Pope Francis: “The liturgical reform was courageous. We must always go forward, those who go backward are mistaken.”

OgnissantiI was at the parish of Ognissanti (All Saints) in Rome yesterday for the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on the 50th anniversary of the first vernacular Mass celebrated there by Pope Paul VI in 1965. I didn’t have a ticket to get into the church, so I was in the courtyard where the Mass was broadcast on a large screen. (I didn’t have a ticket to get into the courtyard either, but I guess my monastic habit got me in.)

When Paul VI celebrated at Ognissanti in 1965, the Eucharistic Prayer would still have been in Latin, and there was only the Roman Canon. There was an interim missal at that point which hadn’t yet carried out all the directives of the Second Vatican Council, such as its call for more Scripture readings over a cycle of years (Sacrosanctum Concilium 35, 51). The liturgy was rapidly moving toward being entirely vernacular, which is what Paul VI used predominantly but not entirely on March 7, 1965.

The Mass with Francis yesterday was entirely in Italian, including all the Mass parts and service music. A quite fine parish choir sang music which was intended to be congregational – but it had a bit of harmony and staggered entrances that suggested it was really for a choir, and not that many people sang. (You’d think that after 50 years of trying, composers by now would know that… oh, never mind.) But on simpler responses such as the memorial acclamation, I noticed people in the courtyard singing. Pope Francis recited all his parts, and he used Eucharistic Prayer II. Many concelebrating priests, including a couple dozen in the courtyard to distribute Communion to us, I fear from pre-consecrated hosts. Cardinal Kasper was a principal concelebrant – Ognissanti happens to be his titular church as cardinal.

A courtyard is a courtyard, and liturgical prayer outdoors is not easy. (It didn’t help that there was a children’s playground in one corner of the courtyard, and little kids were playing and hollering and going down the slide and shouting etc. throughout the liturgy. I guess parenting theory now isn’t what it was in Minnesota 40 years ago.) Still, this had the feel of a liturgical assembly, certainly more than would have been the case 50 years ago. Everyone knew when to sit and stand, everyone acted as one in the learned language of ritual behavior. I felt at home.

After Mass the pope came into the courtyard and greeted individually several of the faithful standing behind the crowd-control barriers. Then he addressed us all with a microphone. I was immediately struck by his friendly and natural manner that puts a crowd at ease. Francis praised us for persisting outside in the cold weather. (As a Minnesotan, I thought it was pretty mild.) Starting at 3:50 in this news report are the Pope’s words which I translate below.

At times there are difficulties, … but where the Lord is, things go well. Do you agree? (“YES!”) Many thanks. Many thanks for welcoming me here, for your prayer with me at Mass. Let us thank the Lord for what he has done in his Church in these 50 years of liturgical reform. It was truly a courageous gesture for the Church to draw near to the people of God so that they are able to understand well what they are doing. This is important for us, to follow the Mass in this way. It is not possible to go backwards. We must always go forward. Always forward (applause)!  And those who go backward are mistaken. Let us go forward on this path (applause, cheers). Thank you.

After saying that he hoped this parish would continue to be a model for liturgical celebration, he gently chided them. “Mi piacerebbe…,” he said hesitantly, then again, this time continuing.

I wish … that the singing would be a bit stronger (laughter). Are you afraid of singing?? (“NO!”) It seems at times I only heard the choir. The people were a bit quiet in there. Maybe you were singing out here, I don’t know (cheers). Thanks to all, and forward! Forward!”

Then he led us in a Hail Mary and blessed us. And concluded:

Arrivederci! Pray for me. Pray for me!

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49 comments

  1. For those who might be interested, here is a short clip of Pope Francis at the courtyard (starting at about 3:26 mark):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3hyR1a6mjw

    I especially loved that people cheered enthusiastically when the Pope said we must always go forward.

    (You weren’t the one who hollered at the end, Father Anthony, were you? 🙂

    1. @Elisabeth Ahn – comment #1:
      Thanks for the video reference, Elisabeth – I have included it now, and I did my best to translate the Italian.

      Yes, I was cheering with the rest!

      awr

  2. Father Anthony Ruff, OSB…”The Mass with Francis yesterday was entirely in Italian, including all the Mass parts and service music.”

    How is that in obedience to Vatican II’s teachings on Latin and Gregorian Chant?

    How is an all-vernacular Mass possibly in accord with the very name of the “Latin” Church?

    In regard to liturgical music, Holy Mother Church teaches via Vatican II, and, for example, via G.I.R.M., that Gregorian Chant is to be granted “pride of place” during Mass.

    How is all-vernacular liturgical music obedient to the above teaching?

    I say the following in respectful fashion as I love and respect him, but Pope Francis’ decision to offer an all-vernacular Mass shattered completely the Latin Church’s liturgical tradition.

    How can an all-vernacular Mass constitute anything but the total shattering and betrayal of the Latin Church’s liturgical tradition?

    Tom Edwards

    1. @Tom Edwards – comment #2:
      Hi Tom,

      We’ve had this discussion about 100 times at PT and I don’t want us to have it yet again. I hope it is sufficient if we leave your comment and my response, and head off at the pass a further rehashing.

      Sacrosanctum Conciliium did not give exact details about every aspect of the reform, it gave this over to the lawful authority – namely, Paul VI who approved the reforms and strongly and repeatedly said that they were in accord with V2. SC gives, for the most part, general principles. Chief among these are active participation, greater comprehension, and simplification of the rites. These general principles outweigh by far the specific prescriptions of SC and in fact brought about some prescriptions probably not foreseen by all the fathers when they approved SC. This should be admitted forthrightly.

      SC called for the preservation of Latin, but did not specific when/how. One could argue that Latin is being preserved in the Church as a whole now, even if not in the way some of the specific prescriptions of SC seem to suggest. It is entirely possible that the general principle of active participation later came to outweigh the specific prescriptions of SC about language, and this seems to me to be what the lawful authority permitted. And note that, regarding the vernacular, the council left open how much would be used, and gave this decision over to (what we now call) bishops’ conferences, subject to Roman approval. So strictly speaking the door was left open for the legality of an entirely vernacular liturgy.

      I’m no opponent of Latin. I worked for, and was glad that the US bishops advocated in Sing to the Lord, all liturgical assemblies knowing basic Latin chants. I have quadrupled or quintupled the amount of Latin chant in my abbey, to considerable resistance.

      I am an opponent of idolizing Latin, and of misreading SC to stay angry about our liturgy.

      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #8:
        While I would like to have seen some Latin preserved in the Ordinary Form of the Mass, I must say again that a little Latin goes a long way with me. But this brings us back to the vernacular/Latin debate. What you have done at your abbey is your personal idiosyncrasy that has evidently been challenged by some of your monks. The reason is that it is idiosyncratic since one is now allowed an all vernacular Mass.

        I feel the same way when I as pastor impose Latin on any part of our Ordinary Form Mass in my parish–it is my idiosyncrasy that people can rightly say no other pastor in the diocese does such a thing. And they have a point.

        However, if we were told from on high, like the Vatican, that at least the Kyrie (Greek), Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster and Agnus Dei and possibly the propers must be chanted in Latin, then its the law and no one can criticize you or me for being idiosyncratic liturgists who impose Latin on poor souls’ ears.

        When I celebrate our monthly EF High Mass and would be glad to do so every Sunday if we had a larger number demanding it, I have no anxieties about the Latin. It must be used in this form of the Mass. And fortunately this form of the Mass will preserve our Latin heritage but in more a “mustard seed” sort of way going forward.

      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #8:
        Father Anthony, your remarks say it better than I could. I don’t know how anyone would expect the council fathers to order preferred use of the vernacular in the liturgy when the vernacular had (scarcely) been in use for over 15 or so centuries. They left it to the bishops’ conferences to implement, with help from the Consilium in laying out the framework. I hope and pray that the bishops will re-assert their prerogatives more and more, as some are now doing.

      3. Father Anthony Ruff, OSB …#8:

        “We’ve had this discussion about 100 times at PT and I don’t want us to have it yet again. I hope it is sufficient if we leave your comment and my response, and head off at the pass a further rehashing.

        “Sacrosanctum Conciliium did not give exact details about every aspect of the reform, it gave this over to the lawful authority – namely, Paul VI who approved the reforms and strongly and repeatedly said that they were in accord with V2. SC gives, for the most part, general principles.

        “I am an opponent of idolizing Latin, and of misreading SC to stay angry about our liturgy.”

        Dear Father, thank you for your reply. It has been only during the past few days that I have read your blog regularly. I was unaware as to the frequency of this or that discussion on your blog.

        In regard to Pope Blessed Paul VI, I simply recall his teachings in regard to Latin and Gregorian Chant. It is he who issued documents which declared that the Faithful were to sing or say in Latin certain parts of the Mass.

        Pope Paul VI declared (example, in a 1967 A.D. document) that as Vatican II had stated, that Gregorian Chant enjoyed “pride of place” during Mass.

        It was His Holiness who approved Jubilate Deo.

        It was Pope Blessed Paul VI who taught that a Latin Rite Catholic had every reason to encounter Latin and Gregorian Chant at Mass.

        As to “idolizing Latin”…are there Catholics who idolize Latin? For that matter, are there Catholics who idolize vernaculars?

        Anyway, to speak for myself, I don’t idolize Latin. I simply obey Holy Mother Church’s teachings in regard to Latin.

        It is She who has informed me that I should cherish Latin and Gregorian Chant. It is She who has informed me that I have every reason as a Roman Rite, Latin Church Catholic to worship God at Mass via Latin and Gregorian Chant.

        Pope Blessed Paul VI’s documents teach the above.

        That said, Pope Blessed Paul VI isn’t the beginning and end of Church teaching.

        Thank you and…

    2. @Tom Edwards – comment #2:
      How many times must it be noted that it was the Bishops after Vatican II who petitioned as was their right for the vernacular liturgy.They had seen the benefits of the vernacular used so far and knew we needed more.
      I remember a very poignant moment after the introduction of the vernacular. We had the Liber Usualis every day to sing out of …at 6:15 in the morning. One day the superior said to us, let’s sing the Latin like we used to. We all agreed. But you know what…after three years of singing from the Liber, we did not want to go back. It was wonderful to pray the Mass in our own language and we felt the difference. Maybe the Bishops felt that way too.

    3. @Tom Edwards – comment #2:

      In regard to liturgical music, Holy Mother Church teaches via Vatican II, and, for example, via G.I.R.M., that Gregorian Chant is to be granted “pride of place” during Mass.

      How is all-vernacular liturgical music obedient to the above teaching?

      The teaching does not say exactly what you think it does.The Council Fathers said (SC 116):

      The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

      The phrase “other things being equal” has been much debated in the past. The fact is that in the vast majority of today’s liturgies “other things” are far from equal, and it is difficult to find an appropriate place for much Gregorian Chant. Musicam Sacram 50a even quotes this paragraph, but under a heading which says “In sung liturgical services celebrated in Latin:” — the implication being that in services not celebrated in Latin it does not need to be given pride of place or be considered especially suitable. Not everyone would agree with that, of course, but it’s a significant point.

      1. Paul Inwood – comment #24:

        “The fact is that in the vast majority of today’s liturgies “other things” are far from equal, and it is difficult to find an appropriate place for much Gregorian Chant.”

        I have never heard the Catholic Church teach the above in regard to Gregorian Chant.

        On the contrary, the Catholic Church teaches that in regard to liturgical music, Gregorian Chant enjoys premier status during Mass.

        Therefore, as a Catholic, I am compelled to obey Holy Mother Church. I reject your “interpretation” in question.

        Peace.

        Tom Edwards

      2. @Tom Edwards – comment #34:
        Mr.Edwards – your anger grows tiresome. Please re-read number 8 from Fr. Anthony.
        Just because you have never heard the Catholic Church teach something about Gregorian Chant – well, that is just your personal experience and opinion. What about your responsibility? Or are you just a passive catholic in this faith journey?
        No, no – the church did not teach that Gregorian Chant enjoys premier status during Mass – re-read #24 and no, Charles, Paul Inwood’s comment is not Rubbish. (ad hominem, if there ever was one; continues the usual RotR mantra to ignore the hierarchy of pronouncements; that SC started with principles, goals, directives, and specifics……you are cherry picking and making that one sentence take on the same power and importance as SC’s liturgical principles. Rita’s response is correct and you might want to re-read Fr. Anthony’s #8 again)

  3. Going forward and backwards and possibilities of either are in the eye of the beholder in terms of what this means. Much of the revision of the Tridentine Mass was to go backwards to the sources (the early Church if not the Church while the New Testament was being formulated) and recover the simplicity that was supposedly lost with byzantine accretions and the like not to mention repetitions. Evidently this type of backward thinking or going was/is encouraged by the progressive camp.

    But going backwards to recover the sense of the sacred that the Tridentine Mass symbolizes seems to be denigrated by the very same camp. Is this what the Pope was denigrating in his off the cuff remarks in the courtyard? One wonders.

    The recovery of the sense of the sacred at papal Masses seems to have been kicked up a notch by Pope Francis even compared to Pope Benedict, not so much in visuals, but in demeanor. The congregation both at the Vatican and at yesterday’s Mass were asked prior to Mass to enter into prayerful silence and not to applaud the pope as he entered. (Applauding popes at the beginning of Mass was a tradition of Italians even under Benedict). Pope Francis became irritated at the end of the Mass when the congregation broke into applause for him and began the final blessing over it. He doesn’t even acknowledge the congregation coming or going from Mass and his liturgical personality is very different than he public audience personality such as what occurred in the courtyard.

    At Mass, Pope Francis even when facing the congregation for prayer prays in an “ad orientem” sort of way. If only parishes could follow his lead and his Masses at the Vatican even with all vernacular, we will go a long way in authentic liturgical renewal. I might add that at the papal Masses I attended while on sabbatical the multitudes did attempt to sing the common Latin parts and vernacular hymns as the Vatican provides booklets to encourage it.

    Recovering the sense of the sacred and actual participation beginning with God’s action in the liturgy is going forward. Going back to the 1960’s really would be dreadful and pray God impossible!

    1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #2:
      Fr. Allan,

      Regarding ‘forward’ and ‘backward,’ the more interesting question for me is what the Pope means here. I’m pretty sure he means (unlike you) that backward would be to the 1950s, not the 1960s.

      But I like your thoughts about directing our prayer toward God when we are gathered for liturgical prayer.

      awr

  4. Pope Francis…”The liturgical reform was a courageous gesture [in which] the Church drew near to the people of God so that they understand what they are doing.”

    Prior to said reform, the People of God did not understand what…the Mass…the Faith?

    [Note: This comment cites an earlier version which was translated differently, before the video was available. – awr]

  5. I take the 50’s in this context to mean what many of the laity might have done during Mass in Latin, that is just sit there and not participate verbally or in singing (and thus the pope’s chide of the congregation yesterday out in the courtyard even with the Italian singing). I think I heard in the pope’s homily yesterday an off the cuff swipe at those who prayed the Rosary during Mass or did other things.

    I think the vernacular was very well received in the 1960’s by my father’s generation and by me as a teenager because it does aid in participation, with both aspects of actual participation, internal and external. But let’s face it, one could have an all vernacular EF Mass, add the universal prayer, new lectionary, audible canon and God forbid, Kiss of Peace and have a spectacularly participative congregation Mass and blow the roof off of the top of the Church.

    I doubt that today we could go back to banning the EF Mass as was tried in the 1960’s. But a revised Ordinary Form Mass even if all in the vernacular could evolve from the new situation we have today. But I’m not clairvoyant.

  6. Pope Francis criticised the unenthusiastic singing? Maybe he should lead by example! I am disappointed that he doesn’t sing.

    1. @Frances Dunlop – comment #9:
      Two thoughts, one on presidential and one on congregational singing.

      First, I suppose some would say that more priests who can’t sing should just… oh, never mind. 🙂

      Second, I’d love to see the pope – and any celebrant – walking down the aisle with the leaflet in hand, singing along with the congregation. This is what the US bishops call for in Sing to the Lord. But I suppose this would be hard to juggle with the staff in the other hand. It sure would set a good example though.

      awr

      1. @Fr. John Comerford, O. Carm. – comment #22:
        Just a small correction: It was reported that during one of the evening discussions around dinner in the Casa Santa Marta during the conclave when the cardinals were discussing among themselves about the possible candidates, one of the cardinals reported that the group he was chatting with were concerned about Bergoglio as they thought he only had one lung. So they asked him. He answered that it was not true. He had some sections of the upper lobe of his right lung excised due to some cysts that resulted from a bad case of pneumonia/pleuresy when he was in his early 20’s. His left lung is fine as well as the remainder of his right lung. He does get breathless sometimes upon exertion but seems to be fine otherwise. It is true, by his own admission, that he cannot sing or, as he puts it “you don’t want me to sing”. However, I watched this Mass and he was singing the Holy Holy and looked like he was giving it his best. I have seen him sing at other Masses but it looks more subdued. I think he sang at this Mass because the others around him were singing quite loudly and he figured nobody could hear him.

      2. @Reyanna Rice – comment #46:
        View from the Pew:
        Regarding: ” I think he sang at this Mass because the others around him were singing quite loudly and he figured nobody could hear him.”

        – That too is my way of twice praying.

  7. Great post. Great encouragement from the Pope. This will help to cut through some of the double talk and confusion sown by those who want to argue that the past is the future and backward is forward, etc.

    I know it will give the pastors of parishes and the bishops of dioceses encouragement to keep moving forward with the reforms of Vatican II rather than looking over their shoulders at some other expectations, namely that they ought to be changing the reform and changing direction.

    The challenge is for those who went into the seminary thinking the future of the church lies in restoring the pre-conciliar or “reforming the reform.” If this is their hope and vision, Pope Francis’s words will be very challenging. I hope they are open to hearing these words, however, and with open eyes and hearts perhaps looking again at those features of the reform that they have not accepted or not loved very well, and learning to see them in a new way — as the way forward in faith with the Church.

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #13:
        Sorry – as Fr. Joe Komonchack says often: The Pope is not the Church and the Church is not the Pope.
        #13’s attitude feels and sounds like cynicism rather than any type of faith journey that holds the virtue of hope.
        It makes the church out to be a *game* between warring factions – but, as Rita said well in #12, if your whole life’s project from seminary onwards has been to look *backwards* (as in the 1950s and then a very magical 1950s’ view as if liturgy was perfect because of latin, altar rails, bells, foot of the altar prayers, last gospel, etc.) then it would appear to only underline Francis’s comments about *self-reverential*, clericalism, etc. and yes that is idiosyncratic. In fact, if SC had been fully implemented – it would not be the *pope* but episcopal conferences that made liturgical changes/developments with papal recognito. Thus, no need for you to wait for someone slipping on a banana.

    1. @Rita Ferrone – comment #12:

      This will help to cut through some of the double talk and confusion sown by those who want to argue that the past is the future and backward is forward, etc.

      You know, Rita, back in my NPM days, one of my all time favorite plenum addresses was excellently orated by the late, great Professor Mark Searle. You might remember the title: Remembering Into the Future. It is a conceptual argument, if you will, that moving forward does not necessarily mean discarding the past. To the contrary, I believe the professor foreshadowed for many of us back in the day, that the judicious usage of all of the sacred treasuries of our Rites ought to be part of the ongoing continuum. I can agree that stubborn stalwarts on both extremes of the music wars are hindrances to integration. But, despite how Fr. Anthony characterizes misappropriation of the CSL text to “force” the maintenance of the use of Greek and Latin, it is a very real and binding objective, one of many, that we have yet to come to terms with. Where there is intention and resources, let the options available to enrich the liturgy be encouraged, not discouraged. There is room for a chanted Pater Noster, “Pescador de hombres” and Palestrina in a forward thinking parish.

      1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #21:
        Charles, I don’t disagree with anything you say here about tradition and the future of liturgy. The problem is that this thinking was widely available before the reform of the reform, and trampled down in the rush to embrace a wholesale restorationist mentality that would not abide Pescadore des Hombres, or communion from the cup, or women in the sanctuary, or sharing the sign of peace, or even standing for communion. When restorationism is labeled progress, we’ve gotten to George Orwell’s dystopia in the novel 1984. I’m glad to know that’s not what you’re advocating.

      2. @Rita Ferrone – comment #28:

        C. S. Lewis famously said, and very truly:

        We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

        Labelling mere change as progress can be more Orwellian than labelling restorationism as such.

        What is progress has to be argued on the merits – It can’t be based on what is more like historical practice. Indeed, it is often the reverse, which we why we talk of REform. Or as Edmund Burke said, and Vatican II took up in part with its ressourcement, if your recent ancestors have failed you, look back to find an older and wiser set.

  8. Fr. Allan J. McDonald : @Rita Ferrone – comment #12: Just keep in mind that we just one banana slip away from another pope who can reverse things as quickly as the current Bishop of Rome. Neither of the opposing factions in the Church should be too smug.

    That thought kept me going during the previous papacy, but only just.

    1. @Alan Johnson – comment #15:
      There is a clear precedent now with Pope Francis to disregard predecessors and protocol. Benedict was a bit more circumspect and methodical and moved slowly and didn’t mandate, but not Francis. Thus both sides need a new humility as it concerns future Bishops of Rome and what they will and won’t do and just what moving forward means. I just hope the newly “ultra montane” will be so in season and out just as the old ones should be, like me! 🙂

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #16:
        I think I’m with Fr. Allan in being cautious about predicting the future. We really don’t know what will come next, and all sides should keep that in mind.
        awr

  9. I find myself once again face to face with the conflicting feelings of annoyance and empathy with regard to those who continue to argue that the Missal of Paul VI is something other than the legitimate Roman Rite as reformed under the authority of the bishops of the world in concert with the bishop of Rome. Today I think I will go with empathy. These words of Pope Francis must be disappointing and perhaps downright hurtful. But the gospel entails a message that is very difficult to bear and downright disappointing for those who may be looking for an easier, softer way of following Christ. It took more than 200 years for the Missal of Pius V to take hold throughout the church. And it took hundreds of more years before Pius X and Pius XII began to notice a need for reform and renewal. The Novus Ordo is the legitimate successor to the Roman Rite as it was celebrated according to the old Missal. That Benedict has recognized what he cleverly calls the EF as still valid for those who prefer it, is an act of great generosity but not a license for taking potshots at the Missal authorized by Paul VI.

  10. I don’t want to rehash any old debates, but I find it interesting that Francis is making this “comprehensibility” case. Most Latin Masses provide translations, which makes it little different than going to a foreign film with subtitles. Except in that case, people who go to foreign films are considered forward-thinking, and those who refuse to ever see such films are close-minded. Yes, Latin is a far more complicated situation, but you get the point. I love a good vernacular Mass with a beautiful ars celebrandi, but it seems to me that the comprehensibility argument is a rather weak case nowadays. There are other pastoral justifications to be made, so why dwell on that one when it doesn’t hold water?

    Secondly, echoing Charles’ comment regarding the whole forwards/backwards thing: I am reminded of what the early music specialist Gustav Leonhardt said, that it is impossible to go backwards. Even if we go to the trouble to use period instruments, in an appropriate hall, with gas lanterns, we still come to the event with our lives influenced by the experiences of everything that has happened since then. So it’s impossible to “recreate” something; everything is a new experience. I would venture to say that for many people drawn to the Latin Mass who were born after the Council, that they don’t consider it “backwards” at all. (I’m not getting into the Novus Ordo/extraordinary form debate – that’s a different matter). Everything is new for them. We should never discount that as a tool for evangelization.

    I once performed Couperin’s Mass for the Parishes, in a concert setting, in the context of a thoroughly sung Latin Mass (it was a fake concert setting, not sacramental). We used the Novus Ordo. I was aware that it was completely anachronistic – Couperin would not have known some of those chants, and the practice wherein the organ replaces sung text of the Ordinary was banned long ago. I didn’t care, because I was more interested in creating a new para-liturgical experience, rather than attempting to…

  11. fact is that in the vast majority of today’s liturgies “other things” are far from equal, and it is difficult to find an appropriate place for much Gregorian Chant.

    Rubbish, Paul, and you know it.

    1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #25:

      Rubbish, Paul, and you know it.

      Not rubbish, and you know that too, Charles. I know you can think of 101 liturgies where Gregorian Chant would stand out like a sore thumb, or, as Aidan Kavanagh famously put it, would be like putting a baroque dome on a dairy stand. Or would simply be impossible to bring off.

      Think of attempting Attende, Domine during a Mariachi Mass, to give just the first of many possible examples that I am sure you can easily add to yourself. This is the sort of thing that lies behind the phrase “other things being equal” — we have to be sensible about all this. You can’t simply dump one set piece into any old liturgy and assume that it will do the trick; and that applies to all idioms, not just the chant. You can’t impose an idiom that requires extremely good musicianship on resources that will never get there. None of that is interpretation, by the way, Tom Edwards, it is simply fact and common sense.

      When the conditions are not propitious for the use of chant — in other words, when the “other things are not equal” — it is foolish to insist on trying to use it.

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #42:

        Pope Francis (the same with Pope Benedict XVI) offered the Creole Mass (Misa Criolla) at Saint Peter’s Basilica.

        Pope Francis offered said Mass on December 12, 2014. As described from the earlier Creole Mass offered by Pope Benedict XVI, the Creole Mass was “celebrated in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin with several musical pieces — including the Kyrie and Gloria — drawn from the “Misa Criolla,” a 1964 composition in Spanish that includes elements of Latin American folk music.

        “Latin American musicians sang and played traditional instruments such as the bombo drum, flute, guitars and various percussion instruments like goat nails.”

        I am not certain as to Father Ruff’s policy of posting links to this blog. But Pope Francis’ December 12, 2014 Creole Mass is available on Youtube.

        Youtube…”Mass for Latin America 2104.12.12.”

        As described, said Mass featured various languages as well as “Latin American folk music played on traditional instruments such as the bombo drum, flute, guitars and various percussion instruments like goat nails.”

        Guess what?

        Gregorian Chant was also utilized during the Creole Mass offered last December by Pope Francis (as well as the Creole Mass offered a few years earlier at Saint Peter’s Basilica).

        Mister Paul Inwood, that fact contradicted your claim that “you can’t simply dump one set piece into any old liturgy and assume that it will do the trick; and that applies to all idioms, not just the chant. You can’t impose an idiom that requires extremely good musicianship on resources that will never get there. None of that is interpretation, by the way, Tom Edwards, it is simply fact and common sense.”

        Sorry, but “common sense” from Rome reveals that you can “dump” Gregorian Chant into “any old liturgy”…even into the Creole Mass.

        Tom Edwards

      2. @Paul Inwood – comment #42:

        So what you’re saying is that, once one has introduced an artistically inferior genre of music that is less suitable for liturgical prayer (in mariachi we are, after all, talking about cantina music!), one can then turn around and claim that one has debased things to a sufficient point that the rules no longer apply?

        This seems similar to the circular reasoning about “unfamiliar” chant . The Council called for all the faithful to be able to sing the ordinary in Latin. Inter oecumenici entrusted that task to pastors. Paul VI issued Jubilate Deo to further the project. IIRC, every GIRM since has, in one way or another, called for Catholics to be able to sing their parts in Latin. And yet when we sit down around the table to plan out parish music we are told that “you obviously can’t use chant because other things aren’t equal – no one knows how to sing it.” But only because such a situation was contrived contrary to the mind of the Church!

        A similarly clever bit of chicanery is used re: the “pastoral” effectiveness of Latin and its ability to foster active participation. SC clearly stands in line with Pius X’s and XII’s attempts to foster “active participation” through singing the people’s Mass parts in Latin. It also thinks the vernacular can now help, but the fathers obviously felt active participation was possible, as it had been before, in the Latin tongue. And yet very quickly after the Council we had dichotomous presentations to the extent that “before you couldn’t ‘participate’ at all; vernacular comprehension is essential.” Drill that into people’s heads as a self-evident truth for a few decades and don’t teach them any strategies for non-vernacular participation, then, whaddaya know? When you take a straw poll it turns out people don’t feel they can participate in Latin. That doesn’t tell us anything about the pastoral merits of either language; it just shows that people bought what their ‘liturgists’ were selling.

  12. Now that the EF is available to those who hanker after chant and Latin, why does this debate need to continue?

    1. Alan Johnson – comment #26:

      “Now that the EF is available to those who hanker after chant and Latin, why does this debate need to continue?”

      I know many Catholics at my (and surrounding parishes) who “hanker after chant and Latin” via the EF. But said “hankering” has been denied to us by our bishop.

      In fact, I know many Catholics in my area who “hanker after chant and Latin” via the Ordinary Form of Mass. However, our bishop has also denied said “hankering”.

      Via the Web, I have read countless statements from Catholics who have reported that their bishops have also frustrated their (the Faithful’s) “hankering” for chant and Latin via both forms of the Roman Rite.

      Tom Edwards

      Now that the EF is available to those who hanker after chant and Latin, why does this debate need to continue?

      1. @Tom Edwards – comment #35:
        Then this is a conversation that you need to have with your bishop. It is my understanding that bishops have no right to prevent use of the EF.

      2. @Tom Edwards – comment #35:
        I know many Catholics at my (and surrounding parishes) who “hanker after chant and Latin” via the EF. But said “hankering” has been denied to us by our bishop.
        In fact, I know many Catholics in my area who “hanker after chant and Latin” via the Ordinary Form of Mass. However, our bishop has also denied said “hankering”.
        Via the Web, I have read countless statements from Catholics who have reported that their bishops have also frustrated their (the Faithful’s) “hankering” for chant and Latin via both forms of the Roman Rite.

        Really? What sort of actual numbers are there? I can keep seeing this argument made by folks of this persuasion, but I really don’t see many – I can’t think of even one parishioner right now – in my parish. It’s just difficult for me to think that there is a craving thirst for this which bishops are denying. Is there polling data to support this point in the general population? If there was an actual, significant demand I think that demand would be filled. Especially if there were collections associated with that Liturgy. 🙂

  13. “A quite fine parish choir sang music which was intended to be congregational – but it had a bit of harmony and staggered entrances that suggested in was really for a choir, and not that many people sang.” Anthony Ruff, OSB perfectly summed up the “Traditional Mass” (not EF) choir at my parish.

    I do not attend Mass to see a “show choir” performance; nor do I attend Mass to see how many high notes I can hit. As for the staggered entrances and what I refer to as The Big Finish, well, I won’t even get into that. Suffice to say, I hear singing diminish when the choir ‘does its own thing.’ If “singing is to pray twice,” shouldn’t everyone at Mass have the same opportunity? (originally posted on facebook)

  14. I believe in holy mother church, but Latin and ad orientum are not going to get people back in the church. What will get people back are ones who tell the truth, teach the truth and live their lives in that manner. We have a do as I say and not as I do church. Francis is credible in action word and deed.

  15. Thankfully this same pope has said that he is not against summorum pontificum and will not touch it, that EF is a treasure which should be preserved and that those communities that use the EF aid in the proper implementation and interpretation of Vatican II.

    I also think that it’s significant that one of the biggestproblems according to Francis in contemporary liturgy is a lack of adoration, and he has pointed to eastern liturgies as places where this sense that adoration is the primary purpose of liturgy has been preserved.

  16. “Now that the EF is available to those who hanker after chant and Latin, why does this debate need to continue?”

    Because the RotR isn’t just about reviving the EF, it is also about making the OF more like the EF. Make the OF more like the EF. Chip away at it long enough and maybe then there will only be the EF left, but don’t dare touch the EF.

    It’s a one way street.

  17. @Peter Kwasniewski – comment #31:
    Let’s look at this – beyond Alcuin and Gamber, do you find any recognized and accredited theologates, universities, pontifical schools, seminaries that teach the works of Alcuin or Gamber? Can see that they might refer to Gamber to engender discussion, critical thinking, etc. but they have little to no positive impact on the current liturgical practice of the church in most of the world.
    Let’s drill down on some of Alcuin’s points – a *good* counterbalance (in your opinion only):
    – to quote – “…a little anomalous—after all, the ‘new’ Mass came into force on the first Sunday of Advent in 1969. Why the celebrations now?” What comes to mind is – a difference without a distinction. Grasping for straws, etc.
    – He actually finds the reason later (but he misses that point) as he states: “To arrive at an extensive use of the vernacular merely 459 days after the promulgation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy on December 4, 1963, was quite an accomplishment—a direct fruit of the requests submitted by the Italian bishops to the Consilium and of the prompt and positive responses it increasingly gave to such requests. The leadership of the Consilium and, seemingly, most Italian bishops, regarded the maximum use of the vernacular as being of great importance, if not as indispensable, in achieving a participatory and truly pastoral liturgy” and thus this anniversary.
    – “….question of arriving at a liturgy that was completely in the vernacular was a burning quest which left the clearly nuanced provisions of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy far behind” …… *burning question* – really, he gets this from his reading of Bugnini and then his opinionated follow up that this *burning*, of course, led to ignoring SC nuances. What historians would say is that Alcuin isn’t doing historical interpretation but hagiography (reading the past through the eyes of the present) in order to support his biased RotR ideology

    – to quote: ” Paul VI regarded this day as marking “the beginning of a flourishing spiritual life.” It would appear in retrospect that he was, by and large, wrong. Neither the introduction of the vernacular or the ritual reforms that this date saw (or their successors) has led to a“flourishing” ecclesial life in the decades since.”

    So, how does he support this condemnation and judgment?
    a) it has not filled our churches (again, hagiography and poor cause and effect reasoning – attendance varied across the world and most episcopal annals reported increased attendance until around 1980 in the western world – this judgment doesn’t work at all in Africa, South/Central America.
    b) “……first Italian Mass in history is a little disingenuous. Rather, the issue is the nature of Catholic liturgy, and of the formation in it which is necessary to enable widespread fruitful participation in and connection with the action of Christ in the liturgy.”
    Again, no documentation; poor cause and effect; ignores the years immediately after VII; dismisses the thousands of lay and clerics who focused on liturgy, development, education, Federations of Diocesan Liturgy Councils, parish liturgy councils, development of liturgical music, RCIA, the work of the ICEL and ecumenical partnerships that impacted liturgy and sacramental understandings; etc. This is, rather, a negative judgment that ignores history; uses attendance in the 21st century as the only and defining marker (really?); and insults faithful catholics who spent their lives building communities of faith.
    c) the usual *suspect*, Consilium, is again the enemy, the bad guy. They failed to *a priori* prepare for liturgical formation; they practiced *de-construction* and *reconstruction*. (again, as above, ignoring or dismissing actual history, achievements, events, etc.)

    Finally, Alcuin gives no documentation for his false allegations; his negative judgments. This is merely an attack advocacy piece that rises to the level of Fox News.

  18. “Think of attempting Attende, Domine during a Mariachi Mass, to give just the first of many possible examples that I am sure you can easily add to yourself.”

    Uh, the problem with that is not the chant, but the Mariachi music. I know of at least one excellent Mexican priest who despises Mariachi Masses. Even if you accept the presence of folk traditions in the Mass, mariachi only represents one region of Mexico, and a stereotypical one at that. Most Spanish-language Masses have attendees from all across the Western hemisphere, many of whom don’t identify with mariachi at all. The Cathedral of the Madeleine did plenty of “fusion” Masses with the cathedral choir and Spanish choir with instruments. It was a grand and fun experiment. For instance, it would not have been abnormal to experience a procession with congregational chant antiphon in Latin from the Graduale SImplex, accompanied by organ, and the choir singing the psalm verses in both English and Spanish, and then to have the guitars playing later in the Mass in a more folk-inspired way. I even played organ continuo style with the Spanish choir guitars. Is it ideal? No. But the Spanish choir members loved the chant too, and were thrilled when the organ was used. Let’s not put people into categories – that’s not reality.

  19. I think it’s kind of interesting that 50 years on the Pope felt it necessary to chide the people for not singing. Maybe they needed a cantor to stand up front with arm raised, or a notice in the bulletin that “full, active, participation” is expected. I personally think if the people in the pews were given something worthy to sing, they would be more likely to sing with gusto. The musical settings used had that banal, childish, sing-songy quality characteristic of a lot of music used in the Novus Ordo that is difficult to sing without feeling a tad bit silly and self-conscious (especially for men in the congregation). As for Gregorian chant having “pride of place”, we know that in many places it is treated more like the crazy uncle hidden away in the attic “all other things being equal.” I find it strange us Catholics are so eager to distance ourselves from our unique liturgical patrimony instead of taking pride in what makes us unique. Maybe if we could be more like the cool kid Protestants, they would like us. The remodeled sanctuary area seemed to have a bare, antiseptic quality to it that seems cold, kind of like a doctor’s office.

  20. “The liturgy isn’t something odd, over there, far away” that has no bearing on one’s everyday life, he said. (Pope Francis at Ognissanti, as reported by Carol Glatz)
    The observance of the principles set forth in this Instruction will contribute to the gradual development, in each vernacular, of a sacred style that will come to be recognized as proper to liturgical language. Thus it may happen that a certain manner of speech which has come to be considered somewhat obsolete in daily usage may continue to be maintained in the liturgical context. (“Liturgiam Authenticam” 27)

  21. View from the Pew
    Regarding: “…but where the Lord is, things go well. Do you agree? (“YES!”)”

    – This, the sole measure for the depth of the eternal mystery of and within the Celebration of the Eucharist.

    – For sure, bad translations, Latin, Gregorian Chant (at one time the innovation from the Archbishop of Rome), and a plethora of artifacts of the culture of Europe (mostly Italian, and western Europe) do not in anyway give cause for Lord to be present to us no matter where in the world ‘us’ are. For some these are their language of response to that mystery of where the Lord is.

    -“[Where] the Lord is” in truth is the only fact worthy of catechesis.

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