Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Modern liturgists despise this image of Jesus Christ the High Priest because it exalts the "sign" of the ordained priest who in fact is a sacramental image of Jesus the High Priest during the Mass and orders the laity or the assembly (of which the ordained priest is also a member) to Jesus Christ who is their Head, Lord and Savior and to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue profess! What's wrong with modern liturgists? They are the reason why the Church's liturgy in the post-Vatican II era has undermined the mission and evangelization of the Church and reduced the number of men considering the priesthood thus depriving the Church of the Holy Eucharist in many places in the world!

Many liturgists of the progressive type (and keep in mind that liturgists tend to be control freaks and dogmatic about their theological perspective turning theology into infallible dogma) are "not nostalgic for what they regards as the repetitive nature of the old Mass, neither the exaltation of the celebrant to the detriment of the people of God; and they deplore the marked split between the priest and the assembly."

What these liturgists want is an egalitarian Church where there are no distinctions between clergy and laity and there is a blurring of the ministerial priesthood with the common baptismal priesthood of the laity and clergy together. They also want an egalitarian Jesus Christ, a buddy, a brother, a casual friend not Lord of lords and King of kings! They want Milquetoast Jesus that is symbolized in the image below.

The true sign of Holy Orders in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should never be diminished. No matter the form of the Mass Jesus Christ is to be exalted as Head of the Church, High Priest and Bridegroom to His Bride the Church. In the ancient form of the Mass, the priest himself is not exalted simply because he is a priest, but Jesus Christ, the High Priest is exalted the sacramental sign of the ordained priesthood! This is the sign of the Sacrament of Holy Orders especially during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that must be abundantly clear but for some reason is not as clear in the Ordinary Form and by design of those who promote their weak theology as dogma in this regard!

The fact that in the design of the Ordinary Form of the Mass liturgists purposely do not exalt Jesus Christ as Head of the Church, High Priest and Bridegroom obscures this most powerful sign of the liturgy within the sacramental sign of the person of the ordained man especially in the sacramental rites of the Church. This is a terrible aberration to say the least.

What has this led to in the post-Vatican II experience of the Liturgy and the life of the Church? A decline in vocations to the priesthood as well as scores of priests leaving the priesthood for the lay life of marriage and secular employment. 

Why were there more men in the seminary prior to Vatican II and why has there been a recovery of interest in the priesthood since Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict? Because there has been a recovery of the true nature and sign of the sacrament of Holy Orders and in continuity with the pre-Vatican II understanding of this sign not in rupture to it. 

Will going back in time by liturgist to the day when there was not the hermeneutic of continuity; when the 1962 Roman Missal was thought a pariah of inequity, duplicity and repetition serve the Church well? 

Of course not!  “You cannot base your decisions on a past era where things were different...”


Unknown said...

In my opinion, the reason so many current seminarians and young people gravitate toward the EF is because they (or we) have no negative connotations of the EF. For us, V2 might as well be Nicaea I.

Now, I suspect there will eventually be a revision of the OF along EF lines, but it's likely decades away (as in, after the V2 generation is gone) and probably beyond the lifetimes of many readers here.

Anonymous said...

The rite of Holy Mass as reformed by Pope Paul VI has much beauty and could be a true source of worship and evangelization but it is unfortunate that most priests refuse to actually celebrate that Mass.

I have never been to an OF of Mass that the priest hasn't changed or added something, which of course is in direct violation of Vatican II's document on the liturgy. A priest who insists on making gestures that are traditional (multiple signs of the cross) that have been abrogated is wrong. A priest who omits or changes words and gestures for something more modern in the name of being pastoral is wrong.

If Pope Francis can do anything he should encourage, force, whatever, all priests to actually follow the Missal of Paul VI and stop the clericalism of so many priests thinking they know better than the Church, because they don't.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I love the Ordinary Form of the Mass, but yes, the way it is celebrated is too much influenced by liturgists who enabled priests to do with it as they please especially improvising and inserting their personality, piety and spirituality onto it and thus onto the laity. This is clericalism and separates the priests in a deleterious way from the assembly and makes the assembly like or dislike the Mass depending on the antics of the priest.

Our 12:10 PM Mass is completed chanted in English. We have lay involvement, both men and women, as lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion for host and chalices and boy and girl altar servers.

This Mass is celebrated in the exact way as our other Masses with one exception, the Liturgy of the Eucharist is ad orientem.

If we were allowed at the 12:10 PM Mass to use our so-to-be installed (restored) altar railing in the manner in would be used in the EF Mass, I think this would be the icing on the cake.

In fact, I prefer this manner of the OF Sung Mass to the more complicated EF Mass although I love the EF Mass, but as the exception rather than the norm.

rcg said...

When I get elected POpe I will make the EF the first form and the OF the secondary form. In preparation for that day I would like to know why the Old Form was universally hated by the cardinals, bishops and clergy? If it was OK TO have the (now) EF and kneel, etc, why did nearly every altar rail in the WOLRD get torn out? Most parishes and diocese are always strapped for cash, how did that get to be a priority? I will need this data so I can get the clergy back on board with the EF and address their concerns.

Keyser Soze said...

"V2 might as well be Nicea I"

As I read this, I couldn't help thinking of the story I found in the Southern Cross this week about a parish "mission" featuring John Michael Talbot somewhere in this diocese. The photos betrayed the destiny of Vatican II Euphorists: Brother Talbot, who looks something like a long lost miner nearing the end of the trail, lead crowds of aging, graying, swaying Catholics, who have created an effeminate, time-frozen pseudo-Catholic culture that repulses young people. It is passing away, although not quite yet gone.

Yes, for many, Vatican II might as well be Nicea I, except for one thing: Nicea gave us an unchangeable creed that has withstood the test of time and anathematized one of the Church's worst heresies. Vatican II defined no dogmas and was strictly pastoral--whatever that means. Which is precisely why more and more young people wisely choose to simply ignore it. The feeeeeelings will go away when the rest of the Vatican II generation passes. Then we can get back to the business of being a solid Church once again.

Pater Ignotus said...

Keyser - I saw the photos of John Michael Talbot and thought of Abraham, King David and King Solomon, of 11 of the Twelve Apostles, of every image of St. Joseph I have ever seen, and of countless other images of heavily bearded saints from St. Benedict to St. Padre Pio.

Far from contributing to an effeminate Catholic culture, the beard is historically a symbol of masculinity. "Among the Jews, as among most Oriental peoples, the beard was especially cherished as a symbol of virility; to cut off another man's beard was an outrage ( 2 Samuel 10:4 )."

Funny, your peculiar and un-historical views...

Keyser Soze said...


All due respect, my comment about the beard was not a suggestion that beards were effeminate--it was merely an observation about Talbot. In fact, I never mentioned his beard. And I don't doubt that many of the great patriarchs and prophets had that half-crazed look that is enhanced by a long beard.

I think a Church is effeminate when full-grown adults hold hands and sway around like a bunch of hippies. I think a Church is effeminate when its priests and bishops prattle on endlessly about being "tolerant" of homosexuals, but aren't man enough to remind us that this "lifestyle" is a sin. I think a Church is effeminate when all we hear about is peace and justice, but nothing about the daily spiritual warfare we are in.

And, sad as it is to say, one cannot help but think a Church is effeminate when the majority of priests caught in sex abuse were doing so with male minors. That does not mean that the entire Church is effeminate either. It simply means that by so few having the guts to stand up and give us the entirety of Church doctrine and discipline, the Church has gradually taken on an effeminate identity. And we are all the losers for this great shame upon us.

Keyser Soze said...

And a Church looks effeminate when it has a rich history of fantastic liturgical music, which you cannot ever hear unless you buy a CD. No, an effeminate Church ignores its rich history and imposes "Peter Paul and Mary" type folk songs on its congregations so exhaustively that Gregorian Chant isn't just a curiosity--it's forgotten.

rcg said...

Keyser Soze would be a good tailor for a king.

Pater Ignotus said...

Keyser - If the beard didn't enter into your "long-lost miner nearing the end of the trail" thought, then I am a monkey's uncle.

How is holding hands an effeminate act? Is it such because you say so? Men in many countries/cultures hold hands as a sign of friendship. Just because Americans are anxious about two men displaying their friendship in this way doesn't mean that doing so is effeminate.

Peace and Justice are biblical values, worth doing battle for, so there's nothing effeminate about seeking after them, either.
Seeking after those is as much a part of the "daily spiritual warfare" we are engaged in as anything else.

It's easy to say that "this" style of music is effeminate while "that" style is not, but, again, that's nothing more than your personal preference.

One could just as easily say that the absence of a strong lead voice in Gregorian chant is a "feminine" thing, the musical equivalent of holding hands. Or that the free rhythm of Gregorian chant makes is too wishy-washy and, therefore, feminine. Or that the absence of accompaniment is a feminine-leaning thing, bringing too much emphasis to the human rather than to the Divine.

If others find a parish mission with Talbot to be encouraging to their faith, who are you or anyone else to tell them that it's undesirable?

Keyser Soze said...

Holding hands is not necessarily effeminate. However the MANNER in which it is done is another thing altogether. I am sure the parish "mission" was wonderful for those involved, or else they would not have been there. I have never advocated taking away or forbidding sixties-styled Catholicism, unlike the "progressives" who are so "tolerant" that they wish to forbid the EF Mass and run you out of the parish if you suggest having a folk group at three out of four Masses might not be the best way to go. No, I am sure it was fine for them and certainly suited their tastes. The main point I was making was the observation of their age. When they go, so will the culture they are stuck in. And perhaps, just maybe, a more timeless form of worship might have another obstacle removed that has restrained its return.

My, my, how touchy some of us get at the mere mention of effeminacy.

Unknown said...

"If others find a parish mission with Talbot to be encouraging to their faith, who are you or anyone else to tell them that it's undesirable?"

Indeed. If I find human sacrifice encouraging to my faith, who are you, Ignotus, to tell me it's undesirable?

Pater Ignotus said...

Flav - No, intentionally causing harm to another person - and I suspect you would agree that killing a human in sacrifice constitutes causing harm - is not acceptable in any circumstance, even for "worship" of God.

"I" am not telling you that killing another person is wrong, God is. Now, if you want to ask, "Who are You, God, to tell me this is wrong?" I suggest you take up a new study of the Book of Job.

Keyser - I am not "touchy" about effeminate behavior. I am touchy when a traditionalist says "My personal preferences are right and everyone else's are wrong."

Anonymous said...

Someone should present Pater Ignotus an award for reading WAY too much into people's comments or presuming to know double meanings behind everyone's words.

Gene said...

Keyser, hit dogs holler…LOL!

John Nolan said...

Now that the 'interim Missals' of the 1960s have been superseded, we are left with the Missal of 1962 which is the Roman Rite as it existed prior to the Council, which is not (except for Holy Week) radically different from the 1570 Missal, or indeed those which preceded it; and the Missal of 1970, now in its third edition, which is to all intents and purposes a separate Rite with its own lectionary and calendar, and with significant changes to both the Proper and the Ordinary, not to mention the rubrics. A feature of this Rite is that it may be celebrated entirely in Latin, entirely in the vernacular, or in a mixture of both; and even when it is celebrated in Latin it is normal to have the Lectionary readings in the vernacular.

Another feature of the 1970 Rite is that apart from a very small number of prayers said quietly by the celebrant, it can all be sung, even the Eucharistic Prayer. When it is sung, it benefits from plainchant settings which can be sung by the congregation. This fulfils the requirements of Sacrosanctum Concilium that Gregorian Chant be given 'first place' and that the people have the opportunity to sing in Latin 'those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass that pertain to them.'

One of the aims of the reform was to replace the Low Mass (Missa Lecta) with a simple sung Mass which would involve everybody. The reformers did not see lay involvement in terms of people milling around in the sanctuary. Sorry, Fr MacDonald, this is an aberration. When lay clerks, sacristans or servers (men or boys) are in the sanctuary they are not demonstrating lay participation; they are substituting for clerics 'ex temporanea deputatione'.

Offering the Chalice to the laity at every Mass is not usual in Continental Europe and was not what the Council intended. Most of the churches where I attend the Novus Ordo have communion rails and so people kneel to receive the Host. Where the Chalice is offered (e.g. the Oxford Oratory) those who wish to partake of the Precious Blood receive standing from a priest who is stationed outside the sanctuary (one on either side). In an ordinary parish this would probably have to be an EMHC. Ideally he would be an instituted acolyte and so would already be in the sanctuary in choir dress. If not, there is no reason why he (or more usually she) should enter the sanctuary at all. The point of having rails is not simply to facilitate kneeling Communion. The rails, like the rood screen, separate the Holy of Holies from the rest of the church. That is why modernist zealots were so keen to get rid of them. Messing around with the spatial element of worship to the extent of eliminating the sanctuary altogether to facilitate a faux-participation is increasingly seen by 'real' liturgical scholars as one of the worst excesses of the last fifty years. It is also profoundly unoecumenical since it separates us yet further from our Eastern brethren.

Jdj said...

Well then, PI, you are a "monkey's uncle" by your own admission and description. Assumptions and reading presumed double meanings into actual words will never encourage the trust necessary for meaningful dialogue. One would think a parish priest of 29 years might have learned better communication skills by now.
You are obviously well-read and value intellect; your writing usually shows proper grammar, spelling and careful syntax (something with which our host and many of us admittedly struggle at times!). What you don't seem to understand is that these writing skills are greatly undermined by your poor communication skills. Name-calling can be done in various ways--loud, direct insults of which Gene is sometimes rightly accused, or the more indirect form that assumptions, presumptions and (almost paranoid/passive aggressive?) point-by-point attacks reveal.
One's power to change minds and hearts is greatly compromised and diminished when one is insensitive to communication skills. I often err, and pay a price each time.

John Nolan said...

Where PI deliberately and obstinately misses the point is where he accuses 'traditionalists' of indulging personal preference. I might not like the term 'traditionalist' but what unites them is a dislike of personal preference, especially when applied to the liturgy. To regard Gregorian chant as 'proper to the Roman Liturgy' (cf SC and the GIRM) is not to exercise a personal preference or taste in music; to incline towards Marty Haugen, Bernadette Farrell and others of that ilk most certainly is.

I happen to like Viennese Masses (Mozart, Haydn, Hummel etc.) in a liturgical context; but the other day I spoke to a musician who does not think them suitable. This is certainly a matter of taste and preference on which we can agree to differ. But neither of us would regard the Chant as in any way negotiable.

Pater Ignotus said...

Jdj - Well, if it wasn't the beard that triggered the comment, was it his habit? Because heaven knows the religious habit is a sure sign of a "long lost miner near the end of a trail"...

Or if it wasn't the beard or the habit, maybe it was the location - Sacred Heart Church in Savannah. Nothing says "long lost miner" like being seated in a church.

Or if it wasn't the beard or the habit or the church, maybe it was the congregation. Nothing says "long lost miner" like a church full of people.

Or if it wasn't the beard or the habit or the church or the congregation . . .

No, Keyser never mentioned the beard, but unless he can offer some clue as to what it was that gives him the "long lost miner" image, then it's pretty clear that it was the beard.

Tevye said...

I guess it might have been about 15 years ago, I saw John Michael Sacred Heart Church in Savannah. Back then I don't remember that he had created the persona that he now has. As I recall, he looked like a fairly ordinary guy with a guitar. His current "look" has apparently developed since then. The other thing I remember is being very bored...thinking "Will this thing never end?".

My grandmother used to say "Everybody to their own taste, said the old lady as she kissed the cow."

(Or "Different strokes for different folks.")

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - "The main place should be given, all things being equal, to Gregorian chant, as being proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other kinds of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful." GIRM 41

It can be argued that forms of music other than Gregorian chant have become proper to the Roman Liturgy. No, there is no magisterial documentation to support this assertion, but we know that official declarations often lag behind the common practice of the Church, sometimes by centuries.

GC is, historically, the "proper" music for this mass. Yet, other forms are not to be excluded. These are, I suggest, transitional times as far as the Roman Liturgy is concerned, times that will see less uniformity and greater variety, despite the efforts of B16 and traditionalist proponents of Summorum Pontificum.

As the Church has come to recognize that she is not European by nature nor Roman by culture, those elements of the mass that are historically European/Roman become less expressive of the faith of a universal Church. And they have become less able to communicate the revealed truths of the Faith to those who do not share European/Roman sensibilities.

In saying this I most certainly do not mean that "anything goes." Like Fr. McDonald I would like to see greater care taken in the celebration of the OF and I am at times bothered by the sloppiness that I encounter in my travels. (I've never seen a clown at mass, by the way.)

George said...

Pater Ignotus

You make a good point:
"As the Church has come to recognize that she is not European by nature nor Roman by culture, those elements of the mass that are historically European/Roman become less expressive of the faith of a universal Church. And they have become less able to communicate the revealed truths of the Faith to those who do not share European/Roman sensibilities."

A counter argument could be made that the Mass pre-Vatican II for centuries served well in far-flung parts of the world where the cultures were as far removed from "European/Roman sensibilities' as one could imagine. It was not an impediment to the efforts of Catholic missionaries as far as I know.

Keyser Soze said...

For the record, I have a CD by John Michael Talbot--an old one from the 70's. It has some nice, pleasant music on it. I don't listen to it often, but once in a while I enjoy it. Personally, I don't much care one way or another whether he is bearded or clean-shaven. The "old miner" look was more of an observation about age--which is admittedly more noticeable when one grows his beard out--in this case WAY out. I'd far rather listen to John Michael Talbot than, say, the St. Louis Jesuits. But THEIR fans are probably all dead by now anyway. If only their music was...

rcg said...

Interesting point about the limits of Roman and European culture ability to communicate truth. It seems to be similar to the situation I have experienced we sell electronic and mechanical equipment to other countries and cultures. They are almost always familiar with the basic concepts, having observed or experienced it on some level in their own cultures. But if you let them hook it up or operate it their own way it won't work which may indicate why it did not originate there in the first place.

John Nolan said...

PI, your point is well made, but 'proper to the Roman Rite' means something more than 'suitable' or 'acceptable'. It reflects the fact that the liturgy developed in the first millennium in tandem with the development of western chant, and is not therefore dependent on official pronouncements. The two are connected in a unique way.

It is also a fact that western classical music (far more developed than other musical traditions, thanks to a system of notation originally designed in the 11th century to enable Chant to be more easily learnt) is a world-wide phenomenon. A Japanese ensemble has recently completed recording all JS Bach's cantatas, to universal acclaim. The Beijing orchestra is by all accounts equal to any in the west. Jesuit missionaries found in Central and South America that the instinctive response of the indigenous peoples to music aided conversion. Within fifty years of the Spanish arriving, native-born composers in Mexico were writing polyphonic music for the liturgy of the highest quality.

In the 1960s and 1970s there was a tendency among those who trumpeted 'inculturation' to take an attitude which can be summed up as follows:
'Few people in the West appreciate serious music; they're used to commercialized pop so that is what we'll give them. As for the 'lesser breeds' they'll never understand it anyway, so they're better off sticking with their familiar folk idiom'. An attitude philistine and patronizing in equal measure.

It may well be true that many in the West find the modality of plainchant unfamiliar (although a lot of Irish folk music is in Mode 7). But Chant has its roots in the cantillation of Jewish Temple ritual, and its elements are, like much music, universal. It is not confined to Rome or Europe.

Pater Ignotus said...

George - I agree that the pre-Vatican II Mass served well - in pre-Vatican II times.

It could be said that bleeding people, who were thought to be ill because of an imbalance of humors, served them well before germs were discovered and antibiotics were invented. It is, but . . .

In those days it was believed by Europeans that most everything European was, by divine warrant, superior to anything non-European. European music, art, architecture - you name it - was better than anything that was or might be encountered. (This has been a failing of most people and cultures that have, for whatever reason, set out to discover and, usually, conquer, other peoples and cultures.)

Most things "native" were overlooked, scoffed at, denounced, and or/forbidden. And I'm not talking about anything that was immoral, such as the practice of multiple wives that Europeans encountered in some of their explorations.

Modernity has helped us understand 1) God did not ordain Europeans to conquer and rule the world, 2) that not every European thought, practice, or technological invention was better than any other, and 3) that God did not make European culture better than any others.

Now some will say this vision of changing times is an expression of self-loathing. It's not. It's simply a function of increasing maturity in the human family. Just as a three year old, who thinks he is the center of the world and the apple of his/her parents' eye, has to change his/her way of thinking when the next baby (or babies) are born, so we have come to recognize that those of us from cultures found west of the Vienna and north of Milan are not, in every regard, the cat's meow.

John Nolan said...

PI, cultural relativism, like moral relativism is in the end pernicious. The 'triumph of the West' is the most obvious historical development of the last five hundred years, and its roots go back further. That is why you have an Irish name, speak English and live in a part of the north American continent named after a Hanoverian king.

At the turn of the millennium the question was asked - what was mankind's greatest achievement of the last thousand years? For many the answer was obvious; Western classical music (Mozart being held up as the exemplar). Western values and culture were not imposed by force on India, China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, not to mention the more successful parts of Africa - they were embraced by these parts of the world because they wanted to prosper.

This isn't to say that all aspects of Western or European culture are worthy of emulation, but it is surely significant that the only people who reject it root and branch are Islamic extremists (who are happy to make use of Western military technology when they can get their hands on it).

Western technology is superior and has been demonstrated to be so. Western classical music is superior and can be demonstrated to be so. Whether God ordained this is not for you or me to know; however, Bach prefaced all his scores with 'Soli Deo Gloria', Haydn wrote 'Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam' on his, and Anton Bruckner dedicated his ninth symphony to Almighty God, his eighth having been dedicated to the Austrian Emperor. God took the pen out of his hand before he could finish it.

Jdj said...

John Nolan, fascinating (as always!)...thanks so much for this bit of historical perspective. So often here I feel as if we spin in opinion circles lacking a solid base that might just unite rather than divide us. There was a pop song in the 60's (sorry, but I am from that era) that talked of going "...round and round and round in the circle game." One of the positives that historical perspective provides is a sense of timeless groundedness that can be held onto as an anchor in the storms of sometimes dizzying, ever-changing life experiences.
I'm one of those boomers that folks here can't wait to purge from the earth--I lived the anchor-less 60s, 70s, 80s, and know personally the damage done. Our Church was so busy trying to acculturate to changing times that She lost her ability to be that reliable timeless anchor she had always been. She became self-absorbed with all the confusing distractions, and stopped being the solid, steadying place for wounded souls to find rest. How many souls were lost in trying to reinvent an already perfectly strong wheel we will never know. Our church must recommit to our sense of historical perspective if we are to once again be the conduit to the true source of light and life.
I know John Nolan understands this...thanks.

Anonymous said...

P.I.'s last remarks remind me of error #59 listed by Pope Pius X in his Syllabus:

59. Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different times and places.

And we just keep drink in' that Kool-Aid.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - And how does one go about demonstrating that "Western classical music is superior" to other forms of music?

Pater Ignotus said...

Anonymous - My comments have nothing to do with doctrine, but with 1) the changes in human society over time (socio-cultural anthropology) and 2) how those changes have influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and the nature of the Church(ecclesiology).

The Doctrine of the Church is most certainly "applicable to all times and all men." But as anthropology and ecclesiology, two closely related fields, evolve and develop, the ways in which we understand and teach the unchanging Doctrine do change.

Thus is has been, is, and will always be.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

'And how does one go about demonstrating that Western classical music is superior to other forms of music?'

Its unique and incomparable range, its ability to encapsulate and communicate every aspect of the human spirit in a way that no other art form can, its synthesis of all musical elements made possible by a system of notation which allowed it to develop beyond simple aural tradition and the improvisation of admittedly highly skilled practitioners, and which yet by no means excludes improvisation and aural tradition, the fact that men of the highest creative genius have used it to express the loftiest ideas and men and women have shown genius in interpreting it, the fact that it is capable of development and indeed continues to develop in a way that no other musical genre comes near to matching (if you can identify one that does, I would be interested to know), its ability to absorb non-Western elements to increase its expressive range, and its universal relevance. East Asia has its own musical traditions which have influenced western composers, but its leading musicians operate within the western classical tradition. Think of Mitzuko Uchida, the pianist whose interpretation of the Viennese classics is world-renowned. When Franz Schubert died in 1828 western musical culture was unknown in her native Japan, which indeed had its indigenous music but in a form which barely transcends the 'folk' idiom.

It has been amply demonstrated that western tonality strikes a chord (sorry about the pun) with cultures which do not have it as part of their cultural heritage.

And believe it or not, it all started with Gregorian chant. The artistic and scientific achievements of the West in the last 2000 years would be unthinkable without the Catholic Church. Even atheists acknowledge this.

Jdj said...

Our daughter teaches visual arts in a public academic setting. She makes many of the same points about visual Art History as the points made by John Nolan about the great history of western classical music. She says her field cannot be adequately taught separated from the generations of classical art produced by and for the Catholic Church of generations past. She rejoices that she can have classic religious icons on display in her classroom, (when they would be banned from any other classroom in her High School!). She also teaches "modern art" history of the past 50 years, and is chagrined that there is no Catholic art of any original substance or merit...
Perhaps PI can guide her to some modern Catholic fine art she has overlooked? Believe me, she would welcome that input.

John Nolan said...


Six years ago I participated in a chant weekend at the Carmelite Priory in Aylesford, Kent, and was deeply impressed by the ceramics by the Polish artist Adam Kossowski (1905-1986), commissioned Fr Malachy Lynch O.Carm. when the priory was re-established in 1948. Kossowski was arrested by the Soviets in 1939 and spent three years in the Gulag where he nearly died; his later religious work was a result of a promise he made to himself and to God during this time. After the war he lived and worked in London but some of his casts were sent to Carmelites in the United States.

Gene said...

I think Ignotus has made it pretty clear where he stands…he is a modernist/progressive who hates the West, himself, and the country as founded. He is too self-absorbed to realize that everything he is (and hates) is a product of the Western Judaeo-Christian tradition which, YES, is superior to all other cultures and traditions.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - I do not hate the West. Of course, my saying this will not convince you since you have the most amazing ability to know what everyone "really" believes.

And you wonder why I won't answer your inquisitorial questions about my faith...

And it is your "superior" culture that aborts millions of babies a year. Enjoy you smug and self-serving delusions.

John Nolan said...

Gene, I don't think that PI 'hates the West'. Nor is he uncultured. However, he belongs to that late 20th century generation which knows in its heart of hearts that European culture (and I'm talking about the arts here, not societal attitudes) is indeed superior, and feels guilty about it. So he takes refuge in a quasi-anthropological cultural relativism. I happen to live in the British Isles and so cannot regret that the Bronze Age Celts displaced the aboriginal culture. Yet those who have benefited from more recent colonization, like Americans and Australians of European descent, have developed hang-ups about it.

This very day there was a documentary programme on BBC Radio 3 about the continuing success of, and interest in, western classical music in cities from China to Brazil. As a European I associate the Iberian peninsula with some of the highest manifestations of art, architecture and music. Not long ago an exhibition of post-Renaissance Spanish religious sculpture entitled 'The Sacred made Real' at the British Museum reduced hard-headed secularists to awe-struck silence, in some cases to tears. I find it strange that in the USA you have a sub-group called 'Hispanics' who need mariachi music at Mass, not to mention the dominant culture which apparently expects sacred music to sound like Tin Pan Alley.

I don't mean to sound patronizing - things are much the same over here, and the post-2011 resurgence in worthy music for the vernacular Mass is spearheaded by American composers such as Jeff Ostrowski, Aristotle Esguerra and Paul Jernberg.

Gene said...

Once again, Ignotus, you are lying and prevaricating. I have never asked you inquisitorial questions about your faith. That was another blogger to whom I have referred before. I do not need to ask you any questions about your "faith" because I already know the answers. Few people who hate themselves know it or admit it; most who hate their country or church won't admit it, either, because they want to stay inside and "change it from within."

Gene said...

Oh, and there is nothing smug and self-serving about it. Name a culture and you will find that all of hem have committed heinous sins. That wasn't my point but, of course, you knew that. I believe you would rather climb a tree and tell a lie than stand on the ground and tell the truth.

Jdj said...

John Nolan, thanks so much for the reference--our daughter will be very interested!

Gene, I cannot imagine why you posted that last bit--yes, we all know Pater's modernist bent, and many of us have serious issues with that, but to say he hates the west and himself is just totally unfounded. I have met the priest you reference, and while I personally cannot abide his outdated 80s take on many things Catholic, he does have a longstanding history in our diocese and must be accorded the respect due to a priest in good standing with his bishop. Perhaps it really is time for y'all to meet? I say to both of you: Forgiveness is a powerful weapon, much more powerful than penned diatribes.

rcg said...

PI, the west is the only culture that considers abortion and infanticide debatable. And our numbers pale by comparison.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - No, I do not feel guilty about Western culture. I am not responsible for it, hence I cannot feel guilty about it. Being of Celtic ancestry, I too, am grateful for their supplanting the aboriginal culture of GB. Otherwise, I'd not be here!

Pin/Gene - You have repeated the question - really an accusation disguised as a question - so often that it is yours.

"Change from within" can be a very good thing. Think "John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, et al." Even when, in the course of human events, it became necessary to dissolve the political ties with Mother Britain, they worked very much from within to effect the needed changes. Even with the dissolution of political bonds, they recognized that they (and we) are very much part of the great culture of Britain and the West that have given us so much.

As to climbing trees, I find that the view from a limb is way better than it is on the ground, don't you?

Gene said...

Ignotus, The question was not mine. I only keep repeating it because you keep on lying about it.

Gene said...

So, Ignotus, you confirm my belief. You would rather climb a tree and tell a lie…probably because the better view enables you to construct a more convincing prevarication.

Gene said...

jdj, would not walk across the street to meet Ignotus.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus, you are a product of Western culture in all its ramifications and disclaiming responsibility for it is disingenuous. For instance, we are all creatures of the 18th century Enlightenment and although we might deplore some of its unhistorical assumptions we can't cut ourselves adrift from it.

So, although you and I may disagree on some issues regarding the liturgy, I don't discern in your comments anything that is unorthodox or untraditional. When you assert that the Novus Ordo Mass of 1970 is the traditional Mass you are quite right. This is what the Church teaches us.

George said...

No Institution has contributed more to the betterment of mankind than the Catholic Church, not just to the advancement of Western Civilization but to the benefit of every other culture and civilization. In the most important way this was through the Proclamation of the Gospel of course. It was a belief in Christ and the graces which flowed to the faithful members of His Church that inspired some of the greatest developments in art, music and science and scholarship. Even those developments which came subsequent to the Protestant reformation built upon the foundation laid down by the Church and Her members. Today, as more and more turn away from God and His Church (as many have already done) we see the consequential result in the perverse music and art and cultural forms which have assumed greater prominence and also in the decline of our public institutions.Ecclesial non-Catholic communities which contained some modicum of True belief and at one time, to a much larger degree, taught and transmitted to their members a right conduct and proper behavior and the obligation to civic responsibility, have more and more become corrupted by accommodating themselves to modern cultural and societal norms. When people and societies turn away from God there are consequences and they are not good. Modern technological advances which have brought great comfort to our lives have for too many seduced them by engendering a sense of well being which discounts a need for or acknowledgement of a Superior Being who is the Source of all things. God have mercy on us. Blessed Holy Virgin pray for us.

Pater Ignotus said...

JN - The only things I am responsible for, and therefore the only things I can feel guilt over, are my own actions. You believe Western culture is "superior," I don't. So I can't (and don't) fret over this matter.

John Nolan said...

PI, what about the explicit condemnation of 'multiculturalism' by both JP II and B XVI? Why didn't you rebut my arguments concerning classical music? You asked a question and I gave an answer.

To say 'I don't happen to think so' without justifying it is intellectually lazy.