From Michael Silhavy at Twin Cities Mass Settings:
Many of us are “using” the release of the Missal to accomplish many things. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Some are using the release of the Missal to establish uniformity in sung settings at all Masses, whether it be in a single parish, a region, or even a diocese. Some are using the release of the Missal to teach brand new music; others are using this opportunity as a time to discard old settings and bad musical habits. Some are using this time to catch up on GIRM or RS implementation. Some places will use the implementation as a way to introduce more dialogical singing. Catechesis on the Mass is happening all over the place because of the release of the revised Missal. These are all good, honest things.
But I’ve heard of some who are using the release of the Missal as the excuse for implementing their own personal wishes. “The new Missal asks us to eliminate hymns in place of chant.” “The new Missal wants us to sing more Latin.” “The new Missal demands that only the Grail translation of the psalms be used.” (Now there’s a whopper.)
A parish, more properly a pastor, is free do as it/he wishes in many matters. A parish can forbid music by a certain composer. A parish can choose not to use certain musical styles or instruments. Heck, a parish can outlaw all music in D Major if it wants. But don’t say things are being done “because the Missal demands it.” Be honest.
“The new Missal wants us to sing more Latin.”
The new English translation of the Missal (at least as it has been printed in the US) doesn’t seem to support that claim, since I’ve heard from several priests that it actually doesn’t contain any Latin in it!
Am I to understand that Sanctus XVIII and Agnus Dei XVIII were removed in the US edition? Same with the Latin Pater Noster?
Jeffrey, you are correct… the Latin Ordo Missae is not included in published editions of the RM3. Perhaps they wanted to spare us the temptation of comparing and finding all the inconsistencies?
That’s why I include the Latin text above the English translation in my catechetical materials…
How is that possible when no one can say the simple prayers in Latin? Forget about translating “in sitio” the Missal. No one knows Latin anymore, or so we have been told for so long.
The only Latin that’s there is Kyrie eleison, and sure, that’s Greek.
The Latin Order is removed in the new Roman Missal, but the Sanctus, Pater Noster and Agnus Dei in Latin are smack dab in the middle of the normal order of the Mass and not to be found later in some appendix. I’d be happy if everyone in the world could do just those three–seems like that is what is encouraged, although the English option is first and we all know what that means in order of preference. But the choice of those three is certainly simple enough to do.
What’s the advantage in praying the Our Father in Latin?
Some of us like to pray in Latin or learn some basic prayers in Latin so we can pray as our parents, and their parents before them, and the many generations before that did. There is something comfortable in the familiar. And now that we can see what they mean with the click of a mouse that would bring active participation to a whole new level where the need for instant gratification of every single word in every Mass experience is no longer the necessary. We participate outside that one hour as well looking up things we don’t understand just as we use google for a myriad of other things. The quick study it may take helps to bring the Mass out of the Church and into the life and home and all kinds of times during the day.
I have on a few occasions been in situations where people spoke a variety of native languages and praying the Our Father, Sanctus and Agnus Dei provided a linguistic common ground for praying together. Of course, this only worked because we all knew those prayers in Latin.
To Dcn. Fritz’s point, that has been the main reason given lately by official Church documents, that knowing a few of the “staple” prayers in Latin helps when Mass is celebrated in an international setting.
Many of us are “using” the release of the Missal to accomplish many things.
Some are using the release of the Missal to teach brand new music; others are using this opportunity as a time to discard old settings
These are all good, honest things.
There is abundant evidence, especially in regard to music, that familiarity leads to liking. And that unfamiliar things, especially very unfamiliar things, often elicit confusion, and dislike.
So the first honesty that is necessary is that change is usually discomforting, especially among people at the lowest level of the organization, e.g. consumers and non-management line staff and volunteers who have little control over that change.
The second honesty that is necessary is that those in charge of a change, even those who might not be in favor of all aspects of a change, have far more understanding and control of the situation than the people at the lowest level. It is lack of understanding and especially of control that fuels discontent caused by confusion and dislike.
The third honesty is that it is common bureaucratic practice to use mandated change from above to impose changes that are not mandated from above upon those below one’s level in the bureaucracy. When I was part of the senior management of a mental health center, we used mandated changes from federal, state, and county officials to revise how we operated our center far beyond the specifics of the mandates. In part it was necessary because many things were interconnected. But in part it was simply an opportunity to blame someone outside the agency for changes that management thought were necessary. When I moved up to the next level of county mental health bureaucracy we worked similarly.
The fourth honesty is admit that there is not really much difference between the “good” but not mandated changes that we make and the “ bad” but not mandated changes that others are making that we don’t like.
We’re experiencing three sets of liturgical changes in our parish — one based on the preferences of a new pastor, one based on a recent reprimand from the diocese, and of course the language changes of the new missal. Our liturgist is being very clear about delineating the differences among these, but of course people will conflate them.
So I suppose we’re doing our best to be honest. But I’m curious to see who will get blamed for each change.
Some very interesting comments!
I agree completely that we need to be honest about which changes are happening and why. That’s something I generally try to do anyway.
Of course there will be changes based on personal preferences in some places. After all the liturgical developments since Vatican II, many of which bore little resemblance to the documents, I think this can almost be considered a norm, unfortunately. When I recommend changes, I do try to stick to the docs. We are a highly mobile parish, so I think of us as a “farm team”. We strive to train our ministers (all of them…with varying success!) to at least READ the docs. Even knowing what you might be departing from is a form of progress. I’m actually preparing a workshop right now.
I hope that the changes will lead to SOME chant being used. It is so scarce here. At this point I don’t really care if it’s in English or Latin! I agree that familiarity leads to liking. We need to allow people exposure to (old)new things sometimes. It’s our heritage, if nothing else…
“I agree that familiarity leads to liking. We need to allow people exposure to (old)new things sometimes”
Allow? Or force?
That is a good honest post. A lot of people are now aware of that sort of thing…ie. using changes down a chain of command to cover local changes, but it’s honest to admit it. It happens in industry all the time, yes.
Well, the GIRM says that gregorian chant should “have the main place” in the Mass, so actually it is being honest to say that the new missal calls for the replacement of songs with Gregorian Chant. So did the old missal. But the new one is a chance to get it done right, so there you go!
And, no one can claim accurately to be ‘Vatican II’ who has not, by now, learnt the mass in Latin as well as in English! The council did, in fact, enjoin the entire Church to know the mass in Latin. (And, note that I am among those who are equally over-joyed that the council gave permission, as well, to use our beautiful English.)
It is not a preference for one’s native language which is at all difficult to appreciate: it is the contempt for Latin that begs rational comprehension.
But SC provides its own hermeneutic lens: All proposed changes [which would include all decisions NOT to change] were to be evaluated on how well they would lead the faithful toward a more active participation. Yes, “inner” participation is active; but communal prayer is the way we use our externals together. Externals shouldn’t detract from the interior aspect, but should help form and enhance it. After all, the liturgical action is both capital and small-s sacramental — exterior signs of internal graces (a la Augustine).
Well, it’s very comforting that those who wish to pray in Latin are able to do so.
So, what about those of us, who like to pray (and attend mass) in the way that we’ve been doing for the past 40 years (more or less)?
We’re being deprived of what we like?
The difference is that the Latin offers a stability and continuity that a vernacular translation never can. 1973 was always going to be replaced by something else, whether people were happy about that or not.
The Pandora’s Box of the vernacular has been opened, and unless you want to try to close it, the consequences are something you and everyone else will have to live with.
Again, it’s another “our way or the highway” response. Don’t be surprised if a lot of people choose the highway.
The question was asked in relation to the Lord’s Prayer, so your reply doesn’t apply.
And what on earth does a nonsense like “Latin offers a stability and continuity that a vernacular translation never can.” mean? How in your wildest imagination does Latin offer a stability?
Language is the primary vehicle of culture. Language changes.
I happen to be one of those Catholics that doesn’t mind a Latin NO for the most part. I prefer the older form but that is just my preference. My response was directed toward someone who asked me what the advantage of praying in Latin is. So for me, I explained it. There is no flip side, eg; trying to take away the vernacular. Do I think the prayers are richer in the EF than OF even in Latin, yes, but would I refuse to say the OF prayers, no. I think in the end that main difference is that I am willing to pray with either of the 2 forms allowed by law. I guess I could look back to another Latin Edition that provides for the unaltered prayers of Holy Week, pre 55, and find it more edifying, but I won’t touch it because it is not approved. Or even the 65 Interim Missal which I really liked and felt captured in essence a big part of what Vat II called for. I am choosing what I like from what is approved for me to like. This is not what is happening with the new translation. Folks want to use what is not nor ever has been promulgated or a translation that has been determined to be highly defective. I too grew up with this broken translation (73), so don’t mind an improvement even if not perfect. If you attend in Latin and have a Latin/English Missal I think there are several translations to choose from. Perhaps you could find something comfortable to you in between. If the Holy See allowed for an indult tomorrow for the 73 translation I would state the same, Well I don’t like it but it is approved and would have to feel if the Holy See allowed it there must be a benefit of it and try to read about the benefit, even if only coming to the conclusion that people don’t like change. But there is no indult and there are reasons why the Holy See wants us all praying with the same translation come 27 November. At least for now.
“The difference is that the Latin offers a stability and continuity that a vernacular translation never can. ”
Although I have been accused of worshipping Latin more than God I must say that the English Book of Common Prayer and the KJV have not only offered stability and continuity but have also had an inestimable influence on diversified speakers of English unto this very day.
There is some truth in what you say, but it’s a partial truth. The Book of Common Prayer is an Anglican book, and they would say that it has benefited them most because of course, it’s theirs. Many English-speaking protestant churches don’t use it. The KJV, on the other hand, has been used by many protestant churches and still is used by them, although the NIV has gained popularity in the past several decades. The KJV has also passed in the popular culture much the same way as the works of Shakespeare have. They have become a literary resource. And that’s valuable of course for the language itself and for reasons of the literary art, but not sufficient for proposing it as the standard for liturgical or spiritual use, particularly in the Catholic Church, which has translations of its own, some of which pre-date the KJV and have been useful to the Church and to the culture in many more ways.
I am fairly confident that my parents and grandparents never “prayed” the Mass in Latin, since there was no opportunity for the people to participate, except as altar boys or as members of the choir. My father told me that he was ecstatic when he was “allowed” to read along with the Mass prayers, in English, when he purchased his first missal. When I was given a missal, he taught me how to follow along with the priest. When I sang the Latin texts as a choir member, I learned the pronunciations but not the actual meanings of the texts. Now, I also will grant that perhaps my late ’50’s experience was not universal in the United States, but it certainly is the experience of many of my contemporaries in my diocese.
That’s really not true. I remember the Latin Mass. I wasn’t Catholic then, but went to Catholic school for a year. People did sing along and pray along. They knew how to pronounce the Latin too. We had the old “St. Joseph Missals” with Latin on one page and English facing it. It was very easy to learn and in fact after a couple of weeks of daily masses in school, I no longer needed to read the English at all and could do the responses in Latin too, just like everyone else.
Please Jan, be nice.
You state :That’s really not true” so Mary Jo is lying?
She is a life long Catholic, as I, and you went to Catholic school for one year, weren’t even Catholic back then and you are correcting her?
I remember the Tridentine Mass and Mary Jo is correct. You didn’t pray along or “sing along”, you “read along” occasionally. You sat, prayed the rosary, prayed your holy cards or clipped your fingernails as my uncle did. Some of those prayer cards were so worn down that you needed to replace them. You even got prayer cards from the Sisters or friends on special occasions.
You never sang along, a few mumbled the chants to themselves but any louder than that and you were accused of being Protestant and asked to leave.
That’s why Catholics can’t sing today.
Well, clearly all parishes were not like the one you remember. I was there and I’m not a liar either.
I’m not sure what you mean by “prayer cards.” We got holy cards from the sisters but they really didn’t have much to do with following the mass, being sort of bookmarks. To follow the mass, most people had their own hand missals that they brought to church with them. Mine had English on one side and Latin on the other. It was one of those St. Joseph Missals. I still have it after all these years. Other people had little leather or cloth ones with many ribbons and they used them til they fell apart and then got new ones. The mass was very easy to follow because people really knew it and you could follow right along and learn from them. Also, the missals were very well put together.
For a protestant preacher’s grandkid like I was, the older version of Mass was fascinating for a lot of reasons, but also because, of course, I was well-acquainted with Scripture and so I could see references to it in the Mass. This is one of the reasons I’m pleased to have a new translation. Perhaps I will be able to see that more clearly again. The retiring translation obscured those details quite a lot.
Well Jan, over 2,000 bishops at Vatican II obviously had a different view of the need to reform the Tridentine Mass as it then was practiced than you have.
Fr. Ruff, maybe, just maybe, I dunno, could there be some space between “I am fairly confident that my parents and grandparents never “prayed” the Mass in Latin, since there was no opportunity for the people to participate” and ” You didn’t pray along” and the idea that the pre-Vatican II Mass didn’t need any reform.
Especially since, at least here, Jan didn’t write that. Placed as it is here, your comment is just a snarky pot shot at something he didn’t say here.
And clearly Jan all parishes were not like the one you remember.
You sang along, must have been an AngloCatholic parish.
We never sang along. And yes I had the St. Joseph missal, the Paroissien and Le Paroissein Romain and another variety that was juxta typica. All four to play with during Mass, whether in Canada, New England or elsewhere.
You don’t know what a prayer card is?
From”The Catholic Company”: The custom of distributing Catholic prayer cards, or holy cards, is a centuries old tradition of the Catholic Church. The oldest surviving Catholic prayer card is St. Christopher and dates back to 1423. Prayer cards bear a religious image with a favorite verse or prayer and are used to commemorate special moments such as First Communion, Confirmation or even a family reunion.
That’s a prayer card. Great to pray, oh I mean play with during Mass back then.
No, Dr. Dale,
It was Catholic, Latin Rite. Same diocese as I am in now. I would never confuse Catholic with Episcopalian anyway. Remember, I was a preacher’s grand-daughter, and I knew a lot more than that, even then. LOL.
When I was a teenager, my parents put me in Catholic school because I was having trouble with peer pressure and so on in the public schools. It was the 1962/1963 school year. I had never really spent any time with Catholics before, and it was a fascinating experience, that year. I didn’t convert then. I did convert much later, in 1985, but that Catholic school year stayed with me, and I never forgot it. It was part of the reason I finally returned.
Samuel, you’re over-reaching and over-reacting. From everything Jan has written here in the past week or so, I think it is justified for me to state that there is a difference, however big or small, between the reformist bishops at Vatican II and Jan’s comments at PTB. Jan’s views as a whole are highly defensive about how well people prayed at Mass in the whole days. That’s not the view I get in Sacrosanctum Concilium as a whole. I stand by my comment.
Maybe that’s because I don’t think that the ordinary people in the pews are doing anything generally wrong or anything worth the kind of heavy-duty “handling” that has become part of the liturgical discussion in the 20th century with all its force, politics and bright lights. I do think that the people in the pews are genuinely trying, for the most part, whether that turns out to be great-looking or not to someone looking at them with some kind of quantification metric in hand.
As for the before and after V2 discussion, I’m sure the bishops at V2 had their reasons for what they did or didn’t do and that’s fine, but this plain aspect that many people have didn’t change because it was driven by what’s always driven it, namely that they believe and are trying, then and now,but they are only ordinary human beings. That whole picture explains why they stayed and still stay. And that dynamic’s probably not going to change as long as people are people.
The Catholic Church is beautiful for a lot of reasons, but one of them is the earnestness that you sometimes see in those ordinary people, even when they sort of mumble the music. It’s quite lovely really. I’m sure God loves hearing it-and seeing it as they come up for Communion. He knows that they’ve gotten up early even though they want to sleep in because they work all week; he knows that getting kids dressed and all that is tough on Sunday morning; I’m sure he honors all that. How “good” or “bad” their performance is in particular cases is most assuredly God’s alone to judge.
I know that sometimes the desire is to get them to belt out the music and project their worship in song. That’s really not a Catholic thing to do, you know. Protestant worship has 2 pillars: preaching and music. Catholic worship’s pillars are different: they are prayer and the Eucharist.
Jan, I’m not sure I follow you, starting with your first “that” for which I miss the antecedent. What that?? But I think you’re saying that you disagree with Samuel, you’re confirming that you disagree with the bishops of Vatican II, and you’re giving your reasons for disagreement. That’s what your comments seem to mean. Is that right?
Nope, Fr. Ruff,
I agree with Samuel in #29.
I don’t have much to say about the phenomena surrounding Vatican II, because they were what they were and let’s be honest: I’m probably as confused about the whole picture as everyone else. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m antithetical in any way to the council itself, of course. I can tell you that I’ve actually read and examined the documents of V2 and know roughly what they contain and don’t contain. Some things were and are still attributed to the council that the documents don’t contain.
And I’m saying that I don’t think people in the pews are doing anything generally wrong or particularly deplorable in a liturgical way, and I don’t think that’s going to change either, as we move into this new translation. I think that in general and for the most part, their earnestness and faith are bigger than the minor changes that we are going to experience shortly. My post follows from there……
“Are” or “were”? I can’t tell if you’re talking about now or before Vatican II. I’m confused why you say “are” when the question at hand is the view of Catholics at litury before Vatican II – i.e., your view vs. the view of Vatican II bishops.
Well, Fr. Ruff,
That’s because I think there are some constants that don’t change when we talk about the faith of the people in the Church. And I think those things are connected in some ways to the behavior of the ordinary people in the Church.
Sure Dr. Dale,
I know what a holy card is, but I don’t know that they’re really liturgical resources, particularly speaking. I’ve always used them as bookmarks and occasionally I’ve used the prayers on some of them to help me with my own prayers. I think that’s a pretty common thing.
Do you think that because I’m a convert, I don’t know what a holy card is? 🙂
Jan, please don’t put words in my mouth.
You stated above:
“I’m not sure what you mean by “prayer cards”
So I gave you a definition.
And no, just because you are a convert doens’t mean that I think you don’t know what a prayer card it. Most post VII do not know what they are and are now thankfully totally absent from Mass.
But they’re still sold by the thousands in Catholic bookstores-and now online-whether you see them at mass or not, you know. 🙂
People still give them away and pass them around. Some dioceses, including mine, still give them away at various events. Holy cards are one of the homier but more common fixtures of Catholic life, like church bulletins with advertisements on the back and donuts after mass. They’re not EVIL! 😉
If people couldn’t buy them, I think they might start making them with their computers and getting them laminated for homeschool activities and All Saints Day and all that. [They have these cheap little lamination kits now.] People like them.
I never said there was anything wrong w/ them Jan as long as they are used outside of Mass as a devotional, then those who are so inclined may use them. I do not prescribe to them.
Sure, and on things like holy cards, which are certainly not sacraments or anything near it, personal preferences are just fine.
But, when I take my missal to church on November 26th, if there’s a holy card in it that I’ve been using as a bookmark, is that going to send some observer blasting through the roof? I certainly hope not! And it wouldn’t make any sense, would it? It’s just a pretty little piece of paper that serves as a bookmark.
Oh come on Jan, I don’t think anyone would go through the roof because you had your holy card.
The last time someone went through the roof was an uber conservative who screamed out loud at the top of his voice “You forgot the consecration, you forgot the consecration” when our poor priest suffered a petit mal seizure at the altar and unknowingly skipped the words of institution. He realized he has skipped and added it after the Lords prayer when he realized what happened. That screamer made a fool out of himself, I thought it was someone who went postal w/ a gun and I nearly dove under the pew.
Ah, yes, the people’s right to keep and bear De Defectibus.
This was back in 1962, and my parents put me in Catholic school because I was having a bad time in public school. This was my first realization that Catholics even existed, and of course, I was to become Catholic much later, but not then.
“The new Missal demands that only the Grail translation of the psalms be used.” This one has been going around St. Louis for a few years now, at the highest levels. I can’t confirm who is pushing this rumor, though I have a guess.
I understand that at a diocesan blessing of parish musicians our Archbishop announced in his homily that with the new missal we are forbidden to use anything but the exact psalm text in the lectionary. Who told him that?
Well, I can’t cite sources, either; but I have been given to understand that *either* the lectionary translation *or* the recently revised Grail have been approved for use as the psalm in the Liturgy of the Word. But that’s all.
And no more paraphrased psalms. Sung texts must use the approved translations.
The discussion around the ‘new translation’ shows how successful the Bishops have been in distracting the people from what I would say are more pressing issues in the Church. The environment is under attack, the unemployed are having a hard time finding a job with a living wage, Unions are anathema in the public sector, troops continue to die in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economies of the world countries are fragile, Bethlehem is under siege, and sexual abuse continues. Has the Church no role in any of these issues? If the answer is no, then I want to know what Jesus would do?
But the people, by and large, haven’t been distracted by the new translation; a lot have no idea it’s coming. Have Catholics really been voicing their opinions on these matters less over the past months? Have they been less active in these areas?
And the Church is concerned with these issues. She is large enough that she does not need to be wholly and unilaterally concerned with a single matter (e.g. the liturgy) at a time.
Fortunately, there will be a place to complaint about the new translation. Whether it does any good is another story however.
At NCR:: And at least one group hopes that Catholics … be moved to protest and press for change, rather than leave the church in deep disappointment. “We want to give people a month or so to experience it,” said to a spokeswoman for a group that plans to post petitions and sample protest letters on its website, misguidedmissal.com after the first of the year.
“If they’re upset, it is our fondest hope that people will speak out (rather than leave the church).”
Perhaps this is too basic to have elicited a direct response thus far, but regarding Ted’s read of GIRM 41 (#17 above), it is simply not true that the GIRM now calls for the “replacement” of songs with Gregorian chant. First, the GIRM, other than its translation, has not changed. Second, a straightforward reading of the GIRM leads to the opposite conclusion. It is critical that 41 (see below), like its antecedent in the Constitution on the Liturgy, be read in its entirety. “All things being equal” can mean a number of things including the assembly’s knowledge of Latin, its musical skills, its culture. The second sentence allows for other music which (according to popes and liturgical legislation going back to Pius X) can even be new compositions. In GIRM 48 and 87 allowance is made for “another liturgical chant” to be used for the Entrance and Communion Processions. (“Chant” here translates the Latin “cantus” and simply means “song” generally, not the genre we call “chant” in English.)
More fundamentally, and regarding the quixotic notion that all should learn and love Latin, real participation in the “source and summit of the Christian life” cannot be contingent in any way on ones language skills or culture. Any other course leads back to the Catholic ghetto and the Gospel being closed to the wider community whose “unwashed” should be pounding on our doors. Really.
GIRM 41: “The main place should be given, all things being equal, to Gregorian chant, as being proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other kinds of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.
“Since the faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is desirable that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Profession of Faith and the Lord’s Prayer, according to the simpler settings.”
I’m glad I came to this blog. My mind hasn’t changed over the coming of the new translation; I still like it. However, it’s helped me understand better what the turmoil is about and where it’s coming from. It’s also made me aware of some collateral issues that people are seeing – ie. bundling change locally with the missal changes. And it’s helped me to know what to watch for personally and avoid.
I’m going to re-develop the good habit of taking a missal to church with me, which is a very traditional and Catholic thing to do. This change in my habits will happen because even though the congregation’s parts have not changed much, the priest’s parts have, and a missal will help me to participate in the Church year more fully as well as help me to recognize shenanigans so that I can avoid them.
The next time you attend a dinner party, bring a book – Could I suggest a manual of courtesy for boys and girls? That way won’t have to interact with those who are there with you and you’ll avoid the pitfalls.
Are you planning on not using a worship aide of any sort ever again?
Will you memorize all the words to all the hymns? Are you not participating in the liturgy if you look at the hymnal?
For that matter are you opposed to the priest not memorizing all the prayers? There are ways of being together that involve a book.
Jan – discouraging missal use (except for valid reasons such as hearing, age, etc.) was a liturgical goal of Vatican II. Liturgy is a ritual that we come to know and trust – it is dialogic and based upon a ritual that involves proclamation and response. This involves seeing and hearing those who proclaim – reading along destroys the sense and rythmn of a liturgical ritual. It means that our hands, senses are not free to express our ritual at times because we are bound to a missalette. Misalettes can not usually contain all the options and depth of liturgy, prayers, scripture that may happen at any specific feast, Sunday, etc.
The primary goal of full and active participation was to move eucharistic communities away from written/read materials to active dialogue in which the various parts of the assembly can see each other and build a relationship rather than sit and read. That reminds me very much of watching 2 or 3 year olds play – they may be in the same room but they do not play together; they play individually – what experts call parallel play.