Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On Living the Liturgy

Interview With Rector of Pontifical Liturgical Institute

ROME, JAN. 31, 2007 ( The liturgical year is always the year of the Lord, says Benedictine Father Juan Javier Flores Arcas, rector of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute.

ZENIT asked Father Flores, professor at Rome's Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm, some questions about the liturgical year.

Q: Liturgically speaking, we are beginning ordinary time. Is it a "minor" time?

Father Flores: It is not a weak time with respect to the other intense times, as it includes Sundays which are the weekly celebration of Easter, which is at the very origin of the liturgical year. Of itself this time has nothing that makes it inferior to the others.

Ordinary time does not have as object the celebration of a particular mystery of the life of Christ, but the totality of the mystery seen more as a whole than in a particular mystery.

They are 33 or 34 weeks which are placed after the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and which follow the solemnity of Pentecost.

They are not complete weeks, as some are missing Sundays or some days, as in the days that follow Ash Wednesday.

Q: Are there specific formularies for ferial -- not festive -- days of ordinary time?

Father Flores: In the present liturgy of this time, no specific formularies have been provided for ferial days, but instead -- here is the great novelty -- a double lectionary has been prepared which enriches notably the daily celebration.

The great guidelines of the spirituality of ordinary time are marked by the double ferial lectionary: the lectionary of the Eucharist and the biennial biblical lectionary of the office of readings to which is added another patristic biblical lectionary.

The ferial days of ordinary time have their own distribution of readings in a two-year cycle, but the Gospel is always the same, so that it is the first reading which offers a different cycle for each year.

The daily Gospels are divided in this way: the Gospel of Mark, from the first to the ninth week; the Gospel of Matthew, from the 10th to the 21st week; the Gospel of Luke from the 22nd to the 34th week.

The Gospel of John, instead, is read during the whole of paschal time, beginning with the fifth week of Lent. It constitutes an ensemble of five Sundays, from the 17th to the 21st in cycle B of ordinary time. It is a privileged occasion for a catechesis on the Eucharist, set in adherence to Jesus in faith.

Q: Ordinary time is part of the liturgical year. How can we describe, exactly, the liturgical year?

Father Flores: The liturgical year can be described as the ensemble of celebrations with which the Church lives annually the mystery of Christ.

This is how the Second Vatican Council expressed it in its constitution on the liturgy, No. 102: "Holy Mother Church is conscious that she must celebrate the saving work of her divine Spouse by devoutly recalling it on certain days throughout the course of the year," so that in the course of a year we can recall the highest moments in the history of salvation, introducing us in them.

The liturgical year is, therefore, the year of the Lord, of the glorious Kyrios, of the risen Christ present in the midst of his Church with the long history that precedes and accompanies him. We relive the covenant, the choice of the holy people and the fullness of messianic times.

In the course of the annual cycle the whole mystery of Jesus Christ unfolds, from the incarnation to the expectation of his second coming at the end of time, culminating with the most important celebration of the year, namely, the memorial of his paschal mystery.

In its various moments, the liturgical year celebrates nothing other than the fullness of this mystery; it has its center in the annual Easter, everything springs from it and everything tends to it.

Q: Is Easter the highest point?

Father Flores: The documents that have supported the liturgical reform insist in a very special way on this paschal centrality, hence the need to highlight fully Christ's paschal mystery in the reform of the liturgical year, according to the norms given by the Council, both in regard to the ordering of the proper of the time and of the saints, as well as the revision of the Roman calendar.

The continuous paschal celebration thus became the starting point of the whole reform of the liturgical year.

The conciliar constitution on the liturgy and the subsequent documents are clear and categorical: There is only one cycle: the paschal, though along with it must be placed other collateral cycles.

Christ's Pasch is at the center of liturgical action -- hence the reason why all Christian spirituality must be a paschal spirituality, that is, a spirituality polarized by the divine event of salvation, by the paschal mystery lived by Christ and celebrated memorially by the Church.

Q: Are there specific spiritualities for each liturgical time?

Father Flores: Yes, of course. Focusing on the great times of the liturgical year we might divide them according to the tone of the liturgical time itself, always starting from the celebrative unicity of Easter, seeking totality in the simplicity of the mystery, that is, the "whole in the fragment" -- Advent: an eschatological spirituality; Christmas: a spousal spirituality; Epiphany: a real spirituality; Lent: a spirituality of conversion and penance; Paschal triduum: a time to imitate sacramentally Christ's paschal mystery; Easter: a Pentecostal spirituality; and ordinary time: the peaceful rhythm of the liturgical year.

Ambrosian rite liturgy in the USA

Some of you may recall awhile back that I spoke of an intiative taking place in a north-eastern part of the USA whereby a priest of Milanese background and local ethnic community (as I recall) where planning the celebration of the traditional Ambrosian rite liturgy.

One possibility for that liturgy was this past December, but this wasn't able to happen -- and it sounds like for all the right reasons: to do it well and properly.

I've been asked to put out a request to the list to help them in this regard. They are trying to acquire the Ambrosian chant settings for the feast of St. Ambrose (Dec. 7) and would like them emailed here:

If anyone can help these good people, please do. If you have any further questions about what they specifically need, I would encourage you to email them at that address.

More Books and Liturgica (Updated)

As I'm trying to raise an additional $200-300 USD for some hard to find liturgica I've been presented with for possible purchase, I have a few more items which I'm offering for sale to fundraise to that end, much of it which I am sore to part with! (Prices don't include shipping.)

Email me if you're interested or have more questions.

Breviarium Monasticum (4 vols. complete) - some binding issues, $150 USD.

The Fathers of the Church: Saint Basil, Exegetic Homilies (CUA Press, vol. 46, HC; part of the excellent series titled the same. Ex-convent lib, but VG shape.) $70 USD.

The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol 8: St. Augustine's Exposition on the Book of Psalms (HC, ex-convent lib). $40

The William Morris Kelmscott Chaucer. Oversized HC facsimile of entire work, like new. An amazing book. The entire book is illuminated with plates, designs and font so that it looks very much like a medieval manuscript. An absolutely incredible volume. Worthy of being a showpiece. $100 USD.

Mount Athos, by Richard Dawkins. (HC, VG shape. A beautiful hardback study of Mount Athos.) $50 USD.

Newman: The Pillar of the Cloud & Newman: Light in Winter, by Meriol Trevor. 2 hardcover vols. Newman biography. $50 USD.

Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas (5 vols, SC), $100 USD.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Thought About Sacred Music

Recently I played a gig at a reception at an African American church that was celebrating the birthday of one of its highest ranking leaders. There was a lot that went into the festivities (such as the good food that I got to eat--a great perk), and they carefully planned an entire evening of live musical entertainment (canned, mass-produced music was conspicuously absent), for which I accompanied a friend on two opera arias.

Among the other entertainers was the gospel choir of said church. I marvelled at how they sang this music. I leaned over to my friend and said, "This might shock you, but I love this stuff." She was indeed shocked, but I went on to say, "I guess the shortest explanation for this is that it's real culture."

Real culture. This music is created by grassroots people rather than studio artists, and it's in their bones. It was amazing to watch the choir's bodily movements during the singing. I don't know how a group just "does" something like that. It was as if they all knew each other and the music intimately. I thought to myself, "These people own this music. It is part of their faith." At the same time, gospel music has developed through time a respectable tradition, so while it is "owned" by the people now, it comes to them from their ancestors, and even modern gospel music clearly owes a debt to the music that has come before it.

Then I got to thinking about Catholic sacred music. Let's be honest: While things are indeed improving in places, clearly, save for a few of us enthusiasts, Catholics no longer identify with the Church's music (i.e. chant and polyphony) the way the aforementioned gospel choir indentifies with its music. Many prefer instead to use music packaged by studio artists, music which is neither traditional nor of the people.

This brings to mind an immense challenge as we try to reform the sacred music of the Church. What do we do to restore the treasury of music to a pride of place not only within the four walls of a church building, but also within the souls of the faithful? It seems to me that there is no easy answer for this and that the solutions that seem likely to work are apt to meet with heavy resistance and require a lot of patience, such as teaching children from very young ages so that they associate chant with church, and sticking with the repertoire even if it doesn't "take" in the first year, fifth year, or even tenth year. We also need to be writing new music that is clearly indebted to the traditional music of the past. Nevertheless, this is a problem from which we must not shrink, for if someday every Mass is sung with Gregorian chant and yet the people are not edified by it, then ultimately we have lost.

Tonight, I made a phone call to a friend to whom I'd owed a reply for some time. Someone else picked up the phone but played games and wouldn't tell me who it was. Then I figured it out; it was an old friend with whom I'd not spoken in a while. Isn't it wonderful when we recognize someone's voice over the phone? I think that hearing Gregorian chant in church is a bit like that. We hear it and we recognize an old dear friend and we know where we are and what we're doing. Someday, may it be so for every man in the pew.

A Request from The Society of St. Barbara

J.B. Powers, the brains behind the Society of St. Barbara, is planning a sequel to the delightful Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago, this time dealing with the oft-endangered churches of New York City. He writes, asking for reader input on the city's finest and most photogenic churches:

As I have mentioned, we are contemplating a publication of photographic history of the churches and chapels of Archdiocese of New York City. I have toured extensively in Manhattan and a bit in the Bronx, and have had numerous conversations with interested participants, but I think it would be fantastic to get some group interaction from the readers here. Here is a partial list:

1. Old St. Pat's
2. St. Malachy's
3. The original Manhattanvile College of the Sacred Heart (City College/Harlem). Is it still there?

4. Eglise de Notre Dame - 405 W. 114th
5. St. Catherine of Siena - 411 E. 68th
6. St. Francis de Sales - 135 E. 96th
7. St Francis Xavier - 30 W. 16th St.
8. St.-Jean-Baptiste- 184 E. 76th
9. St. Peter's - Barclay Street (?)
10. St. Thomas More - 65 E. 89th
11. Fordham Chapel
12. Our Lady of Pompei - 25 Carmine St.
13. Our Lady of the Rosary - 7 State Street
14. St. Vincent de Paul - 123 West 23rd St
15. St. Patrick's Cathedral
16. St Vincent Ferrer
17. St. Ignatius Loyola
18. St. Andrew's

So have at it: what 75 churches and chapels should be photographed for Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic New York?
A good start for a list. My own inclination would be to add:

19. St. John Nepomunck - in the early 60's,
20. Blessed Sacrament - West Side
21. The so-called German Cathedral - the Lower East Side.
22. Immaculate Conception - Alphabet City
23. The Church of Our Saviour - Park Avenue
24. Most Precious Blood - Astoria
25. St. Monica's - E. 80th St
26. Our Lady of Mount Carmel - E. 115th Street
27. Our Lady of Esperanza - Audubon Terrace

There are also a plethora of amazing churches of a massiveness and monumentality one seldom encounters in large American cities outside of Chicago down in Brooklyn, but their names and locations are unknown to me, sadly. I'm also told the architect of my favorite non-Gothic church in the city, Our Saviour's, did a larger version of this eclectic Romanesque-Deco-Renaissance extravaganza somewhere in the Outer Boroughs as well. Anyone know where to find these other unknown treasures?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Icelandic, anyone?

Looking over my back issues of Antiphon (the publication of the Society for Catholic Liturgy) a few days ago, I re-read an essay by the English monsignor Bruce Harbert (a member of ICEL) titled, "The Roman Rite and the English Language" (vol. 9, no. 1 [2005]). He writes:

Translations from Latin can easily be tempted to translate with a preponderance of Latinate words, which can give the resulting text a cold and remote tone. This is because so much of our abstract vocabulary is composed of recognisably Latinate words. The Douai Bible is the classic instance of this procedure. There is another way, which is to exploit the native resources of our vocabulary. In his fine essay "Politics and the English Language" George Orwell recommended this as one of the best ways of ensuring that you write vividly and vigorously. Many modern writers have experimented with this technique, privileging the native above the imported in their choice of words. The first of Ezra Pound's Cantos is a remodeling of a book of Homer in an insistently English idiom. Tony Harrison followed him with a muscular translation of Aeschylus' Oresteia that uses the alliterative patterns of Anglo-Saxon poetry. Seamus Heaney in his recent translation of Beowulf plundered the English word-hoard that his original offered him, incorporating also words from the languages, both English and Gaelic, of his native Ireland. But to my mind the best example of all, and highly appropriate as a model for translators from Latin, is Ted Hughes' version of Ovid's Metamorphoses, an astonishing tour de force that uses native resources to match the power and dexterity of his original.
Since Monsignor Harbert's knowledge of Literature vastly exceeds my own, I am in no position to comment on (much less dispute) what he says about these works. But I would like to share a few thoughts about his remarks specifically as they relate to the task of liturgical translation.

First, Latin is part of English. The languages of the peoples of England were overlaid with Saxon, Danish, Latin, and (after 1066) French. Latin, thanks largely to Christianity's spread over the island, became part of English well over a millennium ago. So, if one truly wants to separate "native" from "imported" and to summon up the original speech of the English people, one would have to learn Icelandic, which, I am told, is the modern European language closest to Anglo-Saxon. (Indeed, we are not now what we once were.)

Second, I am concerned about setting Latin aside in favor of some kind of (supposedly) more supple and natural English because Latinate English has "a cold and remote tone." This remoteness is not the case when and where people have had adequate exposure to the true richness of English. (Is "paternity" really colder than "fatherhood"?) The problem is not with the tone but with the hearers, who have underdeveloped ears and limited understanding.

Third, it seems to me that we should celebrate the richness of English, since we have a language that is eager to add words to the word-hoard. Compare English to German, which typically makes new words by building on old ones (with the result being polysyllabic monsters), or to French, which has refused to add words from other languages to its lexicon. Why not use all the words?

Finally, the Monsignor is speaking of a difference of kind and not merely of degree. He cites various secular texts as examples of translations that he favors, and, as I said, I do not presume to quibble with his opinions of them. However, he is ultimately speaking of translating sacred texts (by which I mean Sacred Scripture and liturgical texts). The secular texts he cites and the sacred texts of Christian Tradition are two very different things. While the translators of the King James Version of the Bible may have made many errors in translation, they at least understood (in contrast to many modern translators, it would seem) that they had to do honor and justice to the revealed Word itself. It is simply a matter of ensuring that the level of diction corresponds to the seriousness of the subject.

I welcome input from those better schooled than I in linguistics and literature.

British declaration in support of the liberalization of the 1962 Missale Romanum

[Under the auspices of the International Una Voce Federation a group of British scholars and intellectuals (or at very least those rooted in Britain) have released a declaration supporting the initiative to give freer use of the classical Roman liturgy. This declaration includes such persons as Fr. John Saward, Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein, Dr. Catherine Pickstock (an Anglican scholar), Count Neri Capponi, Lord Gill, Dr. Sheridan Gilley, Dr. Alcuin Reid and Dr. Laurence Hemming, to name only a few. This document represents a continuing witness to the growing hope that the Holy Father will release this Motu Proprio so that the classical Roman liturgy might again find a freer place of expression in the life of the Church. We join our own voices with theirs, united in the same cause and in a spirit of love for the Church and her liturgical treasury.]

Appeal to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
[From the British Isles]

In 1971 many leading British and international figures, among whose number were Yehudi Menuhin, Agatha Christie, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Nancy Mitford, Graham Greene, Joan Sutherland, and Ralph Richardson, presented a petition to His Holiness Pope Paul VI asking for the survival of the traditional Roman Catholic Mass on the grounds that it would be a serious loss to western culture. The then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Heenan himself appealed to Pope Paul for the continued celebration of the traditional Mass. The full text of this appeal in 1971 was:

"If some senseless decree were to order the total or partial destruction of basilicas or cathedrals, then obviously it would be the educated - whatever their personal beliefs - who would rise up in horror to oppose such a possibility. Now the fact is that basilicas and cathedrals were built so as to celebrate a rite which, until a few months ago, constituted a living tradition. We are referring to the Roman Catholic Mass. Yet, according to the latest information in Rome, there is a plan to obliterate that Mass by the end of the current year. One of the axioms of contemporary publicity, religious as well as secular, is that modern man in general, and intellectuals in particular, have become intolerant of all forms of tradition and are anxious to suppress them and put something else in their place. But, like many other affirmations of our publicity machines, this axiom is false. Today, as in times gone by, educated people are in the vanguard where recognition of the value of tradition in concerned, and are the first to raise the alarm when it is threatened. We are not at this moment considering the religious or spiritual experience of millions of individuals. The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts - not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs.

Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians. In the materialistic and technocratic civilisation that is increasingly threatening the life of mind and spirit in its original creative expression - the word - it seems particularly inhuman to deprive man of word-forms in one of their most grandiose manifestations. The signatories of this appeal, which is entirely ecumenical and non-political, have been drawn from every branch of modern culture in Europe and elsewhere. They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive, even though this survival took place side by side with other liturgical reforms."

This appeal in 1971 came at a crucial time in the history of civilisation when the future of the traditional Latin “Tridentine” Mass was in jeopardy. Pope Paul VI graciously acknowledged this appeal and the traditional Mass was saved, at least in England and Wales. Since this momentous appeal in 1971 the traditional Latin Mass has prospered once again among the faithful worldwide and is now celebrated in almost every country in the world. Now, in 2007, there is great hope and expectation that this treasure of civilisation will be freed from its current restrictions. We, the signatories of this petition, wish to associate ourselves to the sentiments expressed in the petition of 1971 which, perhaps, are even more valid today, and appeal to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 to allow the free celebration of the traditional Roman rite of Mass, the Mass of Ages, the Mass of Antiquity, on the altars of the Church.


Rt. Hon. Michael Ancram, QC MP.
Miss Madeleine Beard, M.Litt. (Cantab).
Dr. Mary Berry CBE, Founder of the Schola Gregoriana in Cambridge.
James Bogle, TD, MA, ACIarb, Barrister, Chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain.
Count Neri Capponi, Judge of the Tuscan Ecclesiastical Matrimonial Court.
Fr. Antony F.M. Conlon, Chaplain to the Latin Mass Society.
Julian Chadwick, Chairman – The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.
Rev. Fr. Ronald Creighton-Jobe, The Oratory, London.
Fra’ Fredrik Crichton-Stuart, Chairman CIEL UK.
Leo Darroch, Secretary – International Federation Una Voce.
Adrian Davies, Barrister.
R.P. Davis, B.Phil., M.A., D.Phil (Oxon), retired senior lecturer in Ancient History, Queen’s University of Belfast; translator/commentator on the Liber Pontificalis of the Roman Church.
John Eidinow, Bodley Fellow and Dean, Merton College, Oxford.
Jonathan Evans MEP, Vice Chairman Catholic Union of Great Britain.
Fra’ Matthew Festing, OBE, TD, DL. Grand Prior of England – Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta.
The Right Honourable Lord Gill, Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland.
Dr. Sheridan Gilley, Emeritus Reader, University of Durham.
Dr. Christopher Gillibrand, MA (Oxon).
Rev. Dr. Laurence Paul Hemming, Heythrop College, University of London.
Stephen Hough, Concert Pianist and Composer.
Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director, Aid to the Church in Need UK
Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein, President of the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. KCSG.
James MacMillan, CBE, Composer and Conductor.
Anthony McCarthy, Research Fellow, Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics.
Mrs. Daphne McLeod, Chairman – Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.
Anthony Ozimic, MA (bioethics).
Dr. Susan Frank Parsons, President, Society for the Study of Christian Ethics (UK) and Co-Founder of the Society of St. Catherine of Siena.
Dr. Catherine Pickstock, Lecturer in Philosophy and Religion; Fellow – Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Dr. Thomas Pink, Reader in Philosophy and Director of Philosophical Studies, Kings College, London.
Piers Paul Read, Novelist and Playwright; Vice-President of the Catholic Writers’ Guild of England and Wales.
The Rev’d. Dr. Alcuin Reid, Liturgical Scholar and Author.
Nicholas Richardson, Warden of Greyfriars Hall, Oxford.
Prof. Jonathan Riley-Smith, retired Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Cambridge University.
Fr. John Saward, Lisieux Senior Research Fellow in Theology, Greyfriars, Oxford University.
Dr. Joseph Shaw. Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University.
Damien Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, The Catholic Herald.

New Times, New Means of Training

Among the priests you know who can say the Mass in Latin, how many were trained in seminary as versus themselves? I would venture a guess that it is most. Many, in fact, will admit in private that they learned theology through private reading as well. So it is: our times require new means of education. Would anyone really recommend that if you want to learn about Catholicism that the local RCIA program is best means? Or if parents want their kids to be educated in the faith, the best means is the local CCD (or CCF) program? There are good programs out there to be sure, and yet...I'll stop there.

These thoughts are prompted by this interesting piece on the training of a Church musician, by Msgr. Richard Schuler from 1990. He makes excellent points, such as the reality that good training begins at home and that total dedication to the ideal is a prerequisite. And yet when he comes to college years, he seems to be speaking of a different time and place from our own.

I know many PhDd musicians who know next to nothing about sacred music, and what they do know is wrong. Most of them are trained to think of chant and Renaissance music as undeveloped predecessors to more modern music (whereas the reality is that they are wholly developed versions of more ancient music). Most music schools don't even bother with the subject. And it is worse in programs that do specialize in religious music.

Well, let me make the point this way. If your parish were looking for a good Church musician to serve full time, and advertised for a college or graduate-school trained Church musician, particularly one with liturgical credentials, what do you suppose you would get? The question alone makes me shudder. There is only one thing worse than a musician who arrives with the power to impose all praise music, all that time, and that's a musician with credentials who arrives with the power to impose all praise music all the time.

Yes, there are exceptions, but I'm speaking of a general trends. And yes, there are some good trends right now, such as the new degree programs at Steubenville and Ave Maria. But they are few and far between. Most training in sacred music these days is taking place outside the university, in the form of colloquia and workshops. It is the institutions who are sponsoring these that are on the real cutting edge.

I've wondered whether one reason that "our side" lost in the 60s and 70s was that our organizers and specialists were so wedded to established institutions with prestige and power, whereas the "other side" worked from the grass roots, parish by parish, through unconventional channels. They won and they took over. Now, of course "they" are the establishment and "we" are the outsiders. It seems, then, that new realities call for new approaches.

Of course I'm not arguing that people eschew the academy or otherwise avoid professional training. But so far as I can tell, the real momentum for sacred music is occurring among enthusiastic non-professionals, as led and inspired by the example of only a handful of trained, credentialed experts that are out there.

So while I hope that Rev. Schuler's vision of graduate schools that teach the art of sacred music can again come to pass, there is still an intervening stage in which musicians from all walks of life get busy and apply themselves in every conceivable way to do what is right--and certainly not let "them" intimidate you into not acting.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The mystery of familiarity

Who knows how this sort of thing happens but our schola's new version of the Our Father, in English, caught on in exactly two weeks. People sang it this morning as if they had been singing it all their lives. Maybe it is just that intuitive. Don't know. Here is a high-voice sample (recorded in rehearsal and complete with background noise).

The idea of this tune, assembled by William Mahrt, is to better illustrate the text and to bridge the gap that separates English and Latin so that we can make an easy transition to Latin for Lent. If you are interested, here is the sheet music.

Two views from Rome on the Motu Proprio; one more rational and one more emotional

I was not going to pass commentary on this, because, to be frank, it doesn't merit being taken seriously in my opinion. However, it seems as though a comment may be worthwhile after all given how public this statement is, and given, no doubt, how it will quickly become known through internet circles and the source of either despair, concern, or anger.

The story originally came through The Telegraph in the U.K. and concerns sentiments coming from Fr. Reginald Foster, often referred to as "the Pope's Latinist". In this piece, Fr. Foster laments what he sees as the imminent death of Latin. Quite ironically as part of this piece, he then moves on the disparage the classical Latin liturgy and speaks contrary to the Motu Proprio to liberalize the usage of the same:

"[Fr. Foster] said reports that Pope Benedict will reintroduce the Tridentine Mass, which dates from 1570 and is largely conducted in Latin, were wrong – not least because of the Pope's desire to avoid more controversies. A speech last year offended Muslims and more recently he gave initial support to a Polish archbishop who was eventually forced to resign, after admitting that he had collaborated with the communist-era secret police.

"He is not going to do it," Fr Foster said. "He had trouble with Regensberg, and then trouble in Warsaw, and if he does this, all hell will break loose." In any case, he added: "It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid. The idea of it is that things were better in the old days. It makes the Vatican look medieval."

Clearly this statement on the part of Fr. Foster can only be dismissed as a partisan and ideological, even emotional, assessment. In fact, the comment rings of desperation -- seen in the fact of intemperately referring to an ancient liturgy of the Church as a "useless Mass" whose "whole mentality is stupid".

Well, there is indeed a problematic mentality here, but it is not within the classical liturgy of the Roman church, but rather in one who would make such intemperate, impious statements about a venerable rite of the Church. This is certainly one of the clearest manifestations of a hermeneutic of rupture we have yet seen.

It would seem that Fr. Foster in his evident state of high emotion about the matter, is confusing his own feelings with the objective facts of the situation.

In this writer's estimation, the comment cannot be taken seriously as far as the motu proprio is concerned.

Illuminating in this regard is the rather different take (from one also no great fan of the classical liturgy) from this past week, by Father Eberhard von Gemmingen, S.J. on Vatican Radio (courtesy of someone on CTNGreg):

"In all probability Pope Benedict will give the permission to celebrate again the traditional or Tridentine Rite. It would however be completely wrong if Catholics started to quarrel over this, some of them full of joy about this reversal, the others full of anger. It is to be noted that the Pope will not on any account reintroduce the old liturgy or even make it compulsory. He is only of the opinion that the prohibition of the classical Rite after the Council is in contradiction to Church tradition, because according to his conviction, Rites can be further developed but cannot be abrogated."

This latter position is more in accord with the objective facts of the situation as we've come to know them. The 1962 Missal won't be reintroduced in place of the modern Roman rite, but it will be substantially liberalized as an extraordinary rite of the Church which has, by virtue of its antiquity and long-standing use a "right of citizenship within the Church" (as Cardinal Hoyos once put it).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Amazing Lagrime

About a year ago, someone ran across a gorgeous 16th century illustration of Di Lasso and it was thought that this would make a great cover for Sacred Music.

And so began the issue, dedicated to Di Lasso, that is now in its final stages of preparation. It is packed with wonderful essays on the life and music of this remarkable composer, who had been neglected even in preconciliar times but who is now experiencing a great resurgence.

As the managing editor, I used the opportunity to go through many scores and recordings in preparation for review (and so that I could have some idea about what the authors are writing about, which is, hmm, rather necessary for a managing editor).

One of my favorite compositions of Di Lasso has long been the "Lagrime di San Pietro," the composer's last composition, written in 1594 and dedicated to Clement VIII. It's like the B-minor Mass or a symphony by Mahler, something that it would take a lifetime to get to know. Also, we schola directors are oddly interested in pieces such as this that we could never conceive of actually using in liturgy (at least not yet).

My recording I had for years was by Philippe Herreweghe, and wonderful it is. However, in preparation for this issue, I also acquired a recording by Michael Procter, director of a schola in Germany and an accomplished scholar-musician who writes often for Sacred Music.

Well, I'll cut to the chase. This recording of Lagrime is a revelation. By comparison to others, the group is highly focussed on the text and infuses the performance with a passion for the meaning and emotion behind the entire masterpiece. I can highly recommend it to anyone. But prepare: it is indeed a lifetime study to appreciate the depth of this song cycle. As an extra bonus, this CD includes a second cycle called Meloncholia, which are Di Lasso's music about the end of life. Together, they make ideal Lenten listening.

Procter has three articles in the forthcoming issue (Spring 2007)

Still available

I still have the following items available as part of my "fire sale" for fundraising for liturgical books for research and reference:

Summa Contra Gentiles (in English) - 5 vols hardcover - recommend $100 USD donation

Summa Theologica (in English) - 5 vols softcover - recommend $125 donation

2 sets of altar cards (pics available) -- $50 per set recommended donation.

Traditional red stole, gothic variety. Make an offer.

Red cope (beautiful, but frayed where the shoulders would be. Not sure how this would be fixed. It might be something for "parts" only. The trim, the gold metal fringe, and perhaps the embroidered design on the "hood" which is quite beautiful, it not also the red silk. Make an offer.

New church in Frisco, Texas. Faithful ask that it "look like a church"

One of our readers sent in a link to a presentation for a new Catholic church in Frisco, Texas:St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

The church is designed in a Romanesque style. What is interesting are the comments from people who asked that "it look like a church" and the overwhelming percentage of people in favour of the design. Not that popular opinion drives these matters, or ought, given the catechetical role of a church building, but it certainly is also demonstrative of the thirst for those forms which grew up in a time with a greater sense of the transcendent.

Catholic Priest Reflects on the Beauty of the Anglican Mass

[Source: Catholic Priest Reflects on the Beauty of the Anglican Mass This reflection comes from a Catholic priest, and while there are some more polemical overtones, nonetheless, Father Wilson is bringing up an experience and points which are indeed very real and pertinent.]

by Fr. Joseph F. Wilson

EVERY once in awhile, my friend Father Bradford will take the opportunity to get away for a brief break. I am always glad to encourage him to do so. I am sure that I always encourage friends to take their breaks and refresh the spirit, with the zeal of one who is thoroughly bored by vacations and thus avoid them while living vicariously through others; but my reasons are more than a bit selfish for urging Father Bradford to get away and take his time, with Mrs Bradford. You see, Father Bradford is an Anglican Use Priest of the Roman Rite (which is why there is a Mrs Bradford), chaplain to the Anglican Use congregation in Boston. And when he folds his tent and steals away, I get to fill in for him. And I leave a few thoughts to offer on that experience.

"Anglican Use" Roman Catholics

The Anglican Use if a fruit of the Second Vatican Council. The Council Fathers, expressing their hopes for Christian unity, said that in the future it should be possible that worthy elements of the patrimony of piety of other Christian bodies might find a home in the [Roman] Catholic Church (as radical as this might have sounded to Catholics before the Council, it was seriously discussed at the time of the Council of Trent, four hundred years earlier). In the early 1980s, responding to the overtones of groups of Anglicans who were seeking to come into full communion of the Catholic Church, the Holy Father established the pastoral Provision. By it, Anglican clergymen received into the Church had the opportunity to present themselves for the possibility of ordination as priests even if they were married, and groups of former Anglicans could, with the permission of the Bishop, continue to worship together using rites based on the Anglican liturgy, carefully adapted to conform in essentials to the Roman Rite.

A group of parishioners of All Saints Episcopal Church in Ashmont, Massachusetts, parted company from their Episcopal brethren several years ago, and, under the leadership of father Bradford were received graciously by Bernard Cardinal Law into full Communion, and Father Bradford was ordained. They are the staunchest group of Catholics you could ever want to meet, having studied the Catechism and embraced the Faith whole and entire. They form the Congregation of St. Athanasius, worship at present in the convent chapel of St. Theresa's, West Roxbury, and I count it a great privilege when I can be of service to them as a priest.

Approaching God with Reverence

And the experience of celebrating Mass in a different ritual has led me to reflect on my experience of fifteen years a priest celebrating the Novus Ordo. Celebrating to the Anglican Use is a very different thing, you see; and one realises that from the start of the rite.

Having vested, and joined in the sacristy with the servers and the gentlemen of the schola in the preparatory prayers - the old prayers at the foot of the altar - the procession begins, and makes its way to the Altar as the opening hymn is sung.

From the very beginning, I experience the Anglican Use liturgy in a very different way from Novus Ordo. Daily and Sunday in my own parish, I reverence the Altar, go to the chair and, facing the people, initiate a dialogue with them, and I am even encouraged by the Liturgy to offer introductory comments.

Mass Text - Book of Common Prayer

Ascending the Altar in the Anglican Use Liturgy, I first reverence it with a kiss, then proceed to the epistle side to charge the thurible, and incense the Altar. The test of the mass is based upon the Book of Common Prayer; the ceremonies are the traditional ceremonies of the Roman Rite. When I am standing at the Altar, I am facing eastward, in the same direction as the People, the direction of the rising sun, in the ancient symbol of the whole Church gathered in prayer awaiting the Second Coming of the Lord.

Therefore, upon finishing the incensation of the altar, I move to the epistle end to begin, Blessed be God Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to which the people respond, and I then pray the ancient Collect for Purity,.....cleanse the thoughts of our hearts...that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy Holy Name....Then, to the center of the altar as the Kyrie is sung, and the Gloria. I kiss the altar and turn to the people to say, the Lord be with you; with their response, And with thy spirit, I move to the epistle end of the altar and sing the collect, and we sit for the readings.

An Extraordinarily Liberating Experience

I set out the beginning of the rite in some detail for a reason; the ceremonies described will be familiar to anyone who is acquainted with the traditional ceremonies of the Roman Rite. The reason I offer the detail is to set the context for my reflection on how different my experience of this ritual is from Novus Ordo, for I find the Anglican Use rite with the traditional ceremonies extraordinarily liberating.

In a sense, it is paradoxical that I should find it so liberating - from the modern perspective, it offers very little freedom. From the very beginning of the Liturgy to the end (except for my sermon) my words, and actions, and posture are carefully ritualized. Instead of mounting my president's chair (I generally refer to it as the Captain Kirk Chair) and initiating a dialogue with the people, offering ad-libs on the feast or whatever, I deliberately, consciously have to enter into this liturgy with the assembled Faithful. I have my part to fulfil in this rite; they have theirs, and together we enter into the worship. This is not something I am directing, or coordinating. My gestures are carefully prescribed, and once I am done with the incensation of the Altar I stand before it, facing God as it were, in the same direction as the people, and we begin to address Him, we begin our worship. I am not putting it too strongly at all when I characterize my reaction as feeling liberated by the form the ritual takes.

I'm not carrying this rite forward by the force of my wonderfully magnetic personality. I'm entering into it, submitting to the Liturgy's rhythms, with the People, and the effect of this on me is a much deeper sense of common worship.

Here, I need to offer an observation about the music.

Anglican Hymnal - solidly Scriptural and Liturgical

There is nothing more frustrating than attempting to discuss music in Catholic worship. It is maddening. Many Catholics are fierce partisans of the contemporary renewal music of the Eagles Wings variety. They are insensible to how transitory this music actually proves to be, how quickly the new hits become tired (and how most of the congregation doesn't even attempt to sing them!), how much of the music in Glory and Praise, the folk hymnal, has dated terribly after just a few years and is never sung at all.

Traditional Catholics, on the other hand, often long for the glory days of Mother Dear, O Pray for Me, the St. Gregory hymnal and the old devotional hymns.

It was my experience as a choir boy in my parish church which first sparked my interest in Anglican liturgy - our choirmaster was a convert, which was a blessing, and one soon figured out where all of these wonderful motets and hymns were coming from. In the Anglican Use liturgy, one draws upon a hymnal of six to eight hundred hymns, solidly Scriptural and Liturgical (you come for Mass on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, you get hymns honoring the Angels; you come on the Annunciation, you get Annunciation hymns!!). The hymns are PART OF THE WORSHIP - the whole congregation joins prayerfully in the whole hymn, from beginning to end, instead of using it as filler and doing a verse and a half until father gets to the chair. And the parts of the Mass - Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sursum Corda, Agnus Dei - are all set to beautiful, singable music.

For me, the whole experience of worship is transformed when I have the chance to celebrate in the Anglican Use. I'm a cradle Catholic; I made my First Holy Communion in 1967. I grew up in the age of post-conciliar liturgical renewal. I vividly remember making my way to the altar rail in 1968 as the folk group bawled out, Blowing in the Wind. I am used to polyester vestments, incredibly banal liturgical texts, poorly chosen hymns rushed through and cut off as soon as possible, the forty-five minute Sunday mass (the Catholic Church's answer to fast food restaurants).

Anglican [Use] Mass is timeless. Words are rich, profound and lovely

What a joy it is, then, when Father Bradford goes away. What a pleasure, to join with a congregation in a rite which seems utterly timeless, which is theirs as much as mine, in which we are never looking to entertain each other, but rather join together to approach God, The words of the rite are traditional, rich, profound and lovely, and a deep part of each of us gathered there. How heartening it is to be saying things like "And grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please Thee in newness of life, to the honor and glory of Thy Name, or those lovely words we say as we kneel at the altar before Communion,... grant us therefore gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink His Blood, that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us... I once, in an acerbic moment, explained to someone who had asked about the difference between the Anglican Use Rite and our Novus Ordo. The difference is that at Vespers, when the Anglican Use folks sing the Magnificat, For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed, we are reciting, I betcha everybody calls me happy. Slightly exaggerated, I suppose, but there is a point to it. And, may I add, I'm NOT saying that Elizabethan English would work for regular Catholic parish liturgy, at all, at all. But cafeteria English hasn't worked either!

So, whats the point in this article? Well, it is written, as I have noted, by one who grew up in the post-conciliar mess, who made his First Communion in 1967 at the age of seven, and watched the Church collapse around him as he grew older. And who cannot help but wonder - was all of this really necessary?

If the goal was liturgical renewal, was it really necessary to so violently overhaul the form of the Mass that people had to lose the sense of continuity with the Tradition? If you're tempted to protest that observation, please stop and recall the folk group bawling Blowin' in the Wind as a communion hymn in 1968. People in my generation grew up with no sense of continuity at all - the only things valuable and valued were innovations and novelty. And look at the devastation that resulted.

I readily concede the usefulness of the vernacular, and that there were aspects of the Liturgy which needed revision, but the rite we used for Mass before the Council was truly ancient, well-established by the time Gregory the Great, and gave full expression to the vertical dimension of worship. The richness of that rite, very conservatively revised where needed, traditional ceremonies intact and made more accessible to the people through use of the vernacular as appropriate, and with texts carefully married to plainchant and with good hymns, could have resulted in every parish having the kind of experience I have with the good folk of St. Athanasius - the profound sense of joining together in a communal stepping into the worship and submitting ourselves to the rhythms of the Liturgy and Tradition of the Church. And had that been done, Catholics might not have gotten the impression that, the Mass having been turned upside-down, everything else in the Church's teaching was up for grabs, too.

Presently, the music, manner of celebrating and entire atmosphere of the Novus Ordo all too often leaves one feeling that this is a prayer service cobbled together by the relative genius of the participants; there's no sense of anything having been handed on at all.

Notably Jesus is Host at Anglican Mass

And this is especially true at major ceremonies. It seems that, every time I am present for a liturgy celebrated by a Bishop, he experiences the driving need to assert that he is the host of the occasion - lengthy commentaries from him open and close the rite (after he has marched down the aisle as though he were running for re-election, kissing babies and glad-handing congregants). But it is Jesus Who is the Host of the occasion; and I know that I have experienced this most notably at the Anglican Use Mass.

That there is something lacking in the Novus Ordo is beyond question, as far as I can see - it was to have been the occasion of a great renewal, and after thirty years we can look back and see how many people simply stopped coming to Mass! Being able, as a priest, to celebrate with a different rite has perhaps given me a new perspective on something I find lacking in the revised Liturgy. It has certainly convinced me that there is something wrong with the president's role as currently understood, enthroned as I am in my Captain Kirk chair, facing the people and dialoguing with them. I'd dearly love to be free of the tyranny of that Chair. I really long to be able to skip the dialogue, abandon the liturgical talking points and the jabbering and the chatter, and to be able to - have you guessed?? - just go with my People to the Altar of God, to God who giveth joy to my youth


This Youtube says: "I played this piece during Communion in Monastery St.Pierre de Solesmes, it was my first time to play organ." Uploaded Nov. 2, 2006:

New booklet on Sequences by Laszlo Dobszay

[From Prof. Laszlo Dobszay to NLM readers:]

As you proabably remember, some weeks ago there was a discussion about a sequences. Since people asked, where such pieces can be found, I mentioned a little booklet of mine will be soon published. Now I am glad to inform you that it is now in print: after a short informative introduction (20 pages) follows 25 notated sequences with short commentary. Though their translations and practical adaptation are also given in Hungarian, the introduction, the commentaries are in English, and the piece themselves are primarily in Latin.

If anyone is interested, contact me by e-mail. Cost: 10.00 EUR or USD equivalent.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Speaking of Music Education

Which we were and are, I hope everyone is planning to come to our schola's sacred music workshop, February 16-17, 2007, in Auburn, Alabama. It's two days of training and practice, all polyphony and chant, all the time. Imagine singing Tallis and Palestrina with 80 others at Mass. Maybe more. Anyway, it's lots of fun and very inspiring.

Carmelite rite

If any of our readership is familiar of a place where the text of the Carmelite Missal (the O.Carm rather than the OCD) might be available online, please contact me, or share it with all of us in the comments -- I am sure there are many people who would be interested.

What To Do About Musical Illiteracy?

A piece of correspondence came into NLM that raises a topic on which there has been something of a conspiracy of silence. We all know the problem is there, but it is rarely named:

The church choir to which I belong has shown zero growth in the 1.5 years I've belonged; indeed it has regressed. More than half of the choir admits to - almost prides itself on - being unable to read music. This despite years in choirs. We sing out of "Gather" and "Word and Song" which means we rarely sing anything pre-1980. Every four to six weeks we get a rousing Negro spiritual in there. I guess that's our "old" stuff. In the course of my 18 months we did make a few attempts. "How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place", "For Unto Us A Child Is Born", and "O Magister Mysterium". All dropped. All too hard. But John Angotti's visit was worth extra rehearsals to let us have a concert. And have him entertain at all of the Masses. Oops. I mean "lead us in prayerful liturgy."

Let's leave aside questions about the repertoire listed above. What we have here is one result of the dumbing down of music in liturgy: vast ignorance about how to read, make, and appreciate music, not just good music but music in general. The same problem afflicts the protestants too, of course, for it only takes one or two generations raised with "praise music" before there's hardly anyone left who knows anything about how to read notes, match pitch, much less render authentic sacred music. Most evangelical sects sing from words printed on screens and know nothing of hymnals.

This is a disgrace. But the Catholics have it even worse, since music in our micro-culture has always been thought of as a specialization, not an activity for the whole of the faithful (despite valiant attempts to change that). Our hymnals today print only the melody. We used to have childrens' choirs (if the old movies are telling the truth) but if there is nothing to which they are supposed to aspire to sing, what's the point? Why not gather the kids together once a year and have them belt out "The Little Drummer Boy" on Christmas Eve?

The resulting ignorance should not be a surprise. If two or three generations of readers were given only picture books, would anyone be surprised when there is a decline in literacy? But such is the case with Catholic music today.

I'm not advocating despair here but we do need to deal with the reality, and something tells me it is worse than we think. What are we to do?

I offer three solutions.

First, we must insist that anyone who sings or plays at liturgy be competent. That means that we must be willing to exclude people from the role of musician if they are not up to the job. Uncharitable? I don't think so. We wouldn't permit someone who is prone to tripping and falling to bring forward the gifts at offertory. We wouldn't permit an illiterate to read the scriptures. Why do we think that everyone has a right to sing with a microphone just because they claim it is their ministry? No, we must become more fussy. There is a way for everyone to serve the faith but not always in the way that he or she thinks is best. Directors must exclude. Pastors must support their decisions. If that means that there are two or three singers, so be it. High standards are the first order of business.

Second: we must recruit non-professional singers from outside the parish and outside Catholic ranks. With high standards, this is possible. Most towns have many singers who would love a chance to sing Palestrina or chant or Byrd, to involve themselves in the production of high art. They will make the sacrifice because it is so incredibly fulfilling. If the standards are high and kept there—and sometimes we must be very strict about this point—the volunteers will stay. Yes, the ideal would be to have everyone who sings be Catholic, but that is not the world in which we live.

Third, we must build for the long term by forming children's choirs, no parish excepted. The children must be taught to match pitch, to navigate scales, to sing solfege, to understand rhythm and to read both neumes and modern notation. If every parish had a children's choir, ideally rooted in the Ward Method, we could restore musical literacy in a decade and a half, exceeding what it had been in the past. The children will then be instilled with a passion for great art and a love for involving themselves in the liturgical life of the parish.

This can be done! But the first step is to admit the problem.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Martin Travers Alert

Repeat readers will remember my fascination with Anglo-Catholic Baroque church furnisher Martin Travers, the producer of some remarkable and rather strange reredos, altars and liturgical illustrations in the 1920s. While essentially an agnostic, he worked for some of the most gung-ho pro-Rome unionists of his age, though sometimes it seemed to come down more to liturgical form than practical reunion. One of his greatest monuments is a singular Latin American-style Churrigueresque retablo in the William Butterfield neo-Gothic church of St. Augustine, Queen's Gate, in London; photographs of this extravagant and wonderfully odd bit of liturgical furnishings have eluded me to this point--but no longer.

First, there is the webpage of the parish itself, and second, more intriguing, are some shots of a high-church Anglican liturgy conducted at the church about a year ago. While it is to be regretted that the high altar is no longer used, I'm quite glad to get an up-close look at it. Say what you will about Travers' work, but it's never dull.

Rare liturgica -- and free

Thanks to a reader who noted some interesting titles online via Google books, including:

Missale mixtum secundum regulam Beati Isidori dictum Mozarabes (Mozarabic Missal)

Breviarium sacri Ordinis Cartusiensis (Carthusian Breviary)

Breviarium Parisiense (Paris Breviary)

Breviarium Gothicum (Mozarabic Breviary, Part 1)

Breviarium Gothicum II (Part II)

Venice and the faith and piety of the Italy of old (and new)

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words.

Here are some beautiful images found on the FSSP website, of Mass said in Venice, Italy.

(The pictures are courtesy of Michela Gobbi)

Latin-English Enchiridion Symbolorum

A book note of some value and merit. A Latin-English edition of Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum is hoped to come out in late 2007 or early 2008.

This edition will apparently be a translation from the 40th edition, which includes documents up to the year 2003.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Due to popular demand...

A number of people commented that they still missed the old graphic of the divine office being recited, so I've placed a different version of that same photograph where the Madonna and Child had been.

Likewise, as you've noticed I've modified the colour outside of the white area to help brighten the appearance of the site.

Do let me know how these changes are received on your end.

Schools of Spirituality, by Cardinal George

[Source: Catholic New World]

Last year, the mostly lay Archdiocesan Pastoral Council asked the Presbyteral Council to consider how the homily at Mass might be used to deepen lay people’s understanding of some contested mysteries of faith. The request arose during a discussion on what it means to be Catholic. Many of the more external signs of Catholicism, the practices people associated with life in the Church, were abandoned thirty or more years ago. The disappearance of external protections left the internal life of faith exposed to error and confusion. The priests took the time to clarify with representatives of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council just what was being asked for, and a list of six topics was finally agreed upon. The six topics that are to be discussed at some time over the course of the year, depending on the liturgical readings and season, are: the Eucharist, ordained priesthood, penance or reconciliation, marriage, the Blessed Virgin Mary and immigration.

The first impression this list, minus the sixth concern about immigration, leaves with me is that we’re back to the Protestant Reformation. At the time of the Reformation, when the visible unity of the Church was broken for doctrinal reasons, the Mass became a memorial service for most Reformers, its unity with Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary became purely “spiritual” and the objective, sacramental, substantial re-presentation of that sacrifice was denied. With the disappearance of the sacrifice of the Mass, the ordained priesthood was reduced to ministry, a function or service based only on baptism. The sacrament of Holy Orders was lost to the life of the Protestant faith communities. With the loss of ordained priesthood, the sacrament of penance or reconciliation became unnecessary, for neither the Church nor the priest mediated the penitent’s relationship to God’s mercy. Nor did the bond of marriage continue to enjoy the character of sacramentality, opening that tie to the contemporary reduction of marriage to an external, legal permission to have sex between two consenting adults. The individualism that is left when mediation disappears makes even the saints competitors with Christ, so there is no room for the Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints to pray for us or care for us. At best, they become reminders of good behavior in past history; devotion to them is classed as a form of idolatry.

There are many good people whose path to holiness is shaped by religious individualism and private interpretation of what God has revealed. They are, however, called Protestants. When an informed and committed group of Catholics, such as the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, comes up with an agenda for discussion that is, historically, Protestant, an important point is being made. Catholics assimilated to American culture, which is historically Protestant, are now living with great tension between how their culture shapes them and what their Catholic faith tells them to hold.

This is not surprising. Many writers who claim to be Catholic make names for themselves by attacking truths basic to our faith. Without the personal integrity that would bring them to admit they have simply lost the faith that comes to us from the Apostles, they reconstruct it on a purely subjective, individualistic basis and call it renewal. The Second Vatican Council wasn’t called to turn Catholics into Protestants. It was called to ask God to bring all Christ’s followers into unity of faith so that the world would believe who Christ is and live with him in his Body, the Church. The de-programming of Catholics, even in some of our schools and religious education and liturgical programs, has brought us to a moment clearly recognized by the bishops in the Synod of 1985 (when the Catechism of the Catholic Church was proposed as a partial solution to confusion about the central mysteries of faith) and acknowledged by many others today.


I’m looking forward to the next year. If we are to propose to the world our faith, we need to be better grounded in it. Proposing, as Pope John Paul II often said, is not imposing. Any proposition should be respected because of the person proclaiming it; but it should also be contested when it is false. In matters of faith, truth and falsity depend on theological warrants from history. Since history, for many Americans, is bunk and, for some academics, is only a field to be reworked at will, we’ll see how far we get this year.

What seems clear to me is that God is calling us to be authentically Catholic in our faith and also, perhaps paradoxically, Protestant in our culture. We live where we are, not in some ideal world where everything works smoothly. Those who withdraw into sectarian enclaves, even in the name of orthodoxy but without respect for or obedience to the mediators called bishops, are simply repeating the Protestant Reformation with Catholic tags. The one thing necessary is to live with discerning hearts and minds. We need to keep asking ourselves what is influencing our ways of thought, our decisions, our feelings and affections. A life of constant discernment is not always easy, but it’s joyful because it means living with the Holy Spirit, whose presence brings truth and consolation and unity.

In the Spirit, the relationships that bind us to Christ and one another remain strong. Our hope, even our optimism, remains sure no matter the challenge. We face each challenge, including those we create by our own sinfulness, not only together here and now but with all the saints and with Christ himself. May God bless you and make you holy in the community of faith and obedience and love that is his Church.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago

Ebay Missals

There have been some interesting bits of liturgica for sale recently to anyone interested.

1752 rare Franciscan MISSAL (This one ends around noon EST today, so if you're interested, you best hurry). For those wondering what this is, it is really the Roman Missal, but with the addition of the Franciscan feast days. It is not, in other words, a rite unto itself. The name of St. Francis m

Here also is a particularly nice binding of the Missale Romanum sold out of France. It is one of the nicest, most classic bindings of that Missal I have seen to date.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Abbe Barthe on the Motu Proprio

[Abbe Claude Barthe is the author of Beyond Vatican II and was a presenter at the recent CIEL colloquium hosted at Oxford University. He is well-connected. This piece apparently comes from him, and gives his thoughts on the present status of the papal motu proprio. I should note, however, that I am uncertain as to the original source -- though I should wonder about Le Forum Catholique. Moreover, I cannot attest to translation accuracy, context, etc. Still, I thought it worth sharing.]

"As far as we can know, there were two successive revisions made to the Motu Proprio. It is the second one - which is more complete and which specifies, in particular, the regulation of the rules - which was examined by the council covened by the Ecclesia Dei Commission in December. There were a few modifications made which were integrated by the Commission and the text is "awaiting signature" on the Pope's desk. The Pope is well known for taking his time for decisions (he became legendary in Munich, in the short time in which he was an archbishop). The text is as of now known [only] by Cardinal Ricard, Cardinal Barbarin, and a certain number of French bishops, at least in broad outline. Their reactions, the precautions which they are taking, the way in which they speak about it with their clergy, seem to indicate that there is nothing bureacratic in the document (it should theoretically have nothing to do with the Ecclesia Dei communities as such), but that the "request of faith ful" should be satisfied obligatorily, without the bishops being able to oppose it, except in a justified manner. I do not think, but I can be mistaken, that the freedom of the Mass will be forced [upon the bishops]. I believe that the psychological shock that freedom will produce will be salutary, even if it involve difficulties, those which we can imagine and others, doubtless, that we cannot imagine."

NLM projects

While I haven't been asked, I'm sure many of you are likely wondering, whatever happened to the NLM Liturgical Catechesis Series (the "pamphlets"), or the NLM Practicum page?

The answer is, they are still being worked upon. Of course, all of these projects take time, and in addition to these, I am now also working on the publication of the 2005-2006 NLM Review.

As with anything which one wishes to develop with quality and significance they take time. But I want people to know that these projects will come to fruition, and they are all in development. However, I wouldn't want to release them until they reach a certain point of maturation.

You may also wonder about the series I told you about prior to Christmas that will examine the reform of the breviary. This also will be forthcoming, but our originally planned Epiphany starting date for this series had to be pushed back slightly. This particular series will be handled by some notable scholars -- a notable scholars tend to be busy people.

In the future as well, we may have some pieces on the Bragan rite and the York use, which I have organized with certain individuals -- time-permitting for them of course.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Cantors: Some Concluding Thoughts

Since the cantor thread seems to be dead at this point, I thought I would post anew in order to thank everyone for what turned out to be quite a constructive conversation about the use of cantors in the Roman Rite. Many of your comments will occasion a revision on my part if this piece were ever to be printed elsewhere. For now, however, this "appendix" shall suffice.

Special thanks to those who mentioned two uses of the cantor which had evaded my attention, due to the fact that I just couldn't bring myself to go through the GIRM yet again. They are 1) the cantor leading the Bidding Prayers (Prex fidelium) if the deacon doesn't do it and 2) the cantor alternating Psalm verses with the choir or congregation during the processional music. Notice carefully that these situations involve the cantor singing as an equal rather than as master.

In terms of number 2 above, while it is a legitimate option, it would not be my preferred method of singing the processional Psalmody, as this task has been assigned to the choir in the Roman Rite for centuries. Someone (or two) asked earlier how I can make this assertion. My reasons for saying this are twofold: 1) It is traditional that the choir sing the Introit, Offertory, and Communion and 2) from an idiomatic standpoint, if the Propers from the Graduale Romanum are sung, these belong to the choir by virtue of their musical properties. These antiphons are not suitable for singing by large groups of people, particularly untrained singers. (But no hard feelings...) Related to the idiomatic concerns about the Propers, we can also understand that at times the Ordinary would belong to the choir as well, that is, when it is sung in a polyphonic or orchestral setting. Musicam Sacram (1967) offered many options of who could sing which of these parts, as long as the congregation was not completely excluded from the singing. This leaves us with a wide array of possibilities, since, even if the choir were to sing all of the Ordinary and all of the Proper, the people would still have dialogues and other things to sing. (This is not the time to decide if such a case would be desirable; nor is it time to re-hash the choral Sanctus....please, please.....the very thought makes my head hurt.)

But I digress a bit....moving along...

As far as song leadership, I agree with whomever said that the organ leads the hymns. If the organ does not lead the hymns then the organ should not play the hymns. This presumes, of course, that the organist is well-trained, and that he knows how to register the organ properly (and not doing things like using tremulants and celestes for congregational singing) and to lead people without suffocating them with some of the ridiculously fast tempi that can be heard in many places today. It also presumes that the organist approaches the hymns with a singing mentality, though that doesn't necessarily mean that he must be a trained singer.

This is far better than one amplified voice doing the leading. Think about the times you've sung your country's national anthem at a public gathering. When was it sung most heartily? When a pop soloist crooned it into a microphone? Or when a band (as in a military band) played a traditional arrangement of it? My vote is for the band. Also, for more info about the harm the mic does to singing congregations, see Thomas Day: Why Catholics Can't Sing, p. 52. It is also worth noting that, in many places, the organist and cantor seem to fight for the lead, in a manner of speaking. I don't think it takes much to see how this is harmful. Also, special thanks to the reader who mentioned the sociologist's book which approached the subject of amplification, etc.

Ephrem's point about Protestants--that they're Protestant--is very well-taken. But so is the "opposing" point, which seems to be saying that we need to find out how the Protestants got to their robust singing and learn a thing or two from it. I'm quite confident--even certain--that Ephrem agrees with this, too. This is the issue which I tried to address--perhaps inadequately--at the end of my original piece. Ultimately, if we want to take the "training wheels" off our congregational music, we musicians are going to have to roll up our sleeves and teach.

Well that's all for now. And again, many thanks.

Update on items

For those wondering, the following items are still available:

Black fiddleback vestment (actually includes both stole and maniple as it turns out)
Traditional red cope (in need of repair)
Rose gothic chasuble
A traditional red stole
Altar cards
Summa Contra Gentiles (English, hardcover)

(The Summa Theologica is still available as well but I'm re-thinking whether I ought sell that. If you're interested, ask me however.)

Pictures are available of the vestments, and of the altar cards as well upon request.

Pauline Latin Mass tutorial

Here is a site which will be of especial use to priests or seminarians, "reforming the reform" (or who aspire to help such): Understanding the Latin Mass.

The site introduces itself as follows:

Understanding the Latin Mass: Hear and Learn the Words of the Novus Ordo
Text and Audio CD by Marion P. Smedberg

Explore the meaning of the Latin words of the Mass with this book and its accompanying audio CD. Each word of the Latin Novus Ordo Mass is translated literally, and the form by which you would look it up in a Latin dictionary is given. Then, to help you remember the meaning of the Latin word, the author gives you English words which come from the Latin word. For example, Dominus means "Lord, master," and an English word which comes from dominus is dominate, the way a master would dominate his domain.

Understanding the Latin Mass is unique in its audio-lingual approach to learning the meaning of the Mass, and in its thoroughness. This is not a loose translation, but a digging down into the Latin itself, to understand each Latin word from the "inside."

Donate button fixed

Thanks to a priest friend of the NLM for noticing the Paypal Donation link wasn't working. This was a result of the switch over to the new Google template.

If anyone has been trying to make a donation, the Paypal donate button for the NLM is now fixed and working again. My apologies.

A couple of items from the Germans

Some Germans are the latest to add their voices to the hoped for Motu Proprio granting a freer use of the classical liturgy.

Speigel Online, an German news source, has a story on this. (If anyone is fluent in German and has the time to quickly translate this, please do. Online translation tools don't work well with German I find.)

As well, Philip Savage, who has been translating Martin Mosebach's writings into English, has been kind of enough to give to the NLM, exclusively, this English translation of Mosebach's Six Ulm Theses. It will no doubt stir up discussion and some debate.

Given the interest in Mr. Mosebach with the English language release of The Heresy of Formlessness, these sorts of writings, heretofore unknown in the English speaking world (so far as I know) provide additional context to understanding Mosebach's personal thoughts on the liturgical question, including the reforms which followed the Council.

These in particular are related to the post-conciliar reform as it happened, versus the mandate of the Council, and also issues pertaining to the liturgical principle of organic development.

You may click the link above to read the piece in its entirety. Here below is an excerpt from the very beginning of the piece:

Paul VI’s reform of the Mass following the Second Vatican Council represents a unique event in the history of the Church. Never before had the Church forbidden an old rite, never before had she, as Cardinal Ratzinger has stated, put a “fabricated rite” in the place of a traditional one. The defining rite of the Western Church prior to 1968 is in no measure “Tridentine”, i.e. the creation of the Council Of Trent, as many would erroneously have it, but can, in its essentials, be traced back to Gregory the Great. It was the rite of the Pope and the City of Rome....

(I would remind people that this is not an invitation to "trash" the Pauline liturgy. Discussing, constructively critiquing, and analyzing ought to be one's approach and response.)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Westminster Cathedral Choir

The choral tradition in England, assiduously maintained in hundreds of cathedrals (both Catholic and Anglican), colleges and parishes is surely one of the glories of the Church in England. Arguably the finest choir among these is Westminster Cathedral Choir. In a country where the 'competition' among church choirs is stiff, Westminster Cathedral Choir won the 1998 Gramophone Awards for both ‘Best Choral Recording of the Year’ and ‘Record of the Year’ and so became the only cathedral choir to have won in either of these categories.

Since the choral tradition was established here in 1903 by Cardinal Vaughan and R. R. Terry brought polyphony and plainsong back to London, this choir has been the liturgical pride of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It is still the only choir in the world to sing a polyphonic Mass Ordinary every day with Gregorian chant Propers at the daily Solemn Mass at 5.30pm. It's a real treat, a spiritual lift at the eve of a busy and often stressful London day.

Thanks to Mgr Mark Langham, Dean of Westminster Cathedral and his informative and interesting blog, one can now catch a glimpse into life in a choir school and appreciate all that goes into creating beautiful music in the Liturgy, for the glory of God and the sanctification of His people:

More music can be heard at the linked pages above.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

"Horizontalism … Does Damage to Catholic Faith and Worship"

Cardinal Arinze Address to Institut Supérieur de Liturgie

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 20, 2007 ( Here is an address given by Cardinal Francis Arinze at a colloquium to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Institut Supérieur de Liturgie of the Institut Catholique de Paris. The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments gave the address Oct. 26.

* * *

At the Service of the Mysteries of Christ

1. Fitting Celebration. Time of Grace

God be praised that the Institut Supérieur de Liturgie is celebrating a half-century of its life and service. In these 50 years this institute has made a significant contribution to liturgical reflection, life and allied formation in the Church. We pray the Lord Jesus to bless and reward all who in the past, or at the present time, have contributed to the work of this important section of the Institut Catholique de Paris. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments offers its warm congratulations to the institute.

A jubilee celebration such as this is a time not only for thanksgiving but also for reflection, for re-examination of orientations, for clarification of the road map, and for resolutions for the future. Let us touch on some of the areas which a higher liturgical institute such as this one could seek to serve. It is important to show the light in matters liturgical. The "ars celebrandi" and the homily deserve special mention. An ecclesiology of communion includes clarity on the roles of the priest and of the diocesan bishop. A consideration of these elements will help us to conclude with a listing of the major services expected of a liturgical institute.

2. Show the light in matters liturgical

Primary among the duties of a higher liturgical institute is to be a beacon of light in matters liturgical. It informs and forms leaders who appreciate the riches to be found in the public worship of the Church and who will be ready to share them with others. It throws light on the close link between theology and liturgy, between the faith of the Church and the celebration of the mysteries of Christ, between the "lex credendi" and the "lex orandi."

While, therefore, a higher liturgical institute should promote research, it above all bases its strong and durable foundations on the faith, on the Tradition of the Church and on the heritage enshrined in liturgical texts, gestures and postures. Such an institute appreciates that the sacred liturgy is a gift we receive from Christ through the Church. It is not something that we invent. It has therefore unchangeable elements which come from our Savior Jesus Christ, as in the essential forms of the sacraments, and changeable elements which have been carefully handed on and guarded by the Church.

Many abuses in matters liturgical are based, not on bad will but on ignorance, because they "involve a rejection of those elements whose deeper meaning is not understood and whose antiquity is not recognized" ("Redemptionis Sacramentum," No. 9). Thus some abuses are due to an undue place given to spontaneity, or creativity, or to a wrong idea of freedom, or to the error of horizontalism which places man at the center of a liturgical celebration instead of vertically focusing on Christ and his mysteries.

Darkness is chased away by light, not by verbal condemnation. A higher liturgical institute trains experts in the best and authentic [theological]-liturgical tradition of the Church. It forms them to love the Church and her public worship and to follow the norms and indications given by the magisterium. It also provides appropriate courses for those who will promote ongoing liturgical formation for clerics, consecrated people and the lay faithful.

As Pope John Paul II wrote the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments a month before his death: "It is urgent that in parish communities, in associations and in ecclesial movements there be assured adequate courses of formation, so that the liturgy be better known in the richness of its language and that it be lived in fullness. To the measure to which this is done, the result will be benefits showing themselves in personal and community life" (Letter of John Paul II to Cardinal Arinze, March 3, 2005, No. 5).

3. Promotion of "ars celebrandi"

A consequence of sound [theological]-liturgical grounding and proper formation in faith and reverence is that the "ars celebrandi" will be promoted not only on the part of the celebrating priest, but also as regards all others who take part in liturgical functions, above all, the deacon, but also altar servers, readers, those who direct the singing and all the faithful who participate.

"Ars celebrandi" is based on the theological truth articulated by the Second Vatican Council, namely that "the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of man is manifested by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which is proper to each of these signs; in the liturgy full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Christ, that is by the Head and his members" ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 7).

A liturgical institute should help everyone concerned in a liturgical celebration to appreciate this truth. The first place goes to the celebrating priest or bishop. If they are sufficiently inserted into the meaning of liturgical celebrations which have Christ as their Head, if they respect the Scripture, Tradition, historical roots of the sacred texts and the theological riches of liturgical expressions, then the results will be a happy manifestation of the "ars celebrandi."

Liturgical celebrations will beautifully manifest the faith of the Church, nourish this faith in the participants, awaken this faith in the dormant and the indifferent, and send the people home on fire to live the Christian life and spread the Gospel. This is very far from the cold, man-centered and sometimes openly idiosyncratic mannerism which our Sunday congregations are sometimes forced to endure. Both the Letter of Pope John Paul II already mentioned (No. 3) and the October 2005 Synod of Bishops (Proposition 25) emphasize the importance of "ars celebrandi."

4. The homily

"The homily," says the Second Vatican Council, "is to be highly esteemed as part of the liturgy itself" ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 52). In it the Word of God is bread broken for the people. The sacred readings are related to the realities of life in the world of today. The homily, well delivered, should make the people's hearts burn within them (cf. Luke 24:32).

Unfortunately, many homilies as delivered by priests or deacons are not up to what is desirable. Some homilies seem to be mere sociological, psychological or, worse still, political comments. They are not sufficiently grounded in Holy Scripture, liturgical texts, Church tradition and solid theology. In some countries there are people who do not appreciate that the delivery of the homily at the Eucharistic Sacrifice is a pastoral ministry assigned only to ordained ministers: deacon, priest or bishop. Lay people laudably conduct catechesis outside Mass, but not the homily which demands ordination.

A higher liturgical institute can help spread the right convictions regarding the homily. It can help create a climate of opinion which will lead to more substantial pastures for the people of God, considering that for many Catholics the homily is probably the only ongoing religious and catechetical formation that they receive in the week (cf. Letter of Pope John Paul II, No. 4; October 2005 Synod: Proposition 19).

5. The liturgical role of the priest

It is crucial that a higher liturgical institute delineate clearly the role of the priest in the sacred liturgy. The Second Vatican Council says that "the wished-for renewal of the whole Church depends in large measure on a ministry of priests which is vitalized by the spirit of Christ" ("Optatam Totius," No. 1).

The common priesthood of all the baptized and the ministerial priesthood of the ordained priest come from Christ himself. Confusion of roles in the hierarchical constitution of the Church does damage. It does not promote witness to Christ nor holiness for clergy and laity. Neither attempts at the clericalization of the laity, nor efforts toward the laicization of the clergy, will bring down divine graces. "In liturgical celebrations," says Vatican II, "whether as a minister or as one of the faithful, each person should perform his role by doing solely and totally what the nature of things and liturgical norms require of him" ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 28). It is false humility and an inadmissible idea of democracy or fraternity, for the priest to try to share his strictly priestly liturgical roles with the lay faithful.

It is not therefore superfluous to state that a higher liturgical institute, just as any theological faculty, should help people to see that the priesthood is an integral and constitutive part of the structure of the Church and that therefore we absolutely need ordained priests to celebrate Holy Mass, to absolve people from their sins in the sacrament of penance and to anoint the sick (cf. James 5:14-15).

Moreover, if fuller spiritual benefits are to come to people at weddings and funerals, then we need priests to celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice, preach spiritually enriching homilies to the people, some of whom would otherwise rarely come to Mass, give them blessing and be a sign that the Church is near them at such a milestone in their lives. No doubt, it is necessary that the priest does not merely perform liturgical functions, but that his ministerial activities come from the heart and that his pastoral presence be a spiritual nourishment for the people.

If the role of the priest is weakened or is not appreciated, a local Catholic community may be dangerously lapsing into the idea of a priestless community. This is not in line with the genuine concept of the Church instituted by Christ.

If a diocese does not have enough priests, initiatives should be taken to seek them from elsewhere now, to encourage local vocations and to keep fresh in the people a genuine "hunger" for a priest (cf. John Paul II, "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," No. 32). Non-ordained members of the faithful who are assigned some roles in the absence of a priest have to make a special effort to keep up this "hunger." And they should resist the temptation of trying to get the people accustomed to them as substitutes for priests (cf. op. cit., No. 33). There is no place in the Catholic Church for the creation of a sort of parallel "lay clergy" (cf. "Redemptionis Sacramentum," Nos. 149-153,165).

Priests on their part should show themselves transparently happy in their vocation with a clear identity of their liturgical role. If they celebrate the sacred mysteries with faith and devotion and according to the approved books, they will unconsciously be preaching priestly vocations. On the other hand, young people will not desire to join a band of clerics who seem uncertain of their mission, who criticize and disobey their Church and who celebrate their own "liturgies" according to their personal choices and theories.

A higher liturgical institute and a theological faculty are precious instruments in the hands of the Church for the sharing of the correct theology on the priest as Christ's instrument in the sacred liturgy.

6. The role of the bishop

Obviously ecclesial communion has to mean "communion" with the diocesan bishop and between bishops and the Pope. In the diocese, the bishop is the first steward of the mysteries of Christ. He is the moderator, promoter and guardian of the entire liturgical life of the diocesan Church (cf. "Christus Dominus," No. 15; Code of Canon Law, Canon 387; "Redemptionis Sacramentum," No. 19). The bishop directs the administration of the sacraments and especially of the holy Eucharist. When he concelebrates in his cathedral church with his priests, with the assistance of deacons and minor assistants, and with the participation of the holy people of God, "the Church reveals herself most clearly" ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 41).

Catholic theological faculties, liturgical institutes and pastoral centers are there to help the bishop, the chief pastor in the diocese. They also in appropriate ways cooperate with the bishops' conference and the Apostolic See and help to explain and spread their documents and instructions. They are obvious treasured advisers to the diocesan bishop, bishops' conferences and the Holy See. They appreciate and help people to understand that the sacred liturgy is not a free-for-all research area, but rather the public and official prayer of the Church for which the Pope and the bishops are chiefly responsible. A Catholic institute or theological faculty thus sees that it is not right for it to run parallel to the bishop or the Holy See, or to regard itself as an independent observer or critic.

Here we must thank the Institut Supérieur de Liturgie for the positive role it has played for half a century in the Church, in promotion of the sacred liturgy and of ecclesial communion. This leads us to conclude with a listing of some of the services expected from a higher liturgical institute.

7. Services expected from a higher liturgical institute

It follows from the foregoing considerations that a higher institute for the liturgy should be a house of light and love. It should prepare, inform and form experts on the sacred liturgy. It is its role to inspire people with faith and with love for the Church so that they appreciate that liturgical "norms are a concrete expression of the authentically ecclesial nature of the Eucharist; this is their deepest meaning. Liturgy is never anyone's private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated" ("Ecclesia de Eucharistia," No. 52).

This means that liturgical institutes should arm people to reject banalization, desacralization and secularization in matters liturgical. Horizontalism which makes people tend to celebrate themselves instead of the mysteries of Christ does damage to Catholic faith and worship and deserves to be avoided.

An institute such as yours exercises great influence because of the orientation and spirit which it imparts to its students, because of its publications and because of its moral authority in giving ideas to diocesan liturgical and pastoral centers and to publishing houses. This influence goes beyond France and reaches villages in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

A higher liturgical institute can be a powerful help to the bishop, to the bishops' conference and to the Holy See, in the formulation of liturgical directives and in the articulation of the theology which underpins liturgical rites. Since "the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the fountain from which all her power flows" ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 10), no one can fail to see the importance of the apostolate of a liturgical institute.

Institut Supérieur de Liturgie, I greet you as you complete your 50th year! May the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Savior whose mysteries we celebrate in the liturgy, obtain for this institute and all its sisters throughout the world joy, efficiency and ecclesial growth in the discharge of this high vocation and mission.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Into Great Silence: the wait is almost over

Many will be excited to know that the official Canadian release of the DVD, Into Great Silence, the documentary film which looks into the quiet life of solitude led by the Carthusians at Le Grande Chartreuse, is set for the early spring.

That means you won't have to wait long before, at long last, you will be able to see this rare view in the monastic and liturgical life of these Carthusian monks, and what promises to be a remarkable documentary.

I for one am particularly eager to see what glimpses into the Carthusian liturgical life might be found. I will be providing a review of the DVD here on the NLM of course.

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