Saturday, November 30, 2013


Obviously this is a performance in a concert hall, but what it does show is how CHANT could be modified according to cultural differences without losing any of the Catholic nature of chant in its historical development fist in the East then in the Western Europe and now, God willing, in the idioms of other various cultures such as African. This is the Catholic Kyrie with an African adjustment to the CHANT, but it is Chant and one can tell that this experience is different than the "Broadway" sounds we hear in much of contemporary Catholic music today focused more on newly created hymns rather than the actual parts of the Mass!

This post goes with the one previous to it.

Inculturation of the Liturgy must be carefully accomplished with bishops promoting it and not through aimless creativity on the part of local priests and congregations.

Inculturation in my mind means beginning with the Liturgy itself, the Roman Missal as the bishops of each country have approved in the vernacular or Latin languages.

The biggest area of contention is music. What kind of music and how does this differ from the European model, which I presume means "chant" in the minds of most people, when it really refers to the more ostentatious examples of complex Masses created by European composers in the last few centuries that are more appropriate in a concert hall than in a liturgical setting?

For example, what style of music connects the Church of the Latin Rite with the Churches of the East and even the classical Protestant denominations such as Episcopal and Lutheran? It is CHANT although the style of Chant varies in terms of the Latin Rite's experience compared to the Eastern Rite's heritage and compared to Anglican and Lutheran chant.

And what else do we have in common with the Church of the East--it is the Liturgy that is sung, not added hymns no matter how Biblical these might be. Hymns in our Latin Rite tradition rightly below to the Liturgy of the Hours and popular devotions.

So how can we inculturate our Music in those places of the world? We begin with Chant and the Mass, not with popular music, instrumentation and composed hymns by liturgical artists.

How would one CHANT the INTROIT, OFFERTORY AND COMMUNION ANTIPHONS of the Roman Missal without dragging in hymns of dubious quality and style and calling this inculturation. How do we do the same with the sung parts of the Mass, of both the priest and the laity without turning it into entertainment (which is a part of our culture but not something we should inculturate into our Mass of course, but we have!)

Could there be something like an "African American" chant?

Could there be something like a "Latin and South American Chant" or African Chant or Asian Chant, but all using the normative Roman Missal of their regions and focusing in on the Mass that is in the Missal and Gradual but inculturated in style?

I think this style of inculturation is very different that what has been done up until now and is the path of the future!


Gene said...

We shouldn't even be having conversations like this. If not for Vatican II, we would not be. Irreparable damage has been done to the Liturgy and, thereby, the Church. Restoring or recovering Catholic identity and a meaningful, dignified, theologically correct Liturgy is going to be an uphill battle. At present, the other side is still winning. "Traditionalists" are not nearly angry enough or activist enough…hey, ya'll…when Jesus called us "sheep" it was a metaphor.

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. McDonald,
Thank you for posting the last two posts after my query about the appropriateness of English (or Latin) chant (in light of Sacrosanctum Concilium) in an English speaking American parish.

I also appreciate Pater Ignotus taking the time to respond to that query but I am still not fully satisfied as to his answer. I guess its the "strict constructionist" lawyer in me that tends to interpret documents with an eye to the surrounding facts in place at the time the document was written rather than interpreting something written long ago in light of present reality.

Sacrosanctum Concilium was promulgated half a century ago by Paul VI in December, 1963. It speaks of the "ministerial function" Sacred music or song being explained by "Roman Pontiffs who in recent (then)times, led by St. Pius X" (reigned from 1903-14). It speaks of the "treasure of Sacred music is something to be preserved" (a "treasure" to be "preserved?"). This sounds like a collection from the past (prior to at least 1963 and probably before Pius X) that is being referred to as needing "preservation" and "fostering" (perpetuating this for future generations).

Then, 'lest there be any doubt as to what musical genre is a prime part of this "treasury," SC states that "The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given PRIDE OF PLACE (ostentatious? sorry, I had to add the emphases . .) in liturgical services."

Also, "The typical edition of the books of Gregorian chant (a new "Graduale Romanum?") is to be completed; and a more critical edition is to be prepared of those books already published since the restoration by St. Pius X" (the "Graduale Romanum," still the official book of music for the Mass was first published in 1908).

There's more: "It is desirable also that an edition be prepared containing simpler melodies, for use in small parishes." This has never happened, to my knowledge. This part of Vatican II has never been implemented. Given SC's provision that "the limits of its (the vernacular, that is) employment may be"(from what is was as of 1963--which was the '62 Missal), it would seem that the "Simple English Propers" would be EXACTLY what SC calls for, especially in smaller parishes where the majority of the membership is of English speaking European heritage.

This would begin to implement a long-neglected part of SC. Once chant is re-establised as normative (through the use of vernacular) then, maybe we can take steps "so that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them."

Am I wrong?

Gene said...

An "African-American chant?" You have got to be kidding, right? I can only imagine the possibilities…I think a nice Rap beat would be good with a lot of jukin' and jivin' crotch grabbing,' bling, and vulgar language. Yeah, that's it.
If an African American chant, why not an Indian American chant, an Irish American chant, a French American one, German American, Russian American one, a Cree Indian American one, an Australian American one, a Chinese American one, a Nisei one, Scottish American….we must be inclusive and egalitarian. This is some kind of comedy, right?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Joseph, you are correct about SC in the Vatican II documents and for the past 50 years we've done the opposite of what was expected as it concerns music in the Mass, we've focused in on hymns and modern idioms of music rather than what SC requested.

I think we are just at the beginning of trying to do what Vatican II requested as it concerns music such as what you see the Church Music Association of America doing. But they are meeting with resistance.

And what they are doing is not only the rediscovery of Gregorian Chant in Latin, with its various simple and complex forms, but also developing good chant in the vernacular.

But those in the music industry of the Mass, composers and Catholic publishing houses, there is tremendous resistance and because of the bottom line, the almighty dollar!!!!

Who resists a national hymnal the most and a book of worship with the prayers and readings of the Mass included? Publishing houses who make a fortune on selling a variety of hymnals, hardback and throwaway as well as paperback missalettes.

And amateurs want to be able to foist their junk on us and are in high places in the contemporary music seen of the Mass!

Pater Ignotus said...

One of the "signs of the times" to which the Church was called to be attentive by Vat 2 was the recognition of the value of non-European cultures. We had not been attentive to the constant teaching of the Church on the unity of the human race and on the equal dignity of all races and peoples. SC challenged us to live up to the Faith we professed and to do so in and through the liturgy.

This was happening long before Vatican II. From Wikipedia: " Pope Leo XIII fostered inter-cultural diversity, leading to the reintegration of the Armenian Catholic Church into the Catholic Church in 1879. He opposed efforts to Latinize the Eastern Rite Churches, stating that they constitute a most valuable ancient tradition and symbol of the divine unity of the Catholic Church. His 1894 encyclical Praeclara Gratulationis praised the cultural and liturgical diversity of expressions of faith within the Church . In Orientalum Dignitatis he repeated the need to preserve and cultivate diversity and declared different cultures to be a treasure. He opposed the latinization policies of his own Vatican and decreed a number of measures which preserved the integrity and distinctiveness of other cultural expressions."

John O'Malley in "What Happened at Vatican II" relates SC's "four principles that would be adopted and developed by other documents and help give Vatican II its final profile." (page 140) The first was aggiornamento. "The Mass was thus not so much 'modernized' as made to conform more closely to fundamental and traditional principles."

The second principle was adaptation to local circumstances. SC: "... the art of our own times and of every nation and culture shall be given free scope." O'Malley says "the council took a step out of its European box."

The third principle is that of episcopal authority and of greater decision making on the local level, consistent with the doctrine of episcopal collegiality. (O'Malley pages 140-141)

The final principle is the full and active participation of everybody present in the liturgical action. O'Malley writes, "This is a principle of engagement and active responsibility, and by implication it extended beyond liturgy to the church at large, to the Church as "the people of God. Liturgy, that is to say, had ecclesiological implications and ramifications."

Through the ages and across the globe there have been styles of musical expression - some chant-like, some not - that can and, I think, should be used in our liturgical worship. Mozart, Haydn, and Schubert wrote glorious settings for the mass which are not chant.

In many places, the local liturgical music was deposed by the imposition of Gregorian chant. Some of those musical traditions disappeared as a result of this European cultural hegemony.

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. McDonald,
It sounds like our bishops need to focus more on this SC music issue and convince the publishing houses to change their products to something more in conformity with what the Church Music Association of America is making available (which appears to be more in conformity with what Sacrosanctum Concilium envisioned, both in the vernacular and in Latin).

Don't get me wrong--I think that, despite its imperfections, capitalism is the best economic system. Still, it is very sad and ironic to think that capitalism has thwarted and controlled (through music publishing houses dominated by so-called liturgical "progressives")the way Sacrosanctum Concilium has been implemented (or not implemented!) in the English-speaking Church.

The bishops NEED to address this!

Joseph Johnson said...

In response to what Pater Ignotus just pointed out about appreciating non-European cultures:

I am not disputing the veracity or the merit of this premise--I was just asking why the appreciation of non-European cultures ("inculturation") should dominate (trump) and displace the preservation of the musical heritage of the Western (Latin) Church as envisioned in Sacrosanctum Concilium, Chapter I, Article III ("General Principals for the Restoration and Promotion of the Sacred Liturgy"),Chapter II ("The Most Sacred Mystery of the Eucharist") and Chapter VI ("Sacred Music") in a typical English-speaking parish where the overwhelming majority of attendees at the Sunday morning Mass are of European heritage?

Why shouldn't the relevant portions of SC control in a liturgy where the predominant culture is of European heritage? Beyond that, why should not all Latin-Rite cultures share, to some degree, in the common musical heritage in the Latin Church? I am not talking about "Latinizing" other Rites in the Church. I often get the impression that they have maintained their traditions better than we Latin-Rite Catholics have because we have become SO sidelined by appreciating other cultures to the demise our our own.

As a side-note, at my parish Sunday English Mass, for example, we usually have two or three African-Americans and maybe three or four Filipinos who attend regularly. At least two of the Filipinos and one of the African-Americans are desiring the Extraordinary Form to be added to our schedule. A few of our Hispanics have started attending our English Mass but the vast majority of them attend the afternoon Spanish Mass which, musically, is VERY inculturated. Once a month we have bilingual Masses which are very long and a challenge to participate in fully and actively. Given that Hispanic Catholics also come from the Latin (European) liturgical tradition, I have often thought how good it would be if, at bilingual Masses, we could all sing the parts of the Ordinary together in Latin as envisioned in SC.

I am reading the words of Sacrosanctum Concilium and attempting to properly understand them (the Vatican II document on liturgy--which is RELEVANT to what I am writing about--liturgy and liturgical music). With all due respect, John O'Malley is not Vatican II. It may be that because so many have accepted a certain version (interpretation or false impression) of Vatican II over the last 50 years that certain words contained in the actual documents have be deliberately ignored or downplayed.

rcg said...

The point of departure comes where the chant becomes a tune and the singing a performance. There are many Masses set to Western scores that are not appropriate for a worship service. The video was fine up until the dancing choir. As a performance, it was wonderful. But it was distracting for the choir (performers) if they are trying help worship, not to mention the people who cannot help but watch. There are contributions all cultures can make to our Church and Liturgy. But this is not a pot luck dinner and some of the contributions will need to improve with time.

Anonymous said...

The Church's own creation is Gregorian Chant. Perhaps the most beautiful music humanity has ever know. And you are making the point to change it to meet the needs of liberal people who have a problem with traditional Catholic practice. The answer is no, pure and simple. Where does this kind of thinking come from. Traditional Catholicism didn't seem to be a problem in the Church until the 1960's, by liberals who are he'll bent on changing the Faith. I know black Catholic who converted to the Faith in the fifties and they had no problem with Latin or vestments etc. All of these changes have resulted in loss of Faith, empty seminaries, convents and rectories ...... And still the call is for more change. It's incomprehensible.

John Nolan said...

What Pater Ignotus writes is, like most of his comments, well-informed and true up to a point. I would take issue with one of his contentions. Gregorian Chant is given first place because it is proper to the Roman Rite; the rite and its music developed in tandem. Other factors (e.g. the antiquity or objective beauty of the chant) are not the determining principles, which is why SC and the GIRM inserts the phrase "ceteris paribus" which effectively corrals these other factors and strengthens the original connection.

It is therefore nonsensical to suggest that Gregorian Chant can be "imposed" on the Roman Rite, since the two are inseparable. Of course other musical styles, Renaissance polyphony, classical (Mozart, Haydn, Hummel etc.), romantic (e.g. Bruckner, Gounod, Dvorak) or modern (e.g. Britten, MacMillan) can be employed in the service of the liturgy, but unlike chant they must justify their inclusion by virtue of musical quality and suitability.

In 1968 the Sanctus from the Congolese 'Missa Luba' was an unlikely hit because it was included in Lindsay Anderson's film 'If'. This was a setting of the Mass Ordinary written in the 1950s by a French missionary priest and based on native musical traditions. Yet it struck a chord with European listeners just as Gregorian Chant had an instant appeal to other cultures when they were exposed to it.

Within a few years of the Spanish conquest of central and south America, native choirs were singing polyphonic liturgical music and native composers were writing it. Isn't this inculturation?

"In many places the local liturgical music was deposed by the imposition of Gregorian Chant. Some of these musical traditions disappeared ..." In the first millennium, perhaps. The evidence is scanty and it's got nothing to do with European hegemony since this was a European phenomenon.

George said...

The performance in the video to me was something you might hear in a modern urban themed opera. It was arranged by Norman Luboff who for
years worked in the film and entertainment industry.
I would like to hear what this would sound like if the arrangement was done by a liturgist who was knowledgeable in both Gregorian chant and African music. In my mind I can envision an interesting and less ostentatious result. This performance sounds like something one would here at a concert hall and it fact this was recorded at the Kennedy center.
It definitely should not as presented be part of any Mass liturgy. No music should be such that it overpowers the rest of the liturgy because then you would have a Mass where many would come more for the entertainment and the music would lose the liturgical purpose with which it should serve.

Pater Ignotus said...

Joseph - There are numerous post-conciliar documents that flesh out how the principles enunciated in SC are implemented. SC, by itself, is insufficient as an authoritative source for what is done and why it is done.

Keep in mind that there was a time when even Gregorian chant was new. It's use in the liturgy was, at that time, novel and untried. Over time it became the norm for music in the liturgy; however, it never was the ONLY form of music allowed, encouraged, or used.

I don't agree that singing the parts of the Ordinary together in Latin is a desirable thing, unless those singing are reasonably fluent in that language. Having a translation at hand in a missal doesn't, for me and for many, fit the notion of full, conscious participation.

The prayers, including the Ordinary parts, are intended for us, to communicate the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to us. Using a language that is not well understood just doesn't - even can't - achieve that end.

Anonymous - Many would not agree with your assertion that Gregorian chant may be the most beautiful music humanity has known. I certainly would not, and I very much enjoy listening to the many CDs I have of chant music.

Anonymous said...

For a Pope who makes statements like "who am I to judge" and professes simplicity and humility he seems to be doing nothing but judging. From day one he has decided this is wrong, that's wrong, this isn't right, that has to be changed, this is no longer relevant etc. Know he is making pronouncements that a whole cultures financial system is wrong. From reading his statements it is clear he does not posses the intellect of Paul VI, John Paul II or Benedict XVI so it does seem puzzling that he thinks he is competent to make all of these "earth shattering" statements so early in a pontificate. Just because he was elected pope eight months ago doesn't mean he is an expert on liturgy, economics, theology etc. Sitting back and watching all that has happened in the last eight months has made me very uncomfortable because all of a sudden we have a pope who seems to be running the papacy as if he were an anointed monarch. From dismissing miracles needed for canonizations, to making sweeping statements on virtually every aspect of human life and making decisions just because he has the authority to do so seems reckless not humble.

Joseph Johnson said...

Pater Ignotus,
I never suggested that Gregorian chant was the ONLY kind of music allowed or used in the liturgy when it was the norm. I only repeated what SC said about it having "pride of place" and I take that to mean that it is the first choice among other music that may be used based on musical quality and suitability (to use John Nolan's words). John Nolan did a good job in explaining why it should rightfully have pride of place as liturgical music.

As to the use of Latin for the Ordinary by the people (which is specifically encouraged in SC), which you say is not desirable unless everyone is "reasonably fluent"---I guess that, under that reasoning I should NEVER attend another bilingual or Spanish Mass because am not at all fluent in Spanish (I had some Latin in Catholic grade school and one year of German in college). I only understand Spanish words at Mass to the extent that they resemble their Latin equivalents (because I DO know the Latin Ordinary despite the fact that I am not fluent in Latin).

Surely SC did not envision all Catholics becoming fluent in Latin before they attempted to learn to sing or say the Latin Ordinary! You sound like one of those obstructionist bishops who makes his priests take a Latin fluency test as a prerequisite to "allowing" him to offer the EF Mass (which violates the letter of Summorum Pontificum--but that is another subject). Back to the point at hand, I take that passage of SC to mean only what it actually says: "that the faithful may also (in addition to the vernacular) be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them." I don't see any fluency requirement as a prerequisite part of that exhortation.

I am having a really hard time buying into your thinking on the undesirability of using some Latin at times for these parts. If I were to agree with you then I would have to disregard everything that SC has to say about the preservation and use of Latin as a universal alternative to the vernacular. We either accept what SC says or we don't--otherwise we're getting into the subjective area of personal preference and opinion (and I'm sure you probably don't want to hear mine, so I'll spare you!).

John Nolan said...

PI, you don't have to be fluent in Latin to sing the people's part of the ordinary. Why should people need a translation of the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei when they have been singing or reciting these texts in the vernacular for decades?

I, too, have CDs of chant. But listening to them is no substitute for singing the chant, or hearing it sung, in the context for which it was written.

I would still like you to provide an example - just one of the 'many places' will do - where local liturgical music was "deposed" by Gregorian chant. Since you blame "European hegemony" I need an example from the last 500 years.

George said...

There was a reason (or reasons) Gregorian replaced that which came before it. I will say there are those who are not fastidious in this regard and could accept different and updated arrangements that are faithful to the original form and maintain a necessary liturgical integrity. I have no problem with the Sanctus from the Congolese 'Missa Luba'(mentioned by John Nolan). I can't see a bishop forcing this form on priests diocean-wide but I don't see what problem there would be in allowing this form as an option.

As far as Latin, what you say Pater is true only insofar as people having become accustomed to the Mass in the vernacular for the last 45 years. My experience is that in the Masses I've attended where the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei were sung, I didn't notice a problem with the congregation joining in.

Latin was not a problem for the uneducated 17th Century French shepherdess St Germain de Pribac who made every effort to attend Sunday and even daily Mass despite her lack of knowledge of the language and virtually anything else. Now that there are more parishes with Masses in English and Spanish, it would be nice to have some incorporation of Latin as a connecting bridge between the two.

Gene said...

I see absolutely no problem with European hegemony. None. That is where the Church developed, virtually created Western culture, and guided and shaped the greatest traditions of art, music, science, industry, philosophy and theology, and economics in history. The Church invites other cultures and races in to share and participate in the glories of the Western, Judaeo-Christian tradition. She is properly magnanimous and should speak, worship, and evangelize from this high position of authority and tradition. The Church should not (as many in her want to do and have done) dumb down her traditions and worship and adopt a "multi-cultural" (do you have any idea how much I detest that word and concept), culturally equivalent, Liturgically relative, theologically egalitarian approach in order to please the socialist/humanist minions within her walls. This is insanity, and is based upon liberal self-loathing and neurotically misguided academic and curial obsessions with utopian fantasies. We need to fight it tooth and nail and reject it with sound and fury.

Rood Screen said...

Joseph Johnson,

In 1974 Pope Paul VI sent every Latin Rite bishop a booklet of simple Gregorian chants, entitled "Jubilate Deo". The Holy Father mandated its contents as the "minimum repertoire of Gregorian chant".

Pater Ignotus said...

Joseph - I would encourage you to attend mass in Spanish (or Vietnamese, or Swahili, or any other language you may not understand) since that would help you understand my point.

The mass has two purposes - 1) the praise and worship of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and 2) the communication of the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to the People of God. One without the other in insufficient

Goal one is accomplished in any and every language. Goal two is accomplished only in a language understood by the people attending. If the priest is praying in a language you do not speak, the communication of the saving mysteries is not accomplished.

Grace Builds On Nature. The nature of English speakers, for example, is to communicate in that language. We speak and are spoken to in English so that communication actually happens.

And again, there are many documents post-Vat 2 that authoritatively flesh out the principles stated in SC. They have to be considered as we discuss the implementation of those principles.

Pater Ignotus said...

"Gregorian chant, monophonic, or unison, liturgical music of the Roman Catholic Church, used to accompany the text of the mass and the canonical hours, or divine office. Gregorian chant is named after St. Gregory I, during whose papacy (590–604) it was collected and codified. Charlemagne, king of the Franks (768–814), imposed Gregorian chant on his kingdom, where another liturgical tradition—the Gallican chant—was in common use. During the 8th and 9th centuries, a process of assimilation took place between Gallican and Gregorian chants; and it is the chant in this evolved form that has come down to the present."

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus,

I don't know where you got that quotation from, but it is factually incorrect. The chant was not collected and codified in the reign of Gregory I; in fact there is nothing substantial to connect Gregory with the chant or with music generally. What we call Gregorian chant is a fusion of Old Roman and Gallican chant, but the extent to which one influenced the other is a matter of debate - hardly surprising since the earliest clues to the music itself don't appear until the last century of the first millennium. Before that (and the main corpus of what we call Gregorian chant was composed by the end of the eighth century) everything was in the oral/aural tradition.

You still have not provided me with any examples where indigenous liturgical music was ousted by European hegemonists. Actually it's the other way round - western chant and polyphony was ousted by so-called native musical genres based on folk idiom in the name of post-Conciliar 'inculturation'. Priests with missionary experience in Africa have spoken of congregations with different tribal languages uniting in singing the Missa de Angelis in Latin. You have a very narrow and dare I say it Eurocentric (as transposed to North America) view of FCAP.

Anonymous said...

A snippet from Evangeli Gaudium, which,as Fr McD suggested, I read in its entirety yesterday: "We cannot demand that peoples of every continent, in expressing their faith, imitate modes of expression which European nations developed at a particular moment of their history."

CPT Tom said...

First, Gregorian Chant as we know it is itself a product of fusion of chant styles from around the Mediterranean and not just from Europe as some of the chant certainly date back to Judism and other regions the Church was in. The main commonality being natural modes and tones coupled with the words. This last part is what makes chant different from other musical is tied to the words and therefore is NOT designed to dominate them, rather it designed to communicate them better when there was no amplification. I think most attempts at inculturation fail because they don't start here with understanding of the Church's native Chant, and therefore miss the mark. BTW, my wife's family who are Chinese, find Gregorian Chant to be more harmonious with what they think is appropriate for worship than any of the music they hear in our local parish. The African extern priests we have had all have chanted as well as our schola. I have come to the conclusion that attempts at inculturation are fake and a distraction from the mass. The energy is better spent on beautiful music that fits the mass.

Joseph Johnson said...

For the last several years in my local parish we have been singing the Kyrie in its Greek version much more often than in its English version of "Lord have mercy," etc. This started under a previous pastor of a decidedly more traditional liturgical bent but has continued under our current pastor, who appears to be more in agreement with Pater Ignotus' views.

Should we all now become fluent in Greek as well? What about Aramaic since we always use some Aramaic in all our Masses (eg. Amen, Alleluia, Hosanna, etc.). Why, of the three historic languages of our Rite (all three of which were also used in the indictment which hung over Christ's head at the Crucifixion) is Latin treated differently by many clergy? Why would it be any more of a big deal (requiring fluency) to chant a Latin Sanctus or Agnus Dei at an otherwise mostly vernacular Mass than it is to sing or chant a Greek Kyrie Eleison? Yes, Kyrie Eleison indeed, on all of us!

John Nolan said...

What Gene says regarding the inherent superiority of western high culture is unfashionable but demonstrably true. At the turn of the millennium there was a debate as to what was mankind's greatest achievement of the last thousand years. Unsurprisingly it was western 'classical' music, which was of course made possible by the Church's invention of musical notation, which made it much easier to learn and disseminate the Chant, and allowed the development of polyphony. This music has been embraced by countries such as China and Japan, whose cultural traditions are very different. The other day I was listening to a Bach cantata performed (on period instruments)by the Bach Collegium Japan under Masaaki Suzuki as part of their project to record all the cantatas (55 CDs so far). The fact that this music was written for the German Lutheran Church in the 18th century is incidental - it belongs to mankind, and transcends cultural boundaries. The pianist Mitzuko Uchida, in her interpretation of Schubert's piano sonatas, gets inside this sublime music in a way few other artists can.

As for 'multiculturalism' I am 100 per cent with Gene, as were Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. In his last published work, 'Memory and Identity' Bl. John Paul said that what defines a nation is its common culture, and that both the family and the nation are natural societies, not the product of mere convention.

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. JBS,
Thanks for the reminder about "Jubilate Deo" from Paul VI in 1974. Sadly, I guess BECAUSE it WAS 1974 and the rupture in Church and the culture in general was in full bloom, poor Pope Paul VI's mandate of a minimum Gregorian reportoire was mostly ignored.

I grew up mostly under Paul VI but I don't know a great deal about him (the first Pope I really paid close attention to was John Paul II, who was elected when I was 17). Since that time, I have read of various incidents and stories that cause me to believe that he was a conflicted man, to say the least. He appeared to be a "progressive" but then we hear of his famous "smoke of Satan" entering the Church statement from the mid-1970's and his weeping once when he came out to celebrate Mass and the vestments laid out for him were not the color prescribed by the old calendar (he was reminded that he had approved the new liturgical calendar). There are other examples which suggest that things "got away" from him, so to speak. Maybe he should've been more personally involved in the proposed reforms and more firm in opposing so many changes (at least he saved my favorite Eucharistic prayer, the Roman Canon).

Maybe you can suggest a good book which would cover these conflicts in more detail about Paul VI. I have always considered myself a history buff but the period I know the least about is the period just before and during my early lifetime (ask me about things that happened during or before World War II and I believe I have a decent knowledge of what happened!).

By the way, based on your picture and initials, am I wrong to presume that you are the same good Fr. Shelton whose comments I have certainly appreciated (and agreed with) in the past?

Gerry Davila said...

Joseph, the simpler versions for use in parishes were created in 1967 as the Graduale Simplex. It was revised in 1975 to fit the new calendar.

Rood Screen said...

Joseph Johnson,

I am he.

It could be the case that Church affairs in the Paul VI era cannot yet be viewed with sufficient objectivity. Clergy rooted in that time are perhaps just too emotionally invested in decisions they made back then to be able to describe it accurately now. Further, neither side of the ecclesial 'divide' seems to hold up Paul VI as a great hero. One side dismisses his missal (as a misapplication of VCII), while the other resents his encyclicals, especially the ones on priestly celibacy and contraception.

I would love to sit down with Fr. MacDonald some day and hear his full account of that time.

Pater Ignotus said...

"Gregorian chant appeared in a remarkably uniform state across Europe within a short time. Charlemagne, once elevated to Holy Roman Emperor, aggressively spread Gregorian chant throughout his empire to consolidate religious and secular power, requiring the clergy to use the new repertory on pain of death. From English and German sources, Gregorian chant spread north to Scandinavia, Iceland and Finland. In 885, Pope Stephen V banned the Slavonic liturgy, leading to the ascendancy of Gregorian chant in Eastern Catholic lands including Poland, Moravia, Slovakia, and Austria.

The other plainchant repertories of the Christian West faced severe competition from the new Gregorian chant. Charlemagne continued his father's policy of favoring the Roman Rite over the local Gallican traditions. By the 9th century the Gallican rite and chant had effectively been eliminated, although not without local resistance. The Gregorian chant of the Sarum Rite displaced Celtic chant. Gregorian coexisted with Beneventan chant for over a century before Beneventan chant was abolished by papal decree (1058). Mozarabic chant survived the influx of the Visigoths and Moors, but not the Roman-backed prelates newly installed in Spain during the Reconquista. Restricted to a handful of dedicated chapels, modern Mozarabic chant is highly Gregorianized and bears no musical resemblance to its original form. Ambrosian chant alone survived to the present day, preserved in Milan due to the musical reputation and ecclesiastical authority of St. Ambrose.

Gregorian chant eventually replaced the local chant tradition of Rome itself, which is now known as Old Roman chant. In the 10th century, virtually no musical manuscripts were being notated in Italy. Instead, Roman Popes imported Gregorian chant from the German Holy Roman Emperors during the 10th and 11th centuries. For example, the Credo was added to the Roman Rite at the behest of the German emperor Henry II in 1014. Reinforced by the legend of Pope Gregory, Gregorian chant was taken to be the authentic, original chant of Rome, a misconception that continues to this day. By the 12th and 13th centuries, Gregorian chant had supplanted or marginalized all the other Western plainchant traditions."