Monday, September 11, 2017

EVEN THE AWFUL 1970 ROMAN MISSAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION IS BETTER THAN THE STYLES OF MUSIC THAT DEGRADE THE ROMAN MISSAL




ITS THE MUSIC, STUPID, THAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THE ORDINARY FORM MASS, MUSIC MANUFCATURED WHICH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ROMAN RITE'S PATRIMONY OF MUSIC INTRINSIC TO THE MASS--FORGET ABOUT VERNACULAR TRANSLATIONS BEING THE MAIN PROBLEM! NO! MUSIC IS!

(I am typing this in the midst of Irma battering the Georgia coast and thus Richmond Hill's Catholic rectory which is in a regular neighborhood. No telling how long I'll have electricity. Winds are sustained at 40 mph and gusting to 60 or more! Pouring rain too! Fun, fun! Pray the electricity doesn't go off!)

But on to more important things like the pope and the liturgy!

Praytell has an interview with Bishop Coyne of Burlington, Vermont on the pope's new promulgation on the liturgy's translation. It is very balanced and tells us that at least he isn't one who wants to promote even more liturgical division by tinkering with the new and glorious translation of the English Mass which doesn't mean that some prayers and prefaces could be improved--but who would notice but the priest.

But read the interview, especially the negative Praytell comment section unless those get deleted soon by pressing here.

I don't think there will be any noticeable change to our American translation of the Mass when it comes to the parts of the Mass--people are accustomed now to the changes, music has been written for the retranslation. I would be shocked if the people's parts change.

However, the prayers of the priests, especially collects and prefaces need to be reexamined. Some of these are simply poor English and could be revised easily without changing the theological, devotional and spirituality of these prayers. There are some real clunkers.

However, even if I were to use the older translation for these prayers next Sunday, no one would notice. Only Praytell geeks continue to complain about the new translation clunkiness. I have never had any parishioner at St. Joseph or now here at St. Anne say anything to me about the quality of the new English translation.

The new canon law that Pope Francis promulgated is a bit confusing to me. The Congregation for Divine Worship still has to approve revisions but only by saying "yes" or "no" to them. What confuses me about this is that there seems to be a wholesale rejection or approval of the translations without singling out what the problematic areas are. This would be a bit frustrating to Bishops' Conferences to have the whole thing rejected without comment on the parts that need revision, no?

But folks, it isn't the quality or lack of quality of the vernaculars used in the Mass that is the major problem. It is the music. I listened only to the processional of Pope Francis Mass in Cartehena yesterday and the music, while its quality was fine, was totally inappropriate for the Mass. As the pope incensed the altar with his black eye and bandaid on his eyebrow, the instrumental music was of "jazz" style and this for the Mass which is about the suffering and death of Jesus which only then leads to the resurrection. Do they understand what Jesus' went through to accomplish the resurrection? Do they understand the Mass is about the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross made present now but in an unbloody way?

The bishops of the world would do well to focus on the proper theology and doctrine of the Mass and the implication of this proper understanding as to the style of music that is appropriate for the Roman Rite and the Holy Sacrifice!

(Still have electricity but I have just lost my "Direct TV" satellite signal--which means I am cut off from the news--praise God!)

38 comments:

John Nolan said...

The bad music and the vernacular Mass are intimately connected. 'Kumbaya' and 'Michael Row the Boat Ashore' arrived with it in 1965. I can put up with the vernacular (although I rarely have to do so) and appreciate that the new translation is far, far better than the old - my CTS hand missal is bilingual and I can compare the texts.

But as soon as a female crooner picks up a microphone, or an ageing hippy picks up a guitar, I am out of the door.

Anonymous said...

During the Baroque period, composers were employed through the patronage system, and one of the prominent patrons of music was the Church: the Church paid and supported its composers and musicians the same as the kings courts did. With that system the Church could commission music that met its needs. Today's system is based on a free market economy. The music is written to bing in the largest cash flow, and the church's simply select from that catalog. Maybe the Church should return to being a patron of music, and have music specifically composed for its needs. Of course they also might have to hire musicians that were trained in something other than saloon music. Today saloons are the biggest patrons of music.

Anonymous said...

As with everything about the Mass a lot depends on the Pastor. Why do they tolerate most of it? The preaching and the music sloppy vestments, acting as if the occasion was Friday night at the improv...do not get me going. Some complain about Joe Catholic not being adequately catechized, the clergy must show an example. Bishops should have a collage level training program for liturgical musicians.

Anon-1

rcg said...

John is right: the music comes from the laity as much or more than the clergy. So if they are creating vapid music with actual errors in it it is a direct product of the Liturgy they heard in Mass that is a direct extention of the Catechesis they do or do not get and how that catechesis is affirmed with their worship. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

ByzRC said...

I'll join rcg in agree with John.

So much of our music seems better suited for the sentimentality of a Hallmark card store. Doubtful much will change there near-term.

As I've discovered my Rusyn/Ruthenian roots, happily, I regularly attend divine liturgy and find the 1 - 1 1/2 hours passes quickly as you lose yourself in the chant, the prayers, the incense and the bowing and crossing. I have never been able to replicate that feeling of losing oneself when attending the NO.

Joe Potillor said...

ByzRC pretty much why i havent stepped in a roman church in a lomg time now

TJM said...

I am an amateur musician and have sung in the Catholic Church for over 40 years in choirs and as a soloist. I can quite honestly say, I am happiest when forced to attend the typical Novus Ordo Mass, when there is NO music, since most of it is self-congratulating, maudlin drivel.

Henry said...

Since OF hymnals with traditional hymns, English propers, and chant Mass settings in both English and Latin are now available, there's nothing about the Novus Ordo "music problem" that a priest with leadership problems cannot fix in his first year as pastor. A new pastor of a large bellwether city parish in my diocese did this, transforming a declining parish with graying congregation into a vibrant parish energized by new young folks and families greatly increasing Sunday attendance that had been decreasing in recent years. I understand that the principal Sunday Mass, entirely chanted with English propers and Latin ordinary, is really packing them in.

Daniel said...

Liking or disliking music is a matter of personal taste; styles of music are not, in of themselves, objectively "good" or "bad" music. People like Mozart & Beethoven outraged the old farts, who thought they were tasteless, soulless & not traditional enough.

Anyway, if your problems are all about how the music makes YOU feel, you're doing it wrong. It's not about you.

Extra outrage points to the dude who's "out the door" anytime a woman picks up a microphone. It's 2017, John. You might be more comfortable in Isis.

TJM said...

Daniel (Kavanaugh),

Thanks for the laughs. You are a textbook case of a personal lacking any introspection or humility.

rcg said...

Music is definatley NOT a matter of personal taste for Mass. Neither is it a space filler, an interlude, or anything else extraneous or accidental to the prayers. It is there to enhance the spirit and the message or it ought not to be there. The music must, absolutley must, draw the congregation to deeper understanding and a glimpse of the Devine. If the performance points to the performer at the expense of the glory due the Lord of Hosts then Lucy has some 'splainin' to do.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,

The music is bad at Mass at most NO liturgies for all contemporary parishioners: young or old. Besides, the music is not for the tasteless pew sitters' edification but an offering to God as part of the sacrifice of the Mass. Abel offered his best, Cain did not and the Lord let him know. Contemporary liturgy musicians may not actually kill, they drive you batty, showing contempt for both God and fellow parishioners.

Anon-1

ByzRC said...

Hey Daniel -

As you are so quick to criticize and judge others, question for you (hold of on answering until you've had a period of introspection): Have you figured out your problem yet?

What do you come here for? Every post of yours leaves the reader with the same perception: smug, snarky, holier-than-thou, yet again - here comes YOUR perception of the teaching moment. You don't want to discuss, you want to preach. I've always disliked they hyper-critical guy and the bully who picks on the little guy - the one I would always defend. So, go ahead, criticize me a bit.

Daniel said...

"Smug, snarky, holier-than-thou" -- does that make me the pot or the kettle?

Yes, Byz, I've figured out my problem. I am a hyper-opinionated, judgmental, wise guy. And you all are the members of my support group. The first step is admitting that you have a problem.


ByzRC said...

Daniel -

"Smug, snarky, holier-than-thou" -- does that make me the pot or the kettle?

Don't give me that. Generally, you follow the discussion then coming in to tell people why they are wrong and criticize, not debate and defend. Following and criticizing is easy. While everyone everywhere could stand to polish their respective halos, many here take a risk by leading with a response. I'm not going to continue lecturing as I gather you are old enough to know better. Fix your problem.

Anonymous said...

Why the outbreak of troll-feeding?

John Nolan said...

Daniel (whoever he is) writes pointless and witless drivel. Mozart and Beethoven were recognized in their own lifetimes as composers of outstanding genius; the latter's funeral procession was the largest Vienna had seen in decades.

Isis is the name for the river Thames in Oxford. I am certainly comfortable in that city and sing Gregorian chant there. Yes, in 2017 nearly everything I sing is over a thousand years old. I was into pop music in my early teens, but even then would not have wanted it in church. In any case, like St Paul 'Quando factus sum vir, evacuavi quae erant parvuli'.

However, I suspect that Daniel is insinuating that in 2017 anyone who does not exalt popular culture is equivalent to a violent Islamist. People like him condemn themselves as ignorant philistines as soon as they open their mouths.

He's not Kavanaugh, by the way - he claims to remember the pre-V2 Mass whereas Fr K is too young to do so. Also, his crude and semi-literate style is not the good father's. It does call to mind others who have trolled on this blog and who take exception to my comments but lack the intellect to engage with them constructively.

Daniel said...

John Nolan, what sort of intellect would engage with you on whether women should allowed to sing? That is not an intellectual statement, backed up with logic & factual arguments, but an emotional tantrum by a person who hates what he sees.
I do not need to debate that topic, any more than I'd debate whether slavery was a moral practice or the Holocaust a bad idea. I feel I am providing a service simply by identifying your statement for what it is.
But thank you for recognizing that I'm not Kavanaugh. He seems like a wonderful fellow, which I obviously am not.

ByzRC said...

Daniel,

Don't start that manipulative woe is me self deprecation. I don't buy it. No one said anything about whether or not you are a good person. We will not likely ever be in a position to draw such a conclusion. Respect is earned, however, by conduct and contribution. Assuming you are still a practicing Catholic, I embrace you as such but, you have yet to give me a reason to provide respect.

ByzRC said...

Daniel,

One other thing, no one requested that you or any other poster provide any unsolicited services.

You will never effect a change of heart, save a soul etc. Providing feedback in this way.

John Nolan said...

Daniel

Who says women shouldn't be allowed to sing? Certainly not me. The London Oratory choir is mixed, and the same applies to Birmingham and Oxford. I have sung in mixed chant groups.

Had it been a male crooner picking up a microphone, or an ageing female hippy picking up a guitar, my reaction would have been the same.

So far from identifying my statement for what it is, you make up a statement and falsely attribute it to me. This is being deliberately dishonest, since you know full well that my objection is to certain styles of music, not to the sex of the performer.

Are you related to a troll who used to post under the name 'gobshite'? He was equally cavalier with the truth.

rcg said...

Daniel, it was a humorous way to bring a mental image of a woman, with a microphone, belting out 'Wind Beneath Her Wings' (sleeveless pastel blue shift dress with horn rim glasses). We have women in our schola, one is the leader. No complaints. There is no wind beneath the wings of her ordinary Byrd setting.

ByzRC said...

Daniel -

While I'm thinking about this I'd like to provide, prayerfully, one more suggestion. As a 'service' you have taken the time to post criticisms of others and their families who haven't embraced VII changes or, Haugen/Haas style hymns to your satisfaction. Great. It works for you. You are entitled to your opinion in the same way others here are entitled to theirs. They don't need to be shown where you feel they fall short. I don't want to assume that you've not seen the post three down from this one regarding that beautiful woman and mother who sacrificed herself so that her baby might have what will hopefully be a long, wonderful life. Like Mary, she uttered the ultimate Fiat, or, Yes! Wouldn't it have been more of a service to post there as that family has been shattered albeit for the best of reasons? Something to think about and, please, enough of the following: "Extra outrage points to the dude who's "out the door" anytime a woman picks up a microphone. It's 2017, John. You might be more comfortable in Isis." Please also don't reply with a "I'm never posting here again" take your marbles and run home comment. Learn, change and contribute.

I've made my point and will cease posting on this.

John Nolan said...

BYzRC

Good comment! Although I wouldn't be surprised if our resident troll thought that Mary's ultimate Fiat was the latest Italian motor-car.

Daniel said...

Thanks for all your thoughtful criticism. I feel I am just a person with opinions like the rest of you. And I judge people by the comments they choose to make, just as you judge me (which is your right). If you feel you've been judge unfairly, perhaps it's because said comments are often inflammatory, hyper-judgmental, insulting toward broad groups of people & generally condemning anyone who is not, like you, more Catholic than the Pope. I feel that I stand with the vast majority of American Catholics who have weathered changes in the church -- supporting some, skeptical of others -- but don't shop around for a parish or a building or a priest or music that is more to my liking. You may think that dangerously lax or naive, but I think people like us are the backbone of the church. Now you can tell me which body part you represent.

Daniel said...

Mary's ultimate Fiat. Good one, John.

Daniel said...

John, I understand that you are now attempting to, as the politicians say, revise and "clarify" your remarks, but stating that you're out the door "as soon as a female crooner picks up a microphone" is exactly the kind of sweeping generality I speak of.

What you wrote is there for all to see (as opposed to what you thought you wrote or what you should have written).

If it's not what you meant to say, then think and write more carefully, and you won't be criticized for posting something silly that you didn't mean.

Think, write, read, re-think, post. Good rules for anyone who posts on the Net.


ByzRC said...

Daniel -

Your points are fair. Perhaps given how those of us on the traditional side have been treated and marginalized over a very long period of time, we are defensive - perhaps to a fault. I just want to make it through the rest of my life peacefully, at peace with my faith and at peace with those around me who share this faith. I would prefer not to hide in my own 'tribe' but at the same time, I struggle to accept fully that which I don't recognize as being a reflection of the Church as I understand it to be and what I understand the Council to have intended.

As for a body part, I, probably, would represent the eyes of the Church. Here in the northeast, I have been watching a deterioration within the Church that has had an alarming acceleration in recent years. This deterioration is, in part, due to the breakdown of the liturgy that changed attitudes, societal change and population redistribution. The hierarchy seems publicly blind to this other than to keep closing and merging parishes in a seemingly unending quest for 'vibrancy' featuring lots of activities and sports at the expense of that which is central and fundamental - "Do this in memory of me!". I wish they too would open their eyes to the fact that the problems within the Church, though similar to other mainstream churches, have their origins in the liturgy. We will never return to a '50s version of the church and by no means do I advocate this as I live in the present. We should, however, better acknowledge our roots and traditions that evolved over centuries, embracing those traditions as a gift and rejecting a modernist, pop cultural approach which represents a finite period of time. This approach does not seem to be working based on statistics for attendance that are maintained here. Note: While I don't believe girls serving at the altar has caused our problems; to me, it is one of many resultant practices that has evolved over the years that statistically leads to a lack of focus on vocations as well as confusion for young men perhaps considering a vocation. From a micro perspective, I 'get' girls serving however, from a macro perspective, I honestly do not understand what this practice is intended to accomplish.

This is good dialogue - good reflection, that might help all to find a more realistic middle ground - one that might help to stave off the decline in the Church and Christianity more broadly.

John Nolan said...

Daniel,

It has possibly escaped your notice that this particular thread concerned the suitability (or lack thereof) of certain styles of music in the context of liturgical worship. My original comment addressed this.

I am not revising my comment, nor should I need to clarify it, since every commentator except you knew what I meant. Using stereotypes (the female crooner with her microphone, the ageing hippy with his guitar) is a literary device, although we have both encountered such stereotypes in the flesh.

If you detect misogyny, that's your affair, although it is reading too much into a one-line comment, not to mention taking that comment out of its original context. To infer that it means women should not be allowed to sing amounts to gross misrepresentation and scales the height of silliness - perhaps you might care to revise that inference.

I can assure you that I have never written anything that I did not mean. I am, however, used to having my words 'twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools'. You're not the first to do so, and will undoubtedly not be the last.

I will revise a comment if corrected on a point of fact. But as soon as a female crooner picks up a microphone, or an ageing hippy picks up a guitar, I am out of the door, literally, not figuratively. That is a fact, and no amount of sanctimonious disapproval can alter it.

Bean said...

"I am not a misogynist because I say I am not misogynist." JN

"I am not anti-Semitic because I say I am not anti-Semitic." AH

"I am not a crook because I say I am not a crook." RN

John Nolan said...

The problem with your juvenile attempt to be clever, Mr Bean, is that Adolf Hitler never attempted to conceal his anti-Semitism, Richard Nixon wasn't half the crook that Hillary Clinton is, and I have never said I wasn't a misogynist.

The fact that I object to women in the sanctuary might make me a misogynist in some people's eyes, but they would find it difficult to prove that my objection was based on an antipathy to the female sex per se.

In any case, I don't care. The opinion of fools isn't worth much, and I have been called worse things.

ByzRC said...

Typical liberal, John. Twist your words and Shane you with non-comparable Hitler references. Total intolerance under the guise of tolerance.

Daniel said...

John, I take your point perfectly. We are in total agreement, you and I. Total understanding. As soon as a female crooner (or an aging hippie) picks up a microphone, you are out the door. Literally, not figuratively.

And I will re-state my original point. There are plenty of religious groups that would clap you on the back and praise your rock-solid traditional values. Some of them might even behead the aging hippie for good measure. Literally, not figuratively.


Daniel said...

ByzRC: "Shane.... come back!"

John Nolan said...

No, Daniel, your original point was that there is no objective standard by which music, including sacred music, can be judged. It is there that you part company with nearly all discerning and intelligent people.

Your 'Isis' comment was simply a puerile attempt to score a point, which failed because even a far-fetched analogy has to make a credible comparison. Murderous Islamic fanatics, or for that matter fundamentalist Protestant sects, are the last people who would share my enthusiasm for plainchant and Palestrina. What other religious groups do you have in mind?

Daniel said...

You are right, John, my original point was that music can not objectively be proven to be good or bad, better or worst.

Therefore, you & your classmates are welcome to respond to my writing assignment, in another discussion thread, that you "objectively" -- without citing opinion -- prove that Beethoven was better than Beyonce'.

Because most discussions here come down to "because I said so."

Guidelines: Provide facts, not opinions. Back up your statements. Points off your score for insulting the person posing the question.




ByzRC said...

Daniel,

I'm blaming Arturo Fuente for this. I just lit a cigar and decided to try and post from my phone. Spell checker sometimes does its own thing.

John Nolan said...

Daniel, this blog is not the place for a lengthy dissertation, with musical examples, which would show that Beethoven's music represents one of the highest achievements of mankind. I suggest you look at the first movement of the 'Eroica' symphony, where he takes a simple eight-note motif from a juvenile opera by Mozart and uses it to build a seamless construction lasting twenty minutes, a daring and utterly original handling of sonata form, a large-scale integration of contrasts (melody, harmony, tonality, rhythm, instrumentation, dynamics, mood) creating an inexorable sense of forward movement. Nothing like it had been attempted before.

Popular music can't do any of this. It's harmonically unadventurous, has musical ideas but fails to develop them, is rhythmically repetitive and lacks tonal and dynamic contrast. It scales no heights and plumbs no depths. It's here today, gone tomorrow in most cases (there are notable exceptions). It's not intellectually challenging. Pretentious videos can't conceal its superficiality. Sorry, Beyoncé, I didn't mean to single you out; I picked your name for the sake of alliteration.