The CMAA Colloquium—a report

I spent the last week of June in Salt Lake City, in the shadow of the jewel-like Cathedral of the Madeleine, attending my first-ever colloquium (their twenty-second) of the Church Music Association of America.

Nearly 300 people from all over the country (and some from overseas) focused their attention and energies on preparing eucharistic liturgies in the ordinary and the extraordinary forms in days (over-)packed with the liturgy of the hours, chant rehearsals and seminars, breakout sessions, polyphony rehearsals, pre-liturgy lectures, and evening events. Even the young (20% of the attendees?) found it difficult to keep up! (And I thought an NPM Convention was busy!)

Audio and video files of the entire colloquium are beginning to be available here.

The faculty were top-flight. I spent five days with the Dutch choirmaster Wilko Brouwers in his seminar, “Style and Interpretation in Chant Performance.” An audio of the first 75 minutes is available here. Some videos of him from the recent past are posted on the web: phenomenal, and in the most gentle way. I (and my students, I trust) will be reaping the fruit of these days for many years to come.

The hospitality of the Madeleine Choir School and of the Cathedral was Benedictine in its warmth and thoroughness.

I was completely caught off guard by the Tuesday pre-Mass lecture of Gregory Glenn, director of liturgy and music at the Cathedral of the Madeleine since 1990 and, since 1996, pastoral administrator of the Madeleine Choir School, a role that includes teaching daily, upper-grade courses in Theology. Of his 5000 words, Glenn spent 1000 explaining the motto of the school, Caritas Christi urget nos, “The love of Christ compels us.”

I also welcome you to the cathedral that is the home for the People of St. Mary Magdalene – she who was the first witness of the Lord’s resurrection, the loyal friend of Jesus who remained beneath his cross while others fled in fear and shame, and, if we may be so bold to say, the Apostle to the Apostles. Our patroness has hounded heaven on behalf of this local diocese and in particular for this school and cathedral church placed under her care. In gratitude for her patronage, we seek to be faithful witnesses of the Lord risen in glory, to not abandon him when he suffers today in the hungry, the stranger, the sick or the imprisoned, and to be loyal friends of the God who in Jesus of Nazareth became small for us. The Choir School’s motto is taken from the communion antiphon for the Solemnity of St. Mary Magdalene as found in the Roman Missal: Caritas Christi urget nos.

We are gathered here this week in the house of St. Mary Magdalene because all of us are deeply passionate about the liturgy. And for good reason: in the liturgy, we are privileged to join the great prayer of Jesus Christ and his body the Church, addressed to the Father who is rich in mercy, and united in the commerce of their love in the Holy Spirit. We join our Savior’s prayer of thanksgiving, sacrifice, remembrance, and intercession for the many needs of the church and the world. It is in this sense that we can firmly assert just why we are so passionate about the liturgy: the liturgy will save the world.

Our current age has such great need. The young people who are gathered at this colloquium with us this week may rightly question what my generation has left to them: those of us who have gone before them have tried and failed in many ways to shape a just and fair society; we are rapidly consuming and poisoning the vast natural resources of our planet; we are seemingly powerless to fix the problem of famine and hunger for a billion fellow human beings, and standing by while the gap between the rich and the poor of the world continues to grow . . .

These three paragraphs of his first eighteen may convey a sense of Glenn’s breathtaking passion for liturgy that does justice, liturgy that saves the world. I was under the spell of this talk for the rest of my week.

This CMAA Colloquium was the perfect venue for experiencing the reform of the reform at its most exemplary. Readers of this blog will know that I am not convinced that the ordinary form of the Mass can be enriched (let alone needs to be enriched) by the extraordinary form in ecclesiology, sacramental theology, or pneumatology, although the latter can contribute to the former its ars celebrandi and its standard of musical composition and music making.

Morning Prayer and Compline were sung in the extraordinary form in Latin or in English. The English translation seemed to be an adapted Douay-Rheims and was pointed in ways that could have better honored the accentual cadences of the English language by a judicious use of the permissions, July 8 and December 12, 1912, of the Sacred Congregation for Rites, in the case of verses which terminate on monosyllables, for abrupt mediations in psalm tones. I’d be happy to collaborate in the production of Morning Prayer and Compline in the ordinary form in Latin or in English for future colloquia.

The eucharistic liturgies at the colloquium demonstrated the ordinary form under the heaviest influence of the extraordinary form, perhaps out of respect for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter members and parishioners in attendance—the mutual enrichment of Summorum Pontificum seemed to flow in only one direction. All Masses were celebrated ad orientem. We knelt for communion and received on the tongue (it felt forbidden to stand for communion [even by those with knee replacements] or to want to receive communion in the hand). In the ordinary form Masses there was no prayer of the faithful on Tuesday or Thursday; additionally—perhaps except on Sunday, at the regular parish Mass, but I was not there—there was no exchange of the greeting of peace and there was no communion under both kinds. The ICEL missal chants were unevenly attempted. More specifically:

Tuesday, June 26
Mass: Votive Mass, St. John Baptist, Ordinary Form
The assembly sang the Mass responses and the recessional, “Ut Queant Laxis.”

Wednesday, June 27 (I didn’t attend)
Mass: Requiem Mass, Extraordinary Form Missa Cantata
The assembly sang the Mass responses, Kyrie, the Dies Irae, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.

Thursday, June 28
Mass: Ordinary Form, Latin: Feast of St. Irenaeus
The assembly sang the Mass responses, Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.
Rev. Guy Nicholls, Birmingham Oratory, sang beautifully and preached a splendid homily.

Friday, June 29
Mass: Sts. Peter and Paul, Extraordinary Form, Class I
The assembly sang the Mass responses, Credo I, and the hymn, “The Son of Man,” a fine new text composed by Kathleen Pluth and sung to the tune, NEWMAN, by Richard Perry.
Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth preached a splendid homily and swept me up to heaven with his singing of the Preface to the tonus solemnior. My heart-stopping moment was during the singing of the Kyrie from the Messe Solennelle Op. 16 (1906) by Louis Vierne.

Saturday, June 30
Mass: Votive BVM, Ordinary Form
The assembly sang the Mass responses and the Ordinary chants from Mass IX; a woman sang the first reading.

Sunday, July 1 (I didn’t attend)
Mass: 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Ordinary Form
I believe that the assembly sang the Mass responses.

The 280-page Colloquium book was painstakingly prepared and beautifully printed with all the music sung at the liturgies. When I saw all the chants printed out, I looked forward to singing them, especially the ordinaries and the communions. As you can see (above), the assembly didn’t get to sing most of them. I wanted more chanting by the congregation at the ordinary form Masses, especially the communion antiphons, and of the ordinary at Masses in either form—when we did, it was glorious. (I also wish we had sung the ICEL chants from the new missal at the ordinary form Masses.)

After Colloquium XXII, I remain unconvinced that the ordinary form of the Mass can be (or needs to be) enriched by the extraordinary form in ecclesiology, sacramental theology, or pneumatology. 

Although the extraordinary form’s ars celebrandi and its standard of musical composition and music making were august, I am not convinced that we need to celebrate the ordinary form ad orientem. The wise presider gets himself out of the way by directing his attention to the assembly, to the word, to what he is doing, and to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

GIRM 69 tells us that “[i]t is desirable that there usually be [the Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful] in Masses celebrated with the people, [because i]n the Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful, the people respond in some sense to the Word of God which they have received in faith and, exercising the office of their baptismal Priesthood, offer prayers to God for the salvation of all.” There were 300+ people at the ordinary form Masses of the Colloquium.

There was no singing of the eucharistic prayer by the concelebrants even though GIRM 218 says, “It is a praiseworthy practice for the parts that are to be said by all the concelebrants together and for which musical notation is provided in the Missal to be sung.” 

Finally the Rite of Peace does not appear optional in GIRM 82.

Please God, I plan to attend Colloquium XXIII, to be held again (I believe) in Salt Lake City; and I recommend it to members of the NPM and the readers of Pray Tell. I hope that soon the publications of the CMAA will be exhibited at NPM conventions and that some of the faculty of the colloquium will be invited to present at NPM conventions and vice versa.

(My personal guidelines in this report were: “Seek the good and praise it” and “Raise pertinent issues in a evenhanded way.” Correct me clearly but gently if I have not lived up to my standards.)


  1. Thank you, Paul, for your honest and even-handed assessments and sentiments. I also apologize for not seeing your email until too late.
    I know that one brief observation will be consternating for some folks: the issue of “mandatory” kneeling and receiving of HC on the tongue that seemed SOP at SLC. I can certainly understand and accept that it “felt forbidden” to do otherwise at colloquium Masses, but actually one ought to make some clear distinctions. One’s first encounter with a colloquium is so provocative, that impressions shouldn’t be regarded as real or not real. I “felt” a great amount of initial alienation at liturgies at my first, and wrote about that just as you have here. But, once you get the lay of the land, (and I do have a reconstructed knee) you easily recognize that none of the priests actually insist upon the “Benedictine posture,” so to speak. The liturgies of the week prior to the last Mass on Sunday, well what can one say, the protocols among CMAA afficianados are like preaching to the choir, pun intended. But I hope you also noted Fr. Pasley’s very generous explanation to all gathered on the last Sunday Mass wherein he explained prior to his homily why there is such deference for the kneeling/tongue tradition to all, and very pointedly and kindly stated that there would be priests flanking the communion kneeling rails for those whose preferences or physical conditions called them to receive in the perfectly licit standing, cupped-hands posture.
    I just don’t want folks to firestorm the comboxes without this extra perspective.
    BTW, you may have scooped the CMAA leadership on #23’s location. I’m still lobbying heavily for Rome, Sweet Home. Or Alabama.
    Peace from the land o’ our birth!

  2. I wish I had been there! I’m sure the chanting was superb. In terms of the OF’s enrichment by recovering some of the “reverence” of the EF, I don’t think that much has to be done, other than good chant, a good style of celebrating and some energy and warmth from clergy and laity alike for the rites. I think the option of kneeling for Holy Communion is a no-brainer. In my parish, we now have kneelers for those who wish to kneel for the Host. Our motto in this regard is: “Standing is the norm; kneeling is the exception; both are allowed; the choice is yours.” At three of our weekend Masses we now distribute by way of intinction (the minister doing the intincting), but it is made clear that if people wish to receive the Host in the hand that they make clear well in advance to the minister their desire, which means having the hands in the throne position before the minister intincts. At two of our Sunday Masses there are an additional six chalices and two chalices at our daily Masses. Of course people stand to receive from the chalice as we have no altar rail (and believe it or not, I’m the one who removed it, but that was in 2005 prior to SP; wouldn’t do that today!).
    We have a few who kneel but receive in the hand and that works quite well too. As well, if only the Liturgy of the Eucharist was ad orientem, I think that would be a very good enrichment. Then leave everything else as is and with all the options in the 2012 missal.

  3. Finally the Rite of Peace does not appear optional in GIRM 82.

    The Rite of Peace is indeed not optional. I strongly doubt that the Rite of Peace was omitted. However, “exchang[ing] the sign of peace” as part of the Rite of Peace is invited “when appropriate” (GIRM 181). I suspect that was what was ommitted and, while we can debate whether it should be, it appears that it may be.

    1. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #3:
      Samuel, as I read GIRM 154 and 181, the “if/when appropriate” applies to the priest’s/deacon’s giving the invitation, not to the exchange as such:

      154. “After this, if appropriate, the Priest adds, Let us offer each other the sign of peace.”

      “181. After the Priest has said the prayer for the Rite of Peace and the greeting The peace of the Lord be with you always and the people have replied, And with your spirit, the Deacon, if appropriate, says the invitation to the Sign of Peace. With hands joined, he faces the people and says, Let us offer each other the sign of peace.”

      1. And, to Paul Ford’s point, nothing prevents the people from exchanging a sign of peace in that absence of such an invitation. I remember from the flu period 2 years ago that people still did when clerics omitted the invitation.

        And, to Paul Inwood’s point, I believe there has been discussion that the Pope’s preferences regarding kneeling and tongue have been overinterpreted as rules rather than his preferences and that he has in fact not treated them as rules in his own practice.

  4. Thanks, Paul, for this fine report. CMAA has been held twice recently in my home town of Pittsburgh. I was tempted to go but saw too much EF material on the schedule and knew that I would be skipping that. You have saved me the trouble of checking it out for myself.

    This CMAA Colloquium was the perfect venue for experiencing the reform of the reform at its most exemplary

    I think CMAA needs to rethink whether it is in the music business or the “spirituality” business. The Reform of the Reform is about spirituality, e.g. kneeling at communion and receiving on the tongue. I have no more interest in the Reform of the Reform spirituality than I have in spirituality of Saint John of the Cross (I tried and failed to get interested in that with a four credit course).

    When B16 became Pope, I was hoping he would encourage more use of chant in general and Latin in particular in the OF. Instead we got the EF. I think there are far more people who strongly support Vatican II, the OF, and like chant and Latin than there are traditionalists who want the EF. Most of us are not attracted by the EF or the Reform of the Reform’s spirituality.

    Fortunately I am able travel a half hour to a parish with a sung Eucharistic Prayer at every Mass. They also have a fine aware winning choir which has learned the classic sacred music repertory for the concert hall not the parish. They help us sing music we know and can sing at Mass.

    The more I see (even if vicariously) of CMAA and its alliance with the reform of the reform, the more I tend to think all that stuff belongs in the concert hall rather than the parish. Apollo’s Fire gave a beautiful performance of Monteverdi Vespers this past year in one of our local parishes.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #5:

      ‘All that stuff’. What an unfortunate and poverty-stricken summation of 1500 years of musical and artful patrimony that runs from Carolingian chant to Leonin to Benjamin Britten and beyond!
      On permanent display in Houston’s Museum of Fine Art is a beautiful XIII. century ‘artifact’ made of intricately crafted and gilded brass and adorned with precious and semi-precious stones. It is a monstrance. Every time I see it I am torn between tears and anger that it isn’t being used in the church and for the purpose for which it was made. True, I would not, then, be able to view it; but, nor would I experience contempt for those who sold it, sorrow that such a sacred object had been cast off as a museum piece, and disgust that most monstrances now in use are, in comparison, cheap (not necessarily inexpensive, but cheap), tasteless, often really rather ugly excuses for church art that one gets from the local Catholic church goods store.
      By your reckoning, the same fate is appropriate for our musical heritage. Divorced from the sacred precincts and worship for which it was written, it becomes entertainment for those who appreciate historic (or genuinely modern) liturgical music. Meanwhile, what we actually use for worship is a cheap and tasteless genre of music foisted off on a hapless generation who have been taught directly, indirectly, subtlely and not so subtlely that they can apprehend nothing better and deserve nothing better. And we have handy epithets for those who think that we should use this music, whether by Tallis or Poulenc or Whitacre, for worship, and that ‘the people’ are capable of something finer than Marty Haugen (whose wisest words were ‘there is better music than mine’).
      It is apparent that you do, indeed, appreciate our musical treasure. But then again, one might ask: since you do not want it in the context for which it was created, do you, after all, really appreciate it? Is it nothing more to you than a monstrance in a museum case?

  5. Thank you, Paul for the report.

    Charles, it is incorrect to characterize kneeling for receiving Communion as the “Benedictine posture”. The pope has on a number of occasions given Communion in the hand to standing recipients, and appears to have no problem with it, even if his expressed personal preference may be for on the tongue and kneeling.

  6. Paul, thank you for this, the best write up of any convention I’ve ever seen: it is admirable for its comprehensiveness, brevity, and personal (very even-handed) remarks.

    I tend to agree with much of what you say (although I feel the EF has plenty offer the OF). Last year at Colloquium, there seemed to be at least 5-10% of the attendees who received in the hand/standing/what have you. One of the Masses was versus populum as well. I can’t imagine, though, that you’d be denied communion at an OF celebration for standing, etc. EF, perhaps, only because of the rubrics, which I believe are not “mutually enriched” by the current GIRM. I suppose I don’t understand the opposition to ad orientem in this situation (The wise presider gets himself out of the way by directing his attention to the assembly, to the word, to what he is doing, and to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.), since I am sure the priest addressed the dialogues, etc., to the people in the proper posture (facing them). I’ve never understood the opposition to either posture, since of course God can be worshiped in any direction. I think a healthy diversity here is good.

    Jack, I’m not sure why you are so opposed to the EF in that case, or at least why it would keep you from attending a conference. Although the liturgy is the focal point of the colloquium, I think you would still benefit greatly from the workshops, rehearsals, etc. I’m a little confused as well why the “treasury of sacred music” is more appropriate for the concert hall than the parish. In moderation, it seems to be a flowering God’s grace in the liturgy, encourages prayerful meditation upon the liturgy, and discourages us from treating the liturgy in a utilitarian manner. In fact, I think your attitude (at least as shown by your post above) would make you an ideal candidate to attend: you would see that while a respect for tradition is shared by the attendees, it is not “enforced” as if tradition, the EF, whatever, is a prison camp for those…

    1. @Bruce Ludwick, Jr. – comment #7:
      I have never attended a NPM convention, but I can see myself doing so; I am sure that some of the liturgies would have things I would not like, but I would attend absolutely everything in order to see what’s done and to evaluate it better.

  7. Jack, allow me to answer your “CMAA: music or spirituality business” question with a question: do you really think that lots of folk, from music non-readers to those of us with post-grad degrees in music and other related disciplines, would spend multiple thousands of personal, not church sponsored, dollars year after year to travel to the East Coast (I was at those two Pitt. summers) to simply be handed a compiled book full of music that is avaiable free of charge in the public domain, and to have some sort of Florentine/Venetian/Roman camp-fire singalong and to play dressup concert similar to Andre Rieu’s Strauss Orchestra? You can download each colloquium’s repertoire and then download the tunes free of charge as well.
    No, my life as a Christian was forever changed even at my first colloquium. The passion that Professsor Glen eloquently passed onto Dr. Ford, myself and all gathered is about spirituality and missio in a most intimate manner-worship. If you wouldn’t mind explaining why our doings have to always be characterized in terms of “either/or” rather than “both/and” I’d be in your debt.
    Sometimes I wonder, when deconstruction of our rites becomes so forensic as to resemble an autopsy, if we’ve forgotten that both the rites and the faith are, in fact, alive. If we treat them as if a corpse, we will forget that they are actually a corpus in a senses of the word and the Word.
    Have you ever been to Memorial Stadium at UC Berkeley? Up in the hills behind the stadium are some vantage points where one can sit in trees or on the hillside and take in most of the action on the field without paying a cent. So, there’s always been a sort of snide attraction to “Cheapskate Hill,” a kind of detachment.
    I remember my dad taking me to see President Kennedy’s address there in 1962. He bought tickets, up in the highest bleachers. And Cheapskate Hill was fuller than for any Cal Bears game. But at 11, I knew I was part of a historical moment. I could hear every word. I couldn’t be ambivilent about it all.

    1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #9:

      My point is that there are plenty of people out there who like chant and Latin but have no desire to celebrate the EF or to reform the reform. We probably far outnumber those who do.

      So why package chant and Latin with a bunch of spirituality that alienates us, and wonder why we don’t come to your events, and complain when we voice a lack of appreciation for your wrappings.

      You are selling the wrappings (a brand of spirituality just as contemporary as all the contemporary music that is out there) rather than just the tradition, i.e. chant and Latin which could fit well with the OF as we normally celebrate it in our parishes.

      While I would like the chant and the Latin that inhabit my house all the time to also dwell in my local parish I have no desire to see the EF or the reform of the reform come there.

      As a social scientist -marketing person you seem to be acting more in terms of your short term interests (of providing a congenrial spirituality to like minded friends) than in your long terms interests as musicians, getting this into many parishes.

      1. Jack, I’m sorry, but most of what you presume in #11 is beneath contempt and unworthy of any serious response. Neither I nor CMAA is “selling” squat. There is no ongoing fiscal concern with CMAA that has to be strategized in order to survive. And that you would, Dr. Social Scientist, presume to tell anyone who has to manage music ministry of 18+ weekend Masses that you outnumber us (presumably) eletist chant advocates that we’re not aware of reality, well don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back for that conclusion. Believe me, as this is what I DO for a living, that we give preferential option for all things not chant for sundry reasons.
        I’ve, until this exchange, regarded your contributions as always worthy of deliberation. I have no idea how and why you have projected your animus for the EF, while simultaneously and snobbishly flattering yourself by essentially saying “Chant? Some of my best friends are chant,” by then presuming to know how I am acting and how I go about my business.” Having a bad day? Or am I off base by sugggesting so?
        Congenial spirituality to like minded friends? First of all, what the hell is that, and then who do you think you are?

      2. @Jack Rakosky – comment #11:

        Oh! If only Jesus had been a ‘social-scientist marketing person’!
        He could have made his message ever so much more palatable, He would have known ‘where people were willing to go’ and would have tailored his teaching accordingly. And everyone on earth would be Catholic if we just went where the sociological winds were blowing.
        Well, of course I over simplify, and really do not mean to mock. But, people really are capable of so much more than the limits which social scientists think are definitive. There is no vision and no life in this scientifically calculated prison. A gifted teacher-musician artist and the absence of people feeding ‘the people’ negative memes is all it takes.

  8. Paul I., thank you for the correction and please know the misnomer was not meant to misrepresent.

  9. As a third party, observer, Charles, I think your comments to Jack were completely out of place. Peace be with both of you.

  10. Why am I very satisfied with the OF and therefore very disturbed when musicians advocate the EF or the reform of the reform?

    1. I love the expanded collection of Eucharistic Prayers, especially when they are sung with the people responding.

    2. I love the expanded lectionary, three readings and three year cycle.

    3. I love the Prayers of the Faithful with a sung response.

    When it comes to music, since I am a music lover rather than a musician, I like a lot of different types of music: Latin chant and polyphony; Anglican chant and polyphony, Eastern chant and polyphony. But I also like a lot of contemporary music.

    When it comes to choirs and soloists, I am also pretty broadminded. As long as the people get to sing a lot things they know, e.g. all the responses, the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei etc. I am willing even eager to let the choir and soloist do things which only they can do.

    I suspect if we had a well done sociological study, that we would find most Catholics find a lot they like about the liturgical reforms, probably like a lot of different types of music, and are probably willing to the have the congregation, choir, and soloist each have their moments. I think that we would as find as in the Vibrant Parish Life study that most people think the liturgy in their parish could be improved, i.e. they are open to change.

    I understand how professional musicians could be upset with the liberal music – liturgical establishment that has sidelined the great musical tradition we have, and be tempted to create another establishment in opposition with the vague hope that B16 or the reform of the reform will save the day.

    However I have spent all my life in management serving people and innovating. Gauging where people are and where they are willing to go is key.

    1. Apropos to post #15-
      Jack, why couldn’t you have just posted that?
      1. I love the expanded collection of Eucharistic Prayers, especially when they are sung with the people responding. We don’t do EF, but our celebrants do cantillate the orations at our parishes. Now you know that.

      2. I love the expanded lectionary, three readings and three year cycle. As do I. And I respect
      them especially when they, too, are cantillated well, which has yet not evolved in our parishes. And, because I can’t get my tablet to work properly, we do chant the responses to the Universal Prayer in the OF at most of our 18 Masses.

      An3. I love the Prayers of the Faithful with a sung response.

    2. @Jack Rakosky – comment #15:

      The Mass is a prayer, which it is said if we sing it well is praying twice.

      We owe our God the best sacrifice, the best gift, we can give. Personal preference aside, chant and polyphony are considered by most experts the best musical gifts we can give. In your short post by a quick count one finds the world “I” 13 times. Give the best gift. Be like Abel and not like his brother.

  11. Well, Fr. Feehily, there was no call for condescension in Dr. Ford’s thread whatsoever, and to none-too-delicately insinuate that there’s a sort of dillitantism afoot among good and kind-hearted folk doesn’t sit well, obviously. You basically know my M.O. Just as I go to CMAA colloquia, I don’t come to PTB to provocate and contend, I come to learn and grow.
    But if making incendiary, unnecessary and baseless suppositions only works if it comes from certain quarters, then I really AM out of line.

  12. OTOH – to change this thread of negativity:

    Paul Ford – can you provide some history of the CMAA? Why can’t the same thing be done via NPM?

    The little I know indicates that Paul VI approved the CMAA and Archbishop Weakland was the first president. The focus appeared to be on traditional, classical Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. But, there was some type of early split because Weakland felt that some of the group focused not on music but rather on the TLM, EF, etc.

    Quote from Wiki: “According to an account by Richard Schuler, a split emerged very quickly, with President Weakland taking sharp exception to the “reactionary attitudes in liturgical thinking” that he said were present at the Consociatio meeting. He gave interviews to the press in which he regretted the failure of the meetings to include modern music in its liturgical agenda. His views did not prevail within the CMAA: an election of new officers was held at this meeting, and Weakland was replaced as president by Theodore Marier.”

    The comments above fit nicely into the previous blogpost in which I quoted Msgr Mannion’s divisions of liturgical agendas.

    It again appears that CMAA participants identify their music with a particular style of liturgy that Mannion described as Reform of the Reform (or, in some cases, traditional). Thus, emphasis upon kneeling and on the tongue communion; ad orientem; no prayer of the faithful, and no sign of peace; use of a Douay-Rheims translation (?), and no attempt to sing the EP.

    My concerns are shared with you, Paul: ecclesiology, sacramental theology when trying to merge EF/TLM and our current liturgy. Also, it seems predicated upon a current pope’s SP and indult that could change in the future.

    If the common community goal is to improve our experience of worship, ritual, sacrament – how do competing organizations do this? How does almost completely tying Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony to EF/TLM going to influence NPM, the ordinary parish?

    What about the experience of 2/3rds of the world’s catholics that have little history, knowledge, experience, or even ability to do the same level of polyphony, classical music? Realize that a conference by its nature focuses on choirs, excellent cantors, etc. but this is not the typical situation around the world (or even in most US dioceses).

    (Disclaimer – our parish music director is a big CMAA proponent. But, his music and his inability to introduce music has created division in the parish and alienated many folks. Whether you lean to NPM or CMAA, there are basic methods and principles that a director needs to know and use when implementing changes, increasing the community’s singing styles, abilities, ranges, choices, etc. So, Paul, was there anything in this conference that touches on these types of “introducing change”, chant, antiphons, etc.? Why does it seem to always be an either/or choice – have had my best experiences of worship when a diverse musical choices and instruments are used that focus more on scripture, church seasons or feasts, etc.?

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #18:
      I appreciate your extended comment very much. There are a few things that should be said in correction: in 1966 the EF was not the issue–the OF had not yet been created. At the colloquium, there was no attempt to merge EF and OF; indeed, they were quite separate; what was done was to see where each rite suggested improvement to the other. In that regard it was not al all the case that chant and polyphony were tied to TLM/EF, since four out of six of the Masses were OF.

  13. I have no doubt that fine sacred music can go hand in hand with ‘modern’ liturgical and even theological sensibilities, because that was what I first experienced in a parish where William Mahrt, a long-time leader of the CMAA, had built up a beautiful sacred music programme. We had the normative Mass in Latin, but celebrated in an open, accessible style: an altar very close to the congregation, priest facing the people, lively exchange of the peace, communion in both kinds and in the hand, etc., etc. If I recall correctly (this was many years ago) the chalice was placed on the altar and people who wished to communicate from it simply walked up and did so – I am well aware that this practice is forbidden. One of the priests who sung the Mass in very beautiful Latin was a great exponent of Teilhard de Chardin.

    It is not far from what you will find on any Sunday these days, perhaps with less Teilhard, in a good number of central London parishes, including Westminster Cathedral. Traditional music is at home in the normative Mass as it is in the Tridentine. Yes, there are the chippy extremes that seem to spend more time bemoaning modernism and fretting about clown masses, but you will hear little of that in these parishes.

    To lay my cards on the table, I think that Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae were big mistakes in all sorts of ways. I have wondered, for some time, whether a “bi-ritual” parish could really work. And yet this interview from the CMAA’s blog suggests that it can – the parish in question even calls itself “bi-ritual”. Some issues need to be resolved on first principles, others more empirically.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #20:
      Jonathan, hello! So nice to hear from someone from the early days at the Stanford Newman Center. That was probably the sixties, or maybe the early seventies, times somewhat more permissive. It was at one of the other Masses, where children were encouraged to come and sit around, and even under the altar, that some child tied the celebrant’s shoelaces together while he was standing at the altar, perhaps a reason for drawing the children back into the congregation.

  14. The “reform of the reform” is very fluid now and if Paul Ford can come away from an experience of it where also the EF was celebrated and have some positive things to say all the while offering legitimate critique, I’d say we are seeing the genius of Pope Benedict XVI and SP at work and in quite a mustard seed way that seems to be growing and blossoming.
    What I personally find with those who are involved with both the “reform of the reform” and celebrating the EF Mass is a great interest and enthusiasm for the liturgy and a powerful devotion to the Church and her reform in the current day all the while doing it within the context of obedience to the traditional faith and morals of the Church. That’s quite healthy. And the reform of the reform is not just reform of the liturgy, but of the clergy and laity too, it has a broad sweep and touches people and not just rites.
    Where I remain frustrated is not with the EF’s influence on the OF, but the lack of promoting in any serious way the OF’s influence on the EF. By that I mean active singing and participation by the laity of the parts of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word facing the congregation and in the vernacular, that the sung Mass be sung by priest and laity alike. Technically a sung Mass by a choir is still a somewhat “spoken or Low Mass” by the priest and on a separate track. But again I go back to my very serious suggestion that there be an EF Order of the 2012 Missal, maintaining the OF’s Liturgy of the word in content and style, as well as its calendar, but using the Anglican Ordinariate’s form of it. In terms of the Universal Prayer, technically it is contained in the Roman Canon so it is a bit redundant to have it twice, but of course not so in the other Eucharistic prayers.

  15. Having attended one CMAA colloquium many years ago, my wife asked me if she would encounter “normal” people if she attended the colloquium this year in Salt Lake City. Hoping my memory was correct, I said yes. Like many people from the Boston area, particularly academics, she has somewhat liberal sensibilities and can easily be put off by simplistic, overbearing views.

    She indeed did meet “normal” people representing a diversity of opinions and experiences. (Probably the nearest thing to confrontation were the many inquiries from local residents about our state’s healthcare law.) Simply put, it was an edifying week of top notch music instruction, singing, and liturgical music-making free from the commercial pandering that afflicts so many other liturgical music gatherings. Although many of the top church music talents were there, I was surprised to meet so many people, mostly from small communities, who as amateurs just stumbled into a church leadership role. The solid grounding in the basics of chant and choral singing, not to mention the exposure to a wide variety of wonderfully executed liturgical music, must have been both an inspiration and revelation to them.

    The emphasis on the extraordinary form liturgies at this year’s colloquium was intended I believe to reveal the profound beauty and mystery of the old rite when well done, and in that they were successful. There were many attendees though who expressed the wish that the colloquium had placed more emphasis on the practical, strategic dimensions of improving parish life as it really is with demonstrations of carefully crafted ordinary form Masses. (As my wife was quick to notice, having no female altar servers would be a non-starter in our area.)

    If there is one issue that defines the CMAA and its membership and separates it from detractors it is the conviction that there is such a thing as music with a “sacred” character. That is why so many, liberals included, enthusiastically align with the CMAA.

    1. @Randolph Nichols – comment #23:
      Thanks for your positive comments on the colloquium. I would try to correct one impression: “emphasis on extraordinary form liturgies.” There were two out of six Masses in the extraordinary form: the Requiem Mass for departed members, partly because it could without controversy include the Dies Irae, and the Solemn Mass for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, because the more solemn form was possible in the old rite for this most solemn feast. Of the offices, compline was from the EF, but Lauds from the OF.

      Practical matters were dealt with in the introductory lecture and in some of the breakout sessions, though more might be done along thee lines.

  16. Charles and I have already discussed this at length in private correspondence.

    “My point is that there are plenty of people out there who like chant and Latin but have no desire to celebrate the EF or to reform the reform. We probably far outnumber those who do.”

    This would be my thought. I would love to get to an event like this that seriously explores music, and gives me tools I can use in parish ministry, plus the personal edification of becoming a better musician. Without the church politics.

    There’s too much playing around with the liturgy for my taste. I’ve heard it in Colloquium audio from previous years, and Dr Ford notes more of it above.

    “(Y)ou seem to be acting more in terms of your short term interests (of providing a congenrial spirituality to like minded friends) than in your long terms interests as musicians, getting this into many parishes.”

    Maybe. I have no idea. I do detect more politics at the CMAA forum than what I think appropriate. I wasn’t impressed with the text of Msgr Wadsworth’s address at all. He may be a fine musician and theologian, but I couldn’t tell.

  17. These are a couple of selected excerpts from the CMAA forum that provide some “inside” perspective:
    CHGiffen, co-founder of CPDL-
    We seem to have two (or more) purposes or principles that are not exactly synchronous. The two most evident ones expressed here are:
    (a) to gather together as many Catholic church musician as possible to experience and discuss and be enriched by the best in sacred music in their work as church musicians, or
    (b) to show as much of the (hopefully Catholic) world as possible what the best in sacred music is and should be in more of their world (at least where it is lacking).
    Adherents to the first principle might be accused of wanting a Colloquium that “preaches to the choir.” And adherents to the second principle might be accused of advocating a Colloquium that aims to make a public statement by taking our great music into the trenches (possibly including Rome) where Catholic music might be absent, misunderstood, or less than ideal in some way.
    Of course there might well be overlap in these principles, more so in the selection of some locations for the Colloquium, less so in others. Personally, I take my cue from the meaning of Colloquium, both as I’ve experienced it in academic contexts over my professional career and as it is traditionally defined.
    In other words, it seems that a Colloquium is so-named because it is supposed to be a extended gathering or collection of meetings, sometimes informal but most often formal in academic or professional circles, for the purpose of exchanging ideas (through various means, sometimes lectures or seminars) on a fairly broad range of subjects, usually with a different leader and/or focus for each meeting within the Colloquium. Although some Colloquia might generate public interest, such publicity or media coverage should not be the reason for convening them. Any public interest generated or information disseminated should be viewed as a side-effect of the real purpose which is one of exchange amongst people with a common interest

    And one of my own:
    As the years go by, I’ve come to regard the colloquium as more a retreat than a convention, particularly this year’s just concluded. There’s really nothing conventional about a colloquium. The morning and evening offices, the preparations for Mass and Vespers, the fact that life long, sequential learning provides us all a framework for how to care and share what we experience there, the still communal nature of the lunches and scheduled dinners.
    Were we even to double from the current 2-300 average, there’d have to be some real coalescense between facilities’ proximity, maintaining the depth and intensity of sessions and rehearsals (as Kathy endorsed), the accessibility from lodging/food to an ideal church and plenteous classrooms/seminar/theater rooms with keyboards, hopefully acoustic keyboards, eh Dr. Hughes?
    And as mentioned, we’ve had some frenetic (not panicky) moments the last few years scurrying from one schola to another choir at various points of a liturgy. So far, so good. But think about all that when projecting a doubling of enrollment. I’m not saying don’t go there.
    But I would mourn the loss of the monastic feel of colloquium.
    Probably regional chapters and regional colloquiums are the next logical move. There appears to be no shortage of top notch people to plan and teach and direct.


  18. It seems that everyone who comments here would like what is called “good liturgy” and “good liturgical music” but the question remains, just exactly what is that? It might be good to show examples via links to what people are desiring. The CMAA approach is known by their visual link resources; but in terms of what one would call a more progressive approach to the “Normative Mass” as it is called in some places, are we that far off from one another and are there expressions of this that can be viewed and heard on the internet? In other words,those who are in opposition to the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass, (apart from ad orientem) what is it that is classical about business as usual and therefore immutable?

  19. I am the Chaplain of the CMAA. The Colloquium is not just a music conference. Sacred Music cannot be learned and experienced properly and fully except in the Sacred Liturgy. The Colloquium is a musical, liturgical, spriritual experience. We bend over backwards to make sure that it remains that way. We want an atmosphere that is retreatlike and yet sociable.

    We have also chosen to use liturgical options that are absolutely legitimate and yet ignored or even demonized by many. Ad orientem worship, according to the GIRM, is equal to facing the people. Someone may not like it and that is their preference, but many other have never experienced it in the OF and have a right to. It is not forbidden. Second, the sign of peace is not optional and was given at every Mass, but it does not have to be offered to the congregation. We do this on purpose to let people see that it is absolutely not required.
    The Prayer of the faithful is also not required every day. It is “desirable” which does not mean that it is mandatory. Like Benedict XVI we have chosen to emphasize, once again, Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue. We never make it mandatory for anyone and explain that it is an option. A person is free to stand and receive in the hand.
    Finally, you might think from some comments that almost every Mass was EF. Out of 6 Masses only 2 were EF – The Requiem Mass and Sts Peter and Paul; the rest were OF. Would that we did have more EF Masses. Whether one likes it or not both are equal forms of the one Roman Rite. Not everything revolves around ones personal tastes, likes and dislikes.

  20. Jonathan writes in a good number of central London parishes, including Westminster Cathedral. Traditional music is at home in the normative Mass as it is in the Tridentine

    Yes, when Chant Café began they had a listing of places with details. I was surprised and wondered why we did not have that here in the USA. But maybe we do? Probably in some places.

    If I go to the internet I can quickly find out where and when the Tridentine Mass is celebrated here in the USA, whether it is a High Mass or Low Mass, whether it is sponsored by a diocese, SPXX, sedevacante people, etc.

    Now what we need for the normative Mass is an internet listing of times and places where Mass is regularly celebrated in Latin, whether the Propers are sung, whether things are chant or polyphony, etc. Whether there is a sung Preface, EP, Pater Noster, etc. I would even include options like the English Propers.

    I would like to challenge CMAA or NPM or both to provide such as listing.

    What I like even more than survey research is consumer choice.

    I think that if you provide Latin and chant in the OF widely (without Ad Orientem, etc.) and make it know, that you will find more people are interested in it than in the EF.

  21. If I go to the internet I can quickly find out where and when …
    Now what we need for the normative Mass is an internet listing of times and places where Mass is regularly celebrated in Latin, …, etc. I would even include options like the English Propers.
    I would like to challenge CMAA or NPM or both to provide such as listing.
    What I like even more than survey research is consumer choice.
    I think that if you provide Latin and chant in the OF widely (without Ad Orientem, etc.) and make it know, that you will find more people are interested in it than in the EF.

    Jack, There is no joy in conflict. Hopefully we have now passed that episode in this thread. But I am compelled to ask: to what end and benefit do you imagine your preferences will prevail, and thus unify and benefit all of worshipful Christendom? Is there some sort of Nielson Rating that qualifies and quantifies the nature and popularity of worship rites that some are privileged to and others are left forlorn and flaying about?
    Was your response to Fr. Pasley satire? I sincerely hope not, but if so then we all have a bigger problem than anyone could imagine.
    I don’t know if it’s blessing or curse that Catholics have been enabled after the end of WWII and particularly VII to vote with their feet. But that convenient reality has led to a number of dysfunctional and harmful misconceptions about what CHURCH is actually all about. Which of these three words beginning with a “C” is incongruous with the other two: “consumer,” “choice” and “church”?

    1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #29:
      Charles, what I see you writing or hear you saying is that there should be some consistency in Catholic worship that unites rather than divides and that the Catholic Church and her worship isn’t like General Motors with brands to please its customers, like Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC; I guess Pontiac and Oldsmobile would be their EF and/or chant. But many in the Church have “bought” into the secular model of multiple brands and blatant consumerism in the Church and her liturgy.
      Yet all of us believe that “good liturgy” will increase faith and bad liturgy will diminish or destroy it (especially if you don’t believe in ex opere operato). Should we not then go back to the GIRM and Vatican documents on music in the liturgy and style of liturgy to have some consistency? What JR is suggesting doesn’t sound awfully radical but quite traditional in terms of the Latin Liturgy even if he is adverse to the priest being adverse to him. (Although my consumer mentality tells me most people will not buy a contemporary Mass in Latin, they like the vernacular and will buy that any day.)
      What is it that goes against the traditional ethos of the Latin Rite liturgy in style of celebration and music–that’s the main question and so much of that is based on taste but also on intuition. Having lived through and at one time “liked” folk music and Masses, I now see it as the nemesis of good liturgy and the basis for the “reform of the reform.” Folk music has had a metamorphosis into what is now called contemporary music but seems to be of the same incongruent style that is not in keeping with the place of privilege of chant in the Liturgy whether English or Latin and its various developments into other styles.
      The same with instruments, we’ve gone from no instrumentation to organ in our tradition. Only in the last 50 years has piano been allowed not to mention guitar, snare drums, bongos, tambourines and the like, all of which evoke the sentiments of banal secular music.
      So, should there be an edict from on high as to what is allowed and isn’t and how do you get around the enculturation theology in all of this?

  22. Yes to Jack’s idea: a directory of Masses with noteworthy use of sacred music (however one might formulate that!) would be a plus. One of the recurring themes of CMAA president William Mahrt is that the Mass should be beautiful, and that is more important than whether the Mass is offered in Latin or English, in the ordinary form or the extraordinary form.

    Speaking of beauty, one of the features of Masses at the Colloquium was the leisurely ceremonial: the use of longer works of sacred music made it possible for the processions, the movements of the servers, etc., to make their own stately, peaceful contribution to the beauty of the rite.

    Incidentally, Dr. Ford, I had hoped to attend your workshop on BFW at the Colloquium but as the scheduling worked out, it couldn’t happen. Did you distribute any notes for the session?

  23. Can we pull back from the small stuff and look at the bigger picture?

    As program director for the CMAA, I welcome Dr. Ford’s comments. He gives his honest and comprehensive review of this year’s event. The same goes for others who comment above. We are witnessing a little more criticism from those who haven’t attended than from those who have. I suppose this is to be expected.

    The program’s aims are quite simple: to teach and preserve the treasury of sacred music that belongs to both forms of the Roman Rite; and to serve the contemporary Church in a way that honors both the best of old and new.

    The programming challenges – many of them practical, many intellectual or spiritual – are endless. On which calendar days will our liturgies fall? (Sometimes the week for the event has to do with when venues are available – very mundane stuff!!) Shall we choose OF or EF for any given day? Which form on a given day will provide more teachable moments? Since there are many, which teachable moments shall we choose this year? For the OF, shall we use Latin or English? Why? How much? What about personnel available celebrating and serving the Masses?

    What is permitted or customary in the given venue? Has the local community much experience with traditional sacred music at all? Is it better to ease participants into a new experience or should they just be hit over the head with something big? If they are hit over the head, will they run screaming or will they be touched to the very core of their beings?

    There are as many right answers here as there are reasoned opinions, gut reactions, and doctoral theses. We try to improve and fine tune and serve every year. We are always a work in progress. And we are always learning.

    If you came this year, take the time to fill out the evaluation form at the link you were sent via email. We also value comments from those who care enough about the subject to comment on this thread, regardless of which side of the imaginary fence you are on. Write to us.

  24. “We have also chosen to use liturgical options that are absolutely legitimate and yet ignored or even demonized by many.”

    From what I’ve seen and heard online, this is not always true. You’ve fiddled with the memorial acclamation, for one example. You haven’t always followed the prescriptions of the Ordo Cantus Missae–which should be your bible. The liturgies are quite excellent in terms of musical presentation–no doubt. But sometimes they have a 70’s feel of experimentation.

    “Second, the sign of peace is not optional and was given at every Mass, but it does not have to be offered to the congregation.”

    This is true. We laity do not need a directive from the clergy to exchange peace.

    “The Prayer of the faithful is also not required every day. It is “desirable” which does not mean that it is mandatory.”

    Sort of like the propers.

    “Would that we did have more EF Masses. Whether one likes it or not both are equal forms of the one Roman Rite.”

    Not quite. One is reformed, and the other is not.

    Let’s leave aside the silliness and self-congratulation over orientation. Real theological points can be made over the practices of the sign of peace, the general intercessions, and how they are conducted.

    “Not everything revolves around ones personal tastes, likes and dislikes.”

    And yet that is exactly the message the CMAA sends through its Colloquium. I was formed in liturgy at a time (the 1980’s) when thoughtful pastors and liturgists were probing into the best of what the conciliar reforms were offering. My mentors encouraged me by presenting the best of liturgy that I could bring to my parish, to deepen the celebration of the Mass and the encounter with Christ. Not to belabor the mountaintop experience with self-gratification.

    If I wanted to learn more chant, I would go to a monastic community where people sing it daily, but also put charity into daily practice.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #33:
      I am not sure what you refer to with fiddling with the memorial acclamation or not following the Ordo cantus missae. To my knowledge, the memorial acclamation was always by the book; likewise, the Mass propers for the OF were from the Graduale Romanum 1974 and those for the EF from the Graduale Romanum of 1962.

      Concerning revolving around personal tastes, I think all of us who have been involved in organizing the colloquium have had to lay our personal tastes aside and consider what is most sacred and most beautiful, particularly in terms of the chapter on sacred music of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

  25. I have run into quite a few self-proclaimed liturgy experts who loudly and confidently assert that the normative Mass in Latin is a bad halfway house, without the richness of the Tridentine and without the ease of understanding of the English Novus Ordo. (The “ease of understanding” claim is harder to make with the new translation, but let that pass.)

    In my experience this is simply wrong. The great advantage of the Latin normative Mass is that it “maps” easily onto the vernacular; people respond in the same places as in a Mass in English or French or whatever, the ritual is basically the same, the prayers aren’t covered with choral singing, the canon of the Mass is audible, etc.

    The Association for Latin Liturgy (web site below to avoid the link tripping the spam trap) has a Directory of Latin Masses in the UK and Ireland, both Tridentine and Novus Ordo. I agree with Jack that we need something like that in other countries.

    I sympathise with Charles’s point about consumer, choice, church — and yet here we are on the internet, where “voting with your feet” is effortless. My sense is that the horse has bolted from that particular barn. People cheerfully describe themselves as “traditional Catholics”, SSPX Catholics, etc. Here in London, at least, you have to dig deep to work out the geographic boundaries of a parish. People simply don’t think that way anymore. I worship in a parish where something like 99% of our regular parishoners, volunteers, council members, etc., come from outside the geographic boundaries and are there by choice.

    Deplorable, perhaps, but that seems to be where we are.

    Association for Latin Liturgy site below:

  26. Jonathan, not really knowing, I wonder if the liturgical situation in England was and is much better than in the USA? Did you go through the Folk Mass craze in the 60’s and 70’s lasting well into the 80’s and was there a shift to a more contemporary sound with amble use of diverse instruments. If so, how did England maintain a Latin Liturgy in the “normative form?” Who wanted it? I suspect traditionalists who were deprived of the EF Mass or maybe England is just more conservative liturgically than the USA and never had a real “silly season?” I ask in all honesty.
    In my diocese and I think most USA dioceses, prior to the EF Mass, very, very few parishes offered a Latin Liturgy in the normative form and if they did it was just for extraordinary events. I began in 2001 in my previous parish offering once a month at our Sunday’s anticipated Mass on Saturday the Normative Mass all in Latin, except for the Liturgy of the Word. We had a men’s schola that did solemn Gregorian Chant for the Official Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons and yes, the Introit was the Processional hymn and a program was provided for the congregation to try to join in. There were no additional English hymns but the schola did sing additional Latin motets at the offertory and Holy Communion. This was the very first time in my priesthood and perhaps as a Catholic that I was exposed to the actual Mass being sung without hymns added to it apart from a monastic experience, which was rare in my life. Everything else was normative, facing the people, same altar servers, girls and boys, same communion ministers and Holy Communion under both kinds–procedures weren’t changed. But this type of Mass was seen as a “throw-back” to many parishioners and certainly to the vast majority of priests in the diocese.

  27. Fr Allan, my experience is primarily of London. I cannot speak for England as a whole. We have had and do have folk/rock/ ‘youth’ Masses.

    I think we are liturgically fortunate for a number of ‘social science’ reasons.

    First, this is a very multi-national place, so there are many whose first language is not English. A Novus Ordo Latin Mass is no more foreign than an English one, especially if it is easily understood by reference to the Mass in French or Spanish or German.

    Second, London has huge variety. Even within the normative Mass in Latin, you can choose from the very formal, priest facing the apse (London Oratory); an informal style (St Mary’s Cadogan Street), or something in between (Farm Street, Westminster Cathedral). There are several parishes with Sunday Tridentine Masses. It is not difficult for a community to form around the liturgy they cherish. In some cases, you will find a ‘youth’ Mass on a Sunday in the same parish that celebrated a Latin Mass earlier in the day. A large population makes for a degree of tolerance.

    Third, although we have had the liturgy wars here, I think they have never been as bitter as in the USA; there are parallels with political fights in both countries. Nor has the liturgically conservative side here associated itself with an economic far right – which in any event is something we don’t really have. The most right-wing political grouping here is miles to the left of the US Republican party, let alone the Tea Party. I know a number of liturgical conservatives who are enthusiastic supporters of Chestertonian Distributism, hardly a popular cause in the USA.

    The result of this is that if someone wants a ‘modern’ Mass, clown Mass, etc., it will only get support if they value it in itself, not as a reaction to something else. And the same goes for the normative Mass in Latin, Tridentine Mass, etc.

    I hope others from this side of the Atlantic will comment as well.

  28. In the main post, Dr. Ford speculates a bit about whether some of the liturgical choices had been influenced by the attendance of parishioners:

    “The eucharistic liturgies at the colloquium demonstrated the ordinary form under the heaviest influence of the extraordinary form, perhaps out of respect for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter members and parishioners in attendance—the mutual enrichment of Summorum Pontificum seemed to flow in only one direction. All Masses were celebrated ad orientem. We knelt for communion and received on the tongue (it felt forbidden to stand for communion [even by those with knee replacements] or to want to receive communion in the hand). In the ordinary form Masses there was no prayer of the faithful on Tuesday or Thursday; additionally—perhaps except on Sunday, at the regular parish Mass, but I was not there—there was no exchange of the greeting of peace and there was no communion under both kinds.”

    It might be helpful to provide a bit of background about the Salt Lake cathedral – the parish church in which I was baptized, grew up, and was married, though I have long since left it for the far more progressive climes of a Paulist campus community in Los Angeles. The Cathedral of the Madeleine has a long association with Msgr. Francis Mannion (who came to the parish as associate pastor when I was still a teenager, and eventually served as rector for many years), so it does have a very “reform of the reform” liturgical ethos. But the practices that Dr. Ford particularly mentions – ad orientem celebration, kneeling for communion and reception on the tongue, no Universal Prayer, no greeting of peace, no communion under both kinds – are to the best of my knowledge not part of the regular worship experience of the parish.

    Sadly, my most recent experience of Mass at the Cathedral was for my mother’s funeral in late December, and for the Sunday Mass following (which happened to be the January 1st Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God). The celebrants faced the people, we stood for communion and shared the cup, and most of all, our family was lovingly consoled by all around during the exchange of peace at that Sunday morning mass. It was early days of the New Roman Missal, but the current rector, Msgr. Joseph Mayo, did an admirable job proclaiming the new translation of the Eucharistic prayers chosen, and the assembly all struggled along with the responses as best we could. The music was particularly well-chosen and uplifting, for both my mother’s funeral and the Sunday celebration. Though my usual liturgical experience (back in LA) would now seem shockingly contemporary to many of those who have contributed to this thread, I could feel at home. And based on Dr. Ford’s description, I doubt I could have felt at home at much of the liturgy offered during the CMAA Colloquium – even if I know that church like the back of my hand. So I would guess that that particularly heavy influence of the extraordinary form flowed primarily from the organizers of the colloquium, not from the parish community (though the strong emphasis on traditional sacred choral music would make the Cathedral a natural fit).

    And I was very touched, and heartened, by the quotation from the lecture by Gregory Glenn, particularly his invocation of St. Mary Magdalene. The interior of the Cathedral is stunning (Paul Ford’s description of it as “jewel-like” quite apt – a visual tour is available here:, but alas, the painted murals (begun in 1918), all trade on the traditional, erroneous identification of Mary of Magdala with the woman taken in adultery. So it pleased me no end to hear that the patroness is now given her accurate scriptural due – “she who was the first witness of the Lord’s resurrection, the loyal friend of Jesus who remained beneath his cross while others fled in fear and shame, and, if we may be so bold to say, the Apostle to the Apostles.” The murals may still muddy the picture, but at least now the leaders of the parish proclaim the patroness’ true prophetic role. Hopefully that eloquent vision of a liturgy that offers both prayerful thanksgiving and passionate intercession for the needs of the world that Gregory Glenn expressed can be enriching for all those who participated.

  29. Prof Mahrt, I am fairly sure that it was in 1979.

    No children around or under the altar, and a very reverent and respectful congregation, but St Ann’s was a small and intimate chapel, so that the congregation and clergy and your marvellous choir were almost on top of one another. Those Masses were beautiful in an unusual way.

    There was also a small group that welcomed bad singers like me to join some of the real singers at Latin Vespers, I think on Sunday evenings. I especially recall singing Dixit Dominus (Ps 109); very moving!

    Thanks very much for joining in the discussion here at Pray Tell. I hope you will stop back often.

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