Responses to the Responses to “The CMAA Colloquium—a report”

Paul Ford here, not feeling very confident about how to make extensive replies to many but not all of the replies thus far to The CMAA Colloquium—a report. I’d love to know how Fritz makes use of the <div> </div> commands in WordPress. I thought just to make the following an extensive thread in the conversation but then I didn’t see how I could bold and italicize various things. So forgive me for what might appear grandiose (writing about myself in the third person and drawing more attention to this than it deserves.)


@#2 by Fr. Allan J. McDonald
“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.”

PF agrees but does not prefer encouraging kneeling at communion or communion by intinction. The former disrupts the processional character of the communion and the latter prevents the fullness of the sign of drinking.

@#5 by Jack Rakosky
“You have saved me the trouble of checking it out for myself.

PF thinks that many Catholics, clergy and lay, would benefit from attending the CMAA colloquium or something like it, wishing that NPM would make an EF Mass available at every convention, an OF Mass fully chanted using the first alternatives in GIRM 48 and 87, an OF Mass fully chanted using the second alternatives in GIRM 48 and 87, and an OF Mass fully chanted using the third alternatives in GIRM 48 and 87.

“The Reform of the Reform is about spirituality, e.g. kneeling at communion and receiving on the tongue.”

PF agrees.

@#7 by Bruce Ludwick, Jr.
“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).

PF wants to explain the parenthetical remark, inspired by an essay by Fergus Kerr, O.P., “Liturgy and Impersonality” New Blackfriars 52 (1971), is his (PF’s) abbreviated version of the ars celebrandi.

“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.”

PF thinks that the operative words here at “in moderation.”

@#8 by Karl Liam Saur
“[t]he Pope’s preferences regarding kneeling and tongue have been over-interpreted as rules rather than his preferences and that he has in fact not treated them as rules in his own practice.”

PF agrees.

@#12 by M. Jackson Osborn
PF thinks your remarks about the monstrance are immensely helpful.

@#17 by Charles Culbreth
“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.
 And 3. I love the Prayers of the Faithful with a sung response.”

PF agrees, and will have more to say about #3 soon.

@#18 by Bill deHaas
“Paul Ford – can you provide some history of the CMAA?”

PF can’t.

“[W]as 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.?”

PF thinks that there will be more of the practical next year and agrees that we need to inject the Catholic AND 
into all of our conversations.

@#20 by Jonathan Day
”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.”

PF had the same experience at the same parish! Perhaps you were there when he visited with Bob Hurd!

“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.”

PF agrees.

@#21 by Fr. Allan J. McDonald
“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.”

PF agrees.

@#23 by Randolph Nichols
“Simply put, [the colloquium this year in Salt Lake City] 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.”

PF agrees.

@#24 by Todd Flowerday
“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.

PF thinks that Wadsworth is a fine musician and linguist.
PF has been trying to finish a response to Wadsworth’s address—stay tuned to Pray Tell.

@#27 by Fr. Robert C Pasley, Chaplain 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, spiritual experience. We bend over backwards to make sure that it remains that way. We want an atmosphere that is retreat-like and yet sociable.”

PF thinks you succeeded admirably and thanks you for writing on Pray Tell.

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

Not by PF.

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.”

PF invites everyone to look again at GIRM 299: “299. The altar should be built separate from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible.” May PF ask to be directed to the places where the GIRM says “is equal to”?

“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.

PF says that the Greeting was given at every OF Mass, but the sign was not in evidence.

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

PF says yes, but adds that the GIRM 69 couples ‘desirable’ with ‘usually.’

“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.”

PF agrees with you that 
“Not everything revolves around one’s personal tastes, likes and dislikes,”
even the tastes, likes, and dislikes of the Holy Father, about which PF has written and will write again on Pray Tell in August. PF disagrees that the two forms are equal. ‘Equal’ is not to be found in Summorum Pontificum or the accompanying letter of the Holy Father. Article I establishes the Ordinary Form as ‘ordinary’ and ‘normal’ and the Extraordinary form as ‘extraordinary.’

[Next there took place a three-part dialogue about desiring an internet directory of the kinds of Masses and texts and music to be experienced in parishes and chapels around the country: @#28 by Jack Rakosky, @#29 by Charles Culbreth and @#30 by Richard Chonak; Richard ended:] “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?”

A PDF version of PF’s presentation is herePF also distributed copies of the Simple Gradual ICEL 1968 translation and his Responsorial Tones Complete.

@#31 by Arlene Oost-Zinner
PF appreciates the wonderful work of Arlene Oost-Zimmer and her words: “ . . . 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.
. . . ”


  1. I appreciate Dr Ford and I respect his work with BFW and his published material here and elsewhere.

    While I found NPM schools in the 90’s superior to the big conferences in the 80’s, my best formative experience as a pastoral musician was with the Rensselaer Program in 84-85. It was perhaps something between a retreat and religious life for seven weeks. So I can certainly appreciate the sense of retreat described by Colloquium attendees. I have no doubt it was.

    The continuing use of the 1962 Missal is troubling for me for both pastoral and theological reasons. I didn’t care for the ghetto mentality of parishes in the 70’s and 80’s (folk, organ, quiet, youth, children) and I think the Holy Father was most unwise to promote a new form of this through SP. I haven’t spent three decades working toward a truly catholic approach to be undercut by a sense of sentimentality and pandering to schismatics (who don’t seem terribly interested in most anything conciliar).

    That said, I don’t see that option shutting down anytime soon. Nor do I see much openness to the hoped-for mutual enrichment. People who utilize the 1962 Missal don’t seem to be as connected theologically or pastorally. The lack of criticism of the 1962 Missal is troubling. And probably telling.

    I have no problem receiving and considering critique in my parish in how we celebrate liturgy, and I’m willing to engage in a spirited give-and-take on the Roman Rite. Heaven knows I have my own criticisms of the 2010 Missal. And the 1970/75. It seems a bit disingenuous to present 1962 as some perfected ideal, given that in eight years time that Missal was replaced by a duly discerned and constituted reform.

    Celebrate the 2002 Rite in Latin, by all means with the best ars celebrandi human art and divine grace can muster. But please spare us the uncritical endorsement of unreformed liturgy.

  2. I haven’t spent three decades working toward a truly catholic approach to be undercut by a sense of sentimentality and pandering to schismatics (who don’t seem terribly interested in most anything conciliar). Todd F.
    My dear brother Todd, do you see a sort of projection and magnification between your perception of your life’s work to this very moment that doesn’t make a distinction between that which is local (all politics are…) and that which is distant, academic, diplomatic and doesn’t affect your commission in any direct thus meaningful way? First of all you’ve engaged in enough discourse with RotR folk and those who profess a thirst for the EF that has nothing to do with sentimentalism or nostalgia to know that there remains a serious “longing in their hearts” that has been pastorally unadressed, perhaps longer than three decades in their locales.
    Beyond that aspect, it seems obvious your beef is grounded in your perception of the ecclesial intent and authority of the current pontiff and his efforts to reconcile with SSPX. I hope I’m wrong, but your words lead only to that conclusion. That situation can’t possibly affect in any meaningful way how you go about your pastoral responsibilities, can they? I mean, I know of only two people after twenty years in my parish that could tell you what SSPX is, for crying out loud. But I do know that many people have expressed that something is “missing” in their worship experience. They often cannot articulate what exactly that is, and for many of them I think it comes down to some sort of emotional reconnect, which is a plus, but not a full understanding of the grace of the sacramental, communal rituals that we want to dwell in.
    No one at a colloquium ever has even mentioned SSPX in any manner, positive or negative; it’s a non-starter.
    So, why are you wrapped up personally about “pandering to schismatics”? To me, like you often deflect to humor, that would be like me thinking that no matter what I do day to week to year is somehow negated…

  3. One thanks PF for a useful and thoughtful discussion. How wonderful if we had more of this inclusion and balance.

  4. (sorry, had to go to dinner with my beloved wife, so I’m really not sorry!)

    …negated by the train wreck that Capella Sixtina has been, and all of the preening, posturing and positing over it by curialists like Magister or even Bartolucci. They aren’t carrying the standard of the OHCA Church, much less a cross that affects how I carry on my duties and my cross.
    If all this on the boards is an amusement and recreation, say so and we’ll raise a flagon and have a good laugh.
    But I will say that you are among those who have finally taught me to make a disctinction between helping people (in the abstract, like here) and HELPING PEOPLE at home.

  5. “So, why are you wrapped up personally about “pandering to schismatics”?”

    Two brief things:

    I’m speaking of Pope Benedict, not y’all.

    It’s possible to argue a position strongly, or even in the perception of some, insultingly, and not be “wrapped up personally.”

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #5:
      Beyond that aspect, it seems obvious your beef is grounded in your perception of the ecclesial intent and authority of the current pontiff and his efforts to reconcile with SSPX. I hope I’m wrong, but your words lead only to that conclusion. That situation can’t possibly affect in any meaningful way how you go about your pastoral responsibilities, can they?Charles C.
      Um, I got that part. But you advanced as how your formation and thirty years of subsequent service was somehow being undermined by these large ecclesial problems. Apparently we’re talking passed each other again.

  6. Yes, this has been a very good and positive discourse and thanks to PF for it. In terms of his comments on kneeling and intinction, I think this is where “proper liturgy” veers off course and becomes an end unto itself and neglects what is central to the sacramental action–that of receiving our Lord who comes to us. From my observation of people receiving at the communion rail, there is still a procession to that railing by the communicants, but there is also a procession with the Holy Eucharist to the communicant and it is that procession that is somewhat neglected in the “normative” form of distributing Holy Communion. With a stationary “minister” of Holy Communion, the communicant is the one “going” to our Lord, when in reality it is the Lord Jesus “going” to the communicant and through God’s grace and initiative. When the “minister” of Holy Communion is processing back and forth at the railing, this procession of our Lord is quite symbolically clear while lacking in the “stationary” Communion station method of distributing. But apart from that to allow kneeling at a stationary Communion “post” does not in reality break the congregation’s “procession” in the least.
    Finally, the sacramental sign of eating and drinking I think becomes a bit too literal in current liturgical theology; what is important is to “receive” our Lord worthily no matter the form of receiving when He comes to us. I notice at the Vatican and I presume in other places in Europe that concelebrating bishops at papal Mass are not given the Host during the Agnus Dei, but rather approach the papal altar and take the host from the paten and intinct it into the chalice in order to receive while the congregation is receiving. While they may not be “drinking” from the chalice, they certainly are “receiving” from the chalice as does any lay person who is allowed to receive the Precious Blood from the Chalice by way of intinction by the minister. I think one can carry the “meal and dining theology” a bit too far and this Italian knows how great it is to drink good Italian wine by dipping good Italian bread into it! 🙂

    1. How are your ministers beamed into place? In my earth-bound parish, the ministers process to their stations. In fact, that’s what I’ve seen everywhere where they are used. Your argument is confected on that point, and not persuasive. Nor is your minimalist approach to reception (it’s valid and licit, just not as full a sign, is what I mean).

      1. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #7:
        It’s not just my approach, but a valid approach which is allowed in the GIRM (intinction) and by custom and in high places too. But the procession of ministers to their station is a minimalistic approach rather than them approaching each communicant at the railing after the communicant has processed to his/her kneeling or standing position.

    2. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #6:
      Father Allan, I have never even thought of the procession of Christ to the communicant before: I’ll have to live with that thought for a while. The kneeling that breaks the procession that I was mentioning above is where the communicant drops to her/his knees in the procession to receive. That causes stumbling.

      Intinction even by concelebrating bishops at papal Mass does not strike me as the answer to Jesus’ invitation to “take this, all of you, and drink from it.” It seems too fastidious to me.

  7. Dear Dr. Ford,
    Thanks for your comments on my post. I will respond to different comments separately. I would like to immediately draw your attention to the fact that facing the people at the altar is not preferred. The translation of GIRM 299 is faulty. I quote from an article posted by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf.

    “In the National Catholic Register of 7-14 April 2002, a statement was made that, according to the new GIRM, it is now preferable to celebrate Mass “facing the people.” If the Register is making this mistake, it would appear that there was some serious damage caused from the mistranslation of #299 used by the bishops. Let us look at #299. The last time we examined it at length was in the third article of WDTPRS for the 2nd Sunday of Advent in the year 2000:

    Altare maius exstruatur a pariete seiunctum, ut facile circumiri et in eo celebratio versus populum peragi possit, quod expedit ubicumque possibile sit.

    The English version in BLS (above) is faulty. The translator failed to see that quod refers back to the main clause of the sentence. The bishops’ translator fell into the common trap of translating the Latin word by word, rather than reading the whole sentence. Their translator made #299 read as if there is a preference or even a requirement in the law itself to celebrate Mass facing the people. But #299 indicates nothing of the kind. That paragraph really says:

    The main altar should be built separated from the wall, which is useful wherever it is possible, so that it can be easily walked around and a celebration toward the people can be carried out. (Emphases added)

    I will continue in another post.

  8. The quote continues:

    This paragraph explains the distance of separation from the wall: at least far enough so that it can be used from either side, rather than just an inch or two of separation. The Latin doesn’t even hint that Mass must be said versus populum. It only provides that it can be. And that is not an absolute, either. What makes this very troubling is that on 25 September 2000 the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued a clarification (Prot. No. 2036/00/L) regarding #299 in the new Latin GIRM. That clarification says:

    The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has been asked whether the expression in n. 299 of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani constitutes a norm according to which the position of the priest versus absidem [facing the apse] is to be excluded. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, after mature reflection and in light of liturgical precedents, responds:

    Negatively, and in accordance with the following explanation.

    The explanation includes different elements which must be taken into account. First, the word expedit does not constitute a strict obligation but a suggestion that refers to the construction of the altar a pariete sejunctum (detached from the wall). It does not require, for example, that existing altars be pulled away from the wall. The phrase ubi possibile sit (where it is possible) refers to, for example, the topography of the place, the availability of space, the artistic value of the existing altar, the sensibility of the people participating in the celebrations in a particular church, etc.”

    Not only is Ad Populum not preferred, but the rubrics in the missal infer that the priest is facing the altar and tells him to turn towards the people.

  9. @#5 by Jack Rakosky “You have saved me the trouble of checking it out for myself.

    On music, liturgy and spirituality at NPM and CMAA:

    As a music lover (a form of spirituality) but not a musician, and as a liturgy lover (a form of spirituality) but not a liturgist, I would go to NPM and CMAA for the spirituality. However musicians should go to NPM and CMAA to improve their musical and liturgical skills rather than to develop their spirituality or to bring back spirituality to the parish.

    When musicians present themselves in terms of spirituality they become simply music lovers and liturgy lovers like myself, rather than valuable professional resources for the parish about music and liturgy to whom I am likely to give deference.

    N.B. Priests are also making this same mistake of substituting their personal spirituality for professional competence in liturgy, scripture, etc.

    I suspect NPM is as full of spirituality (of different sorts) as CMAA, that many people chose (and some chose not) to go to NPM because of those spiritualities.

    PF’s model of the three options of the OF plus the EF at conventions rightly shifts the focus back upon the fundamental options of the liturgy, and upon the liturgical skills of parish musicians in those options, rather than upon spiritualities that might (or might not) be built upon those options.

    When musicians increase the range of their musical skills and liturgical skills they become a greater asset to the parish giving the parish more options. When they develop their own spirituality (their love of particular forms of music and of liturgy) and bring that spirituality to the parish they create problems by reducing the options of the parish and competing with other spiritualities in the parish.

    The EF is a great historical liturgical resource. I strongly support its experience at meetings to develop the liturgical skills of musicians and liturgists rather than as “reform of the reform” spirituality.

  10. “But you advanced as how your formation and thirty years of subsequent service was somehow being undermined by these large ecclesial problems.”

    Perhaps. I hope that my ego isn’t as engaged on a universal level. No doubt it seeps out quite frequently. But speaking as a potential attendee of the Colloquium (for the study and practice of chant is of deep interest to me, probably more than any other aspect of sacred music except composing), I’m trying to communicate that, for me, attending an unreformed liturgy would be a betrayal of principles. I would have to be really, really, really convinced of the values in giving up Communion under both kinds, the prayers of the faithful, an assembly singing the Mass (rather than a performing group singing at the Mass) and other practices I see as essential to liturgical reform.

    On that last point, I would have to express my disappointment at the narrow view of CMAA on using the propers. Not only is this bad pastoral liturgy, but it fails to give the attendees practice in the various ways of singing the propers + psalms. I’m sure some of your colleagues will grind teeth at this, but the St Louis Jesuits are two generations ahead of y’all on that score. Your management seems happy enough to “teach” people that the sign of peace need not be offered. Not so much, it seems, on the study of psalms by genre and adapting that and compositional style to the needs of the Church’s prayer.

    “Apparently we’re talking passed each other again.”

    We always sort it out in the end. For my part, I apologize for my opacity.

  11. To Allan’s opinion on 7/15 at 3AM in the morning:

    Your comment about walking up and down a communion rail as a procession & bishops at a papal mass receiving by self-intinction is really stretching it to fit into your ideological point of view.

    Here is a much better sacramental and theological explanation of the eucharist:

    Money quotes:

    “Catholic Eucharistic theology has never taught that the sacrifice of Jesus “is relived in every mass”. Scripture is very clear that Jesus offered “one sacrifice for all” (Heb 10:10) on Calvary. Not only is the word, “relived”, non theological but has possible heretical implications. The Calvary event is the absolute sacrifice while the Mass is a relative sacrifice making present and effective here and now that unique sacrifice of Jesus (2 Cor 5: 18). The community does not “relive” Christ’s sacrifice rather the Mass is “the sacrament of the sacrifice of the Cross in the shape of a meal”. The sacramental mode of Jesus’ sacrifice in the Mass safeguards the uniqueness of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary while guaranteeing the authentic sacrifice of the Mass.”

    Eucharist in the Catholic Tradition theologically, is an action of the whole body of Christ, head and members. It is the central act of praise and worship and is the community’s obedient response to Jesus’ command “Do this in memory of me”.

    As such the liturgical action involves the four distinctive actions of Jesus; to take, to bless, to break and to give. At the Offertory, the whole body takes the gifts (“fruits of the earth and work of human hands … these gifts will become our spiritual food and drink”). Then through the Eucharistic Prayer, the community and the gifts of bread and wine are transformed and blessed in the power of the Spirit. The fruits of the earth are now the presence of the risen Saviour and through sharing the transformed gifts the community participates in his victory over sin and death. Augustine was in the habit of communicating his people for the first time not by saying “The Body of Christ”, but with the words “Receive what you are”.[1]

    In the Communion Rite are the final actions of breaking and receiving (giving), the bread is broken and the community remembers the broken body of Jesus and his blood poured out for the salvation of all. Now those who participate in his sacrifice pledge themselves to continue to give of themselves for the salvation of the world. May we become one spirit one body in Christ [Eucharistic Prayer III]. Finally, the community receives “what it is”, the body of Christ. Now the sacrifice is complete, now the community goes forth to be Eucharist and to continue God’s mission in the world.”

  12. Bill someone’s time stamp is off, I wasn’t at my computer until after 5 am Macon time.

  13. While this discussion has focused on Chant, the real elephant in the room is pretty much captured in the four videos in this post. The last video is a Holy Communion Procession, but isn’t really a chow line accompanied by secularized chant with a spiritual veneer? Is this what the school of thought that is opposed to the EF and the Reform of the Reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass and classical chant really want? I know what the reform of the reform wants, but am less clear about progressives, so are these videos a caricature or in reality what we are up against?

    1. No, it’s not a chow line, and that is outright offensive (and I suspect you know better, or at least should). You render your critique foul with that one, Fr Allan. IF your goal was to persuade people that the rail is optimal, you’ve just done the opposite with me, and make me more suspicious of the real agenda of people who advocate the rail. (As things stood before this, it was not a subject I felt that strongly about, other than to avoid magical thinking about it. But you, Father, with that comment, have now given me more pause.)

      I will say that, having been a veteran of the communion rail for most of my youth, and the communion line for all of my adulthood, that people can be just as casual at the rail as in the line. I remember it well. It’s just that, nowadays, the rail only appears in communities that are gathered intentionally around its use. Were it to become universal again, the casualness would likely recur in most places. The rail is not magic (neither is the line). Chant is not magic (neither is contemporary music). Avoid magical thinking.

    2. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #18:
      I have just put myself through the agony of watching those videos. Saint Monica’s is a point-of-(re-)entry parish for many who find their way into (or back into) the Church. You happened to visit their most ‘accommodating’ Mass. I am dismayed at what appears to be the casualness and the entertainment model of what I see here; but I know the good motives of the minsters here and I refuse to judge by externals, which language like “chow line” appears to do.

      “In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas!”

  14. It is the style of communion coupled with the style and complete ambiance of the video along with the procession song and getting Jesus like “Got Milk” that I am critiquing.

    1. Well, your critique failed due to offensive overargument. Mind you, I enjoy more than my share of pungent humor in argument from time to time. But those are real people receiving a real sacrament and with no evidence of a chow line in their minds. If you were my pastor and I heard you make a reference of this sort without much more basis that you have, I’d determine you were more interested in scoring rhetorical points than in shepherding your flock, and I’d move elsewhere. It’s really that offensive. I doubt you’ll see that, though. Just understand your ability to persuade is reduced thereby, because you are getting in the way.

  15. Yes, “Chow Line” is pretty offensive. In trying to be cute, it borders on sacrilege.

    “I know what the reform of the reform wants, but am less clear about progressives …”

    Of course you are. You seem so busy making your own points that you don’t pay attention to other people.

  16. This is an interesting article by Kaveny at Notre Dame and its points apply to Allan:

    Money quotes:

    – “The Donatist controversy illustrated not only the way the rigorists can fall into heresy, although it did show that. It illustrated something about the nature of the Church, this strange admixture of the Divine and the mundane. The Church resists the “faithful remnant” mentality and view it with theological suspicion. There is always a temptation in the religious life to exult oneself but the stern warning in the Gospels is clear – the man who prayed at synagogue “I thank thee Lord that I am not like other man” is not the model for Catholic theology and discipleship. We turn for an example instead to the man who knelt at the back, bowed his head, and prayed, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

    – “It is strange the way those who believe the future of the Church requires accommodation to the world, and those who believe the future of the Church is better served by a rigorist separation from the world, both agree in one thing: It is all about me! The accommodationist says I wish to live this way and demand a benediction be put upon my deeds and actions, even if they find no theological warrant in our tradition. The rigorist says that only his understanding of the faith warrants the designation of authenticity and condemns others as inauthentic. Both fall into the sin of pride and both forget the last scene in the Gospels, when Jesus upbraids Peter who had jealously inquired about the ultimate destiny of John, the apostle whom Jesus loved. “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me.” Pride has received no sterner warning than these, the last words of the Master in the Christian canon.”

    1. Bill

      Just remember this caution with that parable. It does us no better to thank God we are like the publican instead of the pharisee.

  17. Agreed – but substitute birth control with EF/TLM and you see the comparison or contrast.

    It gets to some comments and commentors in terms of the impact of SP, etc. and polarization in the church – exactly why most conferences of bishops strongly encouraged JPII and B16 not to publish that document.

    Finally, it is really concerning to me when a commentor participates at PTB but then dismisses, attacks, denigrates PTB & commentors on his own personal blog – hypocritical; is he completely unaware of this disconnect?

  18. Re: Communion # 6, 16,18-22

    In the past couple of years (since I have started to use a walking stick for balance) my perception of the communion procession has changed. It is simply too fast, largely because of the number of communion ministers (too many) and their tendency to administer communion too fast.

    When I reach the communion minister, I bow and place the walking stick from my right hand into the bend of my left arm so that it stays firmly in place. I then take the host or cup. Once I have placed the species into my mouth, I slowly take the walking stick out of the bend of my left arm and back into my right hand, then proceed.

    For me the walking stick has added greatly to the solemnity, elegance and ritual character of my communion experience. It helps that I have a great collection of beautiful walking sticks (in many liturgical colors) and get many compliments in church and grocery markets (where the stick rests in the cart) as well as a lot of respect (people make way for me).

    The stick is for balance not support and strictly speaking is not necessary, although two physicians advised me that it was better to be safe than sorry. Perhaps with our aging population we ought to restore elegant canes and walking sticks to fashion.

    I have noticed that communion ministers are impatient with my slowness, e.g. the solemnity of the motions that my walking stick introduces into the reception of communion. One actually offered me the provision of coming to my pew to give communion. I told her I like to be in a procession.

    And, Karl, I remember as an altar boy rushing to keep the paten under the priest’s hand as he sped down the communion rail. Talk about fast food service in the days before fast food service. The rush to get through the service exists as much or more in the minds of the ministers than it does in the people. I am glad the walking stick enables me to slow down and command slowness (and reverence) from ministers and others.

  19. I thought that Bill’s poking at Fr Allan was becoming tiresome, but then I read the following on Fr A’s blog:

    …progressive liberal Catholics are, how shall I say, imbeciles. I don’t mean to be hurtful, but they have presided over the Catholic Church, which by nature, its Divine Nature, is a conservative institution, but have tried to make it a liberal marshmallow. It has failed miserably. These very same liberals failing to accept the havoc they have wreaked on the liturgy, on religious life, on Catholic morality and discipline and on Mass attendance, continue to spew that they have the key to the new springtime of the Church. Simply stated, they are either totally ignorant or completely diabolical and without shame. They are dealers in death, and they are death dealing.

    There follows what can only be a reference to Pray Tell:

    On another blog, there is a constant mantra about the conservative nature of the current hierarchy of the Church that calls a spade a spade and recognizes the the SSPX has more to offer the future of the Church than the idiotic LCWR, Voice of the Faithful, Called to Action, Hans Kung and Charles Curran combined and squared to the nth degree! This blog continues to lament the new and improved English translation of the Mass, the return of the Ancient Mass and the reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

    And then, the solution:

    It is well past time and patience to say to these liberal groups enough and if enough isn’t enough, then an exorcism is the only remedy.

    This can’t be written off as “Italian hyperbole”.

    For shame, Fr Allan.

    I, and others here, have tried to engage with your comments and to find the positive in what you say.

    But from henceforth — and I say this with some sadness — you can count me in Bill’s camp.

  20. Just as a point of interest to the discussion of how to receive communion, our diocese received relatively strict recommendations based on GIRM. This included bowing, no holding hands at the Our Father, no orans position except for the ordained, and so on. All by the book.

    Therefore, when my wife had a bit of insomnia, she happened to catch a papal mass on EWTN, and she was appalled. To quote her, “It looked like they were getting communion at McDonald’s.” That included from the pope, and that included the kneeling, all while we were being excoriated for our lack of reverence.

    So, where I find “chow line” offensive, as usual both conservatives and liberals (and even Rome) can create their own styles of cattle calls. Lets try to remember that both styles can be the breath of faith as well .

  21. Jonathan context is needed, what I write is in context to the New York times piece that follows my literary attention rant and must be read also in context of yesterday’s Gospel on expelling demons which was/is fresh on my mind and a part of the Church’s ministry. But with that said I wonder if a dentist is in the house to treat the nerve I struck and if anyone would clear the smoke screen and stop shooting the blogger and deal with the contents of the video as it concerns contrasting styles of liturgy and the debates on this thread. I think JR did that nicely.

  22. Re: #26


    Exactly. I am also slow, perhaps ponderous. I don’t rush. I am not alone. And the ministers at my parish don’t rush, either. (And I certainly remember the rush of the paten from neck to neck and the swoosh of the surplices. It was certainly faster than any communion line I’ve been in. Speed is a vice in the communion line. But, as I’ve pointed out many times before, the Prime Directive in American Catholic liturgy is that Mass Shall Not Take One Minute Longer Than Is Necessary, a directive that took firm root by the Baby Boom before the conciliar reforms.

    Re #29:

    Fr Allan

    You’re no dentist. You need to demonstrate evidence of greater circumspection before I will take your invitation credibly. What you did here is more salient for this board than any video of elsewhere, so please stop trying to evade accountability. It doesn’t credit you.

  23. Fr Allan, I am trying to find a possible context that could lead anyone to denounce someone he disagrees with — no matter how deeply — as not only an imbecile but also “completely diabolical and without shame. … dealers in death, and … death dealing.”

    Is that really your view of Fr Ruff, and Fritz, and me, Jack, Karl, Brigid, Jordan, Bill, and the many others who contribute and post here?

    If so, please say so, and we will all know where we stand.

    If not, how about a clarification, at least here if not over on your own blog?

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #31:
      The offending post at the blog I write which now renders your quotes as outdated has been edited with the appropriate apology which can be read there. In terms of the people you list, no, but obviously and including me, we all have some prejudices all of which could be purified and by the grace of God and through legitimate accountability. I’m far from the only one who lets it all hang out and in a hyperbolic or authentic way, which contrary to Bill’s sentiments about me, is far from hypocritical, but at least here I recognize I’m in someone else’s home and moderate my comments in a polite way; that’s etiquette, not hypocrisy. This blog has posted posts and comments that are “out there” too and seldom receive fraternal correction compared to those of us who have a more conservative bent and I think that that truth is quite evident to anyone who has read this blog over the long haul but that simply is the nature of things and agenda that is present.

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #33:
        Thank you, Father Allan, for correcting your July 15 post on your own blog.

        If you have read my posts and responses over the years, I have occasionally fraternally corrected progressives and conservatives when I think they have overreached themselves.

        All of us have to pass over many remarks that are not to our taste or thinking but which are likely to sink into oblivion if we do not pay attention to them.

      2. Re #33

        Fr Allan

        I have engaged in a similar manner with progressives, online and in person. Todd Flowerday can attest that I show no partiality in that regard.

        However, there are people I don’t bother with. If I bothered with you, it’s because I had the sense it might engage you. I don’t intervene where I don’t think that’s reasonably likely. So understand my silences in that way.

        What I meant by intervening so strongly on this one point is imagine if you were one of the people who actually was filmed in that video, and encountered a priest describing everyone in that line as being in a chow line. Think of how damaging to them that *might* be, however you thought it was an effective rhetorical point. Real souls. Right there. Maybe some would feel convicted by your point, but I suspect (based on watching this kind of thing in practice) that more would be alienated. And how does that sanctify them? Sure, we get credit for wit. They get grist for alienation. I gather you may now I understand where I was coming from.

        (I have the exact same feeling when I encounter a priest who wittily denigrates real women who freely choose to wear veils, just by way of counter-example.)

  24. When I returned to my diocese I found that a rather pragmatic directive had taken root since Redemptionis Sacramentum, that the communicant should bow while the person immediately in front is receiving Communion.

    I make it a point to take my time, and to encourage others to do so as well. For the most part, lay Communion ministers are patient and they are also trained to take things with mindfulness, not haste.

    I don’t frequent Fr Allan’s blog. I avoid “fact-checking” other people on their own sites. Regardless of the context, the name-calling is immature and more suggestive of the elder brother rather than the father figure in Luke 15:11-32. And let me be clear: I’m not suggesting that Fr Allan is immature or inappropriate material for being a pastor. I’m critical of the behavior. It is possible for a person to be worthy (within the confines of grace) for an office or for a certain social standing, but to still engage in behavior that is contrary to that calling. I would be interested in seeing Fr Allan’s response to all this.

  25. Matt Connolly : . . . So, where I find “chow line” offensive, as usual both conservatives and liberals (and even Rome) can create their own styles of cattle calls. Let’s try to remember that both styles can be the breath of faith as well .

    Yes, Matt, very true. Thanks.

  26. Karl Liam Saur : Re: #26 Jack, Exactly. I am also slow, perhaps ponderous. I don’t rush. I am not alone. And the ministers at my parish don’t rush, either. (And I certainly remember the rush of the paten from neck to neck and the swoosh of the surplices. It was certainly faster than any communion line I’ve been in. Speed is a vice in the communion line. But, as I’ve pointed out many times before, the Prime Directive in American Catholic liturgy is that Mass Shall Not Take One Minute Longer Than Is Necessary, a directive that took firm root by the Baby Boom before the conciliar reforms.

    KLS, I guess I missed all the other times you mentioned the Prime Directive but I am glad I read it here. You are VERY correct. Thanks.

  27. Thank you, Father Allan, for listening and acting so promptly. The edit window has closed on my earlier comment or I would go back and note there that you have changed your blog.

    A few years ago I went to Mass in my local parish on 1 January. It doesn’t have the professional musicians of the central London parish I attend, but its priest has long been an advocate of fine music and reverent liturgy. It is a “reform-of-the-reform” parish.

    Somewhat to my surprise and concern, a youth group was providing music at the main Mass, complete with electric guitars and drum kit in the sanctuary. The music was on about the same level that I saw in those videos.

    And then I learned what had really happened: instead of spending New Year’s eve partying and drinking, these teenagers had been on a two-day retreat together, reading and meditating and praying, going to confession and sleeping on the church basement floor. This was their way of communicating what they had brought back from their time in prayer together.

    This parish has consistently produced so many vocations that the parish priest at the time was also the diocesan vocations director; he is now full time in the vocations director role.

    I had judged by externals, and I was wrong.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #39:
      Getting back to the videos, and Paul Ford’s comments, it is obvious that the music is performed quite well and in fact I wouldn’t mind listening to it on the radio, which I have, or an iPod which I don’t own. Apart from the qualities of the music, what is it that really needs reforming?
      1. The choir and cantor direct attention to themselves. They are front and center and love it. I’ve been in this Church and they have a wonderful choir loft and pipe organ, just moving them and not changing anything else would be a big reform for the better.

      2. While I personally like more traditional sacred music and instrumentation for the Liturgy, the question that I cannot answer since I’m not a musician is how do you make a talented group like this serve the liturgy rather than the liturgy serve their gifts of being entertainers?

      3. This is a very upwardly mobile parish, I don’t know what the preaching there is like, but I wonder how one offers anything that is counter-cultural in this congregation.

      4. The “chow line” is precisely one where one wonders where the sacred is being encountered with all that is going on behind the ministers of Holy Communion. It is fast too. I would suggest the Episcopal Church’s model of distributing Holy Communion when they use the railing. It isn’t rushed and it doesn’t have to be in the Catholic Church if there are multiple ministers of Holy Communion, except kneeling you wouldn’t need as many. The reason why the Pre-Vatican II experience of receiving seem fast, isn’t the waiting at the railing for the priest to arrive, but the fact that he was the only one or maybe one more priest assisting and the formula was very long. That’s far from the ideal.

  28. “The choir and cantor direct attention to themselves.”

    Irrelevant to the insults. I see a photographic emphasis on traditional web sites on clergy. They call attention to themselves, too. Are you prepared to go to a TLM blog and yell, “narcissists”? That would be rather counter-cultural, no?

    “While I personally like more traditional sacred music and instrumentation for the Liturgy, the question that I cannot answer since I’m not a musician is how do you make a talented group like this serve the liturgy rather than the liturgy serve their gifts of being entertainers?”

    Well, I can answer it. I’ve done it on a few occasions. It involves listening and attending to people who have brought a first motivation to church music and who need to move beyond it. Hint: it involves not assuming these people are stupid or that I have All The Information They Need From On High. It’s a fusion between serving to help people direct their spiritual/liturgical lives and applying music skill for the service of the people. It’s one of the reasons why pastors hire music directors: so we can do what you guys can’t or won’t.

    “This is a very upwardly mobile parish, I don’t know what the preaching there is like, but I wonder how one offers anything that is counter-cultural in this congregation.”

    This is an interesting observation. Counter-cultural preaching is rather easier to deliver than it is to receive. I might ask the questioner: how does he respond to challenging preaching in the setting of clerical culture. Today, for the most part, Fr Allan, you’ve chosen to ignore the challenges to your intemperance and insults.

    “The ‘chow line’ is precisely one where one wonders where the sacred is being encountered with all that is going on behind the ministers of Holy Communion.”


    This is precisely what *you* wonder. I view the video, and I cluck at the inappropriateness of the peripherals. But the reception of the Eucharist is not something to be trifled with by trite and insulting and…

  29. “But the reception of the Eucharist is not something to be trifled with”

    Precisely. Which I took to be Fr. McDonald’s original point–in his concern that the video showed the Blessed Sacrament being trifled with by trite and insulting behavior.

    1. @Henry Edwards – comment #43:
      Henry, exactly, the use of “chow line” was meant to illustrate how it could be perceived by those who expect a more nuanced receiving of Holy Communion or how a visitor who is not Catholic might perceive it. I used it not to denigrate the Rite of receiving Holy Communion, but to lament a particular style of it and not just the constant movement as though one was on a busy sidewalk going somewhere, but also in terms of what was happening with the “music ministry.” But apart from that, I rather enjoyed the choir and watching them, what was disconcerting is that their “secular” style which is very appropriate in an entertainment genre , almost like watching a segment on American Idol, but was out of place the sacred context of Mass. But again, the point of my post was to bring the extreme contrast of why there are those promoting the “Reform of the Reform” or even to return exclusively of the EF Mass and the other school of thought, which the videos show in the extreme, that interprets how to celebrate and sing the Mass in a somewhat different way and with a different ethos. Depending on a parish’s particular theology or agenda, I doubt that most of us have Masses that are completely like the experiences of Mass at The CMAA Colloquium or the ones depicted at St. Monica’s.

      1. #46

        Fr Allan

        Please stop defending your use of the chow line. The defense now undermines you attempt to distance yourself from that. Really. Your offensive rhetorical choices get in your own way. Instead, a simple “I was wrong” without quibbling or defensiveness or justification might re-open your audience to your point. Just a pointer if you want to actually persuade folks who don’t already agree with you.

      2. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #47:

        To one who is now a fairly infrequent visitor here and happened upon this thread, this continued protestation has the appearance of motivation by personal animosity. Since the “chow line” reference seems a fairly mild reaction to what would be sacrilegious behavior by one who actually believed personally in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament received in Holy Communion. Surely this appearance of sacrilege is itself more offensive than any particular manner of brief reference to it. (Of course, I am not attempting to persuade anyone of anything, since it appears that everyone here is pretty well set in his opinions.)

  30. My experience in the communion procession is not hurried. The lay Eucharistic ministers are well trained. We bow before receiving. Most make eye contact with me as they proclaim “body of Christ”. Many times their faces have been the face of Christ at that moment. Their eyes lit up by the Spirit.

    In contrast the parish priest does not look people in the eye. In a hurried manner he seems to “dispense” the Eucharist. His proclamation is monotone and dispassionate. I often think he could be saying “piece of bread, lump of coal, here you go”. The contrast between him and the lay ministers is significant from where I sit.

    Regarding kneeling: my preference is a procession, not a railing, for many reasons. Kneeling is very difficult for many old people, my mother included. Their procession is often difficult as they walk with arthritic pain, using their canes, or, in the case of my mother, their walkers. But they process and are reverent.

    That’s my experience, for what it is worth.

    1. @Anthony Lehmann – comment #44:
      The current manner of receiving Holy Communion especially when the chalice is also available isn’t that it is necessarily rushed, but that there is constant motion, no time for a brief pause. This is somewhat ameliorated when kneeling at the railing, waiting for the minister to arrive and depart, the communicant waits and then can briefly pause at the railing before departing, no matter how fast the Host or Chalice is given to them. In terms of the norm, which is to stand, this could easily be accomplished at a railing or where the railing use to be for people line up where they might have knelt. But in terms of the exception of kneeling, it should be allowed, comfortable and safe. In my parish we had people kneeling on the hard marble floor which was unsafe for the person behind them if that person wasn’t paying attention or was tripped by the person kneeling On top of that it was difficult for the person kneeling to arise in a graceful way depending on their age. We now have a stable kneeler in front of the communion minister to make kneeling “safe, comfortable and optional.” My own experience with the kneeler in front of me is that it is as though it is not there when people stand to receive and do so either on the hand or tongue. Those who kneel do not slow the process down any more than a person who pauses after receiving standing to place the host in their mouth and if there is a longer pause, it is miniscule. But again, why be so rushed at this point? We also encourage the congregation to sing during Holy Communion, but our choir and cantor are in the choir loft and our congregation is a singing congregation without having someone in front of them to indicate to them to sing.

  31. Henry, I think some of us are just leaning fairly hard on Fr Allan because he’s capable of better. Turning things back on the group as being “pretty well set in (our) opinions” is an interesting tack. We mostly agree the comment was poor, that the ends do not justify the means, and he should just ‘fess up and set a good example.

    To be honest, I’d prefer to tussle with conservatives who actually are able to articulate good theology instead of practicing pajama journalism.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #49:
      But it’s pretty uniformily the “conservatives” that get the stick of the “capable of better” public shaming treatment ’round these parts. No backlash on Paul Inwood’s comment suggesting that it’s “latent transvestitism” that causes seminarians to wear cassocks.

    2. To be honest, I’d prefer to tussle with conservatives who actually are able to articulate good theology instead of practicing pajama journalism.
      No one here has ever hit submit in a pique, only to regret it later I’m sure.;-)
      Bro.Todd, our friend FRAJM has ‘fessed up’ over the “chow” flap. Now, do you acknowledge a bit of sardonic, if not condescending, irony in your last confession above? Peace. Oops.

  32. Thanks, Charles. You know, I’d much prefer we get beyond the tack of caricature, or the search for the worst possible examples to puff up our own positions. But as you know, many bloggers are far more reticent about making suggestions on good liturgical practice.

    For my part, I’d like to encourage my sister and brother Catholics to just take their time at the end of the Communion line. And if need be, just focus like a laser on the Eucharist, not any externals that happen to wander by.

    1. No argument from me on those points. But suffice it for my part to say that the expression “fight fire with fire” only has true meaning with real forest or other conflagurations, and on the battlefields of actual war.
      On the www, well…add fire to fire gets us into that reaction over reaction over reaction echo we so often lament.

  33. I think Samuel hits the nail on the head and that progressives and traditionalists are more than capable of righteous or self-righteous indignation or blind spots. But consensus on what SC really set in motion and who thwarts it or is in sinc with it remains the question given two primary examples in this thread.

  34. Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Celebrating the Mass, 2005:

    210. The Communion procession expresses the humble patience of the poor moving forward to be fed, the alert expectancy of God’s people sharing the Paschal meal in readiness for their journey, the joyful confidence of God’s people on the march towards the promised land. In England and Wales it is through this action of walking solemnly in procession that the faithful make their sign of reverence in preparation for receiving Communion.

  35. As president of the CMAA I would like to respond to Paul Ford’s most generous report of the Colloquium held in Salt Lake City last month. I am grateful for the constructive and positive tone of this report and hope I can respond in kind.

    Others have already made quite a few particular points, as I have as well; but I would like to address a general principle underlying the colloquium.

    None of us have been using the term “reform of the reform,” though some of our activities could well be described by it. Rather, I think the more apt term comes from Popes John Paul and Benedict: “hermeneutic of continuity.” Since the Second Vatican Council and particularly since the reorganization of the CMAA in 1966, we have been dedicated to maintaining the continuing tradition of sacred music, focused upon Gregorian chant, classical polyphony, organ music, and modern music, in that order of importance. This has been based specifically upon the chapter on sacred music of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. and has been our constant policy since then.

  36. Much of the celebration of the OF has abandoned the use of Gregorian chant, even though the Constitution said it should have first place, and has introduced practices which compromise its sacrality. It may seem that there was more emphasis at the colloquium upon the extraordinary form than upon the ordinary form, but four of the six Masses were in the OF. Even so, our celebration of the OF is said to have been more highly influenced by the EF than vice versa. Pope Benedict’s letter introducing Summorum Pontificum spoke of the mutual enrichment of the two forms, but he also spoke of the distortions that the OF has experienced, with the hope that the EF would bring to the OF a greater sense of the sacrality of the liturgy. Thus, the impact of the EF on the OF seems to have been greater at the colloquium. Still, there is also some opposite influence of the OF upon the EF: the use of authentic Gregorian propers instead of singing the proper texts to psalm tones; the use of the introit chant actually to accompany the entrance procession; the singing of the dialogues and the Ordinary of the Mass by the congregation; the use of additional psalm verses with the introit and communion when the liturgy requires more time (this was recommended under Pius XII in 1958). These things were already possible in the EF, but often not used.

    Paul Ford also included some constructive criticisms, and they will receive careful consideration in our planning for next year.

  37. “Much of the celebration of the OF has abandoned the use of Gregorian chant”

    This is not accurate, possibly not even for the Solemn High Mass tradition of the 1570/1962 Missal. Gregorian chant never took root in North America, and certainly has not been part of the celebration of the 1970 Missal outside of a few select communities. I don’t mention that with glee; it’s just part of the fact of the situation. GC is in the position to be a tool for a spiritual or musical evangelization. For better or worse, it will need to prove itself (again) as a fruitful means of expressing worship.

    As for the “distortions,” much of what Pope Benedict speaks of is not part or no longer part of the mainstream Catholic experience. And from what I’ve heard on the 2011 podcasts and seen in the 2012 reports, CMAA is not immune to its own tinkering with the liturgy when it suits its own purpose. There are points of variance from the introduction to the Roman Gradual from what I’ve seen reported from CMAA liturgies.

    I don’t offer those observations with glee either, nor necessarily to drag CMAA down to the level of the talk-show host presider. Doing liturgy is difficult work, particularly in a community with many strong-headed ideas about it. Throw in the current political climate in Catholicism, and it is a herculean task.

    A final word on the so-called hermeneutic of continuity. Not all liturgists accept this as a major principle of conciliar reform. Liturgy is not bound by a human-imposed narrow form. It must serve the spiritual needs of the faithful and further the mission of Christ. Continuity is better finessed as a local principle of pastoral ministry, where change happens organically to adapt to the needs of particular communities of the faithful. It is a once-mentioned (SC23) principle we should always consider on a more universal level, but place well behind other considerations such as active participation and inculturation.

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