Mass at St. Peter's Basilica or Westminster Cathedral London
  • Dear fellow Forum members, I have a sincerely meant question. WHY can't the Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and Westminster Cathedral in London be the striven for norm in most Catholic churches? And isn't it a willful act of disobedience and disrespect not to use these two and perhaps some others like the Oratories as role models in every detail?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    To distinguish: why can't these examples of sung Masses be taken as the norm? Well, of course, they can. But they aren't.

    And why hasn't the sung Mass been taken as the norm? The convention of treating Low Mass as the norm in this country is a historical matter. It probably stems from various historical factors: mission status, the dominance of the immigrant Irish clergy (and laity), perhaps the role of particular religious orders.

    And is it disobedience? Not as long as the rubrics allow it.
  • ...as long as the rubrics allow it.

    This is sort of like Bill and Hillary protesting 'it wasn't illegal', isn't it?
    When rubrics are thought to be essential motivation for singing the mass we have slid to the bottom of the mountain and have committed cultural and sacral suicide. It's time for the Irish to step aside (if they, as is often stated, are responsible for this), and it's time to revise a poverty stricken attitude and praxis in reference to how we normally celebrate mass. What is 'normal' is the un-sung and un-ceremonial mass. What is 'normative' as far as the Church is concerned is the totally sung and very ceremonial mass. This is learnt from the evidence of liturgical history from the earliest of times, and it is evident as what was intended by the recent council. There may not be rubrics to goad us on, but there is the mind of the Church, both in history and the recent council in the light of which un-sung and un-ceremonial masses are, indeed, acts of disobedience - wilfull, deliberate and calculated disobedience - as well as, in many cases, abject and preferred ignorance.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,367
    And why hasn't the sung Mass been taken as the norm?

    When I read things like this, I begin to wonder whether I am living on another planet. Seriously. This past summer I attended a Mass at which the Gloria was recited. I realized at that time that I had never learned the spoken form of the Gloria since the revised translation was introduced in 2011. I had always sung it.

    I read often on this Forum about "four hymn sandwich" Masses. I cannot even remember how long ago it may have been that only four hymns were sung at a Mass I attended. Where are the folks who speak of this phenomenon living?

    At least here in the Diocese of Orlando at every Sunday Mass I celebrate or attend, the Gloria, responsorial psalm, alleluia and verse, sanctus, memorial acclamation, amen, and Lamb of God are always sung. And often the Lord's Prayer. Less often the dialogues, although I will always chant whatever dialogues the PIPs know at the particular parish at which I am substituting. And I always chant the preface (although I invariably have to change the settings in the MR). [Some may know that I scored all 106 prefaces in the ill-fated 1998 translation, so I admit my bias.] Then there are hymns at the entrance and closing, and often at the presentation of the offerings and at communion. Yes, I seldom hear the propers being sung. But the Masses are far from being "Low Masses" or "four hymn sandwich" Masses.
  • RONKRISMAN - It sounds like you are in a fortunate diocese. But what I have in mind is a somewhat quasi comparison between the examples I mentioned and the horrible (in my opinion) TV masses across the USA that I examine routinely; with the exception of one that at least makes a good effort.

    Additionally, I have been to several churches here throughout California; especially the central area. Since I can't say anything good about several of them, I won't. All I will say, is that I am disappointed in several dioceses and their bishops, who surely having been to the Vatican, should know better and strive to see that a higher goal is encouraged; especially if they are in charge of a TV Mass.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Dear Fr. Krisman, I hope my question (quoted above) isn't misleading. I wouldn't be so silly as to suggest that there is little or no singing at Mass.

    Instead, I'm thinking about the basic framework of Mass: are the dialogues sung? Does the priest begin by singing "In the name of the Father..."? Where I live, this is seldom done, even though the chants for these parts of the Mass are very simple, and some can even be recto tono.

    As a result, the Mass *is experienced* as a generally spoken ritual with some sung portions added. In effect, the "Low" (recited/read) Mass is taken as the basic model.

    Thank you for raising the point, so that I could clarify it for other readers.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,601
    "the Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and Westminster Cathedral in London"

    which begs the question: which Mass and in which way? There are recited Masses there, too, you know...

    It's by no means certainly an act of disobedience and disrespect, either (which, btw, would be sinful by definition, right?). Are the recited Masses at those places acts of such?

    I think this is a singularly unhelpful way to encourage people to aim higher in liturgical praxis: starting off effectively accusing them of sin without basis.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,050
    I get to 5:30 Sunday Mass at Westminster maybe 5 or 6 times a year. The forces deployed are celebrant, cantor, organist, reader, and several altar servers and eucharistic ministers. The Ordinary is sung by cantor and congregation in Latin the rest is in English. Singing by the celebrant varies, but there is always some attempt. Before the latest translation came into use this Mass was exactly what I would hope any parish could achieve, and it worked well considering that half the congregation are vistors, some with a poor grasp of English. They handed out a music sheet for that Mass, and Missals for those who have an enquenchable 'need' to read what they could perfectly well listen to.
    When the texts changed they provided 1. the revised texts of the peoples part, 2. the Missal, 3. a booklet of Mass settings, 4. A sheet of guidance to the music and readings used at each of that weekend's Masses. Disaster! who can handle four separate documents with not even a slot in the seat in front to park things in? Well they dropped the first sheet (its in the missal if you need it). Unfortunately they also switched to an opening hymn instead of an introit sung as a responsorial psalm, in a moderately successful attempt to get the congregation started on singing. It should be easy to copy, but it remains better than almost any other Mass without a semi-professional choir that I have attended for a decade. *end of rant*
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Well, in CatholicLand/St. Blogs, people dispute and refute with absolutes.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • i appreciate Irish Catholic culture may have caused you some problems. But please get over it.
    If you want to blame someone, blame the English who were responsible for the ransacking of our Catholic culture and its impoverishment. Be grateful that despite dungeon fire and sword, we held to the faith and passed it on around the world.
    So it didn't always come wrapped in fancy vestments and liturgical haut couture.
    Boo hoo.
    It cost us bitterly to keep what we had.
    Move on. Nothing to see here.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,601
    Bonnie

    The problem in the US is that the Irish insisted on imposing their liturgical praxis on non-Irish Catholics as the correct norm. There was something to see there. And we Irish have no special entitlement to cultivate bitterness.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • True. Just shooting my mouth off. Ignore.
    Or refer to them as Irish Americans. or even just Americans. We do.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,601
    As the saying goes, a well-balanced Irish-American is someone with a chip on each of his shoulders. That one predates the Irish Alzheimer's joke (forgetting everything except the grudges) by a stretch. What's really funny to me is that my Irish grandmother, from one of the bleakest and most depopulated areas of Ireland (northern County Leitrim), had no particular grudge against the English as such, and she could grudge with the best/worst of them. She thought England was the greatest country in the world when she was a girl in the 1890s. (And, yes, she was Catholic, not Protestant; thoroughly Irish.)
    Thanked by 1bonniebede
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    WHY can't the Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and Westminster Cathedral in London be the striven for norm in most Catholic churches?


    Most Catholic churches are not gigantic Cathedrals with boatloads of money and dozens of professional musicians on staff.
  • the Irish Alzheimer's joke (forgetting everything except the grudges)

    I hadn't heard that. Excellent. ;-)
  • ...boatloads...

    There are, though, scads of financially comfortable and even wealthy parishes who have no excuse. We should stop excusing mediocrity and niggardliness in worship by reference to those parishes which are truly poor and needy. Most aren't, and many can find money for anything that they really want.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen JL
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    This is true. It just seems to me that pointing at St. Peter's and Westminster is silly.

    It's like saying, "Why can't all these obese people in the U.S. be more like Usain Bolt?"

    Well, the answer is obvious: they are obese and he is unique.

    But you could say, "Why can't all these obese people in the U.S. be more like, you know, normal."

    There are plenty of places which would serve as more reasonable models.
  • ...more reasonable models.

    Like... maybe... um..... Walsingham?????
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,601
    Or the LA Religious Education Congress? (that should be in vivid purple)
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    LA Religious Education Congress

    Fantastic catch, Liam. Tho' were I to dwell on the reality, I would be vividly purple. In my experience with both LAREC and CMAA colloquia and intensives, I would say that the fanaticism factor of LAREC adherents far exceeds the profound appreciation of convening CMAAers. That doesn't bode well for American Catholicism.
    And how does it escape attention that Abp. Gomez has seemed MIA and hear no evil about the lunacy in Anaheim?
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,601
    Melo

    Ah, you grasped* the underlying reason for my deliberate invocation of LAREC - though, it should be noted that it's more common for Religious Ed people than progressive liturgists to propagate the weltanschauung of the liturgies of LAREC; then again, I don't see why religious ed folks should be given any dispositive or formative voice over liturgical praxis in churches.....

    * Because you get that I focus on continuities in human nature across different ideological boundaries, while trying to avoid collapsing them into false equivalences (there can, however, be reasonable equivalences). And never assume that people's liturgical preferences neatly correlate to their political views. I've repeated dealt with the open lesbians who love Latin and chant and are prolife (albeit in what at first seems a crunchy granola feminist pacifist kind of way), and the political reactionaries who are philistine in their liturgical preferences, and all sorts otherwise. The problem is that the folks who don't fit neatly into binary boxes tend to shut their mouths in real life (like, on committees) because of the volubility of the people who do. I learned this because, over years, people would come to me to speak for them on what might be called background in another context. Sometimes to avoid accountability, but also sometimes sincerely. Catholics often don't realize they are more resilient than they give themselves credit for. The box-sorters loose more potential allies than they need to. Because...original sin...we people get in our own way. Even when we have noble goals (and sometimes especially so.)
  • One of my reasons for my comments / questions at this thread, is simply to get us thinking and discussing and to: a. ask why can't the Church Universal raise the current bar and insist and demand basic normative requirements, attitudes and standards for all to strive for and follow regardless of church edifices small or large, wealthy or poor and b. hold clergy, bishops and diocesan music and liturgical offices responsible to over see and help these normative higher levels and standards to become a reality through support and maintenance and c. that church music directors, choir directors, organist, etc. hold regularly scheduled diocesan meetings of fellowship and insight so as to learn from each other through sharing and informative dialogue and d. to report back to their pastor's the fruits of such collegial pro-active pastoral actions.

    Additionally, seminarians and clergy must be educated and come to realize that the absolute basic bare minimum is chant, polyphony, the scholas and choirs to render these, along with some kind of decent organ, worship aids such as a good, musically solid hymnal and or a program worship ad with everything printed in it. The are not the tools of traditionalist or conservative and thus shouldn't be avoided by liberal church leaders.

    Finally, the Church must learn from others as in other denominations. Re-inventing the wheel over and over is a sheer act of stupidity. Our Anglican, Lutheran, Orthodox and Protestant Christian brothers and sisters have much to teach and share.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Abbot Jonathan -
    I, too, wonder the things that you wonder; and, I suspect that we have a lot of company, birds of our feather. If, though, there were universal standards that were, by hook or crook, required, enforced, enjoined, etc., it would be a first in the history of the Church. The liturgical imbeciles and clutzes of our day are but the heirs of those whose pre-conciliar masses (for centuries!) were rushed, hurried, sloppy, rubric-ignoring, lip-service, un-sung run-throughs. Those who are conscientious and exemplary are, in any age, the precious few. This has been as true of the monastic as the secular world. And, some may lay much of the blame for the American situation at the door of the Irish (and they may deserve it!), but the Irish are not to blame for Marty Haugen, et al., nor Fr Lawrence Welk, et al.

    Still: we mustn't stop doing our part!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I haven't re-read Day in two decades, but as regards finding a bogeyman for the continued decadence of American RC pre-conciliar music practicum, to me it's not a stretch to point the bony finger of indignation at certain seminal sons of Italy. IIRC, Day castigates the "sweet song" ethos towards the Irish. But from a textual and compositional POV I'd level that at the Martini Haugenleoni of his era, Nicholai Montani. To me it seems that East Coast metro 19/20th hymnals evolved into a monopoly by the heavy-handed tactics of Montani, freely positioned to suppress composers not of his approval to blacklist defame and obscurity. Oh the hubris, the hubris.
    Just dwell on it- Montani fashioned himself (apparently) as the PioX remedy for Verdi and Puccini. And he saw fit to put his eager hand into the treasury of polyphony by "arranging" the works of M.Haydn, Palestrina, and a host of other venerable church composers. Almost makes me wanna sing "When Irish eyes are smiling."
    Thanked by 2Liam CHGiffen
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    use these two and perhaps some others like the Oratories as role models in every detail?


    Models? I don't go to show you no stinkin' models.

    Many, oh so many times over my years as a full time staff member at a Catholic cathedral, parish, campus ministry, or school a meeting has be convened to choose and implement a strategy for improving the celebration of the liturgy. Most of the time, the goal of the strategy is an idea or concept like "more informal" or "more dignified" or the popular "more bouncy". When someone (usually my humble self) asks "Can you tell us where your idea is being successfully modeled?" The answer is (insert cricket sounds here.)
    MORAL: The "Think Method" is not fruitful either in marching band or liturgy.

    Here is what happens when there is no model, only a thought: in other words The Think Method.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0HpROFEKfw

    Interestingly, our own liturgy, implemented free of preexisting (Catholic and non-Catholic) models descended into a cacophony of argument and recrimination. And many, like the tuba player's mother* were confronted with chaos. Then they were told that was they were experiencing was wonderful. In effect the church was saying along with Harold Hill "Who you gonna believe, me or your own lying eyes (and ears)? So, the tuba player's mother along with many American Catholics shouted "How beautiful!"

    *if you are wondering how a tuba player's mother crept into this discussion of the seething 60's, watch the video.
  • Ah Larec - the place all Irish Catholic educators go to every year and come home to produce appalling catechesis and worse liturgy! We even ran our own version for the last few years with Thomas Grooms as guest of honour.
    Thanks guys.
    whether its chickens coming home to roost or whatever, I think we can call it quits.
  • Thank you very much M. Jackson Osborn!!! I guess I'll just watch some more youtube of King's College and St. John's Cambridge, Russian Orthodox sacred music sites, the choir of the Sisteen Chapel and beautiful monastic chants to recover from some who seem to misunderstand and walk in the darkness and rant of cynicism. What I thought would be a constructive thread has saddened and discouraged me. Its time for me to retreat in silent prayer over this. I wish everyone well. God bless!
  • Abbot Johathan -
    Please don't feel that your thread has been unconstructive. I believe that you have stimulated reflection on our circumstances and encouraged a realistic appraisal of its origins and contributing very human factors. We all suffer as a result of the lack of understanding that characterises a very large number of our people (in and out of holy orders) in our time. Our job is not to retreat but to witness as how we may, teach as broadly as we can, and worship joyfully. Your, mine, or anybody else's being 'saddened and discouraged' is the very very worst thing that can happen to us and to our Church.
    The Enemy could not be more pleased.
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    The contribution of Pope Benedict XVI is instructive here. While he earnestly desired to spread a deeper eucharistic reverence in the Holy Mass, and recover a sense of continuity with liturgical tradition, he did not attempt to make reforms a matter of obligation and obedience.

    Instead, as a teacher, he set out to give inspiration and good example. He reformed the distribution of Holy Communion in papal Masses; he made use of historic vestments; he broadened permissions for the use of the classic Roman liturgy; he adopted what came to be known as the "Benedictine" altar arrangement.

    Perhaps he thought it more prudent to advance reform in this way, through voluntary actions that express our interior attitudes, than to impose reform in an 'external' way by adding new laws. His way does demand patience from us.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,050
    Cathedrals with boatloads of money
    One celebrant, one cantor, perhaps someone playing the organ. Doesn't need boatloads of money, just competent execution and knowing what to do. That is why I cited the Sunday 5:30 Mass, not Solemn Mass or Vespers.
    (I haven't seen Westminster Cathedral accounts recently but a few years ago it was very much hand to mouth)
  • Abbot Jonathan,

    I've stayed out of this one, mostly, but I must put my oar in on two scores.

    1) To know how to treat the illness, one must correctly diagnose it. On one point recently, Pope Francis remarked that some people think (I'm going to paraphrase, but get it more right than the media) more "systems" are the solution, but they aren't, because they (the systems) have the effect of deadening the individual's answer to God, reducing the individual to a cog in a machine. Modern education is full of "continuing education" courses, which really ought to be called "brainwashing", and a plethora of Catholic liturgy conferences on how to make it more "relevant", "engaging" and such are utterly doomed, if their goal is to improve our devotion to and love of God: one simply can not love God more by focusing on the self.

    2) We may be able to learn things from non-Catholics. Fair enough. We can learn that chucking doctrine doesn't fill pews. We can learn that filling pews isn't everything, since full pews don't necessarily mean holy lives desired or lived. We can learn that massive Papal outdoor Masses look more like rock-star events than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We can learn that Anglicans and Lutherans break out spontaneously into 4-part harmony and Catholics usually don't. We can learn that Mass doesn't need to be over in 47 minutes and 38.35 seconds. On the other hand, only by re
  • I work at a cathedral with great acoustics, have paid section leaders, and direct three choirs - and westminster Cathedral, St Peters's, and even the DC Basilica and other enormous churches/music programs are still so far different in SCALE that I can't really relate to them. I find it fascinating to watch videos of masses at these places, but I can't say that I look to them as a model, in any practical sense. Nor do I necessarily need to - after all, I have the documents to define a reasonable range of options, out of which I can craft an approach that makes sense in my own context.
  • I seem to be misunderstood yet once again! My opinion and belief is that it seems to me that all Roman Catholic churches should be unified in its liturgies, whether spoken or sung (it should be all sung), unified in HOW the mass is presented. Everyone doing their own thing, in their own way, as each sees fit IS THE PROBLEM!

    Such an attitude of "this is how we do the liturgy here," is directly contrary to Christian humility and obedience. I am NOT talking about the size of a church building, budget, staff size, level of choral development, etc. I am talking about HOW the mass is offered. I am sure that what I am speaking of is supported by the CMAA. I wonder if people contributing to this Forum site have fully read and understood what the CMAA is all about. If you want a mass with 4 part hymns, then you should be at an Anglican Use mass. Otherwise, use for example, the traditional model of the mass as set forth at St. Peter's Basilica. Its so simple! Variations on the mass could easily open a Pandora's Box as Vatican II has done.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    The ritual books themselves allow for variations.

    Is this a pandora's box? Yes. Could future liturgical books laudably be narrower? That would be nice. But there are currently legitimate variations within the books themselves.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood kenstb
  • "But there are currently legitimate variations within the books themselves." I understand that but in my opinion that's part of the problem. Why not then have multiple rites for example? The American Rite! YUCK!

    The priest waltzes out and says, "Howdy folks, mighty glad y'all here today for this here eucharistic celebration. Balloons are provided for your enjoyment!"
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • ....waltzes (or sashays) out and says, in this or similar words: ......
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Everyone doing their own thing, in their own way, as each sees fit IS THE PROBLEM! ..."Howdy folks, mighty glad y'all here today for this here eucharistic celebration. Balloons are provided for your enjoyment!"

    As Kathy intimated, abbot, the current legislation is at best, ambiguous. But it is the canon. I concur likely with you and she that this is a conundrum, but one likely not to receive redress. And perhaps you might consider this situation too is for the best. The efforts we need to make must be in concert with the Holy Spirit. If our efforts bear lasting fruit (that we won't be able to witness) then we'll have done our best. If they don't, we'll have done our best.
    As regards your later comment, your caricature reflects an insulated, idyllic environ. Progress is being made.
  • There were no rubrics, or canons, or anything else forbidding the saying of mass in twelve minutes, mumbling through it thoughtlessly, even begrudgingly, avoiding singing if at all possible (except when [an attempt at] singing implied a more generous stipend), screeching warmed over Palestrina and hammered out chant for music, and on and on (where do we stop?), it is unrealistic to expect the liturgical sins of our day to be any more rigourously condemned (or allowed with any less I-couldn't-care-less tolerance) than those of past times. There is nothing new under the sun here. Not that this makes me glad. Actually, it fills me with utter contempt. And, I do share in the good abbot's angst.

    (One solution might be to send our priests through Catholic seminary to learn the faith, and through Nashota House to learn how to celebrate mass.)
    Thanked by 1MBW
  • YES - the Holy Spirit in all things! YES - we must in all things do our best in love for GOD.

    MJO - GREAT solution! That brought a big smile.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    We might paraphrase the end of the Serenity Prayer and pray for:

    the awareness of what we are trying to do and the skills to carry it out.

    Too often, neither are in evidence.

    Both the OF and EF (and every other F) would benefit.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Romans 8:26
    the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought...

    Jeremiah 14:18
    The prophets and priests continue with their work, but they don't know what they're doing."...

    2 Thessalonians 2:15
    So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter....

    Phillipians 1:6
    And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    the awareness of what we are trying to do and the skills to carry it out.


    I like this, but add, and the budget and human resources to carry it out.

    There are many who have the skills, but little or no resources. It doesn't matter what the "Church" says about liturgy until it puts its money where its mouth is.
    Thanked by 1MBW
  • Abbot - if you mean simply that every Mass, everywhere in the world should share a basic fidelity to the rubrics and documents, and a fundamental sense of reverence and respect, then I couldn't agree more. But faithful, reverent liturgy may be clothed with many different musical choices, as expressly allowed in our current liturgical legislation. Even if we just limit ourselves to the "highest quality" chant and polyphony, there are myriad options for practical execution. Offertory: simple chant verses with Graduale antiphon, or full Offertoriale through-composed verses? Chant only, or chant followed by a polyphonic setting (or vice versa)? Chant plus another option? Hymn? Simplex antiphon? English propers? And on and on. There are many different musical approaches to enacting a reverent liturgy. Thank goodness, because most places don't have a lot of resources.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    I work at a cathedral with great acoustics, have paid section leaders, and direct three choirs - and westminster Cathedral, St Peters's, and even the DC Basilica and other enormous churches/music programs are still so far different in SCALE that I can't really relate to them.


    Amen to that. The scale is vastly different in those enormous places. They generally have, if not paid singers, at least the ability to attract the better amateurs.

    There are many different musical approaches to enacting a reverent liturgy. Thank goodness, because most places don't have a lot of resources.


    Again, amen and that's the truth.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Everyone doing their own thing, in their own way, as each sees fit IS THE PROBLEM!


    I wonder how that applies in a community such as Abbot Jonathan's : who sets the standard so that you don't end up just doing your own thing?
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,528
    it seems to me that all Roman Catholic churches should be unified in its liturgies,
    What I fear most is someone telling St Peter's and Westminster to tone it down: one-size-fits-all means no chant or polyphony, anywhere. Vive la différence!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    it seems to me that all Roman Catholic churches should be unified in its liturgies


    This is not a thing. It has never been a thing. It will ever be a thing.

    Deo gratias.
  • Adam is right. It never existed and never will.
    And, we should, perhaps, be thankful - because...
    If it did there likely would be no Westminster Cathedral or St Peter's Basilica...
    nor... perish the thought.... Walsingham.
    It is a near certainty that anything that Catholic officialdom imposed would be essentially plebeian and uninspiring.
    It bears reflecting that most anything the Church says about chant, music, organ, liturgy, is couched in such language as to reveal that one may not consider these things binding.
    There is always a 'these or similar words' aesthetic that is 'understood', writ between the lines, or in the small print.

    (To wit: niceties like 'Gregorian chant is uniquely suited to the Roman rite' and other such statements about polyphony and the organ, etc., are absolutely toothless... and, they are meant to be. They are mere academic statements having no intended legal requirement. They are made for people like us to quote and feel good about whilst all others know that they are totally at liberty to do anything but Gregorian chant and proper liturgical music.)
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    Even if they were all of the highest quality, they wouldn't be the same. St. Peter's IS NOT Westminster.
  • I think I am once again being misunderstood. Let me try to be clear. I believe, hopefully correctly, that chant and polyphony are the basics and foundations on which all else, musically speak, rests upon. The Christmas tree on which all other musical ornaments hang; speaking seasonally. Of course different "houses" of worship will have different "trees" according to their needs and resources.

    My point is that there should be basic minimal norms. Chant and polyphony should be it. Of course anyone is free to make choices. But those choices should be in harmony with this basic norm as stated by the Church? Hanging musical ornaments that are gross, offensive and out-of-place on the musical tree of chant and polyphony should be basically oblivious. Someone, on the other hand might say, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Perhaps. However, I personally wouldn't care to see a Christmas tree with truck tires hanging on it. Not to mention the smell.

    ps - Live trees please - no artificial.

    pss - True Adam, St Peter's is NOT Westminster but both their choirs have a common musical language which unifies them.