Msgr. Wadsworth on liturgical “misunderstandings and irregularities”

Over at the Chant Café they have the text of the address by Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Secretary of ICEL, at the meeting of the Church Music Association of America. There are a number of interesting features (not least of which is the quotation from Pope Benedict, which I read as a pretty ringing endorsement of the official reform of the Consilium), but I wanted to focus on the list he gives after quoting Pope Benedict’s comment, “it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities.” I think this is a pretty standard list of criticisms in some quarters and are worth commenting on.

So, among the “misunderstandings and irregularities Msgr. Wadsworth lists are:
A sense of the communion of the Church has become limited to local communities that are in many ways self-selecting – many Catholics have a poor understanding of what it means to belong to the Universal Church but a highly developed understanding of what it means to belong to a self-selecting parish community of people like themselves.
Smug communities of like-minded people are, in my view, a problem. It is certainly a temptation in my own parish, which draws many people from outside the parish boundaries (though given that “urban renewal” in the 70s put an interstate highway through the middle of the city and took out half the residential neighborhoods in our parish, I’m grateful for those out-of-parish folks). But I would note two things:
  • At least in the US, homogeneous parishes are hardly a post-conciliar phenomenon. We have long had ethnic parishes, which could be as insular as as anything today, and were often as much a matter of Irish or Italian or German identity as they were about being a part of the wider Church.
  • Has Summorum Pontificum added a new layer to the phenomenon of “identity liturgy” (the ecclesiastical equivalent of identity politics)? Would Msgr. Wadsworth agree that the “stable groups” who request the 1962 Missal, not to mention those parishes and religious orders dedicated exclusively to that liturgy, are at risk of becoming “a self-selecting parish community of people like themselves”?
Any notion of the shape of the Liturgical year has been greatly lessened by an ironing-out of those features which characterized the distinctive seasons of the year.
OK, I’ll admit I don’t know what Msgr. Wadsworth means here. As far as I know we still wear different color vestments, omit alleluias in Lent, celebrate the unique liturgies of the Triduum, etc. What has occurred that has flattened out “any notion of the shape of the liturgical year” [emphasis added]? I feel as if this statement is a coded reference to something(s) in particular, but I don’t know what. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.
The universal tendency to ignore sung propers and to substitute non-liturgical alternatives.
This is certainly an accurate assessment of what is going on — though one might question what the term “non-liturgical” means here, and also note that one of the propers, the responsorial psalm, is almost always done (at least here in Amerika). One might also ask whether the vocal participation of the people at the entrance and preparation of the gifts might not be a good that outweighs the use of the traditional propers. I personally would like to see more frequent use of the propers, but I see this more as a matter or preference than principle.
The transference of Solemnities which are holydays of obligation to Sundays destroys the internal dynamics of the liturgical cycle e.g. The Epiphany and The Ascension.
I agree we probably should have left these days where they were, though I’m not sure what he means by “the internal dynamics of the liturgical cycle,” particularly with regard to the Epiphany. Aside from the song about partridges in pear trees (which is definitely non-liturgical), what is magic about the number 12? I’ll admit that it is sometimes confusing whether or not we get to celebrate the Baptism of the Lord on Sunday or not, but this hardly “destroys” the dynamics of the liturgical cycle. I think we’ve got rhetorical overkill here.
The frequent tendency to gloss or paraphrase the liturgical texts, supplying continuous commentary, has contributed to an improvised or spontaneous character in much liturgical celebration.
On the whole, I agree. Though, as I’ve noted before, in certain contexts discreet commentary seems pastorally wise in order to aid people’s participation in the liturgy.
The multiplication of liturgical ‘ministries’ has led to considerable confusion and error concerning the relationship between the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the baptized.
This one baffles me as well. In most parishes, the only “liturgical ‘ministries'” I regularly see are the servers, lectors, sometimes a leader of the Prayer of the Faithful, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and a cantor/choir. Which of these is he suggesting we eliminate? I suspect it is the EMHC, since it seems to be a favorite pastime in some quarters to beat up on them and they are the ones who get to do the formerly exclusively clerical task of distributing the sacred species. But are people really confused about who is a priest and who isn’t? If they are, wouldn’t they be more likely to be confused by a cadre of men and boys in clerical garb than they would be by some nice older ladies in pantsuits?
The liturgy often seems to have the quality of a performance with the priest and liturgical ministers cast in the roles of performers and behaving accordingly. Consequently, congregations are often expecting to be ‘entertained’ rather as spectators might be at a theatre.
Again, I agree in large degree, though I would ask whether what Msgr. Wadsworth sees as a desire to be “entertained” might not be more charitably identified as a desire to be engaged. I think it’s worth giving congregations the benefit of the doubt.
The manner of the distribution and reception of Holy Communion (including the appropriateness of one’s reception of Communion at a particular Mass) has led to a casual disregard for this great Sacrament.
Maybe. I am not convinced that communion standing or in the hand is a cause of such disregard. Many Anglicans who kneel to receive communion have understandings of Eucharistic presence that I suspect Msgr. Wadsworth would find inadequate. And while there certainly is casual disregard for the sacrament present in the Church today, I think among those who show up for Mass on a regular basis it is not particularly widespread. But perceptions on this may differ.
A proliferation of Communion Services presided over by lay people has resulted in a lessening of the sense of the importance of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
Are these really “proliferating,” or is this another example of rhetorical overkill? They are extremely rare in my parish. And as for seeing the Eucharist primarily in terms of “receiving communion” rather that participation in the Eucharistic sacrifice, this is a problem that was widespread prior to the Council — read any work by a liturgical progressive from the 40s or 50s and you will find this being lamented.
The appalling banality of much liturgical music and the lack of any true liturgical spirit in the use of music in the liturgy has been a primary generating force in anti-liturgical culture.
I don’t really disagree, though I wonder if matters were any better — and perhaps not significantly worse — before the Council.
There is much more in Msgr. Wadsworths address that could be discussed — particularly his remarks about “active participation.” So have at it!
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118 comments

  1. If he thinks “self-selecting” applies to regular parish communities he should take a longer look at the people who attend and celebrate the abrogated Tridentine Rite.

      1. It’d be interesting to see real evidence that SP has had a negative effect on the Church.

      2. Shane – there is no pastoral need for this and most conferences of bishops do not want to expand this effort. It is negligible beyond Europe and North America – they have much larger issues that liturgical alphabet soup – OF, EF, TLM, or any version that Allan can dream up.

        Prior post: http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2011/05/11/universae-ecclesiae-to-be-released/

        Per B16’s letter at the time of SP, bishops were to survey and respond in three years (2010) to the effectiveness of SP – anyone aware if Rome has published the results? Haven’t it seen it in Origins?

      3. The EF and TLM are the same thing. Some blogs call it the Usus Antiquior, the Traditional Mass, or the Latin Mass generally, but they are all talking about the 1962 Missal.

        Fr Allan’s variations are just the OF. Celebrations of the OF can vary wildly because of its looser rubrics and multiple options. He doesn’t do anything particularly odd or anti-Vatican II as far as I can tell, so I don’t know why he merits special attention.

      4. Jack,

        Chris is referencing the first quotation about the inadequacies of self selected communities. Do you doubt that EF communities are self selected? Or are you questioning the truth of Msgr Wadsworth’s remarks about self selected communities?

      5. I wouldn’t deny EF communities are self selected. Any special Mass that differs from the majority of the others offered would be. However, EF’s offered regularly at decent times and convenient locations tend to have a wider cross-section of people and are not as insular and self-selecting. Of course, Chris is wildly inaccurate when saying it is abrogated.

        I would disagree that self-selected communities are necessarily a bad thing. They are bad when they lead to people feeling they belong more to their parish or pastor than to the universal Church, but not when they help foster a sense that everyone has a unique place in the Church.

      6. Jeffrey, they very well might. One pastor I knew had a quite good RCIA team, and felt it might almost be too good. His worry was that people were initiated into the team rather than the Church. The whole point of youth groups, divorced groups, Bible studies, and the like is to be able to apply one’s experiences and learning there to one’s wider life. Presumably, such persons would also be formed as disciples to spread the mission of the Gospel as well.

        For CMAA, for example, would a member in a parish encourage an instrumentalist who had no singing skill to be involved in music ministry? Would room be made for discernment with such a person with such a gift in a particular community?

    1. The liturgy often seems to have the quality of a performance with the priest and liturgical ministers cast in the roles of performers and behaving accordingly. Consequently, congregations are often expecting to be ‘entertained’ rather as spectators might be at a theatre.

      And where can we find abundance evidence of liturgy as performance than in the Papal and Hierarchical Liturgies such as the closing liturgy of the Eucharistic Congress that the Msgr. critiques. People turn on their TVs to be spectators.

      Given the logistics of these occasions we are likely to see many things done differently. This is certainly likely to convey to spectators the possibility and desirability that in their own liturgical performances they might enhance things by doing them differently.

      The Msgr. says that

      A sense of the communion of the Church has become limited to local communities that are in many ways self-selecting – many Catholics have a poor understanding of what it means to belong to the Universal Church but a highly developed understanding of what it means to belong to a self-selecting parish community of people like themselves.

      However these Papal and Hierarchical Liturgies are themselves some of the most self-selecting liturgies in the world. Most of us simply have not the time, nor the money, nor desire to go to them.

      So if people turn on the TVs and see the these Masses as performances with a lot of different things being done due to the highly self-selecting groups attending these Masses, e.g. groups of bishops, we can hardly blame them if they develop “many misunderstandings and irregularities.”

      So if we want to blame anyone, we might start with the performances of these highly self selecting Papal and Hierarchial Liturgies.

    2. Naturally, since these communities are only filled with royalist integrists and snobbish aesthetes.

      1. RM –
        Um, what determines that a group are snobbish aesthetes, and (gad!) even royalist integrests!?? Is this more selective compassion? Is the implied judgement here really exemplary of objective assessment, or is it merly a strain of bias and thinly disguised prejudice? It would seem to me that ‘snobbishness’ is quite the qppropriate word for the anti-aesthetics, anti-liturgy, anti-musical heritage, anti-liturgical excellence, and so on crowd and partisans. The partisans of all these ‘antis’ are not at all unfamiliar with snobbishness; they are quite good and very smooth in practicing snobbishness of a very subtle sort againt those whom they wish to label snobbish.Yes, irony of ironies, they are the greatest snobs of all! Um… reminds one of the pot calling the kettle black… doesn’t it!!!

  2. Excellent analysis. Thank you, Fritz Bauerschmidt. Some of the issues that Andrew Wadsworth identifies are in fact, larger cultural forces not created by liturgists and pastors in the years immediately following the Second Vatican Council. Looking to be entertained, a decided (and yet carefully cultivated) casualness, some antipathy to ceremony, listening to music constantly but no longer playing instruments or singing one’s self–these, to name but a few, are huge dominant-culture influences that challenge all of us who enter into the liturgy. The reformed liturgy isn’t the source of these trends and behaviors, but is affected by them. And while I have encountered flashes of neo-clericalism among a minority of the lay people who fulfill liturgical ministries, I have yet to meet any one whose understanding of “full, conscious and active participation” meant every one takes a turn at being lector and there’s no silence at Mass ever. That’s a caricature. It’s true that too many places rush through the liturgy and don’t observe the requisite periods of silence. But that’s not the fault of the reform. It’s the choice of a priest or musician, for the most part.

  3. Celebrating both forms of the Mass, but the Reformed one more often, there is a difference in attitude toward the EF Mass by those who attend that one might characterize as “more reverent.” Certainly those who seek it out may want a more “spiritual” aspect in their lives or they wouldn’t be coming. There is certainly something about the reformed Mass that makes it more comfortable and therefore more casual in people’s eyes. It could be the lack of Latin or the more formal rubrics of the EF compared to the OF.
    In terms of lay participation, I don’t think the laity who read or distribute Holy Communion think of themselves as clerics. I think the biggest problem may be that we intimate that unless you are in some kind of liturgical ministry, you aren’t really doing all you can for the Church as though “full, conscious and active” participation from the pew alone isn’t enough. How many parishes still have their First Communicants read at the Mass and pray the Intercessions and maybe have a little song with gestures after Holy Communion as though the act of receiving Holy Communion and participating from the pew isn’t enough? The last thought in terms of music is that we didn’t have that much English music prior to the Council except for devotional pieces for novenas and Benediction and most of those were Marian. The Low Mass with four hymns only, nothing else sung, was common and this mentality was dragged into the reformed Sung Mass with the propers dumped. I think when parishes did have a Sung Mass prior to the Council, for the most part they chanted everything that was suppose to be chanted and did not drag in any other hymns, they sang the propers (the choir did). They may have tried additional Latin motets at the Offertory and Communion. If we sang the actual words of the Mass in the vernacular as it is sung in Latin in the EF, we wouldn’t need all the good and bad hymns we’ve accumulated over the last 50 years. We certainly don’t need all the English settings of the Mass we have; simply have a setting for Advent and Lent, for the two different Ordinary times, for Easter and Christmas and for funerals and weddings. That’s enough and let us all learn them in the vernacular.

    1. I agree with Brigid Rauch. Many comments I have seen before indicate a “my Mass is better than your Mass” attitude that makes no sense to me.

    2. Fr Allan –
      Your observation about differing degrees of perceived reverence in the celebration of the two rites is somewhat accurate. I would suggest, though, that this is more due to the people involved than inherent in the rite. The Novus Ordo, in and of itself, does not presume informality and casualness any more than does the EF presume a certain robotic substitute for reverence. The NO, as celebrated by a very high Anglican, for instance, would be quite a different thing from the NO celbrated by Fr Good Morning Folks. Too, if one wished, he could spoil an EF celebration the same way he spoils an NO celebration by his casual attitude and disregard of the rubrics. I agree with the substance of your observation, but put the blame on the people involved, not what is inherent in the rite. This is a matter of catechesis and spiritual formation. The fault is in our Catholic schools, universities and seminaries, not with one rite or the other.

      1. What you see as a lack of reverence may be based instead on a different understanding of our relationship with God and different family dynamics. Those who call God “Father” and feel they are approaching a throne will behave in one fashion. Those who call God “Abba” and feel invited to a meal will behave in another. But do not mistake apparent casualness for a lack of seriousness.

      2. Didn’t the bishops and liturgists foster a different sense of what is “reverent” following the Council? I recall some deliberately discouraging anything that looked or sounded like the Anglican High Mass. Some voices going so far as to say they didn’t want the liturgy sounding too stuffy and “British”.

        The new Mass has to be somehow an expression of America and directed to “creativity”. So, in come the guitars, pianos, jazz bands, flutes and recorders, zithers, etc.

        This is the age of the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam war protests. The growth of a uniquely American Catholic Church was a popular idea in seminaries. That’s at once a source of more than 40 years of the OF good, bad, and indifferent, depending upon your perspective.

        It has to be seen as inseparable from this larger cultural context in which the post-conciliar liturgy developed. A development persuading Catholics caught in the transition to see the liturgy more and more as an invented, changeable thing. A belief thee eucharist can be shaped to meet changing circumstances in the community.

        Furthermore, one can see parish life shifting in the direction away from a Europe-centered and trained clergy to a generation of priests caught drawn to a faith with a decidedly American flavor to it. A Mass at once reflecting folksy friendliness with the accent on the casual.

      3. One can still see God as “Abba” and prefer more formal worship, though. I wouldn’t equate casual with having a closer family relationship with God while formal implies a more distant relationship.

        Weddings are typically very formal affairs even though they express a very deep, intimate love.

  4. Comments? Where to start? Looking from the outside CMAA is a very insular and self-selecting group. Varying too much or too far from the party line will subject one to intimidating if not insulting behavior.

    Poor diagnosis hobbles Msgr Wadsworth’s good intentions for better liturgy. If you can’t get the analysis of the problems right, you can’t hope to make in impact beyond one’s own selected grouping.

    1. So, a poor diagnosis of a poor diagnosis a good diagnosis makes? You are rather vague, Todd.

      I imagine he is trying to make an impact with the CMAA. If he makes them more cohesive, is that bad to do so inside one’s own selected grouping?

      Your comment seems rather a pot-shot than a useful contribution to the dialogue, which is unfortunate, but I notice is common when CMAA is on the menu for you.

      1. I largely agree with Fritz’s questions about what Msgr Wadsworth seems to be saying. If you’d like me to be less vague, I’ll be happy to address the misguided notion that the “multiplication of liturgical ‘ministries’ has led to considerable confusion and error.”

        In most parishes, the roles for the ordained: preaching and presidency have not been farmed out to lay people. Shortly after the council, I used to see single people serving as acolytes, lectors, sacristans, and Communion ministers at the same Mass. A multiplicity of lay ministries has largely been seen as good: one person for each role, however a community has discerned its own needs. Not one person for all of them, which strikes me as more similar to the role of the priest in the liturgy before the Council.

        I think there are people in Rome who are confused about what lay people do in the States and elsewhere. I’m also aware there’s a modern movement to bar lay people from serving as Communion ministers. But for the average large suburban parish, that doesn’t strike me as practical.

        On this point and a few others, Msgr Wadsworth seems to be parroting the pc-speak of reform2 and their allies. It might well be that the laity in some quarters are very carefully attuned to the call of the Holy Spirit in their communities. I for one, am grateful to have a multiplicity of musicians and singers in my parish. I wouldn’t be able to stretch as far with a pre-conciliar mindset to maintain choirs, accompanists, directors, and choristers at five Masses a week.

        As for the pastors I’ve worked for, there’s never been a question as to who’s in Holy Orders, given the vestments they wear, the lighting above them, the steps they ascend, the checks they sign, the messages they preach, and the like.

        Now, if some of my sisters and brothers in CMAA took the good Monsignor to task for his caricatures and misdiagnosis, well and good. My hat is tipped to them.

      2. Thank you, Todd, that’s a much better explanation. Your initial comment seemed rather ad hominem.

        If I may, perhaps what is being articulated is the mistaken notion that somehow all the liturgical ministries in and of themselves is how the laity achieves holiness. As in, “That was a fantastic retreat, I should sign up to be an EMHC.” (I am not joking, by the way, as this is relatively common where I am) If this is what he is speaking of, then he is right—I believe without qualification. I think there is a healthy diversity of opinion on to what degree those lay ministries NEED to exist in each parish community. However, they must never be confused with the proper role of the laity, which is to sanctify themselves and the temporal sphere through living holiness, as did the early church.

      3. “If I may, perhaps what is being articulated is the mistaken notion that somehow all the liturgical ministries in and of themselves is how the laity achieves holiness…”

        Perhaps a minority of clergy and laity might feel this way about themselves. I don’t believe it. I don’t teach it.

        My sense is that people get involved in liturgical ministry because it’s the public face of the Church Sunday after Sunday.

        “I think there is a healthy diversity of opinion on to what degree those lay ministries NEED to exist in each parish community.”

        Most people in most parishes accept more or less well-organized liturgies. There might be the occasional busybody who reads too much Fr Z. I’ve had a few conversations with students about the need for twelve Communion ministers for 600 people. But they get it soon enough.

        “However, they must never be confused with the proper role of the laity, which is to sanctify themselves and the temporal sphere through living holiness, as did the early church.”

        Agreed. But I have no problem with singers, lectors, and people who serve the needs of others at liturgy.

      4. “they must never be confused with the proper role of the laity, which is to sanctify themselves and the temporal sphere through living holiness, as did the early church.”

        So when Prisca and Aquila hosted the church in their home, they were not performing a liturgical ministry, but sanctifying themselves and the temporal sphere? Throughout much of the early church, the first 2 or 3 centuries, the church met in homes rather than in public buildings dedicated to religious worship. An awful lot of lay liturgical ministry must have been going on for that to happen.

      5. I am sure Todd didn’t mean that the laity should “sanctify themselves” for only God gives that gift, but it must be received, it can’t be imposed. But it might betray the horizontal view of liturgy as something we do for ourselves, like sanctify ourselves. But if we view faith and its accompanying good works as gifts given to us by God through the Church as well as God giving us the Liturgy through the Church, then maybe we’ll recover the vertical aspect of worship which is so desperately needed today and in doing so recover sanctity as a gift to be embraced and lived and thereby affecting the world in the most horizontal and spiritual way possible.

      6. Fr McDonald,

        I understood Bruce’s context and what he was getting at here. If you have a beef, I’d say it’s with him.

        The notion that liturgy lacks a vertical dimension is another misdiagnosis, unless you want to concede that of all the nice images taken on traditionalist liturgy web sites are focused horizontally instead of aimed “up” where God’s grace presumably comes from.

      7. Just keep in mind that when we speak of “odd” things in the EF Mass, we are speaking of things that are in the Liturgical Books, but when speaking of odd things imposed on the OF we are speaking of things that are imposed but not found in the liturgical books. There is a difference in doing what the Church allows for the liturgy, cappa and all and doing one’s own thing or “congregation’s” own thing such as casual greetings and a variety of non-liturgical add ons.

      8. Fair enough. But when we see the focus on vestments, architecture, and presidential style, we should keep in mind that the rubrics and peripherals can be a focus instead of God, and that idolatry is always a danger for those overly involved, even in what is otherwise a good and holy apostolate.

        Bottom line: photography is not an essential part of any rite.

      9. Father, your point about “sanctifying ourselves” is well taken, and is inaccurate language on my part. We should be open to the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit, and try to spread that “joy with peace” through our secular dealings. Fair enough?

        Todd, I know you’re not teaching that laity achieve holiness precisely through a liturgical ministry, but this is nonetheless a common misconception when uncatechized adults don’t have the guidance they should have from the parish. I find this to be the case especially in places where a strong parochial school culture formerly existed: there is less interest in the continuing formation of adults. I was always impressed with adult ed efforts in Texas parishes, although perhaps that is as a result of being in an culture whose Anglo elements are very Protestant (and therefore view adult ed as a non-negotiable).

        I realize I’m taking things a bit off topic here: I apologize!

      10. Bruce, I’d say your musings about adult formation are germane to the topic.

        My own sense might indeed be that the Church is somewhat screwed up from top to bottom. And if I were inclined, I could spend a lot of words and energy trying to “fix” other people, setting them straight.

        My experience as a musician and a minister has led me to the conclusion that in-flight fixes are hopeless, especially with people I don’t know. I don’t really know if things are as bad as some Catholics say. Parishes that hire me tend to be doing pretty well with their commitment to liturgy before I hit town. Often, it’s all I can do to not mess it up with my own idiosyncracies.

        So, not only do I try *not* to fix other people’s problems, in my own backyard I’m a little more concerned about leading by example, rather than by fiat.

        I’m highly suspicious of the message of folks like Msgr Wadsworth who seems to have all the criticisms, as well as his set of stock answers. I just don’t see the Church working that way.

  5. Thanks, Deacon – excellent analysis and, yes, you could have gone on for lots more. Agree – SP has only added another layer of insularity and then to add a religious order dedicated to a pope’s indult? really?

    CMAA – have to live with a current parish music director who is PhD and CMAA and have watched a 30% or more departure from the parish liturgies. It is a self serving community based upon its interpretation or ideiology – Reform of the Reform. What would have happened if all this energy had been used to improve the works of SC and Vatican II rather than develop more polarizations.

    Allan – not exactly what you posted on your hobby horse -you would have thought that Msgr Wadsworth was the *parousia*; of course, with your own “humble” comments added.

    1. “…have watched a 30% or more departure from the parish liturgies.”
      Sounds like the years following 1970 Bill. Maybe your parish is dealing with continued fallout from HV.

      1. Nope – all changes and movement have happened since new pastor and new music director.

        Yes, did lose folks five years ago when parish flipped from Jesuit to diocesan but this is even move of a departure.

        Nice try, Shane.

    2. BdH –
      Would it be not unfair to question whether the 30% or more who have left are not themselves rather ‘self-selecting’. If they have indeed left because of this particular music director, I would wonder if it weren’t because the liturgy was becoming too Catholic for them and they preferred music that didn’t make them feel like they were actually in a church. And, I am not by any means a zealous partisan of the CMAA. It does, though, absent a certain ultra-montanistic bent, offer what is unquestionably an improvement over liturgical pop music and ‘good morning folks’ liturgy. Should I suspect that if these 30% had left because of so-called ‘folk music’ you would not be upset on their behalf?

    3. CMAA – have to live with a current parish music director who is PhD and CMAA and have watched a 30% or more departure from the parish liturgies. It is a self serving community based upon its interpretation or ideiology – Reform of the Reform. What would have happened if all this energy had been used to improve the works of SC and Vatican II rather than develop more polarizations.

      Bill de Haas

      Sorry Bill to be late for this party. Didn’t catch it until sitting SLC airport.
      That sure sounds like a tautology setting up your premise about CMAA. Really, to what privileged information can you connect your implication that 30% of your parish has voted by their feet because of the PhdCMAADM?

  6. The multiplication of liturgical ‘ministries’ has led to considerable confusion and error concerning the relationship between the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the baptized.

    The one thing that does confuse me is when the priests wear their stole hidden under clerical garb. Then as far as I know there is no way, before the Eucharistic prayer, to distinguish between liturgical ministers (when they also wear white), deacons, and priests who are concelebrating along with the presider – short of trying to peek underneath their vestment, which I usually find myself doing in such cases.

    1. ??

      For outer garments, a priest wears a chasuble, a deacon wears a deacon–or failing that, a stole going cross his chest rather than down it–and acolytes wear cassock and surplice or albs with a cincture.

      The stole is supposed to be under the chasuble or dalmatic, with few geographic exceptions.

      Concelebrant priests dress as the principal celebrant, that is, with a chasuble as an outer garment. Or, if there are not enough, with a stole hanging down their chest.

      1. Or, if there are not enough, with a stole hanging down their chest.

        Yes, that would do it. I sometimes see concelebrants with their stole underneath something that is basically just an alb…

  7. “Any notion of the shape of the Liturgical year has been greatly lessened by an ironing-out of those features which characterized the distinctive seasons of the year”

    I think he may be referring to the loss of ember days, rogation days (greater litanies & lesser litanies), and septuagesima. These are all associated with seasons of the year.

      1. Well, he still might be referring to “season” in the liturgical sense. One complaint that I’ve occasionally seen in traditionalist circles is the existence of “Ordinary Time” instead of the old liturgical seasons. So instead of the “2nd Sunday after Epiphany” it’s now the “3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time”. Or instead of the “3rd Sunday after Pentecost” it’s now the “11th Sunday of Ordinary Time”.

  8. Msgr Wadsworth noted that Pope Benedict’s comment should be seen in the context of the final mass of the International Eucharistic Congress, and went on to issue a critique of the “liturgical misunderstandings and irregularities” at the final Statio Orbis liturgy. Some aspects of this critique were probably justified – there was indeed a notable lack of chant, either in Latin or in the vernacular (although there is another day’s discussion about “vernacular chant” here, as some of the music was idiomatic of the vernacular, Irish sung tradition), some of the music was clearly performance-based etc. Perhaps, as this was the context in which these comments were made, it would be appropriate to examine the liturgical practice at the Statio Orbis mass in particular, and the Congress in general.
    Well done, Fritz Bauerschmidt, on your excellent analysis – much of Msgr Wadsworth’s speech implies that liturgical practice (and its practitioners) has become somewhat of a loose cannon, with reigning in needed in vast areas, which is not the case in general.

  9. Wherever two or more gather there I am in your midst. Where Christ is there is the church. The universal church is present in each local church and in all it’s parishes. With whatever variations may occur in this place or that or by this priest or that it is essentially the same rite. We pray for Benedict, our pope, and for our bishop and for all who lead us in the church. The variances are to be expected in an ecclesial milieu in which the threat of hell (or even suspension) for not precisely praying the black or rigidly doing the red is no longer credible. This provokes near apoplexy among those who style themselves as orthodox and traditional. It also prompts individuals like the good Monsignor to distort and exaggerate the actual state of things. The toothpaste is out of the tube and no power short of divine intervention is going to get it back in. I am not arguing for anything goes. The state of affairs back in the pre-Vatican II days was just as varied and awful. At least these days the opportunity to take part in life changing worship is available to all. If that’s TLM for some of you, more power to you. The pope decided it wasn’t abrogated after all. He also has some personal notions of piety, reverence, and postures that make some people happy and others perplexed. It’s a big church and there’s room for all. In the end each will give an accounting of themselves before the throne of Grace.

  10. Looking from the outside CMAA is a very insular and self-selecting group. Varying too much or too far from the party line will subject one to intimidating if not insulting behavior.

    I cannot believe the sad irony that I read this tired, old insult and grudge while enjoying the company of 260 very independent and dedicated people at the Colloquium dinner, Todd. Every time you trot out your vendetta from a truly bygone encounter under very different circumstances that you cannot imagine nor are willing, despite personal invitations, to encounter first hand, you diminish your credibility as a critic of RotR. I’m no cupcake, Todd, no one tells me how to think, how to program or how to believe. I’ve encountered no one in CMAA that remotely lines up with your tedious and contentious stereotype that insinuates CMAA is a RotR Jonestown. It’s a very personal insult to me and many people I’ve met over seven years of colloquia, not the least of which was PTB contributor Paul Ford who was extremely well received and engaged the audience and Msgr. Wadsworth in an excellent dialogue.
    I don’t have any problem with your deconstructing Wadsworth’s words or actions. But it is way past due for you to move on from your typically reactionary polemic that CMAA is some pathetic liturgical Tea Party full of misanthropes and malcontents just because you are enlightened beyond measure, and you have to have a villain. Move on, Todd, move on.

    1. Some of those 260 people have told me privately that they disagree with the more strident voices within CMAA. I respect their choice to remain with the organization because they want to work toward the fine goal of better liturgy and music and they see CMAA as the optimal, or one of the better means of accomplishing that.

      And away from the more insular aspects of the group, namely its internet presence, I’ve seen first-hand what some of its members can accomplish, far distant from the hermeneutic of subtraction.

      You engage in caricature to suggest my distaste for the antisocial aspects of CMAA. I don’t think the group is nearly as bad as you think I think. It has its problems, not really much different from some progressive liturgy circles. Msgr Wadsworth’s address highlights a significant one: a lack of discernment and huge gaps in diagnosis.

      My words above are part of my comment on a rather huge gap in Msgr Wadsworth’s perception. Smug communities are a problem, as Fritz says. My parish, at times, does not escape that criticism. And neither should CMAA.

      You do CMAA credit as a vigorous defender. I defend my parish, too. But I don’t hesitate to be watchful for the challenges within, usually more so than the challenges from the outside.

      1. Again, Todd, you provide yourself with hearsay, uncited refuge, rhetorical obfuscation as a fire tent, and charge my challenge with using “caricature” to lessen your own responsibility for YOUR own words. What is a “party line” if not a caricature?
        If you’re such an oracle at discerning things from farther heights, I implore you to use your power to build up, not tear down.

      2. Charles, you do me little credit as an ideological adversary and yourself as well by suggesting that I’ve drawn CMAA as a Jonestown or even as a Tea Party. Please just quote what I’ve written, or feel free to use privileged information about me–accurately. If you can’t do that, I think I’m playing fair by saying you’ve portrayed my position here as an exaggeration of what I actually wrote. You’re the one who has escalated this portion of the discussion by perhaps protesting too much. In some ways, your argument is very much like the worst of what Msgr Wadsworth offered up. He played well to his base … in addition to being way off it.

        For such a speaker, I would expect more intellectual rigor. And less politicking.

  11. Jack Wayne :

    I would disagree that self-selected communities are necessarily a bad thing. They are bad when they lead to people feeling they belong more to their parish or pastor than to the universal Church, but not when they help foster a sense that everyone has a unique place in the Church.

    Jack, Thanks for this helpful distinction.

    Most territorial parishes in US metropolitan areas are self-selecting before we even enter our churches because of the socio-economic segregation of people by virtue of their housing choices. Only in smaller communities, where there is diversity in the population but only a single parish, do we really reflect the “here comes everybody” characteristic of our Catholicism.

    So how do we avoid self-selection bias and acheive a broader perspective? By whatever means help us to focus more on what unites us than what divides us. To my way of thinking, the greatest shortcoming in Msgr. Wadsworth’s analysis is that he spends too much time on the divisions. I think this is the root of the distortions and omissions in his analysis.

    1. Jack’s distinction is an important correction to the Msgr’s comments. I might even go further, and say self selection is to be expected. Jesus came as a 1st century Jew. We come as 21 st century Catholics. Those particularities make particular churches what they are, and are the basis for universality. How can you welcome everyone if you do not know that your own idiosyncrasies are not universal?

      The difficulties arise when people start to think their own peculiarities are universal, like everyone should want Latin or all young people are attracted to rock music, etc. Differences should be welcomed, not become divisive.

  12. I have no axe to grind about the CMAA and will always be grateful to its President, William Mahrt, who when I was a graduate student did more for my spiritual life than he will ever know, though the wonderful work he did at the Stanford Newman Centre.

    Nonetheless I found Msgr Wadsworth’s speech tendentious and hectoring. Large parts read as though he had stitched it together it from old Fr Z columns.

    Fritz’s comments are sensible and accurate, so I will expand on only one of them. When Msgr Wadsworth writes that The liturgy often seems to have the quality of a performance with the priest and liturgical ministers cast in the roles of performers and behaving accordingly., I instantly think of the websites celebrating ‘liturgical eye candy’ (disgusting phrase, that) and oohing and ahhing over this or that gaudily decorated altar or bejewelled mitre. This is not a bad example.

    Or the breathless announcements positioning a bishop as a liturgical rock star – as in this example.

    Every time I have come across of either of these phenomena – ‘liturgical eye candy’ and ‘rockstar bishop’ – it has been for a celebration of the Tridentine Mass. Yes, I know, selection bias. But I stand by my point.

    1. re: Jonathan Day on June 30, 2012 – 1:01 pm

      Jonathan, I agree with you that the ostentatious liturgical displays are cringe-worthy because the liturgy is being celebrated solely for its aesthetic qualities and not as the worship of an assembly. The cappa magna has become in my view the symbol of what you call “rockstar” liturgy.

      I am convinced that the current crop of pontifical Masses provide for some an occasion for escape and wish-fulfillment not unlike royal weddings. Pontificals similar to your examples provide anachronistic transportation to a vaguely counter-reformation ancien regime flavored alt-world full of gold foil and marble, but without the moral implications of aristocracy or the human exploitation inherent in early modern European societies. Similarly, British royal weddings lets “ordinary” persons pretend to be royals for a few hours but also ignore that royal families have family conflicts like any other. In both cases, reality is suspended for entertainment or a delay of mundane concerns.

      In a later post [June 30, 2012 – 4:33 pm], you note an example of an ordinary form Mass celebrated in Latin, versus populum, and with active participation through chant as a counter-example to the rockstar phenomenon. I would would be wary of characterizing Tridentine Masses as generally inclined towards the glitz and glam. I have attended EF dialogue Masses with an informal schola which fully engages assemblies. Yet, I agree with your basic sentiment. When any Mass is celebrated with a focus on aesthetics above assembly, the sacrifice and paschal mystery are pushed aside for a focus on performance and personality. I have said as much on traditionalist forums only to be banned. Many who enjoy anachronistic liturgy are unwilling to estimate its ethical, liturgical, moral, and theological implications.

  13. With apologies to our hosts, I will add a few points to Fritz’s good list.

    First, Msgr Wadsworth was oddly selective in his list of ‘very positive developments’ in the liturgical reforms. What about the rediscovery of the central role of the lay assembly? Of the scripture read in the vernacular? Of prayers in a language that the people can understand? Of a decline in ‘private Masses’? Where his positive developments are bland and vague, the negatives he cites are marked by exaggeration – ‘universal tendency’, ‘appalling banality of much liturgical music’, etc.

    Second, the speech is marked throughout by innuendo, vicious suggestion and sarcasm. There is the claim – made so vaguely that it is hardly falsifiable – that the scholarship covering the liturgical reforms is weak. Then there is the implication that those who disagree with Msgr Wadsworth ‘proceed on what is essentially a privatized view of something which is by definition common property.’ We get a slam at ‘former barons of the liturgical establishment’. And then there is the sleazy ‘If I were given to conspiracy theories, I would almost feel persuaded…’.

    Third, we get the complaint – repeated frequently in conservative writing – that ‘active participation’ has been confused with external activity. Msgr Wadsworth’s evidence for this seems to be that, at the Irish Eucharistic Congress, the wrong music was selected, that the peoples’ sung parts were not in Latin, and that the assembly greeted some of the music with applause. It’s an argument I find hard to follow.

    A final comment. I agree that some, perhaps many* aspects of the postconciliar liturgical reform went too far. It is then fair to ask: why did this happen? According to some traditionalists, it was the direct work of the devil (‘the smoke of Satan’) and his archfiend Bugnini. Others claim that the liturgical reforms were (don’t ask me how) motivated by a desire for sexual licence. Yet others say that the world languished in ignorance until the bright light of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict came along to show us the right path.

    But what if there was something positive in the reformers, even when they went too far? What potentially positive impulses can we identify? And what will be lost if the programme Msgr Wadsworth sets out is implemented?

    ––
    For the avoidance of doubt: in this context ‘many’ does not mean ‘all’.

    1. Just once I’d like someone to give examples of music featuring “appalling banality” that is in current use today. Some of the early stuff was pretty bad, but that was almost 50 years ago.

      Let’s be honest here – I doubt any congregation ever sang a lot of Palestrina. Choirs, yes, but not congregations!

      1. Brigid, do see my comment above the last one — it was held up in moderation because of the links. Back in the late 1970s William Mahrt worked incredibly hard to get a community singing the Mass, in Latin. His choir did sing the complex bits — Palestrina and much, much more — but we sang too, in simple chant tones that went so well with the choir.

        On Sunday evenings, those of us who weren’t great singers were welcome to join in for sung Vespers.

        All this was in Latin, in the Ordinary Form, in a church that was used for ordinary English Novus Ordo Masses, and looked like it: clean and modern. The priest faced the people. No birettas or maniples. Nobody even talked about the Tridentine Mass — and nobody was especially wound up that the Mass was sung and in Latin. It seemed a natural thing to do in a university setting.

        The anger, the chippiness, the sarcasm that run through Msgr Wadsworth’s talk and that infect so much of the conversation about liturgy these days, were utterly absent.

        So it is possible, though the choir will have to sing the Palestrina, exactly as you suggest.

      2. Anything that sounds like a current Broadway play or if you closed your eyes and you feel like you are in a piano bar.

        Much of the praise and worship music that is being dragged into the liturgy is purely vapid.

  14. This is the age of the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam war protests.

    Over and over again, I see bad feelings left over from that time expressed through a preference for a more traditional liturgy.

  15. It seemed a natural thing to do in a university setting.

    It is a marvelous thing when a group can come together to prepare to sing at Mass this way. It is marvelous to know that sung Masses are held in monasteries where the men or women have time to devote to preparation. But it is foolishness to insist on this music in an unnatural setting, say a typical suburban parish!

    1. BR –
      No! It isn’t foolishness at all! It’s what ought to be expected of the highly intelligent and highly educated and privileged people who make up a very large part of our parishes, suburban or otherwise. Our people are not the hapless European peasants of old (who, yet, learned to chant in Latin!). They have no excuse at all for the banal, vapid, cheap and junky music which is standard fare throughout this country. They very well are capable of learning better music in addition to chant, whether in Latin or English (and, I prefer English). They very well are quite capable of what you say, sincerely, I believe, is a ‘marvelous thing’. What is ‘unnatural is not to expect it of them.

      1. What makes you think peasants learned Latin chant? My understanding was that even in religious communities, peasants rarely became choir monks, but instead served other needs. The class divisions were one of the problems with the medieval monastery.

      2. I think you are underestimating the time and effort needed to learn to sing good music well. Start with the fact that most people can’t read music and proceed from there. If a group is interested, willing and able to invest the time needed to prepare, it is possible to produce beautiful complex music. But I maintain that to expect the bulk of a typical suburban parish to invest the time and effort is foolishness; it’s not going to happen. It is possible to recruit a small number to form a choir and turn the congregation into an audience, but that is a different thing entirely.

        We come to Mass to worship together, not to be educated in Western classical music! ( and I say this as someone who loves Puccini, Verdi, Mussorgsky, Vivaldi, etc.)

  16. Much of the praise and worship music that is being dragged into the liturgy is purely vapid.

    Is this music being imposed on the congregation?
    Does the congregation express their reverence and adoration through this music? What harm is there if Parish A is happy with its music, provided that Parish B is happy with its music? What is vapid for some maybe very meaningful for others.

    1. You asked for examples, I gave two but now you reveal that actually anything and everything goes making me wonder if you sincerely wanted an answer.

      1. What examples? Do you know of churches that use music from current Broadway plays? Or that double as piano bars? You gave examples of music you consider banal, not of “the appalling banality of much liturgical music.”

        Brigid respectfully replied to your remarks, addressing the only part of your comment that addressed liturgical music. I probably would have been harsher. If the music prompts praise and worship, what difference does it make if it is “vapid”? You are judging by secular standards of music, whether it belongs to this pleasing genre or that banal one, not by it’s effectiveness in the liturgy. ( and just how could praise and worship be vapid anyway?)

      2. You are correct; I did jump from your answer to ask whether it should be our concern what other people are singing. I should have taken the time to suggest that perhaps Broadway musicals and piano bars represent the true folk culture of suburban America. My own parish seems to get deep meaning out of songs I consider overly sentimental. So be it. The real question to be asked is whether the music is bringing people closer to God.

  17. Jim McKay :
    What makes you think peasants learned Latin chant? My understanding was that even in religious communities, peasants rarely became choir monks, but instead served other needs. The class divisions were one of the problems with the medieval monastery.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    It is a matter of historical and musicological record that large numbers of ‘common folk’ used Latin that they had absorbed from the pervasive presence of the Church in their every day speech, in their devotional songs, in carols, and in religious (and secular) poetry. Many of the office hymns, sequences, and other chants enjoyed a wide popularity amongst the masses. When the reformers translated many of these into German, etc., they were merely adopting what was already well-known.

    Other than this, you miss my point entirely: for educated and privileged 21st century American Roman Catholics to be not only ignorant of the Latin that VII wished them to know, but to scorn it, is astonishing beyond comprehesion, something of a cruel non sequitur. Latin is an important part of our heritage. It shaped our culture. It is a rich, gracious and beautiful language. It is not dead, though many rather meanly choose to be dead to it. A Latin mass of whichever rite is a thing of great beauty, especially when all present act and sing their parts. It should be at least an occasional part of the liturgical life of every parish. It is a thing to be appreciated, looked forward to, because it is enriching.
    (And this is all from someone who, also, prefers English.

  18. What examples? Do you know of churches that use music from current Broadway plays? Or that double as piano bars? You gave examples of music you consider banal, not of “the appalling banality of much liturgical music.”

    Jim, I’ve been in this quagmire from 1970, and when one is pressed to walk the tightrope between discretion and implicit versus specific and explicit regarding identifying post V2 religious song, it’s a lose/lose proposition in public. To some extent, “those who don’t know will say, those who know won’t.” In my parishes with 18 weekend Masses for whom I advise, schedule and manage diverse ensembles (mostly) and few cantors, outside of the three Masses in which I personally direct music ministry I have to trust that my colleagues will, as the fictional Dr. Jones said of the Grail, “choose wisely.” That is not always the case as my pastor reminds me occasionally. I will manufactor such scenarios in order to protect the innocent while illustrating such situations. One might encounter a song leader (“cantor”) who, accompanied by a top level organist, chooses “Blest be the Lord (!) as an Introit “chant” rather than a solid strophic hymn known to all. Conversely, a duo of cantors (guitar acc.) will occasionally use a chanted Proper or make a researched decision to use a fourth option allusion song to that which they’re confident the congregation will enjoin. In the former case, not only is the song dated past its credibility for use, but the choice to use an emulative bluegrass tune accompanied by the organ only results in that significant moment of the liturgy sounding like a carnival merry-go-round Wurlizter. In the latter one may quibble if the chant is accompanied by the guitar, but if all sing solidly this surely observes the culture and intent of the rite more accutely.
    Regarding Broadway/piano bar- my apologies first to a mentor from afar in my career, Fr. Joncas, but the musical construct of, say,…

  19. “Mary’s Song” is at once beautiful and quite evocative of the post Bernstein and Sondheim late 20th musical idioms. In and of itself, that “critique” doesn’t disqualify its use for liturgy, but one ought to consider the vast body of settings of the Magnificat in many styles that might, just might reflect the humility of the prayer more accutely. If one is insistent upon the modern song, just the range of choices between the Leon Robert’s (RIP) and JM Talbot’s settings is huge. And then, there are the chants and hymns.
    Regarding the banal and trite, Jim, would you choose Landry’s “Abba Father” or Faber’s “Faith of our fathers” (St. Catherine) should the thematic need regarding “fatherhood” be on table for discussion? There are literally hundreds of those choices facing “deciders” who are bound to pulp and even hardbound hymnals. Add to that the reality that a significant percentage of those “deciders” resign their authority in favor of choosing from the “smorgasbord bin” of suggestions proffered by the publishers’ own liturgical “guides,” well, that just doesn’t speak well of the sausage making realities of contemporary RCC music praxis, does it? And hence, you get impatience from some pastors and DM’s for demolishing this “corruption” post haste, and the concomitant reaction of portions of the faithful decrying “They’re NOT playing my song!”
    These are not circumstances that will happen in a few years. Hopefully and happily, folks like Joncas and B.Hurd wiil continue to evolve their genres and hopefully come to the table with folks like Bartlett and Ostrowski, and in a few decades articulate a solid body of repertoire worthy to subjugate unnecessary self-adornment and thus serve the source and summit that are our rites.

    1. Regarding “a solid body of repertoire worthy to subjugate unnecessary self-adornment,” it’s been my experience this is more a factor of the musical leadership, performers if you will, than it is the repertoire or genre. Chant musicians do not escape the pitfalls of ego, and CMAA falls victim to it like any other group of folks.

      I’m reminded of a parent who related the tale of a recent family trip. Her younger child noted the “baptismal font” next to the hotel pool, and I thought that the fertilization of culture runs both ways.

      Good music requires good judgment. And excellent music would seem to require more.

    1. Thank you, Fr. Krisman. Your compliment here is most humbly received.
      Todd, without belaboring our previous dialogue, how could you not know or recognize I was advocating a meeting of the minds and hearts in the hopefully near future? Again I fail to see the impetus from my remarks as cause for you to level cheap shots from the cheap seats. That is, as you said, beneath your intellectual rigor.
      I’d hate to end our future dialogues on this pettiness.

    2. Charles, I certainly would expect no less from you, given our many conversations over the years.

      Upon further reflection, and out of respect for you, I withdraw my criticism of CMAA (for what it’s worth now that I’ve ripped open the pillow on the rooftop). I’ll confine it instead to the weak portions of Msgr Wadsworth’s address.

      At a recent lurking at the CMAA forum, it struck me as being considerably toned down from what I remember about five to ten years ago. The Taize thread had some predictable light insults, including one directed at David Haas (go figure) but nothing I would consider outrageous. I know you and others do your share on that count.

      As for a future meeting, that should be interesting to behold. Best of luck with that.

      1. I want to believe that a future meeting of the minds is not an impossibility. If you and I can ultimately remain siblings in Christ, if NPM and CMAA can pursue their noble objectives to worship Christ in truth, and if we can step away from conflict over “things” like accoutremant of the baroque versus the subjugation of “sacro pop” when we are faced with the martyrdom of Catholics in Somalia and elsewhere almost daily, then I won’t relent upon “Et unum sint.” Peace, bro’.

      2. Allow me to poke a bit at that “future meeting.” I have made serious suggestions along those lines for years, suggesting often that the “future” is now. Or could be.

        If I feel as injured as you suggest by the barbs of reform2 and yet still remain willing to engage in dialogue, I’m at a loss as to what the delay’s about.

        Do you or does CMAA have anything substantive to offer at this time?

  20. Deacon Fritz, if I may: Has Summorum Pontificum added a new layer to the phenomenon of “identity liturgy” (the ecclesiastical equivalent of identity politics)? Would Msgr. Wadsworth agree that the “stable groups” who request the 1962 Missal, not to mention those parishes and religious orders dedicated exclusively to that liturgy, are at risk of becoming “a self-selecting parish community of people like themselves”?

    I would say any group in the Church (and in the parish) is ALWAYS at risk of becoming a “self-selecting parish community”. One of the amazing things that has happened in the wake of Summorum Pontificum is that some bishop have felt MORE of a need to balkanize the Extraordinary Form in oratories and extra-territorial parishes. This is precisely what SP (to my mind) was trying to fight: there’s nothing wrong with those oratories and institutes (FSSP, etc.), but it is far better to have the EF in a “normal” parish, just as it is to have lay movements in an ordinary parish. If they stay in the normal parish, even if they are somewhat self-selecting, they still are more a part of the fabric of Catholic daily life and culture than if they are in the oratories. From my experience, the balkanization or confinement of the EF to oratories (or of ANY group of ANY type to “personal parishes”) is a sign that an ordinary is suspicious of the group in question. So, better not to group in the EF oratories with the EFs that (I hope) will be more frequently found in an ordinary parish, where they can contribute (and be contributed to) in the interest of “organic growth” of the liturgy…both ways.

  21. Weddings are typically very formal affairs even though they express a very deep, intimate love.

    Clearly, you weren’t at my son’s wedding a week or so back. It was serious, but not pretentious; a celebration.

  22. Brigid Rauch :
    I think you are underestimating the time and effort needed to learn to sing good music well. Start with the fact that most people can’t read music and proceed from there. If a group is interested, willing and able to invest the time needed to prepare, it is possible to produce beautiful complex music. But I maintain that to expect the bulk of a typical suburban parish to invest the time and effort is foolishness; it’s not going to happen. It is possible to recruit a small number to form a choir and turn the congregation into an audience, but that is a different thing entirely.
    We come to Mass to worship together, not to be educated in Western classical music! ( and I say this as someone who loves Puccini, Verdi, Mussorgsky, Vivaldi, etc.)

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    BR –
    I think that it is you who are underestimating. Probably, you don’t mean to. But, it takes no more effort or musical intelligence to learn, for instance, one of Fr Columba Kelly’s English adaptations of any of the Gregorian chant masses than to learn the sort of uninspired and insipid pablum that is the fare in too many of our churches. These, typically, rely on silly repetitive rhythms, infantile melodies, and are musically artless. They are an insult to the intelligence of the very people whom you wrongly believe to be incapable of better stuff. And, as for not coming to mass to be educated: well, of course this is not an end in itself; but I would suggest that education is indeed one of the side effects of genuine worship.

  23. Msgr Wadsworth calls for

    A greater willingness to heed Sacrosanctum concilium rather than continual recourse to the rather nebulous concept of the ‘spirit of the Council’ which generally attempts to legitimize liturgical abuses rather than correct them. Currently, these teachings are more likely to be evidenced in a well prepared presentation of the Extraordinary Form than in most Ordinary Form celebrations. It need not be so.

    I can see why some communities celebrate the EF exclusively, although I think this raises Msgr Wadsworth’s concern about ‘a self-selecting parish community of people like themselves’.

    I struggle to see how the two forms can easily co-exist in a single parish, unless it is split into ‘moderns’ and ‘trads’ – again raising the problem of ‘self-selecting communities’.

    I have seen parishes where a Latin Mass in the OF is one of many Masses offered – there will be others in English and (say) Vietnamese. The Latin OF may be celebrated with more solemnity and with chant rather than modern hymnody, but it is clearly of a unity with the other Masses. The priest faces the people, there are male and female servers and lectors, there may be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. The calendars are the same, the prayers are the same and the teaching work of priests and catechists is easily aligned. People receive on the tongue or in the hand, as they are moved; neither choice makes a political statement. The Sacrament is offered in both species.

    But where the EF is regularly scheduled on Sunday, you have separate calendars, a distinctive regime with regard to servers, lectors and ministers, a sharper difference between priest and laity, different prayers and reception only in one kind, kneeling and on the tongue.

    Co-existence of forms in one parish seems to contradict Msgr Wadsworth’s assertion that ‘the unity of the Roman Rite is now essentially a textual unity.’ The Latin texts are different.

    My experience is limited, and I would welcome contradicting evidence from ‘bi-form’ parishes.

    1. The priest faces the people, there are male and female servers and lectors, there may be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion…. People receive on the tongue or in the hand, as they are moved; neither choice makes a political statement. The Sacrament is offered in both species.

      I suspect that for some, these are precisely the things that they would like to see disappear from the OF. You know, as part of the process of “mutual enrichment” of the two forms.

  24. Having both forms in a parish that already has four OF Masses on Sunday is a challenge in that we have to add the EF once a month on Sunday but offer the low version each Tuesday. From the point of view of parish unity, there has been no adverse affects and I have offered the EF High Mass for a broader congregation and people come to it who would not ordinarily attend and like it for special occasions. I must agree though that having a different lectionary does present some issues on Sunday as well as the different calendar, but these are really minor issues. The manner of celebration and how Holy Communion is distributed are really minor too.
    Recently we celebrated the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul at a regularly scheduled Sunday Mass as an OF Mass but with EF sensibilities. We offered the Extraordinary Form of the Rite of Sprinkling as a prelude to the Mass, our men’s schola sang the EF’s version of the Introit and Offertory and Communion Antiphons; The Introductory and Concluding Rites were presided at the Chair but the Liturgy of the Eucharist was ad orientem. We had four host stations and six chalice stations. The Gloria, Credo III, Sanctus (Orbis Factor), Mystery of Faith and Agnus Dei were in Latin. The Liturgy of the Word was as normal with the normal Responsorial Psalm and Gospel Acclamation. No one at this Mass was disturbed; it was well explained to them especially the ad orientem and the Latin. There was unity and the EF Folks applauded it!
    At three of our five weekend Masses we are now offering the Precious Blood by way of Intinction and with the option of kneeling–it has been extremely well received, those who wish to stand do and if they choose to receive in the hand the Host isn’t intincted. The kneelers are present at all Masses allowing those who wish to kneel for Holy Communion. No one has blinked an eye.
    Co-existence in my parish hasn’t created division and is easily managed.

  25. At yesterday’s closing Mass of the colloquium I spent a great amount of time praying and contemplating over the provocative notion of “time….what does it mean to speak of the past, the future and the present moment….within the context of the mystery of our rites, the communion with the Saints/saints, the re-presention of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, the covenant He made with His disciples and the Church in the Farewell the night before, and that which is real beyond comprehension inwhich we partake and thus become one?” How shall we occupy this “time” when we enact our rites, and serve them with our arts?
    As usual I’ll delay a bit further to say that during those 2 hours I came to another, one of many, moments of peace and communion with all gathered for this OF Mass SUNG in toto, save for the homily. Such Masses aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. But whether a worshipper prays in a steel prefab box, or a sensory overload of artistic, iconic beauty (The Madeleine) or one’s humble parish, s/he should participate in some active anamnesis. As I mentioned earlier, vestry in SLC wasn’t in the slightest fussy or retro, even for EF’s. So, is it a reasonable question to ask: what aspects best serve to elicit that anamnesis? Not speaking for CMAA, I would speculate in good faith that how they answer would be premised highly upon the holistic, inter-related traditions that have been made licit through conventional episcopal legislation endorsed over centuries. Bits like heirarchies, options, and interpretation or enculturation are still inter-related, not stand alone principles. Therefore, forms of musical expression that adhere to chant traditions, and those that emulate and expand its attributes such as polyphony (which I’ll simply define as did one justice about pornography- “I know it when I hear it.”) and subsequent forms that have that same DNA strand obviously and which could only invoke that anamnesis and a profound reverence.

  26. I also mentioned Leon Robert’s “Song of Mary.” I cannot think of any other Magnificat that honors the BVM with such profound reverence in a superior manner. Think, Todd, what is implicit in my appreciation of it in comparison to the magnitude of other settings sung over centuries. I wouldn’t have an ounce of support were I on the editorial board of CMAA planning the liturgies for next year’s colloquium if I advanced that setting. And by their reasoning they’d be right and consistent; the spiritual-influenced Roberts’, tho’ portraying with powerful text painting the fiat of a poor, virtuous 15 year old girl in Roman occupied Judea, calls attention to itself through a musical medium that is culturally earth-bound. Sure, one could argue that European classic polyphony and chant is also, by its apparent elements, of the earth and humans. But CMAA would counter that the traditions the Church extols do indeed extend to the Hebrew Temple rites, and the chants are, no matter their paleographic pedigrees, purposed for our rites.
    You and I are just local yokels doing our best not to constrain the free worship of the Faithful at Mass by the imposition of our own personal tastes. So, to finally get to your question- we are having the meeting between us. In the larger church, the issue of commerce, copyright, ecclesiology, and tensions between authorities and organizations have polluted the atmosphere so that meaningful dialogue between bishops in conference is suppressed, pastors are putting out peripheral fires and not giving full attention to liturgy, and NPM/LMA/CMAA/LAREC have their own agendae to complete.
    Sure, let’s have the meeting now. Todd Flowerday and Charles Culbreth hereby call David Haas, Helen Hull Hitchcock, Bill Mahrt, Mike Joncas, Ed Schaefer et al to a new Snowbird Statement (apparently the USA could use the cold temps!)
    I await everyone’s response.

  27. Well, I’m good with dialogue, but I’m not sure it starts with composers or publishers. I could be wrong. I’m thinking people who work the trenches, who actually struggle with the push and pull of parish life.

    I floated an idea with HHH about a decade ago and she said needed to check with her clergy consultants on it. And that was the end of that.

    Maybe you want to downplay I’m part of this. Just suggestin’.

  28. Well, Todd, to quote Joni Mitchell/Judy Collins, “Since you asked.” 😉
    Besides, I’m just a day dream believer, fool on the hill and a fellow grunt as well. No small wonder even our own kind have trouble following our POVs.

    1. Though I am open to the idea that including the sprinkling rite as an alternative to the penitential rite, rather than a separate ceremony before the beginning of Mass, might have been a mistake in the reform of the liturgy, I wonder about the legitimacy of what is done in the video. I suppose one might justify it by saying that since it takes place before the start of Mass it is not violating the rubrics, but it seems to me to violate the clear intent of the rubrics. Nothing says that a priest can’t put on a superman cape for the procession out of the church after Mass is over, either.

      If one is going to criticize progressive liturgists for overly “creative” interpretations of the rubrics, why shouldn’t this apply to RoR liturgists as well? Isn’t this simply a traditionalists version of the “wouldn’t it be neat” plague that afflicted progressive liturgists for three decades? Aren’t we supposed to conform ourselves to the demands of the rite, rather than conform the rite to our personal preferences?

      I am sure that much of what you are doing liturgically in your parish is salutary, but I worry that some of it is a craving for novelty that is not too different from what was going on in the 70s, during your days in the seminary.

      1. Good points, especially the last one! However, it was a prelude and there can be many preludes before Mass, the most jarring of which are lengthy, grinding rehearsals, but also choral preludes. At our Christmas Children’s Mass we did the Christmas Pageant as a prelude and at our Midnight Mass there is a lengthy choral prelude. The actual Mass began with the Introit, incensation and the normal array at the introductory rite. But yes, I realize that it was a bit out there, but it is indeed a prelude not a part of the Mass even in the EF.
        Oh, by the way, you should critique the deacon who preaches the Mass, I’ll be happy to let him know your thoughts! 🙂

      2. Fr Allan, your church looks beautiful, open and sunny, with the sanctuary visible to the assembly and the altar not fenced off by a rail. The singing seemed musical and enthusiastic, and the warmth of the Mass came through in the video. I would love to visit St Joseph’s if I ever turn up in Macon.

        I think this Mass would have worked better with the priest facing the people rather than the apse, but what you did was, for me, better than Pope Benedict’s standing “in jail” behind 6 candles and a crucifix, peering out at the people.

        It was also encouraging to see EMHCs, given the large congregation, and female servers. And I appreciated your invitation to the assembly to stand (you reminded them that this was normative) or kneel, as they saw fit, to receive Holy Communion.

        A few minor questions.

        1) Your blog said that this was ‘an Ordinary Form Mass with most of it in English except for the Propers and the chanted parts by the Schola and congregation.’ But the collect, postcommunion etc were in English! Or are you using ‘propers’ in a different way?

        2) The deacon censed the people with single swings; I thought that the GIRM now specified that priest, Blessed Sacrament and people were all to be censed in the same way, with “three double swings”. This has been the practice at recent papal Masses. What is your thinking on this?

        3) You had a few English hymns thrown in along with the Latin parts. That seemed fine to me, though I thought that it was part of the RotR movement to get rid of ‘hymn sandwiches’. More generally, I was puzzled at the way that the Mass switched suddenly between English and Latin – the Mysterium Fidei in Latin within an English canon, but the Our Father in English. How do you decide what to say or sing in which language?

        I share Fritz’s concern about adding Tridentine elements to the Mass – the Asperges at the start, the Leonine prayers at the end. What happened to saying the black and doing the red? It seemed jarring, after the deacon’s call to ‘go in peace’, for you to ask the congregation to kneel! Were they to go in peace, or not?

        Thanks, in any event, for sharing this with us. It must have been a splendid event for your congregation.

      3. “I am sure that much of what you are doing liturgically in your parish is salutary, but I worry that some of it is a craving for novelty that is not too different from what was going on in the 70s, during your days in the seminary”

        Thanks, Deacon – score TEN.

      4. Bill in my reply to Fritz astute observation you will note I concur with it. I’m pleased that you too have a disdain for ’70’s type experimentation.

  29. One more question. You have previously mentioned that you offer the Precious Blood only by intinction and therefore on the tongue. How does this work? Does the communicant receive the Host from one minister and than carry it to another to be intincted? Or were those extraordinary ministers able to administer either the Host, on its own, or the intincted Host, depending on the communicant’s wish? And how do the communicants indicate how they wish to receive? The camera was pulled back during the communion, so it was difficult to see what was going on.

  30. This Mass was an experiment. Our normal Sunday Masses, all five of them are usually all in English and we are a hymn singing congregation. We have been trying to figure out how to make one of our Sunday Masses (and which one more importantly) more traditional or “reform of the reform.” Our 12:10 PM Mass is most likely the candidate. We had our men’s schola which sings exclusively at our once a month 2:00 PM Sung EF Mass at the 12:10 PM Mass for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
    The Leonine Prayers are exclusively and just for the “Fortnight” that our bishops instituted which concludes on July 4th. We only are doing these for that two week period which involves two Sundays plus the daily Mass.
    By propers I meant the Introit, offertory and Communion antiphons plus the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith and Agnus Dei, but nothing else. I didn’t want to do the Mystery in Faith in Latin, but my choir director won out! She wanted to do the Our Father in Latin and I wanted English, I won out since we sing it every Sunday in English at all the Masses and it is well known and sung.
    I personally prefer ad orientem for my own concentration. There are many distractions in the congregation facing them, but all our normal Masses face the congregation and those added candlesticks are not on the altar only the four floor standing ones, although we do have a low flung crucifix on the altar (no candles) when facing the congregation.
    In terms of intinction it was not done at this videoed Mass, we had six chalices which is our norm; we began just for the summer months at three of our five Masses mostly because Communion ministers are away and we had a few times when we were missing them. We have intinction sets with a small chalice in the middle of the plate-like ciborium. I’ve made it clear to the congregation that if they wish to receive in the hand that they need to make that clear prior to the Host being intincted,otherwise they would have to receive on the tongue. The minister does the intincting, not the communicant. A significant number receive by intinction but a goodly number make it clear they wish to receive on the hand. The option of kneeling has worked out splendidly too and it is very easy to give Holy Communion either way.
    I personally like metrical hymns and a variety of styles and we actually sing English processional and recessional hymns at our monthly EF Sung Mass. If you notice, though, in the video for the prelude Rite of Sprinkling we sing For All the Saints for its processional, but then chant the official Latin Introit once I change to the chasuble and that technically is the opening hymn of the actual Mass.

    1. The swings of the thurible are single swings as I understand the new GIRM and I’ve only very recently gotten at least one of our deacons to do it correctly, but I will stand corrected if I am misinterpreting the 2002 GIRM.
      The other “70’s type innovation) on my part is at the Sanctus which is relatively long. I said it quietly to my self and launched into the Roman Canon quietly and stopped prior to the English “Hanc Igitur” and once the choir finished the Sanctus and the congregation knelt, I began out loud with the “Hanc Igitur” and prayed the remainder of the Roman Canon in English and aloud. If the Sanctus had been the Jubilatio Sanctus which is very short and well known by the congregation, I would not have done it that way.

      1. Thanks, Father, for all the clarifications. The 2005 GIRM for England and Wales – maybe the US one is different – says this in §277: ‘The following are incensed with three swings of the thurible: the Most Blessed Sacrament, a relic of the Holy Cross and images of the Lord exposed for public veneration, the offerings for the Sacrifice of the Mass, the altar cross, the Book of the Gospels, the Paschal Candle, the priest, and the people.’

        My understanding is that each ‘swing’ (Latin ductus) is actually composed of two motions (= ictus), so that ‘a swing’ is in fact ‘a double swing’. I found this article on ‘Zenit’ which seems to confirm this view. I have no idea if the author is right.

        With the expression “double swing,” Monsignor Peter Elliott describes the mode of incensing which is practically universal custom, in which each “ductus” consists of two “ictus,” or swings. Hence the thurible is raised, swung twice toward the object or person incensed, and then lowered.

        If we may use the somewhat less technical expression of another correspondent, the thurible is “clicked” twice during each “ductus.”

        The difficulty arises because the present liturgical books do not distinguish between the simple swing and double swing (or “double click”) during the “ductus,” but only the number of “ductus” in each circumstance or how many times the thurible is raised and lowered for swinging.

        Previous legislation, however, did make this distinction, and prescribed the double swing for practically the same persons and objects as the present legislation. There is no reason to suppose that the practice has been abrogated.

        Likewise, as authentic custom is also a source of law, the use of the double swing as described by Monsignor Elliott is used practically everywhere — including at the Masses of the Supreme Pontiff.

      2. I’ve watched the Holy Father when he incenses the altar and he gives the crucifix three single swings, however, the deacon incenses him as you describe. Also, I’ve been told that the Holy Father says the EF prescribed psalm to himself as he incenses the altar, thus providing one more excuse for me to use the EF Rite of Sprinkling as a prelude to an OF Mass 🙂 .

      3. GIRM England and Wales 2011:

        277. The Priest, having put incense into the thurible, blesses it with the Sign of the Cross, without saying anything.
        Before and after an incensation, a profound bow is made to the person or object that is incensed, except for the altar and the offerings for the Sacrifice of the Mass.
        Three swings of the thurible are used to incense: the Most Blessed Sacrament, a relic of the Holy Cross and images of the Lord exposed for public veneration, the offerings for the Sacrifice of the Mass, the altar cross, the Book of the Gospels, the paschal candle, the Priest, and the people.
        Two swings of the thurible are used to incense relics and images of the Saints exposed for public veneration; this should be done, however, only at the beginning of the celebration, following the incensation of the altar.
        The altar is incensed with single swings of the thurible in this way:
        a) if the altar is freestanding with respect to the wall, the Priest incenses walking around it;
        b) if the altar is not freestanding, the Priest incenses it while walking first to the right hand side, then to the left.
        The cross, if situated on the altar or near it, is incensed by the Priest before he incenses the altar; otherwise, he incenses it when he passes in front of it.
        The Priest incenses the offerings with three swings of the thurible or by making the Sign of the Cross over the offerings with the thurible before going on to incense the cross and the altar.

        As far as I can see, the US version is identical.

      4. There was a Tridentine practice that you still see in some parishes, where

        – the celebrant is given three double swings
        – the deacon two doubles
        – the MC and other servers one double each
        – and each group of the people (middle, left, right) a single swing

        I guess this reflects descending order of dignity. Fortescue has 6 pages on ecclesiastical rank alone; it doesn’t mention laypeople except to say that the MC could be a layman, that a major prince is incensed with three doubles after the bishop; but a king or the Roman emperor gets three doubles BEFORE the bishop.

        Thankfully this was changed in the normative rite.

      5. re: Jonathan Day on July 4, 2012 – 5:04 pm

        Jonathan: I guess this reflects descending order of dignity. Fortescue has 6 pages on ecclesiastical rank alone; it doesn’t mention laypeople except to say that the MC could be a layman, that a major prince is incensed with three doubles after the bishop; but a king or the Roman emperor gets three doubles BEFORE the bishop.

        I strongly suspect that a recent revival in Fortescue interest in some Catholic liturgical circles reflects not only an attraction to a Tridentine aesthetic but also a troubling affirmation of the political-social implications of incensation rubrics, among other rituals. I would argue that the rubrical prioritization of a king or emperor over a bishop reflects a feudal worldview which must be examined by enthusiasts of older Catholic liturgy regardless of whether or not the aforementioned incensation ritual “complements” the aesthetics of the Tridentine liturgy (scare quotes intended).

        Fortescue’s prioritization of premodern temporal power over ecclesiastical power implicitly supports a social and political worldview which is quite at odds with postmodern democratic governments and the values implicitly or explicitly advanced by postmodern societies. A denial or minimization of this conflict between the premodern and postmodern in turn minimizes the ethical and moral gravity of violence perpetuated in premodern periods.

  31. I said it quietly to my self and launched into the Roman Canon quietly and stopped prior to the English “Hanc Igitur”

    I’ve got to say this seems less justifiable to me than tinkering with the sprinkling rite. In the OF there is a logic, for the most part, to what prayers get said aloud and what get said silently. The silent prayers are devotional prayers of the celebrant, not prayers where he prays as one with the people. Given this logic, to pray part of the canon silently turns it into a private devotion, rather than a prayer of celebrant and people together. The EF seems to have a different logic at work behind what is said aloud and what is said silently. Which shows the dangers of mixing the two willy-nilly.

    (I realize the Holy Father has written in favor of a partially silent canon in the OF, but his reasoning seems flawed to me).

    1. And he wrote that not as Holy Father and not as a interpretation of current law. Even Fr Z has stepped back from encouraging the idea that the practice of a partially silent canon in the OF is licit (he would like to see it become licit, which is different). One tip is that, in the OF, the Sanctus is to be offered jointly by the priest and the people (along with the heavenly choir), so you can’t have the preconciliar practice of a Sanctus being offered by the schola/people while the priest says the Canon.

      1. Well you can, but “may” one do what I did is another question and Karl I would tend to agree with you but obviously not regidly so. I’m all in favor of following the GIRM and rubrics but liturgy is an art not a science nor is it magic where being a slave to one form or another is essential.

      2. Fragment by delicious fragment. As an aside Cardinal Wuerl after a lengthy procession for the closing Mass for the Fortnight for Freedom had everyone sit down for a lenghy welcome and acknowledgement of dignitaries and greetings from the papal nuncio who had greetings from the pope. It lasted 20 minutes which makes the humble EF rite of sprinkling prelude look palatable in comparison, having that delicious cake and being sprinkled with it too!

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