Thursday, June 28, 2012


My comment first: YIKES, He hits the nail on the head and what further is there to write, read it and weep! How ironic that at a Eucharistic Congress where the Holy Father gives an locution on the nature of Liturgy and the on-going need for the reform of the reform that the liturgy itself in Dublin makes evident the problem to which the Holy Father speaks!

Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth stinging appraisal of the Dublin Mass:

"The Holy Father then went on to say (in a video message to the assembly at the Closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin) that:
“not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and "active participation" has been confused with external activity”

"In my view, this is the very crux of the matter and I would like to illustrate it with reference to the Mass at which Pope Benedict’s remarks were heard – the closing Mass of the recent Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. The improvements in liturgical culture and particularly the improvements in liturgical music, that have become increasingly evident throughout this papacy, particularly in large-scale celebrations were sadly almost entirely absent from this occasion, giving the event a sort of ‘eighties’ feel to it. More specifically:

- the entire liturgy had a ‘performance’ quality to it, with the assembly as the principal focus. This was borne out by the fact that musicial items were frequently greeted with applause.

- There was a frequent disregard for the provisions of the GIRM. This was particularly evident with reference to music:

+ None of the antiphons of the proper were sung for the entrance, offertory and communion processions (cf GIRM #40)

+ Gregorian Chant was conspicuous by its absence (cf GIRM #41). None of the Missal chants was used for the people’s parts of the Order of Mass (with the single exceptions of the gospel and preface dialogues), even though the liturgy was predominantly in English and these chants would have been known by most people present.

+ In the Profession of Faith, after the Cardinal celebrant had intoned Credo III, lectors read the Apostles’ Creed (which has a different intonation to the Nicene Creed) in a variety of languages, spoken paragraphs were punctuated by the sung response ‘Credo, Amen!” This is not recognizably one of the modes for the Creed described in the GIRM (cf GIRM #48).

+ Much music did not ‘correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action’ [GIRM #41] such as the celebrity spot during the distribution of Holy Communion of 3 clerical tenors, ‘The Priests’, singing the impossibly sentimental song “May the road rise up to meet you”. I feel like asking, just what is wrong with the Communion antiphon and psalm?

+ Despite the international character of the occasion, the use of Latin in the people’s sung parts was almost non-existent (cf GIRM #41).

The depressing cumulative effect of the disregard for all these principles in a major liturgy, celebrated by a papal legate, and broadcast throughout the world, is hard to underestimate. If I were given to conspiracy theories, I would almost feel persuaded that this was a deliberately calculated attempt to broadcast a different message and to oppose the better liturgical spirit of recent times. But surely it cannot be so?

I think we have to ask such questions and indeed to surmise that the influence of former barons of the liturgical establishment has found a new and conspicuous arena of activity in which to model their example of poor liturgy. There can be no talk of the reform of the Roman Rite until the GIRM is enforced as the minimum requirement. If it remains a largely fantasy text at the beginning of our altar missals then ‘the rebuilding of the broken down city’ will take a very long time."


Marc said...

These priests and prelates who blatantly disregard the express wishes of the Holy Father really irk me!

I feel like the apostles when they asked our Lord, "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?"

Henry Edwards said...

Almost everywhere he goes outside the Vatican, in other countries and in Italy itself, Pope Benedict is sandbagged with irritations such as altar girls, popular ditties, and much worse. Then people post photos of what His Holiness is subjected to, and say, Look, the Pope must approve of this. Not knowing how carefully he must choose his battles, so that he cannot often put the hammer down. even in his own diocese of Rome, much less throughout the world.

Carol H. said...

I was very disappointed when I saw this Mass. The singers all had beautiful voices and they were wasted on junk music. I didn't mind it during the rest of the festivities, but the Mass is SACRED!

I sincerely hope that this liturgical abuse will come to an end during the Year of Faith.

John Nolan said...

These open-air mega-liturgies are always problematic. Who can forget the young female dancers at JP II's Rio Mass, the wind lifting up their skirts leaving little to the imagination? When he visited Britain in 1982 I didn't even watch the Masses on TV; not even the presence of the Vicar of Christ could induce me to sit through a pop concert.

Before the present Holy Father's visit for the canonization of JH Newman in 2010, I read in the Catholic Herald about the proposed music for the Cofton Park Mass, and my heart sank. The same tin-eared 1980s has-beens were being called upon to expend their meagre musical talent in a re-run of 1982.

But then something happened. A political sketch-writer from a national newspaper suggested in an article that there was a stand-off between Guido Marini and the event organisers. Then it was announced that James MacMillan's setting which was composed for the Mass in Scotland would also be used at Birmingham, and MacMillan is probably the greatest living British composer, as far removed from Haugen/Haas/Inwood as you can get.

Shortly before the visit began, it was revealed that at all the Masses the Preface and Canon would be in Latin. In the end, although there were aspects of the Beatification Mass I didn't care for, there was only one naff hymn, we had some decent polyphony at the Communion, and when the Pope led the congregation in the Angelus, that, too, was in Latin.

Anonymous said...

"Catholic" Ireland needs to be placed under liturgical and clerical quarantine for the next 20 years.

John Nolan said...

I witessed a good example of ROTR at Oxford the other day (OF weekday 'low' Mass, young priest, versus populum but with Benedictine altar arrangement, Latin (but the same would apply had it been in English).

Priest arrives at the altar carrying the veiled chalice which he than places centrally. Introductory rites at the altar. Lay reader (female) for 1st reading, RP and Alleluia. At the Offertory, priest makes sign of cross with paten and chalice before replacing them on the altar. Offertory prayers said silently. Roman Canon (aloud). Priest keeps thumb and forefinger conjoined after Consecration. Priest says a silent prayer at the Fraction (the Haec commixtio?). No handshake of peace. Communion at the rail, kneeling, only two people received in the hand. Those who wished to receive the Precious Blood received it standing from a priest in an adjacent side chapel. Ablutions exactly as in the EF. Concluding rites and dismissal from the altar.

With a short homily and no general intercessions the Mass lasted 35 minutes.

Joseph Johnson said...

Re: John Nolan at 5;18:

While I'm not advocating for shorter Masses, rubrically the Mass described by John (which I presume was ad orientem, as well?)is exactly what I'd like to see happen to the Ordinary Form!

rcg said...

First, I hope this Irish Mass is recorded and published as a brief catalogue of errors to be studied in seminaries worldwide. (Saint Patrick was a Scot who went to evangelise the Irish. There is, apparently, a genetic condition that needs to be managed every millennia or so with another treatment.)

John, that reminds me of some Mass celebrations in the military. I was stationed with USMC and USN quite a bit and I recall intinction as the norm. I never gave it a thought and in my ignorance thought it was a quite efficient use of the small amount of wine we had. Of course we did not have the Benedictine altar arrangement and Latin was very rare, usually special occasions, but the rest was the same. I don't recall taking communion in the hand until I came back to the US, either. These were very small posts, though. Or maybe the military chaplains were behind in the reform.

Also, John, thank you for the connection to Fr. Davenport. The man is a true shepherd. Just got a message from my friend that her dad is 'chuffed' at the visit he received and looks forward to Mass. The poor fellow can't walk and his wife has Alzheimer's and the children are far away. the poor man has been homebound so long, it brings tears to my eyes to think of his happiness. God bless you for the help.

John Nolan said...

Actually, Joseph, it was versus populum (they do Solemmn Sunday Mass ad orientem) which enabled me to see what the priest was doing. The precedent for using EF prayers in the OF has been set by the Holy Father - when he incenses the Altar at the Offertory he says the beautiful older prayers which include a portion of Ps 140.

These private prayers were gradually added to the Mass during the Middle Ages, and most were swept aside in the Bugnini reforms. Priests who celebrate the EF regularly will surely find the temptation to use them in the OF difficult to resist (I remember older priests doing it in the 1970s)

In 1967 the Placeat (a very important prayer) was removed from its place before the final blessing, but the priest was given the option of reciting it as he left the altar. Its restoration would be most welcome.

As for the small rubrical gestures traditional to the Roman Rite, by all means add them unless the OF rubrics specifically direct that you do otherwise.

John Nolan said...

@ rcg

St Patrick was Romano-British (the Scots were a tribe which then inhabited northern Ireland). I suppose the Welsh have a certain claim to him.

I attended Fr Davenport's Mass at Chesham Bois last Sunday. His arthritis is so bad that it must be a trial for him, but he carries on manfully. I have rarely heard Latin articulated so impeccably. It strikes me that there are a lot of people like your friend who are housebound and would love to attend the TLM, and equally people like me who are mobile and can offer lifts, but there is no organization , so far as I am aware, that can facilitate this.

rcg said...

Well, there is one fellow carrying on somewhere in the Berks and he is a hero to me and Robin.

Supertradmum said...

Many of us looked at the website for the Conference and the music which was chosen and decided that the worst of the Irish Church was on view for all to see.

I did not go because I lived in Ireland for three months recently and saw that the entire Conference was "off" in the planning. To begin with, the motto of the Conference, which I pointed out to the website people, was a quotation from James Joyce, who HATED Catholics, the Pope, the Church, etc. How ironic and how telling that secularism and the anti-Catholic feeling was in full-force, as if the entire Church there was in schism. Horrid and sad. People wondered why the Pope refused the invitation, like inviting a vegetarian to a hog roast.

Gregorian Mass said...

Everyone complains and few do anything. The Pope needs to mandate. His way of "leading/teaching" has little effect in so many places. Teaching/Mandating go hand in hand. Imagine a parent "teaching". It is as if many in charge of planning liturgies are in a coma as to what is happening around them. Most lay people look at these liturgies and either have nothing to say because it is so uninspiring or they are critical of it. All the complaining , criticizing, and teaching up until now has done nothing, at least at this important event. Sad that it goes on.