to the members of the Curia in December 2005, did not envisage a totally new beginning, but one of continuity with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and a new outlook that better responds to the missionary needs of the time.
Besides, we also have the serious question of the diminishing number of faithful in some of the churches in the Western world. We have to ask ourselves what happened in these churches and then take corrective steps as may be necessary. I do not think that this situation is attributable to secularization only. A deep crisis of faith coupled with a drive for meaningless liturgical experimentation and novelty have had their own impact in this matter. There is much formalism and insipidity visible at times.
Thus, we need to recover a true sense of the sacred and mystical in worship.
And if the faithful feel that the Tridentine Mass offers them that sense of the sacred and mystical more than anything else, then we should have the courage to accept their request.
With regard to the timing and nature of the motu proprio, nothing yet is known. It is the Holy Father who will decide.
And when he does, we should in all obedience accept what he indicates to us and with a genuine love for the Church strive to help him. Any counter attitude would only harm the spiritual mission of the Church and thwart the Lord’s own will.
VALLE: Like many Catholics today, my wife and I have found that we leave the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass on Sunday exasperated and perplexed rather than spiritually invigorated. Why?
RANJITH: In the celebration of the Novus Ordo we have to be very serious about what we do on the altar. I cannot be a priest who dreams in his sleep about what I will do at the Mass the following day, walk up to the altar and start celebrating with all kinds of novel self-created rubrics and actions.
The Holy Eucharist belongs to the Church. Hence, it has a meaning of its own which cannot be left to the idiosyncrasies of the single celebrant.
Every element in the liturgy of the Church has its own long history of development and significance. It is certainly not a matter of private "traditions" and so cannot be the object of manipulation by all and sundry.
In fact, Sacrosanctum Concilium does state that other than the Apostolic See and the bishops, where this is allowed to the latter by the former, "absolutely no other person, not even a priest, may add or remove or change anything on his own authority" (SC 22). Even then, we note much free-wheeling in liturgical matters in some areas of the Church today, basically due to an incorrect understanding of liturgical theology.
For example, the mystery of the Holy Eucharist has often been misunderstood or partially understood, leaving thus the door open to all kinds of liturgical abuses.
In the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, some place too much accent on the presidential role of the priest. But we know that the priest is really not the main agent of what happens on the altar.
It is Jesus Himself.
Besides, every liturgical celebration has also a heavenly dimension "which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem towards which we journey as pilgrims" (SC 8).
Others explain the Eucharist in a way that places the accent on its banquet/meal dimension, linking it to "communion." This too is an important consideration, but we should remember that it is not so much a communion created by those taking part in the Eucharist as much as by the Lord Himself.
Through the Eucharist, the Lord assumes us unto Himself and in Him we are placed in communion with all the others who unite themselves to Him. It is thus not so much a sociological experience as much as a mystical one. Hence even as "communion" the Eucharist is a heavenly experience.
What is more important is the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist. Each time we celebrate the Eucharist we relive the sacrifice of Calvary, celebrating it as the moment of our salvation.
And this very fact also constitutes the unique dignity and font of identity of the priest. He has been instituted by Christ to celebrate the wonderful mystery of turning this corruptible piece of bread into the very glorified Body of Christ and this little bit of wine into the Blood of Christ, enacting the sacrifice of Calvary for the salvation of the world. And this has to be lived, understood and believed by the priest each time he celebrates the Eucharist.
Indeed, Sacrosanctum Concilium placed accent on the sacrificial and salvific effectivity of the Mass. The priest thus becomes another Christ, so to say. What a great vocation! And so, if we celebrate the Eucharist devoutly, then the faithful will reap immense spiritual benefit and return again and again in search of that heavenly nourishment.
VALLE: Some have contended that the solution to the liturgical crisis -- and at bottom the crisis of faith -- afflicting the Catholic Church today would be to implement the exclusive use of the Tridentine Mass, while others maintain that all we really need is a "reform of the reform," in other words, a reform of the Novus Ordo. What do you think?
RANJITH: An "either-or" attitude would unnecessarily polarize the Church, whereas charity and pastoral concern should be the motivating factors.
If the Holy Father so desires, both could co-exist.
That would not mean that we would have to give up the Novus Ordo. But in the interaction of the two Roman traditions, it is possible that the one may influence the other eventually.
We can’t say everything is completed and finished, that nothing new could happen. In fact, Vatican II never advocated immediate change in the liturgy. Rather it preferred change to "grow organically from forms already existing" (SC 23). As Cardinal Antonelli, a much revered member of the Concilium that undertook the revision of the liturgy after the Council, noted in his diaries, some of the liturgical changes after the Council had been introduced without much reflection, haphazardly, and made later to become accepted practice.
For example, Communion in the hand had not been something that was first properly studied and reflected upon before its acceptance by the Holy See. It had been haphazardly introduced in some countries of Northern Europe and later become accepted practice, eventually spreading into many other places. Now that is a situation that should have been avoided. The Second Vatican Council never advocated such an approach to liturgical reform.
VALLE: Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi ("The law of praying (is) the law of believing, (is) the law of living"). Is it true that how we worship and pray influences what we believe, and that what we believe influences how we live? In other words, liturgy ultimately influences our moral life, does it not?
RANJITH: Yes. How can we convince the faithful to make sacrifices in their ethical and moral options, unless they are first touched and inspired by the grace of God profoundly? And such happens especially in worship when the human soul is made to experience the salvific grace of God most intimately. In worship, faith becomes interiorized and brims over with inspiration and strength, enabling one to take the moral options that are in consonance with that faith. In the liturgy, we should experience the closeness of God to our heart so intensely that we in turn begin to believe fervently and are compelled to act justly.
VALLE: What are some contemporary liturgical trends or problems that need correction?
RANJITH: One of these, as I see, is the trend to go for ecumenical liturgies in replacement of the Sunday Mass in some countries, during which Catholic lay leaders and Protestant ministers celebrate together and the latter are invited to preach the homily. Sunday Liturgies of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion, which form is allowed in cases where a priest cannot be present, if turned into ecumenical events can give the faithful the wrong signal. They may get used to the idea of the Sunday without the Eucharist.
The Eucharist, as you know, makes the Church (Ed E. 21) and this is central to us Catholics. If it is so easily replaced by Liturgies of the Word, or worse still by so-called ecumenical prayer services, the very identity of the Catholic Church would be in question. Unfortunately, we hear also of cases whereby the Eucharist itself is being celebrated under various guises along with the Protestant pastors. This is totally unacceptable and constitutes a graviora delicta ("more grave offense") (RM 172).
Ecumenism is not something left to the ad hoc choice of individual priests. True ecumenism, such as the one espoused by Vatican II, comes from the heart of the Church. For example, the path to true ecumenism begins with serious reflection on the part of those who are deemed competent to engage in that type of reflection, such as the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Holy Father himself. Not everyone has the competence to know in what way this delicate search for unity is to be perceived. It needs much reflection and prayer. Hence, liturgical novelty in the name of ecumenism should not be tried out individually.
A second disturbing trend is the gradual replacement of the Mass celebrated by a priest with a paraliturgical service conducted by a lay person. This of course can legitimately happen when no priest is available and facilities for the fulfillment of Sunday obligation are scarce. However, this is an exception, not the rule. What is dangerous is to marginalize the priest even when he is available and some lay pastoral leader team arrogates to itself tasks that are reserved for the priests. I mean by this the trend to get the lay leader to preach the homily instead of the priest, even when he is present, or to distribute Holy Communion, leaving the priest to sit idle at the altar.
We have to stress here that, as the Second Vatican Council affirmed, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood "differ from one another in essence and not only in degree" (LG 10). And so it is gravely abusive to relegate to the laity the sacred obligations reserved to the priest.
What is unfortunate is the increasing tendency worldwide to laicize the priest and to clericalize the laity. This too is contra mentem ("against the mind" or "against the intention") of the Council.
There is also an increasing trend to shift the Sunday Mass to Saturdays almost as a "normal" practice. Rather than Sunday being the true day of the Lord, and so a day of spiritual and physical rest, there is a move to reduce its importance, making it become a day of worldly distractions. In Dies Domini, Pope John Paul II warned against this disturbing trend.
A final point I wish to make here concerns some practices introduced in mission territories, for example, in Asia, in the name of change, which are counter to its cultural heritage.
In some Asian countries we see a trend to introduce Communion in the hand which is received standing. This is not at all consonant with Asian culture. The Buddhists worship prostrate on the floor with their forehead touching the ground. Moslems take off their shoes and wash their feet before entering the mosque for worship. The Hindus enter the temple bare-chested as a sign of submission. When people approach the king of Thailand or the emperor of Japan, they do so on their knees as a sign of respect. But in many Asian countries the Church has introduced practices like just a simple bow to the Blessed Sacrament instead of kneeling, standing while receiving Holy Communion, and receiving Communion on the hand. And we know that these cannot be considered practices congruent with Asian culture.
Besides, the laity whose role today is being enhanced in the Church are not even consulted when such decisions are made.
All these situations do not augur well for the Church and we need to correct these trends, if the Eucharist we celebrate is to become, as St. Ignatius of Antioch affirmed, "medicine of immortality and antidote against death" (Eph. 20).
Anthony Valle is a theologian and writer who lives in Rome.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
When I was selling an English language edition of the Summa (or attempting to at any rate) to try to help fundraise toward some missals (a still ongoing task!), I was asked by a number of people if I had a Latin edition of the Summa available for sale. At the time, the answer was no.
However, I do now have a complete 3 volume, paperback edition (the Marietti edition) of St. Thomas' Summa Theologiae in Latin available. The text is clean and the set is in good shape. Retail value for such a set is around $125 USD-$150 USD plus shipping.
I also have a spare copy of "The Royal Patronage of the Liturgy in Frankish Gaul" by the Henry Bradshaw Society. Cloth hardcover with nice crest on the front. Given a good review by Alcuin Reid and one forthcoming here at some point. Retails at $65 USD, would like $40.
Please email me if you're interested and we can discuss.
I was asked if I could post this to our general readership. The Catholic Liturgical Library is undergoing some changes and they have hasked for feedback:
Catholic Liturgical Library Bleg
"Okay folks, we know that many of you have used catholicliturgy.com over the years as a liturgical resource. Since the site is currently not working, we thought it would be a decent time to ask what features you would most like to see in the site when we have a chance to update it. Go nuts! It’s just a wish list so ask for anything you want."
If you would like to offer your own input, please go to the link above and post your own comments.
Dr. Denis McNamara of the Liturgical Institute of Mundelein sent me the following YouTube links he recorded of the Sunday liturgy at a Benedictine Monastery in Israel.
What is interesting about this particular church is an almost completely intact, 12th-century Crusader church. The church apparently includes some newly discovered frescoes. You will also hear the beautiful chants and acoustics of this church.
[I wanted to note for folks that we should be careful to read who is writing a particular blog post. This blog is a group blog, made up of a number of writers. As such, some interpreted this piece by Michael Lawrence, one of the bloggers at the NLM, to mean that the NLM wasn't going to be blogging for the entire season of Lent. Michael has chosen to do such as part of his own Lenten spiritual exercises, but as for myself, Jeffrey Tucker, etc. we will be continuing to blog here at the NLM throughout Lent, Easter and on through Pentecost, etc. I edited out the last paragraph of Michael's note about his Lenten sacrifice simply so that this confusion might be avoided in other readers. - Shawn]
No, says one writer. Be sure to read this for yourself. While I'm not entirely convinced by his arguments, I do think that R.J. Stove has brought up some serious issues to think about. I think NLM has avoided many of the traps that are mentioned, but this should not excuse us from an examination of conscience.
Monday, February 19, 2007
At the Schola workshop this past weekend, people made lots of comments about the thrill of singing chant and polyphony. But one comment I heard again and again: the unique experience of singing without organ or piano, relying entirely on the human voice for entrances, pitches, sustained notes, and the whole apparatus of making music. The music isn't outside of us but within us and produced by us.
Coming to understand this and developing the ability to sing without instruments is one of the great challenges presented by sacred music, since we very rarely do this in our Karaoke culture.
So I was just reading the classic edition of Ward Two, now online and in print, and it turns out that Ward said the same thing regarding children: Some teachers "use the harmonium to excess, following the voices of the children note by note. This custom is not to be encouraged. The children become over dependent on exterior aid instead of using their own volition. They relapse into the passive attitude of listeners. Thus, the harmonium if used to excess, prevents the formation of good musical habits and renders the children parasitical."
By the way, I find myself oddly attracted to the unusual graphics in this 1936 book, such as this one that touched me. It is at once modern, retro, simple, and maybe a fashion that has passed, but still very elegant. Do you agree? Or am I just being bamboozled because I love these books such much?
Posted Monday, February 19, 2007
This past weekend, a few people forwarded me the following article by Father James Farfaglia, Catholic Liturgy in 'State of Emergency'.
Father hits a number of very good and important points in his piece, and I am delighted that he is so evidently concerned about the liturgy. I did, however, want to pose a few (constructively) critical thoughts as I think they are important if we are to move forward and also move beyond any approach to the liturgical question that could foster a "reform of the reform" vs. "Tridentine" idea; one that has reigned in the past and which, as Abbe Claude Barthe pointed out in his excellent book, Quel Chemin pour l'Eglise? (Eng. trans. Beyond Vatican II, Roman Catholic Books) there is a need to move beyond if we are to make significant progress in helping the Roman liturgy out of its present state of emergency -- as Father Farfaglia so aptly describes it.
In his piece, Father Faraglia identifies three groups on the liturgical question:
"One group rejects the Missal of Pope Paul VI. Another group has misconstrued the liturgical norms of the missal and continues to spread errors and abuses that have nothing to do with the liturgy. Yet another group attempts to show the importance and beauty of the liturgical changes brought about by the council through a delicate fidelity to all the liturgical norms of the Church."
The first group Father is identifying is that of the hardline traditionalist camp. This would include such as the sedevacantists, significant parts of the SSPX, and some within the classical liturgical movement under ecclesial approbation. They might be described as those who believe the Pauline missal should be discarded and a full restoration should happen with regard to the missal of 1962.
The second group are the so-called "progressivists" who we know only too well in their approach.
The final group is being identified with one particular school of thought within the reform of the reform camp. I should like to emphasize this point. So far as I can see, there are two major groups within the reform of the reform that I think are arguably identifiable. The first is that group which believes the modern Roman Missal is indeed the Missal of the Council and that we need simply clean up the external abuses perpetrated upon the liturgy, problems in translation, and work at re-introducing those external elements which were never intended to be lost, such as chant and Latin. The other school within the reform of the reform acknowledges the necessity of these points, but also looks deeper at the very Missal itself with a critical eye as regards some of its forms, its rubrics, often (though not necessarily) with an eye to the 1965 Ordo Missae. This latter grouping not only spans part of those who make up the "reform of the reform" camp, it also includes an ever-growing number of people within the classical liturgical movement.
As such, I'd like to propose that Father hasn't recognized the existence of a fourth group. This is a group who do not reject the principle of liturgical reform (done organically and in a hermeneutic of continuity of course), nor do they claim the Missal of Paul VI is invalid or believe it is to be utterly rejected and abolished (as would the first group Father identifies), but they do believe it is in need of a reform itself to bring it back closer in line with the mandate provided in Sacrosanctum Concilium and in closer proximity to the classical Roman liturgical tradition. As such, they believe that there is both a need to clean up abuses in the liturgy, lackings in the area of sacred music and so forth, but they also look deeper at the the desires of the Council, at the liturgical tradition, and at the way in which the reform happened and what it produced. Moreover, they support a "freeing" of the classical liturgy as both meritorious in its own right (particularly given the circumstances where there is an arguable "rupture") and as a way of informing and helping along this process of a reforming the reform.
The likes of Father Jonathan Robinson, for example, in The Mass and Modernity raises the question of the rubrics of the modern Roman Missal and whether they have allowed for too much subjectivity to enter into the liturgy, damaging what ought to be its objective character. This is one issue that must be examined that doesn't just touch upon externals of the liturgy, but the very missal itself. He moreover raises the question of the underlying philosophical principles of the post-Enlightenment era which may have influenced the approach to the liturgical reform; the likes of Fr. Aidan Nichols did such as well in his pioneering critique, Looking at the Liturgy: A Critical View of its Contemporary Form. In studying this question, Alcuin Reid, author of The Organic Development of the Liturgy has presented his findings that the Council Fathers where assured that in any reform of the Roman liturgy, the Ordo Missae as it had developed throughout the centuries was to be retained - something which, placing the two side by side, is quite arguably not what happened given the number of deletions and additions. His conclusion is that it is thus a reasonable proposition that we need to look again at the liturgical reform.
These are only a couple such, of many, examples of the deeper critique that is being made, and not in a spirit of rejection of the Council or of liturgical reform. It does question, however, the prudence and principles of certain reforms, and whether the liturgy received is truly that which was mandated by the Council and whether it diverged too far from the organic liturgical tradition as received.
Further on, Father suggests in his piece that "the Missal of Pope Paul VI is not a divergence from liturgical tradition". Certainly this is one argument, though it is only one argument. After all, let's remember the famously quoted assessment of Cardinal Ratzinger, which while not infallible should bear some weight: "in the place of liturgy as a fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it, as in a manufacturing process, with a fabrication..."
Cardinal Ratzinger is not of course suggesting by this statement that we must abolish the Pauline Missal, but he is pointing to a fundamental problem in the liturgical reform that resulted in the Pauline missal, and implicitly by consequence to some problems with the Pauline missal itself. The process of liturgical reform was not organic but was characterized by rupture; a fabricated, forced process, rather than a living and organic one. As such, the only conclusion that is logical to derive from this, if we accept it as true, is that there was indeed a divergence from the liturgical tradition, even though it was an approved one by the authority of Paul VI -- which raises the additional question of the prudent use of ecclesial authority.
Of course, Father is free to disagree with this assessment by Cardinal Ratzinger, but I would propose, at very least, the position should not be implied to be untenable or outside the Catholic pale if someone so theologically and liturgically informed as Ratzinger could make such an assessment, and echo it elsewhere in other writings.
Father points to the GIRM as his proof of his assertion, which comments upon the new Roman missal as acting in the same tradition at the Pian reforms:
"From the fact that the same words are used [by Sacrosanctum Concilium and St. Pius V in the call for reforms of the liturgical books] it can be seen how both Roman Missals, although separated by four centuries, embrace one and the same tradition. [The tradition of restoring the forms of the holy Fathers] Furthermore, if the inner elements of this tradition are reflected upon, it also becomes clear how outstandingly and felicitously the older Roman Missal is brought to fulfillment in the new'..." (GIRM)
Two things are spoken of here: the form of words used in expressing the desire for liturgical reform, and the "inner elements of this tradition". The former of course refers to a desire, but not to the specifics of liturgical reforms themselves. The latter refers to "inner elements of this tradition", which likewise cannot be understood as a comprehensive judgement upon the overall question or organic development and liturgical reform. It speaks to a specific dimension rather than the end product, or to the external forms of the liturgy, etc. (Certainly a side by side comparison of everything from the Ordo Missae to the liturgical year would speak of the substantive differences between what came before the Council and what followed in 1969.)
By no means, it would seem to me, should this be understood as a definitive and comprehensive judgement on whether or not there is a "divergence from liturgical tradition". We can only assume that the likes of someone such as Ratzinger himself concurs given his own critical statements about the process of liturgical reform that was undertaken and ultimately enacted.
Later on, Father suggests that one "must cease their continual criticisms" of the modern Roman liturgy. But bearing all of what has been said here in mind, there is a basis for constructive critique and examination. That criticism does not inherently place one outside the scope of the Second Vatican Council. Nor does it make one disobedient. We must not attach fidelity to the Church and Council with an utter acceptance of the Pauline liturgy without question, as though it were somehow an infallible matter. We cannot, of course, suggest that the Pauline liturgy is invalid, or not Catholic; nor should we simply be polemicists about it, but we can most certainly ask questions, and pose an earnest critique which is made in a spirit of love for the liturgical tradition of the Church, and out of respect for the mandate of the Council.
We have to distinguish between simple polemics or outright rejection of a missal or the Council with historical and theological critique that is arguably merited, and made not in a spirit of rejection of the Council, but rather in intention of being faithful to it and in a hermeneutic of continuity with our broader tradition. (And after all, was this process not pursued throughout Church history, whether it be under St. Pius V, or prior to this latest Council with regard to the official liturgical books of those times and places? And surely if that process was not wrong as a point of principle then, why should it be wrong now in regard the modern liturgical books? Why should they be "taboo?" I propose that the problem isn't that we might critically examine aspects of our liturgical books or specific liturgical reforms; the problem can rather lay in the principles and spirit which we bring to that critique. It is likewise with liturgical reform. Liturgical reform is not a problem per se, but how we pursue liturgical reform, and the principles that drive specific liturgical reforms we pursue can be a problem.) Many of the leading Catholic liturgical scholars of our day would seem to take this approach and make these important distinctions.
Father is obviously concerned with the proper celebration of the liturgy, and for that he is to be commended and thanked. Had we more priests with his care and concern for the liturgy, we would be much better off. Father evidently also loves the Church and seeks that people be faithful to it. For that too we can be thankful.
I offer these critical thoughts not in a spirit of malice, but in a spirit of seeking out the liturgical good, and regardless of our differences on these points, consider Father Farfaglia an ally in our general purpose to help restore sanity to the Latin rite liturgy. That being said, I do hope Father will reconsider his positions on these few points, as I believe these deeper liturgical issues are fundamental if we are to move forward and address the liturgical state of emergency that both Father Farfaglia and I agree we find ourselves in today.
Posted Monday, February 19, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
For about 10 years, I've been very interested in the work of the St. Gregory Society. I had heard very great things about the quality of the sacred music which they perform.
For those not familiar, the St. Gregory Society is a schola in New Haven, CT. which pursues the classic polyphonic and chant tradition of the Church in the context of the classical Roman liturgy.
They do a fantastic job at this parish on all levels. Back to the schola however. Recently I had the opportunity to receive copies of three of their CD's: The Solemn Mass of the Epiphany, The Solemn Mass of Corpus Christi, and The Solemn Mass of Easter. These are only 3 of their 7 recordings, of which the Solemn Mass of Epiphany is the latest.
The polyphony and chant is executed with precision, and the recording quality is absolutely of professional quality. I have not been disappointed with the expectations which had been built up for me in this society. Certainly the Mass settings that they choose are classic, coming from the likes of Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso, and Josquin DesPrez, but one might ask, what makes them any different from other excellent recordings such as those of the Tallis Scholars, the Cambridge Singers or "The Sixteen"?
The first answer to that question is simply that this group is an actual Catholic liturgical schola, built for the purpose of singing in the context of the classical Catholic liturgical tradition. That alone makes them worthy of additional support. However, there is an additional aspect to the recordings of this schola which does make them unique.
Unlike other recordings of Mass settings which are comprimsed solely of the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, these recordings are actual liturgical recordings. Thus you are not simply hearing those five Mass parts, but you are additionally hearing the chanted prayers of the Mass itself -- such as the chanted Epistle and Gospel for example. In other words, these are true liturgical recordings, down to the bells at Mass.
That they have been able to do this, and yet still maintain a studio quality recording in a controlled environment is phenomenal.
In addition to their audio recordings, they have also made available an video recording of a classical Latin liturgy, sung by this schola and celebrated in this marvelous church. The video, like the audio recordings, does not disappoint.
I cannot but recommend this group's recordings and I hope the next time you are looking to gift a liturgical recording, or looking for one for yourself, that you will consider giving this fine schola your patronage.
Many thanks to all of you, our readers, who voted in the recent Catholic Blog Awards. As a result of your efforts, The New Liturgical Movement won the award for Best Designed Catholic Blog.
We were runners up in two categories: Best Group Blog (won by the Shrine of the Holy Whapping) and Most Spiritual Blog (won by Pontifications).
All of the results can be viewed here.
Speaking of implementing Pope Benedict's message, Fr. Fox over at Bonfire of the Vanities listed some interesting points in his homily today on the liturgical question, including an important corrective about the Council and Latin in the liturgy:
As you know, over a year ago, we began learning
the Latin "Lamb of God" prayer;
and I propose we do the same
for the "Holy, Holy" prayer, this Lent.
Many say they like it; a few say they don’t.
Yes, it stretches us.
In any case, you might wonder, why do it?
The Mass—like our lives as Christians—
is the intersection between the ordinary-and-familiar,
and the infinitely mysterious God who bends down
to draw us into the depths of his glory and holiness.
So Mass should be both "familiar"—and "other."
"Down here"—and beyond our reach.
It’s a balance; and in my judgment,
the Church in recent years has done far better
at the "familiar" and contemporary;
not so well at the ancient and timeless.
So—I’m aiming for a little balance.
By the way: our holy father says the same.
Now, just to prove my point about "balance":
there are folks who think this is somehow
contrary to the Second Vatican Council.
Some actually take offense to have Latin used, at Mass,
in the…Roman Catholic Church!
It’d be like going to a synagogue and saying,
"What’s all this Jewish stuff doing around here?"
Here’s what Vatican II actually said, to pastors:
teach people these prayers in Latin, and use them.*
Is that not what we’re doing?
I think the Council’s purpose was for us to remember
who we are, where we came from,
and that we’re part of a Church
that is worldwide and timeless.
Further, my hope is that, once we get past
the "newness" of something so ancient,
we might find we experience the beauty
of chanting those timeless words
in our Church’s ancient language!
Here is a wonderful story about a church music program that has risen from the ashes. Notice the juxtaposition of the enthusiasm of the ordinary people and the reaction of the archbishop.
Thanks to Amy Welborn, on whose blog I found this story.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
I recently shared a reflection with a friend about our sense of loss in regard our liturgical tradition and the historical Western liturgical rites.
It is an objective historical fact that a great deal has been lost, liturgically speaking, these past 40 years. When one considers how many unique liturgical rites in the West disappeared almost overnight, it is hard to come to any other conclusion.
The Dominican rite, the Premonstratensian, the ancient Ambrosian and so many others virtually disappeared from use. There is also the issue of the classical Roman liturgy, which was so closely related to these other Western rites.
One might ask us however, why lament over this? These liturgical rites, after all, are not absolutes. The sacraments still exist, regardless of particular liturgical form. Moreover, the Holy Trinity is our end, not the sacred liturgy which is but a means to that end pointing us to the hoped for celebration of the Heavenly Liturgy in eternal beatitude.
These things are all true. We do still have the sacraments, the necessary instruments instituted by God for our salvation. The sacrifice is affected, even if not always understood by all within our parishes. God can be worshipped.
So is it wrong for one to be so concerned with the question of the liturgy? The answer is no. First proof of this is the fact that the Church deems it important. If the liturgy is one of our greatest teaching tools, then it cannot fail to have importance.
One might compare it to a book. The content of the book itself is ultimately the purpose of the book. However the sturdiness of the book's construction, the legibility of the text, the quality of the materials employed, these all matter and have an important part to play in the delivery of the contents of the text itself and to ensure that those contents are best delivered.
We might also compare the loss of our historic liturgical forms to the loss of a family home. The loss of these liturgical rites in the day-to-day life of the Church is like the loss of a home that has been in one's family for generations and generations. The sorrow at that loss is not only real, it is legitimate. While one might still have food and shelter over one's head (the sacrifice is accomplished, the sacraments delivered) which is most necessary, nonetheless that which ties us to our family and heritage is diminished. So too with the loss of our historical liturgical rites, which tie us to our Catholic heritage and to our spiritual family. It is something passed down to us through the centuries and a tradition which we continue in. This has profound spiritual value and power.
Posted Saturday, February 17, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
Any who are interested in the project for chant settings in English of the Propers of the Mass, please send your email address to Rev. Samuel F. Weber, O.S.B.: email@example.com
Having seen Fr. Weber's work both at last year's RICL conference, and in some of what he has produced, he is contributing an extremely valuable work within the English-speaking churches.
Here is a sample of Father's work: Fourth Sunday of Lent
Posted Friday, February 16, 2007
Posted Friday, February 16, 2007
Thursday, February 15, 2007
I was sent a remarkable article about the power and importance of ritual that was originally published in Touchstone, a fascinating and very moving meditation brought about by the juxtaposition of a semi-casual broad-church Episcopalian funeral service with the solemn Marine Corps graveside obsequies that followed immediately afterwards:
5. The church rites sought to focus on the individual worshipers and the deceased; the marines focused on the rite. The individual marines set aside their individuality in order to serve the common purpose of honoring the dead. This sacrifice of self for the common purpose itself lends power to ritual, since we all (the “old man” in us) resist self-sacrifice. If the marines were bored, or thinking about their girlfriends, or wondering what was for supper, that fact was well hidden by their participation in the ritual. The ritual protected them—and us—from their human defects.Even more important than music, vestments, incense and beautiful architecture, is the creation of a ritual ethos--priests must learn how to behave in the liturgy in a way that is truly ceremonial and self-effacing, one which sublimates the character to that of the icon. Maybe not like a soldier on parade, but perhaps like the way Gregorian chant mediates the gap between the personal and the universal. Thoughts, anyone?
6. The marines’ rite pointed to transcendent values: honor, service of country over self, sacrifice. While the texts of the church service pointed to redemption and the resurrection of the body, the streamlined texts and the haste with which they were (and too often are) performed suggested that we should be thinking about worldly things, the things we’ll shortly be about, and not about eternal things, like commending the soul of a Christian man to God.
Fr. Martin Fox details his lenten liturgical plans in his recent column.
One of the most welcome notes in this is that he is going to begin including the Proper Introit as opposed to an Entrance Hymn. Bravo Fr. Fox.
The February 2007 edition of the Adoremus Bulletin is now online.
The issue includes a great deal of reflection on chant and also the continuing question of missal translations.
One interesting piece by Susan Benofy takes to task the view of some (such as John Allen Jr.) as to what constitutes the "liturgical mainstream" and also the problem of polarization in the Church with regard to the question of the liturgy:
"What John Allen calls “mainstream” organizations -- like the FDLC and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) -- have supported this almost exclusive horizontalism and have consistently promoted and defended it in their publications and conventions. The FDLC has also advanced this agenda in its “position statements” given to the bishops’ conference every year.
"However, defenders of the “vertical” dimension -- distinctively sacred music, sacral language and architecture -- are almost completely absent from “mainstream” publications, do not appear as speakers at “mainstream” liturgical conferences. Their perspective has been systematically, selectively blocked.
"Thus, it is these “mainstream” organizations that have been the polarizers of discussions on liturgy. Their members and subscribers get discussions of liturgy with all the “vertical” views filtered out: in other words, they get a horizontally polarized presentation.
"Father Burton is correct that “polarization” is a problem. But it is not the Church that is polarized. It is the kind of information on the liturgy that is transmitted by the “mainstream” liturgical organizations. If they are to play a truly useful role in the catechesis on the new translation of the Missal they must, at a minimum, cease to be polarizers -- filtering out all positive mention of the vertical dimensions of liturgy."
"Really there is no antagonism. The trouble is simply that art, which in its great days was scientific, has today ceased to be so, and one of the requirements for its recovery is that it should become scientific again and thereby be in harmony with the best spirit of the age. The man who sets to work to design an aeroplane or a motorcar has no self-conscious strivings to express himself or his age, like the pathetic architects and artists of today. His one business is to make it go and, if possible, to go one better, and he would not be so mad as to think he could do this without knowing the tradition of all that went before. Moreover, if he fails, there is no question of his failure; he cannot hide it by fine words and theories. Let us apply this to architecture and have an end to humbug. After all, deep in the human heart is the sense of beauty and when a man sees it he will respond unless his eye is hypnotized by words...
"And do we want originality? I quote Dr. Inge: 'What we call originality is generally the power to see old things in a new light - it is the reading of some open secret...' And the correspondent whom I have quoted before sums up: 'What passes for originality today is at its best no more difficult to accomplish and is less original than what a man does who not only has studied the past, but bears the past within him when he is at work on some quite modern need.' "
~Sir J. Ninian Comper
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
And that's why I'm so excited about my new Dies irae clock!
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007
In 1647, the general of the Cistercian Order, Claude Vaussin, undertook a reform of the Cistercian liturgical books which substantially Romanized them. It's an event that, sadly, has happened time and again following the mediaeval period and moving beyond Trent. One might say it was the principle of Romanitas done with too much zeal. I say this as one with a great love of the Roman liturgical tradition. Yet I also appreciate the mediaeval Latin liturgical tradition which saw such a "unity in variety". Traditions so evidently from a common root, and yet with their own riches. One might compare it to polyphony. There are some different parts and approaches, but they were working together in a way that made for a rich beauty. I digress.
Here is what the Catholic encyclopedia notes for the original Cisterican liturgy:
"In the old missal before the reform of Claude Vaussin, there were wide divergences between the Cistercian and Roman rites. The psalm "Judica" was not said, but in its stead was recited the "Veni Creator"; the "Indulgentiam" was followed by the "Pater" and "Ave", and the "Oramus te Domine" was omitted in kissing the altar. After the "Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum", the "Agnus Dei" was said thrice, and was followed immediately by "Hæc sacrosancta commixtio corporis", said by the priest while placing the small fragment of the Sacred Host in the chalice; then the "Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei Vivi" was said, but the "Corpus Tuum" and "Quod ore sumpsimus" were omitted. The priest said the "Placeat" as now, and then "Meritis et precibus istorum et onmium sanctorum. Suorum misereatur nostri Omnipotens Dominus. Amen", while kissing the altar; with the sign of the Cross the Mass was ended."
The reason that I bring this up is because I am endeavouring to find either a PDF, a reprinting in a book, or someone with access to the original missal text and a photocopier, of either the entire Missale Cisterciense from prior to 1647, or at very least the Ordo Missae of the same.
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007