Thursday, May 3, 2012


Blogger John Nolan said...(in terms of St. Joseph's Clergy Conference Mass with the new bishop):

The trouble is that for all the pomp and circumstance, unless the celebrant sings his part (and it's in the missal in front of him) we still have a low Mass with musical add-ons. Mgr Wadsworth and ICEL have spent a lot of time and effort trying to achieve (over 40 years on) what was always intended, and bishops really need to lead by example.

It might mean putting Franz Schubert and Marty Haugen on the back burner (In the latter case you can turn off the gas altogether as far as I'm concerned)and concentrating on the missal chants until everyone, bishops, priests, deacons, cantors and congregations are familiar with them.

Two things in particular need to be discarded immediately - responsorial Glorias and overblown memorial acclamations.

May 3, 2012 5:58 AM


My Comments:

John, I wholeheartedly agree about the Mass itself being sung as being the main problem with the OF Mass--it isn't being sung by the majority of priests and this is where ongoing liturgical renewal in the OF must take place.

However, I do think that there should be an official gradation of the Mass in the Ordinary Form according perhaps to a progressive solemnity for example:

1. Low Mass--all parts are spoken and no singing of additional songs or hymns.

2. Middle Mass: The laity's parts are sung: Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Offertory Antiphon, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, Great Amen, Our Father Agnus Dei and Communion Antiphon--nothing else is sung

3. High Mass: Everything is sung as in the Middle Mass but the priest's parts are sung: Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, Preface,"through Him..." Post Communion Prayer. In addition, there could be an additional Offertory Anthem, Communion Anthems.

4. Solemn High Mass: everything is sung as in the High Mass, including every part of the priest's parts, including the Sign of the Cross, greeting, introduction to the Penitential Act, Orate Fratres with laity's response, Eucharistic Prayer (at least the epiclesis and consecration), Embolism after Our Father; "Peace I leave you", "Behold the Lamb of God...with laity's sung response,Solemn Blessing and dismissal.
In addition, the Gospel must be sung and the other readings if possible.

For both the High and Solemn High Mass, a recessional hymn could be sung.(And I'm not opposed to a processional hymn as long as it doesn't replace the official Introit. In my parish the simple official Introit is always chanted by the cantor as the procession begins and then the processional hymn follows as a unit. I'd really love for our choir and schola to chant the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons with the verses that are available in the gradual, but we as a parish are not there yet.

The decision to have the High Mass or the Solemn High Mass should be decided in terms of the degree of the Solemnity or festive occasion. Our Clergy Conference Mass was the most festive occasion our parish has had in a long time and it was our new bishop's first time to Macon with his priests for a clergy conference, so the music chosen was obviously eclectic but the Gloria, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, Great Amen are known to most in our diocese including the laity. However, we only have tympani and trumpet for the most festive of times and no more that three or four times a year.

In terms of the style of music, I agree that the chants of the missal or something similar should be learned first, however I wouldn't throw out more festive settings for more festive occasions, even "concert" Masses are allowed in the EF for Festive occasions, but no one would want that each Sunday in a normal EF parish, at least I don't think. The "refrain" Gloria is in realty a choir piece that allows some participation of the congregation with the refrain, but in general I don't like it except for the most festive of occasions. The only other Gloria our parish now knows is Proulx's Missa Simplex which is very chant-like and easily sung by the congregation. However, our priests at the clergy conference and visiting laity for the Mass would not have known it.

In terms of the gradations of the Mass above, I think the High Mass should be the norm for the principle Masses of Sunday, with the Middle Mass for early and late Masses on Sunday (a Mass with some chants should always be the norm for Sunday). A Mass with no Music should be allowed for weekdays, but the Middle Mass for weekdays is easily done although the Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons would probably need to be spoken if a cantor or priest can't lead it.


Bill Meyer said...

...or at least some clear constraints:
- no clowns
- no liturgical dance
- no drums
- no leaving your own pew to give the sign of peace

ytc said...

I like your ideas, Father. I, like others, believe that a restoration of the "levels" of Mass needs to happen. This preserves the integrity of the Rite. But I just want to pose the following bits to the readership. This is of course my opinion, but I don't base my opinions on wishy-washy crap like the liberals do.

The first step in reforming music is to let goooo, to stoooop worshiping, that false "active participation." It is impossible, completely unfeasible, for the laity in the pews to sing polyphonic Masses and to know all the different Gregorian Masses from the Kyriale. ActUAL particpation (participatio actuosa) does not mean everyone doing and singing and holding everything!!! It means the people doing what they are supposed to do, the choir doing what it is supposed to do, and the priest doing what he is supposed to do, as well and as deeply as possible.

This leads back to something I've mentioned before. To truly reform any of the OF, we have to use the LATIN TEXT of Sacrosanctum Concilium as a basis of what needs to happen. The English translation and the Spanish and the French mean nothing, they have no power. They are very often plainly incorrect or at least imprecise, as is the case with "active" participation in the Mass and "pride of" place as regards Gregorian Chant. Translations of Roman documents have precisely ZERO power. Only the Latin original has binding authority, and for good reason. Furthermore, we have to use the 1962 Missal as a basis of reform. After all, that is what the Council Fathers had in mind when the voted on SC, right? Yes, so we can only properly apply SC's statements to, and in mind of, the 1962 Missal. It is dishonest to apply them to the OF Missal as it stands, because that is not the context in which the document was promulgated; that is not the Missal that SC was talking about in the first place. I'm not saying we have to scrap the OF Missal, because some of it was actually done right. But when there is even a tiny whiff of discontinuity, we MUST defer to the 1962 Missal. That is very reasonable.


It is completely anti-traditional in the Roman Rite to sing the invitation to the Penitential Act; this would be akin to singing the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar in the EF, and if these are to be restored to the OF in some way, none of it should be sung, in my opinion. It is penitential, and thus should lack exuberance and joy of singing. It is always beautiful to hear the austerity of that contrasted with the singing of the Kyrie right after, followed with the exuberance of the Gloria after that, which is the proper Roman tradition.

I am also completely opposed to singing the Orate Fratres and the Canon of Mass. This is also completely against the tradition of the Roman Rite. I do, however, advocate for the singing of the Per omnia saecula saeculorum--it is sung in the EF after all--or, if really necessary, for singing of the whole Per ipsum.

Furthermore, I strongly advocate for the Processional hymn, if there is one, to be before the Introit, not after it. This is because the Introit is not a processional piece, it is a piece to accompany the entrance to the altar. It makes no sense to have an Introit followed by a Processional hymn just as it makes sense to have the Ite Missa Est after the Recessional hymn. The order is all messed up.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Bill, I like your suggestions.
YTC, the new missal has music for the parts of the Mass including its introduction to the Penitential Act, the Orate Fratres as well as Behold the Lamb of God and the people's Lord I am not worthy.
I have heard in the EF Mass when the Confiteor was said once again prior to the laity receiving Holy Communion, that at a sung Mass it was chanted by a cantor. In fact I've heard it somewhere and saw it on a video, but can't remember where.
But I would agree that even the simpified OF's Penitentiaal Act should be seen as a prelude to the Mass and the singing of the Introit should take place after it, so the Penitential Act should be sober and spoken. But in terms of the EF Mass, I have seen the Introit chanted and with verses as the Processional, with the Prayers at the Foot of the altar entirely clerical and quiet as the Introit is sung over it and the Introit doesn't finish until the altar is incensed and the Kyrie begins. This tells us that the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar were originally "sacristy" prayers for the priests and other ministers prior to the start of Mass which would begin with the Introit once the priest and ministers left the sacristy and headed for the altar, but already cleansed penitentially in their preparation for the Mass.

Templar said...

Sorry, I'm just to cynical not to make the comment, but I can't get over how the woman in the cartoon accompanying the post is inappropriately attired for Mass.

Bill Meyer said...

Father, I hate to sound cynical in posting, but each time I visit a different parish, some new "feature" of the Mass intrudes upon my worship.

It wasn't broke; didn't need fixin.

I like to use my new Missal, but it makes the violations so glaring.

And why has such havoc been wreaked on the responsorial psalms? What made someone think they could improve the wording?

ytc said...

Yes Father, I know it's in the OF Missal. But my point is that it is not in line with Roman patrimony. We all know that just because it's in the OF Missal doesn't mean it's in line with Roman patrimony!

In the EF the Confiteor is chanted at Pontifical Solemn Mass by the deacon and subdeacon before Holy Communion, but that is it. That is, the first Confiteor at the Foot of the Altar is not chanted but is said as usual. This chanting, of course, is part of received tradition and so is, in this case, part of Roman patrimony.

What you mention about the Introit chanted in the EF is as it should be. The Introit is supposed to be chanted as the priest approaches the altar to begin the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and finishes as he ascends to it after those Prayers are completed, and then he censes the altar during the Kyrie. I'm not sure what you mean by the Introit as the Processional unless you mean that the Introit is begun during the procession. I suppose there is no problem with that technically, but the Introit is to be sung as the priest ascends to the altar, hence, Introit, no matter when the Introit is begun. I suppose it doesn't matter when the Introit is begun, either at the procession or when the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar commence, as long as it "covers" the entrance of the priest up to the altar.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Templar, that's very interesting on many levels for I hadn't noticed that until you pointed it out! :)

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

...and the man in the pic does not know how to tie a tie.

Henry said...

What a wonderful post, ytc! Precisely on point in every detail. If I didn't already know otherwise, your sense for the ambiance and nuance of the Roman rite would provide evidence of the years of systematic liturgical formation that priests ordained in recent decades are (however well-intentioned) so painfully lacking.

In particular, you are correct about the role of the Introit in the patrimony of the Roman rite. The common OF assertion that the Introit is a processional is simply incorrect, a discontinuous invention. It marks the entrance of the priest into the sanctuary for the offering of sacrifice, not his procession to the point of entrance. This is why it "covers" the priest's private prayers at the foot of the altar when sung by the schola at high Mass, and immediately precedes the sung Kyrie, and both are repeated by the priest upon ascending the altar. It would be incongrous to insert a processional somewhere in this sequence, when the procession has long since been completed.

Similarly, the confiteor is said silently by the priest at the foot of the altar, since he is saying itself on behalf of himself personally, but chanted by the deacon just before communion because here it is addressed to God on behalf of the people.

All of these "discontinuities" are the result of post Vatican II intentions to negate rather than preserve the patrimony of the Roman rite.

Of course, it is true that only the official Latin of Sacrosanctum Concilium is reliable. As you indicate, the term actuosa participatio of SC 14 refers to active interior participation, as it had always meant in liturgical dialogue during the half century preceding Vatican II (since Pius X). It is the Latin word activitas (rather than actuosa) that would refer to the active exterior participation that has been the virtually exclusive mis-interpretation of the English translation "actual participation". Whereas being consciously united with the prayers and action at the altar is what Pius X and the pre-Vatican II liturgical movement plainly intended.

But it is the circumlocution "pride of place" for principem locum (first or principal place) in SC 116 that I think the most obviously deliberate mistranslation--clearly meant to obscure the real intention of preserving Gregorian chant.

Certainly, one could only implement SC literally by starting with the 1962 missal to (only) which it pertains. Surely, Summorum Pontificum is intended to provide a feasible way to finally achieve this faithful implementation, by providing the EF as a model toward which the OF can evolve organically, it not being feasible to go back to and start over at the fork in the road where the wrong path was taken.

John Nolan said...

Father, thank you for giving such prominence to my musings. We have a problem in that both Sacrosanctum Concilium and Musicram Sacram - the latter, from 1967 is the musical blueprint for the Novus Ordo, replacing De Musica Sacra of 1958 - are rather ambiguous documents. For example, MS espouses the idea of 'graduated solemnity' but at the same time says the original distinctions between low, high and solemn Mass remain; it also assumes that if anything is sung the dialogue parts and the preces should be the priority. Yet at the same time it continues to allow the 'four hymn sandwich' which was expressly deplored by the Consilium which authored the new rite of Mass.

To my mind the idea of a processional Introit in Gregorian chant followed by a conversational-style 'greeting' is jarring. Yes, the bishop wants to establish a human rapport with his flock, but this is surely better done outside the liturgy.

The post-V2 reform of the liturgy was being pulled in two different directions; on the one hand towards a normative sung liturgy, utilizing the vernacular where appropriate (as in the Eastern churches) but on the other hand towards an informal low-protestant style of community worship, and it is the latter paradigm which has prevailed. The NO has a logical and obviously deliberately thought-out musical structure which is obvious when it is celebrated in Latin, and when the missal chants are used makes the same musical sense in English. If we don't seize the opportunity now, we are in for another half-century of philistine and anti-liturgical mediocrity.

Fr Arsenius said...

Caro frater:

The "levels" of which you opine are already defined by law, even if almost universally ignored. See the 1967 Instruction on Sacred Music, "Musicam Sacram".

Anonymous said...

There are musical settings available that sort of address this, almost all inadequately. The issue with the Mass as prayer is that the music has come to contradict the catechesis of the Mass. In an effort to encourage participation we made the music interesting in itself and therefore distracting. What has gone missing from the OF is the focus on entering the presence of God. It is not possible that we are aware of it nor that we believe it if we act like we are at a party.


ytc said...

Look people. We might have all the nice little documents in the world giving "hope" to the Ordinary Form. In fact, we do. I know so. But if it ain't in the Missal, no one cares!

We need a revised OF Missal. With De Defectibus. With the traditional rubrics and sins listed restored. With, dare I say it, QUO PRIMUM?! The OF Missal needs to say exactly what it wants to say in clear, unambiguous language. Not blenderized baby food language as in our current GIRM.

John Nolan said...


But when it is in the missal still nobody cares! I agree with you about the GIRM. It is now horribly dated, the new translation is worse than the old ('ceteris paribus' does not mean 'all things being equal'), some of the musical directions are bizarre, such as putting the Sequence before the Alleluia (the Graduale gets it right), and insisting that the Sanctus be sung by priest and people together. Its rubrics imply ad orientem and yet it seems to come down heavily in favour of versus populum.

The absurdity of the three-year lectionary cycle was obvious this year on the first Sunday of Lent since Mark's gospel devotes only two sentences to the temptation of Christ and we get Ps 90 (Qui habitat) only every third year (year C). The mass was never intended to be a bible class.

A priority of any reform must be to align the missal propers with those of the Graduale. When the latter was rearranged by Solesmes in 1974 care was taken to match the Communion antiphon with the Gospel of the day, even if it meant using an antiphon from the Office. The missal antiphon has no such connection and in most cases has no musical setting.

William Meyer said...

I'd like to add to my earlier wishes:
- a metric for use of EMHCs
- banishment of Haugen, Haas, Schutte, and Amazing Grace

As to the EMHCs, I read a suggestion somewhere, possibly on WDTPRS, that seemed reasonable. A modulus of 200, applied to the congregation, such that up to 200 might be served by priest alone, the next 200 by the deacon, and for each additional 200, an EMHC might be used. Although, I would suggest that in a parish with more than one priest, it seems not unreasonable that more than one might serve?

Whatever the actual makeup, it would be more seemly than the herd of a dozen or more EMHCs I observe each week, with a congregation of about 700. Not only does their separate communion (is that not against the rubrics?) delay the normal communion, but they then create traffic obstacles, their mere presence being a challenge in the limited space available.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

The EMHC's are annoyance. We have eight of them at Masses of 200 people. It is absolutely ridiculous. They trundle down in the procession, interrupting the flow of things and providing comic contrast with their sometimes innovative dress compared to the liturgical vestments of everyone else. They stand in the side chapels creating a distraction. They wear those silly little Star Trek looking stoles which they take off after Communion and leave randomly on the altars. Some of them have the notion that they are some kind of cleric and become obnoxious and territorial about their status. This was a horrible idea and it is a major blemish on the Mass. I'm sure the only reason we still have them at St. Jo's is that Fr. does not want to listen to the whining, huffing and puffing, and foot stomping if he got rid of them. I certainly understand that (I know some of these people), but I wish he would just bite the bullet. I've attended both the EF and OF Masses in other large Churches where two Priests served well over three hundred people and Mass never ran more than five minutes over. If people can't handle five minutes more in Christ's Presence, then they probably already have the fires lit for them down below...

John Nolan said...

I absolutely concur with the last comment. I know of one cathedral, and I will name it (Nottingham, England) which a few years ago introduced Communion in both kinds at all Masses (including the sung one which attracts the more traditionally minded, a majority of whom don't take the chalice) simply to provide employment for the vast army of mostly female EMHC.

Westminster Cathedral deploys two female extraordinary monsters at sparsely attended weekday Masses, and it's quite clear that the English hierarchy seized on the idea in the 1980s in order to create a separate order, superior to the rest of us, from which women were not excluded. In many places they still style themselves incorrectly as Eucharistic Ministers and preside over what are still termed Eucharistic Services.

From what I've read, the same situation applies in the USA.

Anonymous said...

St. Joseph anonymous here.
Oh how I and others long for your "Low Mass"--all parts are spoken and no singing of additional songs or hymns.
A Sunday Mass with the peace of words broken only by silence would be a joy allowing for contemplation of the words spoken.
All that singing, cantoring, and organ playing disrupts the concentration. Everywhere we go now there is only noise noise noise - even in our beloved St. Joseph's.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But clearly Anonymous Saint Joseph, the norm as highlighted by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal is that Sunday Mass be chanted and with music. Taste is one thing, but written principles are another. There may be more people than you think who would prefer the Old Latin Mass every Sunday--that's their taste and preference, but as a pastor, I need rules and regulations or we become hostage to people's tastes--YIKES!

Anonymous said...

Of course the GIRM should be adhared to. However some discretion is given to the priest how those parts are carried out. And you as pastor have your choices and preferences.
Speaking of adherence to the GIRM - how do you explain having the cantor singing the acclamation and adherence to #59 “After each reading, whoever reads it pronounces the acclamation, and by means of the reply the assembled people give honor to the Word of God that they have received in faith and with gratitude.”?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Simply watch a papal Mass from Saint Peters and you will hear the cantor chant, "The word of the Lord" except in Latin "Verbum Domini" and the congregation chant "Deo Gratias" and this occurs when a lay lector has proclaimed the first and second reading, unless that lay lector knows how to and feel comfortable with chanting "Verbum Domini."