The Example Set by the Bishop of Rome
  • Ok, everyone, welcome to Rantville. Population: Stimson.

    So I'm reading this article at NLM about an Italian Liturgical Conference - a lot of encouraging remarks made by the speakers about how to fix Italian liturgical issues - but the last comment in the article managed to put in words some of my misgivings about our current reigning Pontiff:

    “Paul VI, tone deaf as he was, always sang. Benedict XVI knows and loves music, and knows how to sing. Pope Francis does not sing, unfortunately”, says Don Donella, with sadness.


    There it is. Clear as crystal. Sums up all my concerns about the current pontificate into five words.

    Pope. Francis. Doesn't. Sing.

    The Vicar of Christ, the Man who is supposed to be the role model for the entirety of Christendom, doesn't sing.

    Before some of you complain that I'm criticizing him for his lack of musical ability, I'm not - as Donella says, Paul VI for all his lack of musical ability, always put forth the effort to sing. Francis doesn't even try. I'm sorry, but this is a fact more troubling than his repeated sessions with a psychoanalyst. I'd go as far to say that it's a clearer indication of some troubling psychological factors at play. "The man that hath not music in himself . . ."

    Please, though, I am happy to be proven wrong. I hope someone can find an example of Francesco making some attempt to go against the Jesuitical stereotype.

    (If there's any silver lining to this cloud, I can always goad my non-singing trad friends that they're "following Bergoglio's Example." I'm sure they'll appreciate that.)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,830
    He sings the Marain antiphon at the end of Mass--by heart.
  • Do you have video of this, Kathy? Just curious.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,830
    Yes, they're on youtube under papalmusic.
  • It has been public knowledge since he became pope that in his youth he had some condition that required the removal of half or all of one lung. This could be a serious impediment to singing. He does, I think, sing a little bit. Perhaps he would sing more if he had all the physical requirements? It is said that he is a lover of good music. Beethoven, I think, is said to be his favourite.

    You do, though, hit upon one of the anomalies of the Jesuits. They have a reputation for high intelligence and rigourous intellectual formation, yet, when it comes to liturgy and worship they are the lowest of the low. Indeed, in the fall out of Vatican II, what did they give us for music??? The Saint Louis Jesuits! In all of their history this is their musical gift to the world. High intelligence?? Rigourous intellectual formation?? Pooh.
  • Jackson,

    His Holiness Pope John Paul II said that the Church had to breath with both lungs. [Now for the silly part]: Does his lack of a part of a lung make him not pope or not Christian or something?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,787
    I have given up trying to figure this pope out. I have ranged from how did this bumbling fool ever get elected, to where is that Turkish assassin when you need him, to thinking him a South American socialist who blames the U.S. for all their problems, to thinking he is just not up to the job and may be an OK guy. Who knows? I recommend him to God with the statement that I do not understand him at all.
    Thanked by 1Ted
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,349
    what did they give us for music??? The Saint Louis Jesuits! In all of their history this is their musical gift to the world.


    THAT made money. (Which should be a hint as to the Jebby position on music.)
  • I'm just wondering, through all of this, why Don Donella made the assessment he did, despite all of this information to the contrary.

    Re: the Jesuits - I attest their precipitous overall decline to the fact that they were so cavalier about chanting the Office in common. That's just me.
  • they were so cavalier about chanting the Office in common.


    Is the problem, rather, the first four words?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,047
    I thought the story about a lung problem had never been confirmed.
  • Ted
    Posts: 132
    If he does not sing during the Mass, does this mean that he does not actively participate in the Mass, that is, fully and consciously? Absp. Bugnini and J. Gelineau would not be pleased with this very anti-Vatican II manner of his Holiness.
    Thanked by 1Joseph Mendes
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,039
    What I found dubious from the Papal Mass at Medellin yesterday was that Marini signed off in having another priest (or deacon?) utter the incantations assigned to the celebrant, including the per ipsum, IIRC. I'm speaking from ignorance (as is my custom), so if this is licitly provided for, please illuminate.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 223
    The Saint Louis Jesuits! In all of their history this is their musical gift to the world.

    Well, there's also this and this.
  • Many thanks for that, Deacon Fritz -
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,200
    Deacon Fritz

    Also Charpentier....
  • And everyone's favorite, Fr. Lambillotte, S.J.!!!
  • Thanks, Liam, for Charpentier.
    The best ever recording of his Te Deum is to be found by Googling -
    Charpentier Te Deum Parlement de Musique Versailles youtube.
    Be sure to fiddle around till you get the complete 24 minute version.

    It is directed by Martin Gessner in the royal chapel at Versailles with a period instrument orchestra and a choir of men and children (the choeur des enfants sing the treble throughout with magnificent authority.
  • CGM
    Posts: 390
    (Poulenc was Catholic...)
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • I attest their precipitous overall decline to the fact that they were so cavalier about chanting the Office in common.
    Well...they never said their offices in common from their beginning in the 16th century, right? And they were fine at the beginning at least! I don't know Jesuit history well enough (actually, at all, aside from their beginning and that as a whole they have been terrible in the past few decades) to know when they began to go wrong. Though I remember recently reading a brief, quick comment somewhere about the Jesuits holding some error in the 17th century, which would be pretty early on for them to begin "going bad!" In any case, generally, they have been very good until at least the 20th century, right?
  • Don't get me wrong, Charles non Graecam, they did some stellar work, because their main focus was evangelization. And it was a period that called for evangelization all over the place. England, the Far East, the Americas - you'd be hard-pressed to find a place where they haven't left a mark. The problem is - most of these places weren't mission territories by the middle of the last century. So, when you have an intellectual order like this which focused almost exclusively on the active life, and when there really is no outlet for this active life now, they don't have the "fall back" of the contemplative, common life of prayer. Does this mean the Jesuits are the Marthas of the Church, with a lot of pent up energy boiling over into questionable theology, opposed to the Marys of the church, like the Dominicans or Benedictines? I guess all of this is just the Augustinian bias in me . . .
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,200
    Just remember that the Martha of the Gospel of St John is someone who gives two confessions of faith in the Lord (one implied (but one of my all-time favorites - the words "even now" are the seed of much fruitful contemplation, but I digress), the other laser-like in clarity), unlike Mary of that Gospel. It's important not to privilege the sisters as presented in the Gospel of St Luke to the exclusion of them as presented in the other Gospel.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 416
    Just putting this out there. I have 1 functioning lung and I sing and play bassoon to boot.

    There are famous singers with one lung one of them would eat Mariah Carey's vocal range for their breakfast snags.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,391
    Making lemonade from lemons. Thanks for this! That is heartening to singers like myself who struggle with two lungs to produce the necessary volume. My voice teacher says it comes from a lifetime of speaking quietly but suggested that I regularly order everyone out of the house and sing at full volume to realize some of the potential lung capacity that is there. He also said to watch how babies breathe since they can create incredible levels of sound with their tiny lungs.
  • In all of their history this is their musical gift to the world.

    Well, the Tra le sollecitudine was (ghost)written by a Jesuit, the hyperactive Fr. Santi, SJ. He was also a member of the commission for preparing the Vatican Gradual and himself a schola leader. He and his fellow Jesuits were the main lobbyists of Solesmes cause in Rome.

    I have also read that in XVI-XVII cent. SJ were known for keeping high liturgical standards in the parishes under their control (Mass, Vespers), quite like the Oratorians nowadays. The latter, too, incidentally, do not have the choir obligation.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • in XVI-XVII cent. SJ were known for keeping high liturgical standards in


    Tra le sollecitudine was (ghost)written by a Jesuit



    My.... how times have changed.
  • My... how times have changed

    That was more or less my thought in response to all the positive information which resulted from my having said
    ...in all of history this is their musical gift to the world.

    I'm glad I said it, else I would not have been corrected.

    With such a stellar historical record, though, one can only note 'My... how times have changed'. Not just times but musical and liturgical intelligence seem to have 'nose-dived' within this order, by repute being highly intelligent and having rigourous intellectual formation. Something really 'went wrong' somewhere.
  • Remember, the entire order was suppressed for a number of years.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,349
    *cough*

    Music doesn't make any money for colleges.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 458
    Well...they never said their offices in common from their beginning in the 16th century, right? And they were fine at the beginning at least!

    My understanding is that while the Jesuits were not bound to the choral office (at least initially), St. Ignatius himself often attended the choral office celebrated by the Dominicans (I can't remember where I read this). Taft points out that a) the lack of choral obligation was not original to the Jesuits (e.g. it had previously been the case with the Theatines and other congregations) and b) they did celebrate Vespers commonly in their houses even though it was not of obligation.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen

Welcome to the MusicaSacra Forum!

To participate in the discussions on Catholic church music, sign in or register as a forum member, The forum is a project of the Church Music Association of America.