Friday, October 31, 2008

Chants of the Vatican Gradual

I'm very happy to have one of my favorite books, a book I consult every week, in this embeddable format:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Vesting of a Bishop in the Pontifical Rites of the Usus Antiquior

The ceremony of the vesting of a bishop in the pontifical rites of the usus antiquior is a rather interesting bit of ceremonial that most Catholics never get to see or experience. It involves various prayers and then a ceremonial form of vesting with the participation of various attendants, with the deacon primarily vesting the bishop with the assistance of the subdeacon.

This vesting can occur in the sacristy (as is depicted here) or also in the church itself.

John Sonnen of Orbis Catholicus captured one form of these ceremonies recently at the Solemn Pontifical Mass in Imperia.

It is quite interesting to consider some of the similiarities here between the vesting of the bishop in the tradition of the Latin West and that of the vesting of a bishop in the Byzantine rite:

The Bishop goes to the Kathedra (a raised platform with the episcopal chair) - which has been set up at the Bema (the centre of the Sanctuary). Then, in the midst of his people, he is vested by the deacons and subdeacons. The Protodeacon standing on the Ambo, prays aloud the prayers of Vesting, while 2 deacons incense. There is a wonderful ambivalence in the theology of Vesting. Actually, there are 2 sets of Vesting Prayers: those proclaimed alto voce by the Protodeacon and those said soto voce by the Bishop.


While the Bishop is being vested by his Church, the Priests, having received a blessing from the Bishop, go to the Vestry and vest.

See the link for a whole description. Here are some photos from St. Elias Church in Brampton, Ontario which shows their form of pontifical vesting.

All images courtesy of St. Elias Church.

The Hymn of Love of St Francis Xavier

Sometimes all our discussions about the liturgy, its principles and their application may cause the - false - impression that this is all purely an exercise of the intellect, when in fact this is all in vain if it is not motivated by a deep love of God, for "if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." (1 Cor 13, 2) Today I present to you a prayer - which no doubt many if not most of you will already know - which I have personally found a powerful means of inspiring and evoking this love. I have first found it in the appendix of a 1941 edition of the Breviarium Romanum which I received as a Christmas present when I was sixteen, and have never ceased praying it since. It is traditionally (also in said Breviary appendix) attributed to St Francis Xavier, and while this attribution, at least of this specific Latin form, has been questioned, I believe it is ultimately not decisive, as the prayer and its popularity over the centuries speak for themselves:


O Deus, ego amo Te!
Nec amo Te, ut salves me,
aut quia non amántes Te,
ætérno punis igne:
Tu, Tu, mi Jesu, totum me
ampléxus es in Cruce.
Tulísti clavos, lánceam
multámque ignomíniam,
innúmeros dolóres,
sudóres et angóres
ac mortem: et hæc propter me
ac pro me peccatóre!
Cur ígitur non amem Te,
o Jesu amantíssime?
Non ut in cælo salves me,
aut ne ætérno damnes me,
nec præmii ullíus spe;
sed sicut Tu amásti me,
sic amo et amábo Te,
solum quia Rex meus es,
et solum quia Deus es. Amen.

A rather free English translation I have found on the internet while writing this post is this one by Fr Edward Caswall:

My God, I love Thee, not because
I hope for heaven thereby;
Nor yet since they who love Thee not
Must burn eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me
Upon the Cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails and spear,
And manifold disgrace;
And griefs and torments numberless,
And sweat of agony;
E’en death itself; and all for one
Who was Thine enemy.
Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love Thee well,
Not for the sake of winning heaven,
Or of escaping hell;
Not with the hope of gaining aught,
Not seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord?
E’en so I love Thee, and will love,
And in Thy praise will sing,
Solely because Thou art my God,
And my eternal King.

Dominican Regulae Cantus (1965) now Available

I am pleased to announce that, through the work and kindness of Br. Gregory Schnakenberg, O.P., we now have available for consultation and download on the left side bar at Dominican Liturgy a scan of the Tonorum Communium iuxta Ritum Ordinis Praedicatorum Regulae, usually called the "Regulae Cantus," published in 1965.

This booklet revised the traditional manner of chanting the pslams, readings, and prayers, conforming them to the Benedictine/Roman method developed by the monks of Solesmes. The traditional Dominican melodies were preserved, but the way in which they were adapted to the Latin words was changed to match the general practice of the Church. This book is not merely of historical interest as the method of psalm-singing in it is that in use by Dominican houses, such as the Angelicum in Rome, which sing the Liturgia Horarum in chant. This booklet also provides the norms for prayers and readings when Dominicans celebrate the Roman Ordinary Form Mass using our own musical tradition, as was provided for in the Rescript of 1969 by which we adopted the Roman Rite.

Those who would like to compare this music with the original Dominican methods may find the pre-1965 rules in the Processionale, also available for download on our side-bar. The original tones are also available on line in the Poissy Antiphonal of 1335, which is also linked from the side-bar. A page of that manuscript decorates this posting. Those who know the Benedictine music will immediately notice the much reduced number of terminations in the Dominican use (only 16 total for the eight tones) and that the chants for the Epistle and Gospel match those listed in the Roman Gradual as "ancient more authentic tones."

This booklet also includes the music for the Psalms and Antiphons of Dominican Rite Compline using the new method and provided with Solesmes marks. The only other Dominican music books using the Solesmes notation system produced were those for Holy Week and Compline. I hope that we will eventually be able to make those also available. As this seemed a suitable time, I have also reposed at Dominican Liturgy my short explanation of how to interpret and sing Dominican chant.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Guido Marini on Papal Liturgy under Benedict XVI

Vatican Radio German Service today carries an interview with Msgr Guido Marini, the Papal MC. Of course, many points are covered which we have heard about from him before. Here are some of the parts I thought more interesting and which we have not heard, or at least not from this perspective, before:

Vatican Radio: Monsignor Marini, how would you define the liturgical style of Pope Benedict?

Monsignor Marini: That is not an easy question, because the liturgical style encompasses both the exterior and the interior dimension of celebrating - and of course the respective understanding of what the liturgy is. I think the liturgical style of Pope Benedict emphasises both the proper sobriety which has always characterised the Roman liturgy, and the sense for the mystery and the sacred. And then I see a strong turning towards the Lord who after all is present at every moment of celebrating.

Vatican Radio: At the centre of every service there is not the priest, and that means not even the Pope, but the risen Christ. Now critics say that some of these new elements [of the papal liturgies introduced in the tenure of Guido Marini, NLM] distract the faithful rather than help them to focus on the essential. All the gold and the lace were too conspicuous, it is said, very simply designed liturgical instruments and vestments which make the celebrant practically invisible would be better. What is your stance on this?

Monsignor Marini: I don't believe that these elements distract. Of course care has to be taken that the Lord remains at the centre. The danger of distraction is always there, and therefore an education is needed which always leads back to the centre. But everything in the liturgy, also in its details, which conveys beauty, harmony and splendour , does not distract from the mystery of God, but really helps to meet Him who is infinite Beauty.


Vatican Radio: To what extent does Pope Benedict himself suggest changes in his services? Or is it you who suggest them to him?

Monsignor Marini: To say the truth: In this time in which I've had the grace to be near the Holy Father it has not been like I had received instructions each time. It is rather a conversation, an exchange of ideas, a collaboration. For my part I try to suggest and submit liturgical elements to the Holy Father. He weighs the pro and contra, expresses his mind and gives an orientation which then clearly is followed.

Vatican Radio: For example?

Monsignor Marini: You have mentioned before some "innovations", in quotation marks, in the liturgy. For example then Communion: Who receives from the hands of the Holy Father, receives kneeling. This suggestion has been seized by the Holy Father, and he has given his instructions in this respect.

Flagship Parishes of the Reform of the Reform: The Birmingham Oratory

I ran across this video of part of the liturgy at the Birmingham Oratory -- Cardinal Newman's own oratory. The attentive eye and ear will note that this Mass is actually in the modern form of the Roman liturgy.

What English Propers Should We Sing?

As the reality dawns on the Catholic world that hymns are a substitute for propers--yes, it is very, very sad that this is a point that has to dawn on the Catholic world (!!!)--the first step toward clarity is to start singing the propers in English.

Making this post as short as possible, let me say first that there are three resources that are most accessible:

1. The Anglican Use Gradual. It's free. Download it to your harddrive. I find these beautiful and very useful, almost infallibly so. Their simple structure might deceive you into thinking that they are tedious and something. Not so. They work very well. This is my own personal opinion, and I have dear friends who don't entirely agree with me, and that's fine. But on this I will hold my ground. These are great for parish use, again IMHO. Also the title of the collection is misleading. Most Catholics don't even know what the "Anglican Use" is. In fact it is a third form of the Roman Rite of Mass approved in every way, and this follows the ordinary form calender week by week.

2. The American Gradual. It's free. Download it and use it. These follow Gregorian formulae, and are also great. They are more elaborate. I would suggest these as stage two.

3. By Flowing Waters. Again, I know many people who love this book and I have high respect for the author. It's not really my own choice, not that you should have an regard for my own opinion here. Try them and make your own decision. Sadly, this book is not free, but it is low priced. Note that these are seasonal propers, which is something I can't really embrace: in fact, I don't entirely understand what it means to have seasonal propers. But let's just leave that aside. I point to this resource because people I admire and respect like it and use it.

On translations, please don't post in the combox or write me a belligerent email scolding me for recommending material that departs from "approved translations." Please understand this: there are no approved or official translations of the sung propers of the Roman Rite. Why not? It has something to do with a crazy mixed up confusion over spoken vs. sung propers that emerged in 1970, a crazy mixed up issue over translations of the GIRM that still exist in the current translation, and many other oddball historical anomalies that are not worth going into here. For purposes of this post, you just need to know that these translations are all perfectly fine to sing at Mass. Nor, by the way, do I think that some committee should get to work and pound out approved translations: that is a sure path to catastrophe.

Preface to the New Edition of the Roman Breviary

The official website for ordering the new edition of the Breviarium Romanum, which I mentioned a while ago (see here), will be up sometime next week. In the meantime, I present to you the preface to this edition by His Excellency the Most Reverend Gregor Maria Hanke OSB, Bishop of Eichstätt, in which he grants the necessary approval pursuant to canon law:


Cum virtute Litterarum Apostolicarum «Summorum Pontificum» Motu Proprio datarum Ss.mi Nostri Benedicti Pp. XVI, die 7 Julii anni salutis 2007, omnibus clericis in sacris constitutis fas sit «uti etiam Breviario Romano a beato Joanne XXIII anno 1962 promulgato» (cfr. ibid., 9 § 3), elevantibus vocem «ipsius Sponsæ, quæ Sponsum alloquitur, immo etiam orationem Christi cum ipsius Corpore ad Patrem» (cfr. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 84) præsentem reeditionem supradicti Breviarii Romani typographis «nova et vetera», sed adhibentem loco Psalterii e versione Pii Pp. XII auctoritate edita antiquius Vulgatæ Psalterium, in duobus voluminibus exaratam in diœcesi nostra, juxta ultimam editionem, pro hac vice quam approbatam a S. Rit. Congr. Præfecto, et a S. Sedis Ap. et S. Rit. Congr. typographo Friderico Pustet, Ratisbonæ anno 1962 curatam, ab editoribus auctam precibus, litaniis benedictionibusque e Rituali Romano excerptis cum «formulis brevissimis» (cfr. Summorum Pontificum, 9), censoris Nostri testimonio certiores facti, exceptis dictis, cum supradicta editione plane concordare, Nos, ad normam can. 826 §§ 2 et 3 Codicis Juris Canonici, hanc novam editionem amplificatam et usui antiquiori Vulgatæ Psalterio adaptatam, libenter approbamus evulgandique licentiam concedimus.

In quorum fidem hasce litteras manu Nostra signatas atque sigillo Nostro munitas dedimus, Eystadii, die 12 mensis Septembris 2008, memoriæ Ss.mi Nominis Mariæ.


Gregorius M. Hanke OSB

Church Vestments in Art from the 9th to 19th Centuries

I was quite intrigued when I ran across this particular title quite by happenstance recently:

The Place of Church Vestments in the History of Art from the Ninth to Nineteenth Century

by Pauline Johnstone

"The decoration of church vestments, which are the ceremonial garments worn by the clergy at the celebration of the Mass, has always been a matter of high fashion. In the first place the crafts of silk weaving and embroidery, which provide the technical means for the decoration of these garments, have held a prominent place in the changing fashions in the arts since the early Middle Ages, and since that time have been used in the service of the church as well as for secular purposes."

• 207 pages • 10x13 • Hardcover •
• ISBN: 1-902653-61-0 • Costume & Fashion Press • $150.00 •

Product Link:

Evidently the book is not inexpensive though for such a specialist bit of subject matter, that shouldn't come as a terrible surprise.

I have often thought that a coffee table type of book would be most suitable to the subject of the historical art of vestment making through extant historical examples. This book looks promising in this regard and is the first I have come across in the English language.

Watch for an upcoming review of this title.

Albert Jay Nock on why Catholic Church music usually stinks

"It takes more than the man to make the artist; it takes the combination of the man and the moment, the man and the milieu. An artist must have models, and for him to have them, the civilization around him must produce them."[1]

The man and the milieu. To be truthful, the Church has not done much to support music, but many within the Church have done much to repress it as much as possible. Then we wonder why some of our best talents run screaming for the exits and never come back.

An artist must have models. Is it irrelevant at this point for me to mention that almost all my models came from musicians who work for a Protestant denomination? All of my organ teachers were Protestant. I did not grow up within driving distance of a competent Catholic liturgical musician.

"This is why we must restore tradition!" many will admonish. But this is a mere distraction, really. Not even tradition can eradicate bad taste and mismanaged priorities. Then there is the distrust of expertise even by those who largely consider themselves traditional--for they too, as modern men, are affected by popular egalitarianism.

So how do we get out of this conundrum?

[1] Nock, Albert Jay: _On Doing the Right Thing_, p. 64.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My new wedding policy

A few weeks ago in my church, we experienced the wedding from hell. Well, one of them, anyway. It got the pastor and me to thinking, and I pounded out a wedding policy that was approved forthwith. I am quite glad to have a pastor that will approve this; most I've worked with are too chicken. Here are the salient points (comments in brackets and parenthesis are added for the purposes of this post):

1. Please contact the organist at least two months prior to your wedding date if you have any specific requests. You need not feel obligated to plan the entire ceremony. The organist can make use of as little as or as many requests as you have. [Just as Jeffrey suspects it with funerals, I suspect that many wedding couples plan every detail because they feel they must. I'm trying to disabuse them of that notion, and actually very few couples come to me with more than one or two specific requests.]

2. Only sacred music can be played at the wedding ceremony. Music such as pop tunes and Broadway selections are not allowed to be sung in church.

3. Only musicians are admitted to the choir loft. Photographers, videographers, etc. will not be given admittance to the loft.

4. Please let the organist know if you would like a soloist to be present for the wedding. Soloists from outside the parish are allowed but not encouraged, and in any case should have obtained adequate musical training to perform effectively. [In other words, I'm not going to spend 45 minutes futilely trying to teach your sister-in-law how to sing Barbara Streisand's Our Father.]

5. The fee for the soloist is $___. The fee for the organist is $___. (Note: I've cut specific amounts to avoid that tedious debate.)

6. If you have any further questions, please contact the organist.

Solemn Pontifical Mass in Liguria, Italy

Rinascimento Sacro has some beautiful images up from the Solemn Pontifical Mass offered this past weekend, celebrated by the ordinary, Msgr. Mario Oliveri, Bishop of Imperia (Liguria, Italy).

During the rites, seven Franciscan sisters of the Immaculate made their solemn profession.

A view of the complete set of photographs will show the presence of Msgr. Amodeo, an Ambrosian canon of the Cathedral of Milan, the NLM's own Nicola de Grandi, as well as many of the faithful servers from Ss. Trinita in Rome. It looks to have been a glorious occasion.

You can also expect to see more photos of the event from John Sonnen who was one of those at this event.

Here are a few select photos from the event. (All photos are from Rinascimento Sacro.)

(The altar and faldstool where the bishop will vest and pray the vesting prayers)

(The bishop, prior to Mass, prays before the Blessed Sacrament.)

The Solemn Profession:

The Consecration:

To be Young and Singing

If your parish has a children's choir, thank both the director and the pastor, both of whom are crucially important to maintaining such a program in time when such choirs are ever more rare in Catholic Churches. If they are singing serious music, such as chant, receiving real training in music theory using the voice, that is all the more spectacular.

When you read the personal biographies of great singers, in our times or the past, it comes up again and again that their first training occurred in church. Would that the schools were a substitute but even in the best of times, it was the liturgy of the Church that provided the most intense singing experience.

What happens when children's choirs are gone for more than one or two generations? We see the results all around us. Scholas have a hard time forming in parishes where very few people can read music or feel confident that they are singing notes at all. You might be able to get past the failure to read, but they don't understand how their voices work and they don't have the confidence to sing publicly (as versus in the shower).

There is also the problem of proper artistic formation. People cannot reliably distinguish what Pius X called "true art" from music that has long been said to be inappropriate for Mass. The capacity to know the difference cannot be spelled out in some rule book or scientific measure of beats and intervals. It comes from familiarity with music generally and the sacred music tradition in particular.

In a parish where there is a huge dearth of talent and a lack of common commitment to true art, starting fresh with a sacred music program can be a serious challenge. The ground can best be prepared by an active children's choir program that extends over a long period of time.

Starting is itself a challenge. In observing this in a number of parishes, it seems clear that it is not enough for there to be one music director with the goal in mind. That music director can carve out a place in the schedule, post signs, talk to many parents privately, and still find himself or herself standing in front of an empty classroom. It's not the case that parents don't want their children to learn to sing.

The problem is that there too many other priorities that come first, such a sports or studying or playing with friends or whatever. There are a thousand reasons not to show up.

Another problem is that parents expect fast results that cannot be obtained in a high-quality program. They want the kids to learn songs to sing to family and friends, in the hope that the child will become some kind of singing phenom like you see on television. When this hope doesn't materialize, they take to kid out so that he or she can discover his or her true brilliance in another setting.

Careful music training takes place over a series of years in which the student discovers how to distinguish between high and low notes, whole steps and half steps, and learns how to sing on pitch and sight sing. Ideally, the child learns the do-re-mi system of singing as the first music instrument and finds out how to navigate up and down this scale, starting from any note and moving to any note. This is critically important for learning to sing and learning about music, but it is not the kind of talent that is going to impress extended relations at family reunions. This is source of frustration for parents who are themselves illiterate in this area.

Technology has helped pedagogy in most every area of life, but the field of music is highly specialized in that it requires an unusual interaction and coordination between abstract thinking and real-world doing. It takes time and relentless effort. Whatever tools we might have at our disposal today, music comes down to the relentless practice and the striving for improvement over a long period of time. In this sense, music pedagogy today and music training takes no less time right now than they did in the ancient world. It can't be rushed. And as time becomes ever more valuable, the willingness to make the sacrifices diminish ever more.

The music teacher himself or herself also needs a supportive pastor. Nor is it enough for the pastor generally to nod agreement with the idea of a children's choir program. He must also encourage parents relentlessly both publicly and also privately. He probably needs to personally call parents with young children and make sure that the parents know that it is a parish priority, that it matters, and why it matters.

Many pastors figure that they have enough on their plates without intervening in what is widely considered to be a matter of private family business. But without this support, it is too easy for parents to just figure that music education is not for their kid.

Even with a good teacher and an activist and supportive pastor, parish involvement might be low for a few years. The parents most likely to put their kids in a choir program are those who plan years in advance. The program has to first exist, probably at a small level, and then young couples need to see the kids sing and dream that their own children will someday join. Children of 4 and 5 need to see older children singing and want to join them when they are old enough to.

I hate to say it but it is often the case that children who are already 10 and older when the choir forms are already interested in too many other things to change direction. So the plan for the choir must be a 10-year or 20-year plan, and the short tenure of pastors tends to shorten the time horizons.

Boys in particular are a challenge, given the public-school culture that regards singing as something that is not masculine in the same way that hunting or football is. Boys in general eschew the arts, and are more likely to require pressure to pursue them. In other words, it has to be seen as something crucial to education – a required course.

Pastors must also learn to deal with interruptions in the schedule, as kids go off to college and move out of town or possibly come back later in life. The full benefit might no accrue to the parish in particular but to the Church overall, and many years down the road.

It is possible to cite studies show a link between music education and other for coursework. It is possible to cite the historical precedence that regarded music education as part of a foundation for all education. We might cite its therapeutic achievements and its source as an outlet for creativity.

But for Catholicism, the benefits come down to the concern for beauty in the worship of God. If this doesn't matter, children's choirs in parishes don't matter. But if it does matter, we desperately need them, for music proves to be a difficult task to undertake for adults. The time to learn is when you are young. This is an investment that pays high returns only many years from now.

There are a million reasons not to have children's choirs but one good one to undertake the effort: the liturgy desires our voices. At every stage in salvation history, music has been present. It must always be so.

Report on McLean Chant Workshop

Here is a report from the Mclean chant workshop advertised here.


A capacity crowd of about 100 people attended the chant workshop on October 17 - 18, 2008. “Sacred Music: A Workshop in Gregorian Chant” was held for the second consecutive year on the premises of Saint John the Beloved Church in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of metropolitan Washington, DC. A registration fee of $90 covered the chant instruction; all workshop materials, including The Parish Book of Chant; two evening receptions; Saturday lunch; and breaks. A few vendors offered chant-related materials for sale.

The workshop drew many choir and schola directors; many more choir and schola singers- -some in groups with their directors; organists; a priest and some novices; many beginners in chant; a few non-Catholics; and many individuals in various walks of life. One-third of the participants were men. All wanted to learn to read the “square” chant notation or to enhance their existing knowledge of it, and to sing well the ancient, authentic, and beautiful music of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church as repeatedly declared that the sacred chant must always have the principal place in her liturgy.

Participants came from 10 states, the District of Columbia, and Ontario, Canada. They came from thirteen dioceses. Seventy-three percent came from Virginia’s two dioceses, and fifty-three percent came from twenty of the sixty-eight parishes in the Arlington diocese. Twenty-five percent of the participants came for the second time, having attended the 2007 workshop.

And they came to work under the skillful direction and engagin style of Scott Turkington, acclaimed master of singing and teaching the chant, who is organist and director of music at Saint John the Evangelist Church in Stamford, Connecticut, and author- - with the late Dr. Theodore Marier- -of A Gregorian Chant Master Class. Turkington is also sought after for his musical abilities as a fine organist and for directing sacred polyphony. A member of the Board of Directors of the CMAA, he has taught the Gregorian Chant Practicum at The Catholic University of America, and regularly conducts chant at the CMAA’s Annual Colloquium. In June 2008, Turkington taught the CMAA’s new four-day Chant Intensive at Loyola University in Chicago, held prior to the Colloquium at the same place. He will teach the Winder Chant Intensive in San Diego, January 5 - 9, 2009.

Early in the workshop, Turkington gave six reasons for using the chant in the Church’s liturgy: (1) Obedience to the direction of the Church in using the official music of the Roman rite. (2) Chant is uniquely liturgical, unlike music for any other purpose. (3)chant is the appropriate musical setting for the Latin texts of the Mass, both Ordinaries and Propers. (4) The different types of chant suit the action of the parts of the liturgy. (5) Chant is a living tradition of the Church, and not a museum piece. (6) Chant is a fully accessible art that we can create together in an unrepeatable way.

There was a class of short duration for beginners on the rudiments of chant on Friday afternoon. On Friday evening after a reception, workshop participants were treated to a fine concert of organ works based upon chant melodies, played by David Lang and his students.

Workshop participants heard two stimulating lectures. On Friday, Rev. Franklyn M. McAfee, pastor of Saint John the Beloved, spoke on “The Spirituality of Gregorian Chant.” He discussed the physical and mental healing powers of the chant, substantiated by scientific research; and the spiritual power of the chant in conversions, such as that of the French poet and diplomat, Paul Claudel.

On Saturday, an lecture on “Papal Legislation and Church Documents Related to Liturgical Music” was given by Rev. Paul f. deLadurantaye, Secretary for Sacred Liturgy and Religious Education for the Diocese of Arlington. Fr. DeLadurantaye focused on legislation and documents of the 20th and 21st centuries, principally: the Motu Proprio of Pope St. Pius X, Tra le sollecitudini, 1903; the encyclical of Pope Pius XII, Musicae sacrae, 1955; the document from the Sacred Congregation of Rites, De musica sacra et sacra liturgia, 1958; the document of Vatican II, Sacrosanctum concilium, 1962; Musicam sacram, 1967; the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum, 2007; and the document issued by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, Sing to the Lord, 2007. Identifying main points in each document, Fr. deLadurantaye emphasized the theological, liturgical, spiritual, and artistic bases for the Church’s insistence upon on the primacy of chant in her liturgies, and in sacred polyphony.

The workshop culminated on Saturday evening with a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form sung by Rev. Paul D. Scalia, parish administrator of Saint John the Beloved. Workshop participants sang the Ordinaries that they had studied under Turkington (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) of Gregorian Mass settings for Pater cuncta (Mass XII) and Credo I. A men’s schola sang the Propers (Introit: Mihi autem nimis; Gradual: In omnem terram; Alleluia antiphon: Ego vos elegi; Offertory: mihi autem nimis; and Communion: Vos qui secuti). In his inspiring sermon, Fr. Scalia spoke of truth, goodness and beauty; how all three must be present in order to have any one of the three; and he related this to the sacred chant and the ongoing apostolate for spreading it.

They came; they saw; they heard; they sang! Enthusiasm, interest, and enjoyment were high and nearly palpable among the participants throughout the workshop. They left with more finely-tuned skills and knowledge of rendering the chant; a better understanding of the Church’s theological and liturgical reasons for using it; enhanced appreciation for its beauty and solemnity; and probably a commitment to follow the Church’s directions in using it in the Mass to strengthen the liturgical and spiritual life in their respective parishes.

Response of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” to certain questions

As promised, a complete (unofficial) translation of "Response of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” to certain questions" mentioned yesterday on the NLM.

Response of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” to Certain Questions

Since frequent questions have come to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” regarding the Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum”, of which many have been based on the prescriptions of the document “Quattuor abhinc annos” from the Congregation for Divine Worship to Presidents of Episcopal Conferences on the 3rd October 1984, the President of the Commission, His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos has felt it opportune to give the following responses:

Q. Is it acceptable to refer to the letter “Quattuor abhinc annos” to regulate questions regarding the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, that is, according to the Roman Missal of 1962?

A. Evidently not. This is because, with the publication of the Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum,” the regulations for the use of the Missal of 1962, previously given in “Quattuor abhinc annos” and thereafter in the Motu Proprio of the Servant of God, John Paul II “Ecclesia Dei adflicta” have become obsolete.

In fact, “Summorum Pontificum” itself, even from Art.1, explicitly affirms that “the conditions of the use of this Missal, regulated in the previous documents “Quattuor abhinc annos” and “Ecclesia Dei”, have been replaced. The Motu Proprio lists the new conditions of its use.

Therefore, it is no longer possible to refer to the restriction fixed by those two documents, regarding the celebrations according to the Missal of 1962.

Q. What are the substantial differences between the latest Motu Proprio and the two previous documents with regard to this subject matter?

A. The first substantial difference is certainly that now it is licit to celebrate the Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary Rite without the need for a special permission, called an ‘indult.’ The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has established, once and for all, that the Roman Rite consists of two Forms, to which he has given the names “Ordinary Form” (the celebration of the Novus Ordo, according to the Missal of Paul VI of 1970) and “Extraordinary Form” (the celebration of the Gregorian Rite, according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII of 1962), and has confirmed that the Missal of 1962 was never abrogated. Another difference is that in Masses celebrated without the faithful, every Catholic priest of the Latin Rite, diocesan or religious, may use either Missal (Art. 2). Furthermore, in Masses with or without the people, it pertains to the Parish Priest (Pastor) or rector of the church in which one intends to celebrate, to give permission to those priests who present a “Celebret” from their own Ordinary. Should he deny that permission, the Bishop, in accordance with the norms of the Motu Proprio, should ensure that permission is given (cf. Art. 7).

It is important to know that already on 12th December 1986 an “ad hoc” Commission of Cardinals (composed of the Eminent Cardinals: Paul Augustin Mayer, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Agostino Casaroli, Bernardin Gantin, Joseph Ratzinger, William W. Baum, Edouard Gagnon, Alfons Stickler, Antonio Innocenti) was formed “by the will of the Holy Father, with the task of examining the steps needed to remove the inefficiency of the Pontifical Indult “Quattuor anhinc annos” (regarding the renewal of the so-called “Tridentine Mass” in the Latin Church with the Roman Missal in the Typical Edition of 1962) given by the Congregation for Divine Worship, Prot. N. 686/84 of the 3rd October 1984.” This commission had proposed to the Holy Father John Paul II, even then, many substantial elements to achieve this purpose that have been recovered in the Motu Proprio.

I shall give a review of the report which presents the words of the Eminent Cardinals, to show how the later documents substantially reflect the vision that such an important Commission of Cardinals had so soon after “Quattuor abhinc annos”.

It was affirmed that:

- “the desire and mind of the Holy Father (John Paul II) was to promote the internal harmony of the Church, and through this, the edification of the faithful.”

- “This must be achieved also through the primary re-composition of Communion, in the practice of ‘lex orandi’, which is the healthy actualization of liturgical reform, but with the necessary respect for the legitimate needs of minority groups, who however, are distinguished not just by full theoretical orthodoxy, but also by a truly exemplary Christian way of life and a sincere and devoted attachment of the Apostolic See.”

- “Therefore, it must be the task of all: Bishops, priests and faithful, to remove the scandalous arbitrary actions, which misunderstood “creativity” has produced, producing “Wild Masses” and other desecrations which have greatly harmed those faithful, alienating them from being able to welcome the liturgical reform and the new liturgical books, including the Missal, since unfortunately it has erroneously appeared that, because of these unedifying actions of desecration, these (i.e. liturgical books) have been the cause of them.”

The same Commission proposed that:

- “It should be repeated, by the competent Dicastery, that the Pope wishes the internal peace of all the faithful of the local Churches, through the concrete use of the concessions given by him in the Indult.”

- “The bishops must do the will of the Supreme Pontiff, putting themselves in harmony with his intentions.”

- The Bishops must give an adequate response to those who wish to discourage the use of the Indult, who present it as a reason for division rather that reunification. Such a response must not be polemical, but pastoral, explaining with delicacy and patience, the letter and spirit of the Indult.”

Furthermore, it was authoritatively affirmed that:

- “The real problem in question does not appear to be so much the artificial conflict that the Indult intended to resolve, as rather what was shown by it and was the cause of it, that is, the conflict between a correct actualization of the liturgical reform and the tolerated abuses produced by uncontrolled imagination. Therefore, apart from the Indult, action of the Holy See on a very different level is required to eliminate the noted abuses which deform that conciliar liturgical reform.

- “The Indult, as it is presented, on the one hand, gave the impression that the Mass in Latin, the so-called ‘Tridentine Mass’ was an inferior reality, of a secondary order, which was renewed only by a tolerant pity by those who gave it, and on the other hand, gave the impression, due to the heavy conditions the Indult contained, that the Holy See also thought this and would not have given the Indult unless forced to do so.”

- “It is necessary to repeat and make clear to Bishops to true will of the Holy Father, which consists, not in a negative sense, of a toleration, but positively, in a real and proper pastoral initiative, undertaken not to calm the reaction to abuses, but to re-harmonize the disagreement into reconciliation.”

- “It is necessary to remove all the conditions contained in the Indult, to eliminate the impression of the Bishops, that the Holy See did not want the Indult and the impression on the part of the faithful, that they were asking for something only poorly tolerated by the Holy See.”

In the discussions of the Commission, it emerged that:

- “the Commission was in favour of granting the Indult to all the faithful and priests who wished to use it “for edification” and not for anti-conciliar purposes.”

- “it was necessary to make known to the Bishops that the Indult did correspond to the will of the Pope that it be used and to the faithful that they should respectfully ask for the realization of the will of the Pope, such that Bishops, faced with a respectful requests, would have no more reason to refuse.”

- “It ought to be asked whether, in order to favour reconciliation, it was really necessary to have the agreement of the Bishop to celebrate the Holy Mass in Latin.”

- “As a general principle, the rigour of the limiting conditions of the Indult and all additional Episcopal conditions ought to be lessened.”

- “Regarding the reservation to Groups, since the Indult was intended for this, this should be maintained, but iuxta modum, that is, on one hand not making a group three or four people, but on the other, not prohibiting, that for groups who have received permission, others might join them in the permission given.”

The Commission noted that:

- “There was no difficulty in permitting the reading in the vernacular.”

- “Regarding the optional choice of the Lectionary, there was some reserve, fearing confusion due to the differences in the calendars of the two Missals, while seeing no difficulty in allowing the use of the prefaces of the new Missal.”

- “Additional conditions of the Bishop and those in the Indult regarding non-parochial churches and groups should be removed.”

- “Having stated that Latin, as a sign of unity should not and must not disappear from the Church and desiring that Bishops, should be ‘helped’ rather than ‘respected’ in their prerogatives, we should achieve this by reducing the complex casuistry around the Indult to criteria of greater simplicity. One might also thereby eliminate the impression that the Holy See, by this Indult, was trying to ‘give with one hand and take with the other.’ To do this, we should show the coherence with pontifical directions and development (up to the Indult) so as to prevent contradictory interpretations.”

Quoting no.23 of Sacrosanctum Concilium “regarding the criteria which must be observed in the reconciliation between tradition and progress in the liturgical reform, and no. 26 of the same Council document, regarding the norms which should take precedence in said reform, as deriving from the hierarchical and communitarian nature of the liturgy, it was proposed that, in an eventual document revising the Indult, to emphasize the objective and non-arbitrary nature of the implementation of the liturgical reform; to make known how to consider in the light of said criteria both the use of Latin, and the use of either edition of the Roman Missal; and to grant permission, at least in the major cities, that on Feast days, in every church one Mass in Latin may be celebrated, with free choice allowed between the typical editions (1962 or 1980 [sic]) of the Roman Missal.”

- “It is also proposed to widen the concession of the Indult also to Ordinaries, Superior generals, religious Provincials and others.”

- “Regarding the agreement or otherwise of the Bishop for the celebration of Holy Mass in Latin, it is to be remembered that Paul VI, had said that, in se, the priest, when celebrating privately, should do so in Latin, since the concession of the use of the vernacular was of the pastoral order, to allow the faithful to understand the content of the Rite and so participate better.”

- “The necessity of allowing a free choice in the use of either Missal for the celebration of Holy Mass in Latin is confirmed.”

- “Regarding the type of intervention required, a new pontifical document is preferred, in which, focusing on the real situation of liturgical reform, the free choice between the two Missals in Latin would be clearly presented, presenting one as a development and not as in opposition to the other and eliminating the impression that each Missal is the temporary production of each historical epoch.”

- “Referring to the desires previously expressed, it is reaffirmed that it ought to be shown that there is a clear logical line of development between the documents of the Church and the free choice of the two Missals for the celebration of Holy Mass and it is proposed that we show they are not to be considered other than as a development of the one from the other, since liturgical norms, not being true or proper ‘laws’ cannot be abrogated, but ‘surrogated’: the earlier into the later.”

All this was made known to the Holy Father.

Translated for the NLM

Source document:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ecclesia Dei: Answers of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to certain questions

An interesting document has appeared on the Summorum Pontificum site of Ecclesia Dei today: Risposte del Cardinale Presidente della Pontificia Commissione “Ecclesia Dei” a certi quesiti (Answers of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to certain questions).

An NLM translation has been in the works today and will hopefully be forthcoming soon. The gist of the piece is that it summarizes the earlier approach to the question of the usus antiquior in view of Quattuor Abhinc Annos (the original 1984 indult), the findings of the 1986 commission of Cardinals who studied the question of those liturgical books, and sets out to demonstrate the relation of these to the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum.

Further Information on the Consecration of Churches

The NLM recently reported upon the consecration of Old St. Patrick's Oratory and gave a little explanation of the ceremony of a cross being inscribed with the Latin and Greek alphabets.

Very often today this takes the form of a cross being put in the front and centre of the church, as was shown in this image:

It was mentioned that the form of this is as follows:

However, there is another scale of this which I hadn't mentioned, but which I will now due to the work of Fr. Sean Finnegan of Valle Adurni who dug up a photo of it.

Another form this takes is that the cross is made to span the entire interior floor of the church, from the entrance up to the sanctuary. Here is an image of this:

(Thanks to Fr. Sean Finnegan again for finding this.)

There are two forms this might take:

The photo above of St. George's Cathedral takes the latter form.

Lectors: Ministries vs. Minor Orders; A Call to the Reform of the Reform

There has been a great deal of attention given to a story on Catholic News Service, about a vote that came out of the recent biblical synod as it pertains to the question of women becoming "instituted acolytes." A followup story to the original story appeared on CNS today: Unclear if pope will support women officially in lector ministry.

John Thavis lays out the issue and some of the surrounding matters as follows:

The question is whether women can be installed officially in such a ministry. Until now, the Vatican has said no: Canon law states that only qualified laymen can be "installed on a stable basis in the ministries of lector and acolyte." At the same time, canon law does allow for "temporary deputation" as lector to both men and women, which is why women routinely appear as lectors.

The reasoning behind the exclusion in church law of women from these official ministries has long been questioned.

For centuries, the office of lector was one of the "minor orders," generally reserved to seminarians approaching ordination. While seminarians still are installed formally as acolyte and then as lector before being ordained deacons, since the 1970s service at the altar and proclaiming the readings at Mass have been seen primarily as ministries stemming from baptism and not specifically as steps toward ordination.

"It's important to emphasize that any proposition for women lectors would simply arise from their baptism and not from any presumptive opening for orders," said one Vatican source.

There are a few issues here of course and this quotation touches upon most of them.

It seems to me that this proposal, as well as the issue of how this may be perceived ("opening for orders"), should lead to some fundamental questions that are perhaps not yet being asked widely enough. It is something that I am personally hopeful will gain more attention, study and discussion on the part of the reform of the reform.

One way to approach the question is -- as was noted -- what is the logical extension of the present arrangement of "ministries"? The other approach, however, is to critically re-appraise the present arrangement itself.

The time has perhaps come -- and we might hope that this matter may help finally instigate this -- to re-appraise the abolition and re-configuration of these ancient orders by Pope Paul VI.

St. Peter's, Munich

This Saturday I had the opportunity to hear Mass in the city parish church of Munich, St. Peter's. Situated right beside the Marienplatz, the centre of Munich, it is the oldest church of Munich (the first church dating from the 11th century and the present one from 1294), and while it was almost completely destroyed in the war, it has been meticulously reconstructed, the last frescoes on the ceiling only having been finished in 2000. The most striking feature of the church is the Baroque high altar by Egid Quirin Asam of which I will first show you a professional picture (as always, click to enlarge).

(Source: Wikipedia user Diliff)

It is conceived as a theatrical synopsis of Bernini's Baldacchino over the tomb of St. Peter in Rome and the cathedra and gloriole of the Holy Spirit in the apse behind it and thus as a triumphal profession of allegiance to the Holy Roman Church. St Peter is shown enthroned and explaining the Scripture to the four Fathers of the Church who listen attentively with their books firmly closed. St Peter is crowned with the triregnum, and while the Popes have stopped wearing it, in St Peter's Munich the tradition is still observed ob removing the tiara when a Pope dies and crowning the statue again on the day the new Pope officially begins his Petrine office.

The wonderful thing about this altar from a liturgical perspective is that it was never obstructed by a versus populum altar after the introduction of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Instead, every one of the five weekday and six Sunday Masses in this church continues to be celebrated versus Deum upon this splendid high altar, on which even a Pope himself has already celebrated: not only (presumably) Joseph Ratzinger as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, but Pius VI in 1782. The communion rails have also been kept and are even furnished with a Communion cloth, as seen on this picture:

(Source: Wikipedia user Chris 73/Work3)

Now here are two pictures of the Mass I assisted at and the following one (you will need to click in them for a larger version to actually see the priest; I couldn't do any better unobtrusively):

Now, interestingly all the "opening rites" (sign of the Cross, Confiteor, Gloria, collect) are also celebrated at the altar versus Deum. Only then did the priest (there was no lector) descend to the lectern to read the lessons. You can see the lectern, which is unobtrusive and perfectly adapted to the style of the church, in this picture.

Just to give you some more impressions of the church here are the two main side altars (there are many more in little chapels), the altar of the Corpus Christi (there is an archconfraternity of this title at the church which holds a Eucharistic procession with Benediction every Thursday after Mass at 9 a.m.) and the altar of Mary help of Christians (Mariahilf-Altar); note the altar cards (however, I don't think the usus antiquior is celebrated there so far):

I think the implementation of the novus ordo in this most prominent parish church (all Masses are ad orientem in the neighbouring church of the Holy Ghost, too) of Munich, the erstwhile episcopal see of Pope Benedict, can also provide some interesting context for a fuller picture regarding the question of orientation in the liturgy in the Ordinary Form, which Shawn has so excellently adressed in connection with the preface to the first volume of the edition of Pope Benedict's opera omnia, the German original of which, incidentally, I am expecting later this week.

St. Barbara's, Bushwick, and Some Remarks on Spanish Neo-Baroque in the United States

Here are some photos I've found around the internet of a very interesting parish church in the Bushwick neighborhood of the borough of Brooklyn, New York. St. Barbara's is a former German ethnic parish now hosting a largely Latino congregation and an almost-unique anomaly in the city as an example of (more-or-less) Spanish Baroque revival architecture, a phenomeon mostly associated with California, the American Southwest, and occasionally, and somewhat mistakenly, Florida, where most original mission architecture tended to be wood-sided and thatch-roofed, due to the persistent damp.

The parish was named for the patron saint of the wife (or, in some sources, possibly the daughter) of local brewer Leopold Epping, and the work of local Beaux-Arts classicists Helmle & Huberty. The building was completed in 1910.

Spanish, Mexican Baroque or "Mission Style" churches are not unknown outside these regions but often take peculiar local shadings, such as, in Chicago's Holy Innocents, where it takes on an eclectic esthetic that can only be described as Byzantinizing Polish Baroque, and, in the same city, the the equally delightfully incongruous Spanish Renaissance feeling of Presentation parish (now presumably derelict or demolished, according to local friends who had never heard of it). I've also seen photos of an imitation adobe church in, of all places, Minnesota. (This is, I suppose, no more incogruous than the extraordinary Churrigueresque feel of Coral Gables Congregational Church near Miami!)

Even Cram and Goodhue, whose work in the style tended to be in the west, got in on the act with their exuberant early work of SS. Peter and Paul in Fall River, Massachussetts. Sometimes ethnicity was a factor (as at the shuttered apartment-front parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the edge of Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood and at Our Lady of Esperanza near Audubon Terrace, both particularly high classicizing takes on the style) but more often than not, there was no discernable connection besides a shared religious heritage with Spanish America. Presentation Church in Chicago was actually Irish, for instance. (Though, for truly mind-boggling strangeness, there is the wonderful little Mexican Baroque Methodist church by Cram at Newton Corner, Massachusetts, since converted into apartments. Cram himself thought it the worst building he had ever designed.)

St. Barbara's lacks the studied erudition and innovative vigor of such similar works on the west coast, and instead works out its Spanishness within the framework of second-tier turn-of-the-century classicism. It is nonetheless an intriguing local masterpiece, and another indication that the architectural tastes of turn-of-the-century Catholics were far more varied and eclectic than we often suppose.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Extraordinary Form at Blackfriars Oxford - Photos

As promised, here are more photos from the Oxford Martyrs' Mass which took place on 25 October in Blackfriars, Oxford. The photos were taken by Mr Martin Beek, who is a friend of mine. As always, click on the photos to view a larger version.

At the foot of the altar
On previous NLM posts we have discussed the use of heraldry on liturgical vestments. Note that the sub-deacon's alb is embroidered with the arms of the Dominican order.



At the Sedilia
Seated at the Sedilia during the polyphonic 'Gloria' from Victoria's 'Missa trahe me post te'. Note that the Dominicans are vested with an apparelled amice.

The Epistle was from Apocalypse 7:13-17, sung by the sub-deacon, fra' Lawrence Lew OP.

Gospel procession

The deacon, fra' David Rocks OP gives the Evengeliarum to the sub-deacon to support as he sings Luke 2:9-19.


Canon Missae


The Dominican servers are wearing old linen English surplices which were used in Blackfriars Oxford. They are popularly called 'angel's wings'.

Bishop's Communion
Bishop William Kenney CP, with an Oratorian brother and a Dominican father approach the Altar for Holy Communion.

Friars communion
The Dominican friars come up for Holy Communion.


Fr Dominic Jacob, Cong. Orat. gives the blessing at the end of Holy Mass.

The photo above is used, courtesy of Mr Joseph Nunan.

"Deus, qui verae fidei et Sedis Apostolicis primatui propugnando beatos Martyres tuos Edmundum ejusque socios invicta fortitudine roborasti: eorum precibus exoratus, nostrae, quaesumus, infirmitati succurre, ut fortes in fide reistere usque in finem valeamus. Per Dominum nostrum."

'O God, Who, for the maintenance of the true faith and the primacy of the Apostolic See, did strengthen Your blessed Martyrs Edmund and his companions with invincible fortitude: grant we beseech You, that You would hear our prayers and help our weakness, so that being made strong in faith, we may be able to resist the enemy even to the end. Through Christ our Lord.'

- Collect for the Mass of the Blessed Martyrs of Oxford University.

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