Old Holy Week in York, Pa 2020
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    Fellow chant and liturgical-music enthusiasts:

    This year from Wednesday evening through Sunday mid-day we'll be celebrating Holy Week in York, Pa., in the traditional (pre-1956) form, and this post is intended to solicit singers from around the National Capital Region and DC-Philly-Harrisburg-Baltimore (etc) metro areas whose interests range from simple psalmody to melismatic chant and even classical polyphony.

    My small schola and choir has been singing the complete offices of the traditional Holy Week for many years, but recently we've lost to cancer one of our most important priestly collaborators and dear friends - hence this note to solicit another voice (or voices) for at least the male side (we alternate male-female voices for the psalmody of Tenebrae). We're not professionals, but we do a very decent job and provide at least the opportunity to witness and participate in an unreformed celebration of the Triduum and Easter. (I mention Easter because our Saturday service includes Matins & Lauds of Easter early Saturday afternoon, which was abolished by the 1956 reform.)

    With the understanding that many people will likely be booked for Holy Week and Easter, this notice is provided with the hope that there may be one or more individuals who are interested in experiencing the fullness of the old Holy Week and not otherwise engaged or, perhaps not having any other viable options, looking for a place to go this year.

    There may be some stipend available from the church to help cover travel or local lodging costs to the extent that would be helpful.

    The schedule in summary form is as follows (all services are fully sung - but we omit the Mandatum and Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday):

    (NOTE that where polyphony is indicated for a Tenebrae responsory, in many cases the reprise of the chant is polyphonic with the opening and verse being sung in the chant)

    --Palm Sunday (Gregorian ordinary and propers w/ polyphony by Palestrina, Victoria, de Lassus)

    --Wednesday evening Tenebrae (Gregorian Matins & Lauds of Holy Thursday, w/ some polyphonic responsories by Palestrina, M. Haydn, Ingegneri, Viadana, de Lassus)

    --Holy Thursday Mass - mid-day, procession to Altar of Repose, Vespers (recto), Stripping of the Altar (Gregorian Kyrie/Gloria and propers, with simple polyphonic [3-voice] Sanctus/Agnus Dei and Gradual by Yon, and other polyphony by Anerio, Cardoso, Durufle, Rossini, Victoria)

    --Thursday evening Tenebrae (Matins & Lauds of Good Friday, w/ some polyphonic responsories by Palestrina, de Lassus, Victoria, and Aretino)

    --Good Friday liturgy - mid-morning, Veneration of the Cross, procession from the Altar of Repose, Mass of the Pre-Sanctified, Vespers (recto) (Gregorian propers w/ motets and polyphonic settings of a few parts of the liturgy by de Lassus, Clemens non Papa, Ginez Perez, Praetorius, Palestrina)

    --Friday evening Tenebrae (Matins & Lauds of Holy Saturday, w/ some polyphonic responsories by Viadana, de Lassus, Handl, final Miserere [Ps 50] by Allegri)

    --Easter Vigil - early Saturday morning, 12 prophecies, litany, First Mass of Easter, Vespers (appended to the Mass) (Gregorian lessons/tracts, Gloria/Sanctus, w/ polyphony by Palsetrina [Sicut Cervus], Praetorius, Andrea Gabriele, and Byrd [setting of some parts of vespers], Lotti Regina Coeli)

    --Matins & Lauds of Easter - early afternoon, Saturday (single nocturn, Te Deum, etc.) (all Gregorian)

    --Easter Mass - Sunday morning (Gregorian propers, Byrd Mass for Three voices, motes by de Lassus, Dulot, Bernabei Regina Coeli)

    Copies of all of this music are posted online - location available upon request.

    All are welcome - with the understanding that it is hoped that participants wishing to sing along with parts in increasing difficulty (e.g., psalmody -> antiphons -> melismatic chant -> polyphony) will have the requisite degree of skill and will be willing to do some rehearsal depending upon the participation.

    Thanks very heartily in advance to any and all for your consideration. Please circulate this notice widely.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,388
    ...we'll be celebrating Holy Week in York, Pa., in the traditional (pre-1956) form...

    Well, for starters, before the rites of Holy Week were reformed by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in the mid-1950's, the Triduum liturgies would all have been celebrated in the morning before dawn. The church would have been pretty much empty, except for the priests and seminarians whose presence was commandeered. So your planned historical "reenactment" of liturgies with evening and midday starting times won't be historical at all. Just ideology. Please, shut it down before it hurts people.
    Thanked by 1gsharpe34
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,704
    Here are the times Westminster Cathedral celebrated the various liturgies in 1939, you can click on the image to bring it up to a readable size.

  • Fr Krisman,

    I'm genuinely curious: why will the praying of the office, even not at the canonical hour, hurt people?
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    ronkrisman - When I say "traditional," it is implicit that the term is "loose" since the liturgy has been slowly evolving based on the work of both men and the Holy Ghost (not always easy to distinguish....) since Our Lord was singing psalms in the synagogue. It is relatively easy to establish, however, that some changes are more or less organic, others more or less committee-designed and top-down-authority imposed, in contrast to the liturgically ecumenical/liberal (words understood properly) approach of, say, a Gregory the Great. Those of us participating are of a mind that the pre-56 liturgies are more traditional - at least in terms of the living reality that Catholics for several centuries, including periods pre-dating Trent, would have been accustomed to in the Roman Rite.

    Two questions for you given your rather confrontational post (honestly, I was just looking for an extra singer or to - did I hit a nerve?): 1) What evidence do you have for the pre-1956 triduum liturgies being celebrated "before dawn"? 2) When you say "hurts people," what are you envisioning? Except for someone tripping over a cope or getting singed on the New Fire - both by accident - I can't possible imagine what you might mean.

    Thanks for your comment nonetheless.
  • GSharpe,

    I'll let Fr. Krisman address most of what you've written, but the question of Tenebrae being celebrated early in the morning is quite well established. The celebrating of the rites in the evening of Holy Saturday is the anomaly.
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    Chris - I'm not really concerned with creating a wax-museum-esque snapshot of 1955 (I would have thought that would be obvious). The only objective, for us, is 1) Tenebrae in the dark, 2) anticipated (perfectly legitimate - since canonically Matins & Lauds may be done as early as 2pm, from what I know - which isn't everything, of course), and 3) the unreformed rites (unreformed by the '56 changes, that is).

    For what it's worth - not to you, personally, perhaps, but to anyone tuning in to the conversation, or looking for context as to why we bother with the old rites:

    The thing I don't quite understand is the controversy (witness Fr. Krisman's post) - is it not correct that FSSP got permission recently to use the pre-56 rites? As for times, I think that's an apples-and-oranges issue as opposed to the changes to the rites. I do, however, think the 56 rule positively banning the anticipation of Matins & Lauds (unless a Chrism Mass is planned for Thursday) is anomalous, certainly - all one need to do is pick up a standard liturgical commentary from the 1940s (one by, e.g., Pius Parsch) to find the "Tenebrae at night" extolled for its obvious and edifying symbolism, and to find likewise the explanation that the monastic hour would be midnight, but the anticipation into the evening the day before was FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE FAITHFUL - exactly what Maxima Redemptionis said it was doing when it promulgated the reformed rite (without explanation of the ritual changes - only the times were addressed) which, strangely, mandated that Matins and Lauds be sung in the morning of the Triduum days. Given that those days long since stopped being days of precept - owing to the foreshadowings of the industrial revolution and "workday" commitments - it seems odd indeed to say that moving Matins to, e.g., 7am on Thursday and Friday would FACILITATE attendance while having it at 7 or 8pm the night before would not?

    In any event, in this era of openness and tolerance, is there no place for Holy Week as it was celebrated for hundreds of years?
    Thanked by 1veromary
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    I do not understand why the word "reenactment" appears in quotation marks in Fr Krisman's comment when no one else had used that word prior to him.

    I'm sure that gsharpe34's parish is not planning a reenactment -- i.e., a play-acting simulation -- but a sincere celebration of the liturgy according to the norms permitted to it by ecclesiastical authority.

    [UPDATE: See my comment below for revised thoughts on this. --RC]
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 690
    I hope you find some singers!
  • davido
    Posts: 873
    What church are these services at? I’m in Carlisle, but I’m moving during Holy Week, my wife would probably kill me if I tried to run down to york for a midday service
  • GSharpe, what time is your Palm Sunday liturgy? (With my Holy Week schedule, it's probably a long shot, but I'm an hour and a half from York, so I'm curious.)
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    Hi all. A few replies:

    1. Many thanks to chonak for the objective input. Appreciate it very much.

    2. In response to davido and trowland87, the church is Ss Peter and Paul downtown York and Palm Sunday is 9am - a tad early if you're traveling, but it's the standard Sunday time so I think the intention was to leave all as-is.

    For purposes of candor and full disclosure, I serve as music/schola director at two places, both "semi-full time."

    The connection with York is, quite honestly, principally a fruit of their following the pre-56 calendar and liturgy, as a consequence of which they hosted my priest friend, my singers (mostly my family), and myself in 2018 and 2019 when our regular venue became non-viable owing to my being transferred to the Md/DC area for work. In response to the charity and openness of the church to our giving them sung Holy Week for the first time in their history (and providing us a place to go), we've maintained a connection and I handle sung masses for them monthly or perhaps once every six weeks. (I can send a few pictures of the church and the spartan but effective and efficacious Holy Weeks we've done there in the past if of interest.)

    Other weeks when not away visiting friends (which is rare), I direct a schola (and more or less the same choir singers) at the new SSPX venue in Upper Malborough, MD.

    As others have said elsewhere on the forum, I hope none of the foregoing is off-putting or offensive - but I know these days that it can be, owing to our sad political/liturgical divisions.

    Thanks to all for continued consideration of this request and any possible help.
  • Readers should be aware that the church community of SS Peter and Paul in York is not recognized by the Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg
    Thanked by 2GerardH Liam
  • Is this an independent chapel? Or is it run by the SSPX? Their web page seems a bit ambiguous and perhaps a touch red-flaggy. See below...

    "Our priest was only laicized from the Novus Ordo Church and this was done without any formal charge of a crime and without a canonical hearing."
  • davido
    Posts: 873
    I expected something along these lines. Thanks Dr Young
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,388
    I'm genuinely curious: why will the praying of the office, even not at the canonical hour, hurt people?

    The answer should be clear by now.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,371
    The CMAA’s purpose is the advancement of musica sacra in keeping with the norms established by competent ecclesiastical authority.
    I personally do not hanker after the pre-VII Triduum, but it is permitted, even in the pre-1955 form. And the forum does not exclude people who are not in communion with the Pope, or others who are clearly wary of "competent ecclesiastical authority".
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    I don't agree with Fr. Krisman on this point, but CCW putting out a hit piece on a...forum post is a bit weird. Jeff has an account here, and to proclaim judgement from the unassailable throne of his website as opposed to participating here is questionable.

    The critiques themselves are valid, though - I wish Fr. would comment on these rebuttals of his position, as he hasn't returned to this thread since that post.
  • PLTT
    Posts: 149
    Without commenting on the other points and derailing the thread too much, might I say that I think CCW mischaracterizes a previous posting on this forum by Fr. K on the Confiteor? Both the post by itself and the entire thread make it clear that he did not claim that the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar were sung. Rather, he seems to have said that the modern Confiteor is a descendant of the first Confiteor, not the second....and that any musical tones were for the Second Confiteor......
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen tomjaw
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    Thanks to all those making reasonable and charitable observations, especially for the link to the ccw post.

    In response to one of the questions, yes, the chapel at York is independent.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,943
    It's important to disclose that to people who might be travelling some considerable distance and giving up attendance at a parish or oratory in full communion with its ordinary and for whom that might be a concern. Ut unum sint, after all. It's not a mere technicality.
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    Liam, sorry, I thought by giving the name and location and referring to possible offense or political divisions I was inviting people to investigate and make their own decisions and signaling that there might be some who take issue with the chapel's status. I beg your pardon if you feel the disclosure was not adequate.

    Without wanting to start a diversion on ecclesiology or canon law, I suspect there are lots of arguments on the numerous angles -- a dozen of which would support the right of a Catholic to attend the traditional rite (guaranteed and indulgenced in numerous ways by, e.g., Pope St Pius V in a way that is arguably irreformable, not the way that dogma is, but the way that privileges are when enshrined in custom and considered beyond the power of human authority, even papal, to take away; at least one of the Trent anathemas arguably applies here as well) without any legal strings attached. As for communion with the ordinary, I believe (without having references to hand) that the new code is quite indulgent with regard to attending a Mass validly celebrated by a validly ordained priest according to a received and approved rite, and both old and new codes equally indulgent when a member of the faithful has recourse to extraordinary situations owing to a moral impediment to receiving the sacraments from regular, local clergy. Again without intending or wanting to offend, given the liturgical upheaval of the last 70+ years, there is at least a colorable argument (leaving the personal choices of all possible readers of this post completely to one side, and speaking only objectively,not judgmentally) that a sincere Catholic might, for credible reasons, feel morally opposed to attending a new ritual that represents such a stark, tragic, and shocking break with tradition, or feel, at least, morally free to have recourse to what was "always done" - something like a liturgical version of Vincent of Lerins' famous commonitory.

    I recognize that those on the other side enjoy the benefit of positive law and have perfectly legitimate reasons for their choices. Given the gravity of the matter and the importance of the traditional liturgy, insofar as it is essential to the nature and constituion of the Church which Our Lord founded, I would hope that other choices would also be respected.

    Thank you.
  • Fr. Krisman,

    I stand by my question, but I will rephrase: can the praying of the Divine Office ever be a bad thing, intrinsically?

    Selfish people can do seemingly good things in a bad manner or in a grace-obstructing manner. That fact doesn't make the thing itself bad. Communion in the hand isn't evil intrinsically, since we know that it was practiced for some time in the early years. Nevertheless, the manner in which it was introduced in the modern era, and the staggeringly bad context in which it takes place make it clearly a practice to be avoided. Is this, roughly, your argument: that while the Divine Office is, itself, a positive good, the folks who are involved in promoting it are obstructing whatever graces they might otherwise call down from Heaven, and that this context makes it clearly something which should be avoided?
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    Dear Chris - I know your question is directed at Fr. Krisman (whom I do not know and hadn't heard of before this series of exchanges), your emphasis on the office reminds me of one final point I wanted to make as an attempt to reassure those who have expressed concern about the lack of "full communion" -- since the sung office does not bind anyone in a regular parish/regular faithful setting (barring exceptions I may not be aware of), the Tenebrae and Easter Matins services we get involved in are, arguably, "devotional" - certainly so if one juxtapose that term to "canonical" - and, as such, I can't see the harm (as you are perhaps alluding to) in performing those rites regardless of who is participating. From a legal perspective (which is an essential consideration insofar as Rome for the last centuries has taken upon itself the Role of liturgical legislator and executive/judicial authority, certainly more so than in the time of, say, Gregory the Great) I also would find it difficult to imagine that current custom and practice alone, as endorsed/tolerated/sanctions (and maybe even encouraged) wouldn't sanction any sincere-minded person from sincerely and respectfully singing an hour or two of the divine office in a church and joining with fellow Catholics to do so. Given the tolerance of the highest authority the Church today for pagan rituals carried out in public with (presumably) a sincere conscience, it would seem ironic to say the least for that same authority to mount a case against celebration of a rite or rites that are a millennium old and, in fact, Catholic. Fr. Gamber and Geoffrey Hull (to name a couple of random authors) are quite good on this point - namely, what kind of power ecclesiastical authority has to in fact forbid the celebration of rites that are received and sanctioned by literally centuries of custom and usage.

    Apologies again for intervening with respect to your question to Fr. Krisman.
  • GSharpe,

    I don't mind at all that you've interposed yourself between my question and Fr. Krisman. I've never met him, but he is a priest of some renown, and he may be too busy to come back to this conversation right away or be too tempted to incharity by those who disregard his admonition to have nothing to do with your exercise. (How many of us, laymen, are tempted toward incharity by things we perceive to be stupid which others have said?)

    I'm a little troubled by your argument that since His Holiness Pope Francis requires tolerance of pagan rituals, the obviously Catholic Divine Office should be treated not as the bastard child but as the kissing cousin of the Pachamama nonsense. Maybe I misunderstood you.

    Now, to Fr. Krisman's point, though, I think his objection isn't to the Divine Office per se, but to what he perceives (accurately or inaccurately) as the desire to shun the church's instruction on how to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours. It's not completely dissimilar to the cardinal who said that one could attend the traditional liturgy and fulfill one's Sunday obligation unless one's desire to attend the old form was motivated by a desire to be disobedient or disrespectful of legitimate Church authority.

    On a final note, how does the expression "independent Catholic chapel" make any sense?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    I would imagine the term refers to a church run by a religious institute or (perhaps in this case) by an organization like the SSPX. (I don't know if they're involved in this particular scenario)
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,943
    For a church under the pastoral care of a religious institute properly speaking (in full communion with the ordinary possessing jurisdiction), that would be an oratory unless it was a parish entrusted to its care by the ordinary.
  • Simon
    Posts: 153
    I would make the observation:

    Whatever it takes, how and wherever: Singing praise to the Lord God of Hosts should always happen as much as possible.

    The office repertoire is sung in so very few locations in today's world during Holy Week.

    Let it happen in York, PA. !! There is a centuries old tradition of singing the Holy Week Triduum Sacrum that is fading away!

    Our Schola (Schola Cantorum Amsterdam) went its own way back in the early 1970's when our Latin mass chanting was not wanted in the University of Amsterdam's Catholic Student Community. We went independent: to singing the offices - no need for priests!

    We paid rent in churches for decades for the privilege of singing Latin vespers, compline, matins on major feast days including the Holy Week Triduum Sacrum. No other parish church in the whole country had such an office repertoire - not even the Cathedrals in the whole country.

    gsharpe34: Go for it!

  • davido
    Posts: 873
    For those keeping score, the EF is available in multiple locations in the Diocese of Harrisburg in communion with Rome, all within driving distance of York, PA. One of these is the chapel of the Harrisburg cathedral, which chapel is staffed by the FSSP.
  • Godspeed.
    This is a Good Thing that you are doing.
    Probably more Good than what is done in too many 'legitimate' or 'canonical' parish situations.
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    Mr Osborn - Thank you. I can certainly assure those less enthusiastic that our aims are completely devoid of it any schismatic spirit or desire to flout ecclesiastical law. Precisely the contrary - for what it may be worth, we are firmly convinced that we have the full benefit and protection of both law and custom, which, in admittedly rough paraphrase of St. Thomas and the ancients he relied upon, is an even stronger sanction.

    On this subject, in insufficiently brief reply to Mr Garton-Zavesky, my only point in bringing up the tolerance of non-Catholic rituals was a legal one. In again very rough and admittedly not very nuanced outline, law of any form for a public society (like the Church as well as the state) has for its object the protection of the common good, and public authority is justified in restricting "freedom" when the actions it proposes to restrict would harm one or more compelling interests relating to that common good, and which, therefore, that authority has a right to protect by way of positive law and the coercive penalties attached to it.

    In the hypothetical event that those of us singing the office during the Triduum and Easter, and following the rituals that do require a priest by way of recourse to a priest who is validly ordained but has fallen out with the local authorities over their refusal to permit use of the traditional, received rites of the Church, were hauled into canonical court, what would the canonical charges be? Hard to formulate - especially in view of the fact that we'd all swear under oath that we were not
    motivated by a desire to be disobedient or disrespectful of legitimate Church authority
    (I've never heard of anyone attending any old rites, regardless of how far outside of "communion" with the Catholic authorities - even the extreme sedevacantists - on the basis of that motivation, and in any process possessing even a modicum of due process I submit that it would be almost impossible to prove absent compelling extrinsic evidence.), but were, in point of fact, motivated by precisely the opposite.

    The relevance to the pagan rituals is simply this: if Church authorities were to claim that we were perpetuating some kind of harm to the common good by participating in fully Catholic rites with fully Catholic intentions with fully Catholic officiants/celebrants, but that our failure to secure approval beyond that which is afforded to us already by the never-banned (as Benedict XVI finally conceded after some fifty years) liturgical books were somehow harmful to the public and human element of the Mystical Body, what would that harm be? And could such a charge even be made without insincerity, given that the same authorities have expressly sanctioned public attendance or participation in public Catholic spaces, the harm and impropriety (to say the least) of which are manifest? That was my only point - not to compare (as I hope would have been obvious) pagan rituals with Catholic worship.

    Finally, it is probably worth saying candidly that an assessment of the value (or not) of what we're doing - not the intrinsic value of the liturgy itself, but of our practical execution of it - probably depends upon one's view of how much power the Church has over the liturgy not in its initial development but in the context of rites that have been endorsed by the highest authority in the Church and used for centuries, raising, as mentioned, the issue of the authority of custom. Our view, naturally, is that notwithstanding new rites that may be fabricated wholesale by liturgical committees and made permissible by act of positive law, Church authorities cannot possibly forbid recourse to a series of rites - such as those for the Triduum and Easter - that have had the sanction of centuries worth of authoritative protection and usage. Analogous to the point about pagan rituals, it is indeed ironic in this era of decentralization, tolerance, freedom, personal expression, and accommodation of nearly every person's unique preferences, for anyone in authority to invoke strict legal arguments against the lawfulness of what we are doing - the irony being that those arguments seem only to be trotted out when they are submitted as impeding celebration of the old rites - and by old, I do not mean the 1961 (not 62) "EF", but the unadulterated liturgical books as they were well established before Trent, confirmed by Trent, and passed down following Trent until the mid 1950s (leaving to one side the controversy over Pius X's reform of the calendar in 1911).

    For davido - are the numerous "EF" venues following the missal as it existed before the temporary reform of Pius XII in 1956 (codified later in 1961 by John XXIII)? Because, if not, the EF options you offer are (for us and anyone wanting the "traditional" Holy Week) not options at all. Again, no judgment upon those wishing to go that route - none whatsoever. I've been following and studying the old rites for some 20 years (and studying the justification for following them), however, and the shock of going even from 1950 to 1961 is simply overwhelming. I submit respectfully that unless you've been immersed in the old Triduum (to include Tenebrae, the morning Vigil, and Easter Matins & Lauds) to the point where it is natural, there is no way to appreciate the stark contrast between it and the modern "EF."

    Apologies for the length, but thanks to anyone who read this far.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    I trust that gsharpe has no schismatic intent, but the writings on the website of the "Mission" do at least seem to show a lack of ecclesiastical submission, which is one of the ingredients in the definition of schism.

    I was mistaken when I made the assumption that this activity in York was being conducted under Catholic auspices, and when I wrote that they were trying to act within "the norms permitted to it by ecclesiastical authority". That was an unjustified assumption on my part, and I apologize for it.

    We don't mind giving information about music to people involved in non-Catholic or non-canonical organizations, but for the sake of transparency it would be best to identify the group right at the start as a "lay-directed traditionalist chapel" or something like that, especially when soliciting *participation*. I'm sure quite a few readers would feel wounded in conscience and deceived if they had participated in Holy Week ceremonies believing them to be authorized by the local diocese or a competent religious community, and had found out later that this was not the case.
  • Are you Catholic?
    Not Catholic but something else - which something else should be specified.
    Are you disaffected Anglicans?

    I reinforce what I said above that what you are doing is good and beautiful - more so than what is being done in too many canonically Catholic churches.
    But - Chonak is also right - very right - 'it would be best for you to identify' where you are coming from.
    Thanked by 2chonak CCooze
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    chonak and Mr Jackson Osborn. I'm a Catholic. As noted above at the very top, I'm not a "member" of the parish or associated with leadership or organization. It is (as I also already mentioned) independent. Apologies from my side if I assumed the term was well understood among "trad" Catholics (I'm too old a Latin Mass Catholic to get into contemporary EF/OF distinctions [the traditional liturgy is indeed extraordinary but the revolutionary and very young changes dating from the 1970s can hardly be considered ordinary, as in normal, in the historical life of the Church] - another novelty piled on top of 50 years' worth of novelty that I have no real interest in adopting).

    So for the precision you are requesting: the chapel is not operated under the auspices of the local N.O. bishop. The servicing priest was ordained (assuming I have this right - I don't actually know the full story) in or for the Phily diocese; was also a USAF Catholic chaplain while on active duty. He had a falling out with said Phily diocese (again, as far as I know) over what he believes is his right, without further sanction, to follow the pre-55 liturgical books. I do know that he is validly ordained and professes the Catholic faith (as I do).

    I made the assumption that "independent" would mean something to this audience in terms of a "continuum" of sorts of people moving from the N.O. to the TLM -- e.g., new mass, new mass in latin, latin mass / indult, SSPX, independent, etc., and moving further to the "right" (for those looking at it in left v right terms, which don't actually make sense, because in terms of liturgical law, I am sure I seem like a liberal, which I suppose I am, from a certain point of view).

    I've been a Catholic from birth (baptized just after VII), back to the old Mass in 92/93, studying chant/liturgy/canon law/liturgical law/most recently polyphony since then. Have sung in / directed many scholas/requiems in various places stateside and overseas over the years.

    As I said ad nauseum above, I have no doubt the old rites are available to all Catholics in good faith. My involvement with the York parish (again, as mentioned way up top) is the fruit of simply one thing - looking for a place to go in the DC/Metro/Balt area where the pre-55 Holy Week will be welcome to those who wish to observe it.

    Please advise (or contact me offline if you wish) if I can provide any more information for transparency's sake.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    I found this link on the "Mission" website which starts by telling part of the priest's story:


    It says that Fr. Waters left the priestly ministry in 2000 after having a crisis of faith. Some years later, it seems he had a re-conversion experience (thanks be to God) and became a traditionalist. It seems he was involved with the SSPX for a time, but parted ways with them and now acts independently. Since the website has a number of criticisms of the SSPX's current leadership, this suggests that perhaps he was more sympathetic to the faction that was expelled a few years ago: that is, the bishop Richard Williamson and his supporters. I haven't read enough to confirm whether that's quite the case.

    While I hope the church can find some generous, merciful solution to bring the priest and people back into peace with the diocese, I think that the voluminous public arguments posted on their website about a hundred different topics are not a way to work toward such an arrangement.

    It is sad that a group of people would insist on remaining aloof from living in peace with the Church, and present as their justification their position about the pre- and post-1955 Holy Week differences. After all, most of these relate to services that -- despite their prominence -- no layman is required by law to attend.

    Surely being in peace with the bishop and with the Pope is of more value than having your way about everything.
    Thanked by 2Liam Schönbergian
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    @chonak - I don't disagree with your observation about the web-based polemic. Sadly, however well-intentioned, they certainly appear unlikely to bear any fruit. For what it's worth, I do not believe that the priest is part of the Williamson contingent of ex-SSPXers. My knowledge from personal experience is that he is simply plowing the narrow field based on whoever is attending services at the York chapel.

    I will defend their liturgical approach, however, more stridently, with an observation that I had hoped to avoid - since, at the end of the day, my purpose for posting my original message was to invite singers to participate in the old (pre-55) Holy Week, to include Palm Sunday, all of Tenebrae, and Easter Matins & Lauds - which I seriously doubt is being done anywhere else in the area.

    The point is this. First, I agree 100% with the goal and obligation of living in peace with fellow Catholics, whether members of the hierarchy or not, and with the correlative element of submitting to legitimate authority, as a necessary part of that peace.

    I also submit, however, and second, that the lack of peace is exclusively the fruit of 70+ years of unprecedented, chaotic, disedifying, disturbing, tragic, ill-advised, poorly constructed, logistically impossible-to-implement, arguably unlawful, unquestionably non-binding, and at least objectively schismatic (the adjectives could go on) liturgical upheaval which, starting in the late 1940s (with the ridiculous Bea-sponsored re-translation of St. Jerome's psalms), overthrew the established and customary tradition of the roman rite, which was patiently and painstakingly evolved, organically, by men and the Holy Ghost, and substituted revisions drafted by a committee obviously ignorant of actual liturgical practice and tyranically imposed for arguably impermissible and even scandalous motives (making non-Catholics more comfortable with the Catholic liturgy) by a centralized liturgical politburo not only contrary to established norms but against all genuinely liberal and ecumenical decentralization and tolerance (in the proper sense of the three terms) with respect to how the liturgy evolves and is customarily established by long, long usage.

    Bottom line: if Catholics have to risk the appearance of going outside the lifelines to cling to their legitimate traditions and birthright, it is no one's fault but that of the bureaucrats who threw those traditions overboard. Moreover, from a canonical/legal point of view, I suspect that it would be impossible to "convict" - especially under the 1983 law, which is much more lenient on the applicable points than the 1917 code was - any participant in the planned old Holy Week of any identifiable delict.

    Finally - as an aside - it is interesting to note that in another thread on this forum there is a robust conversation going on with respect to whether non-Catholic singers can be hired to sing liturgical music in Catholic rituals. As incredible as it seems (Pius X settled the question as to whether the parts of the Mass, and by implication the Office, are to be sung by clerics, or laymen standing in their place - a question which he answered in the affirmative), there is a large range of opinion apparently thinking that the music provided by the choir is for the edification of the attendees rather than an integral and prescribed part of the ceremony which is to be performed by Catholic clergy or their lay proxies. (Why stop with the music and not hire an altar boy [acolyte] or a subdeacon or a lector to sing the epistle, regardless of his religion? The consequences of this line of thinking are nuts!) In any event, if singing is a "for the value of the music" and not a genuinely liturgical act to be performed by a Catholic in good standing, could we handle the York situation by hiring everyone to sing the parts of the old Holy Week, and everyone else in attendance simply "observe" in a non-participatory way - since
    no layman is required by law to attend
    these services. If the latter point is dispositive, then the whole event is "off the books" - and provided we are paid as non-Catholic musicians (per the other thread's logic), there's no harm done!

    I admit that the last example is extreme - but it is offered for purposes of illustration.

    As a postscript, your observation that
    It is sad that a group of people would insist on remaining aloof from living in peace with the Church, and present as their justification their position about the pre- and post-1955 Holy Week differences.
    is slightly skewed insofar as you claim that people "would insist" on remaining aloof. There's another way to look at it - the people who want the old, unadulterated liturgy have no choice but to do so, given the current posture of the local authorities. As I said elsewhere, it comes down to one simple question: can any authority on earth, even an otherwise legitimate ecclesiastical one, deprive Catholics of their liturgical traditions? On the answer to that questions depends resolution of all the rest. The few faithful in York answer the question in the negative, and the burden of proof is arguably on those who would answer otherwise.

    Yours sincerely (with apologies for length and typos)
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,943
    “Fog in Channel - Continent cut off.”
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    If the choice were 1955 practice vs. 1985, it would be easy to say that people have a good reason to insist on 1955. But if 1962 practice is available, and hardly distinguishable from 1955 practice except in Holy Week, it seems odd to treat it as insufficient.

    Well, I expect that the current limited permission for old-style Holy Week rites will be followed by a broader permission. Perhaps this will make a peaceable arrangement possible for York.
  • Europe is an island off the south coast of England.
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 163
    Thank you for your comments, gsharpe34. While it is very right to have concern for remaining "in peace" with the local authority, it is far from obvious that the same hierarchy had/has any right to take away the rites which have developed organically from apostolic times.

    To be honest, not to go off topic but I feel this is related: I understand there may be much more at play with the Eastern churches that are not "in full communion" (or whatever the correct term is supposed to be), but: according to some things I have read recently, it looks like one of the main reasons that the split between the East and West arose is that the Eastern Churches felt that Rome (the West) was illegitimately trying to suppress their customs and traditions which had developed from apostolic times. I hear a lot about how the split was all political and about how the Eastern bishops just didn't want to give up their power and submit to Rome. But if Rome was trying to "Latinize" the Easterners (and regardless of what the political situations were/have been over the centuries, there is absolutely no doubt that Rome has, countless times, tried to Latinize the East and to make them discard their legitimate traditions/customs in favor of Roman/Western ones), then it is entirely understandable (even if it was wrong) that the Easterns split. I know that many Eastern churches not in full communion with Rome agree in theory that the Bishop of Rome is the highest authority, but that the Bishop of Rome nonetheless does not have the right to use that authority in certain ways - in doctrinal matters, yes, Rome is the highest authority; history has shown from the earliest times that Rome has settled doctrinal disputes. But in other matters, Rome has no right to exercise their authority to impose foreign customs, especially when said foreign customs are claimed to be more pure and more right than their own Eastern customs which have nonetheless developed from Apostolic times.

    The reason I bring this up is that in traditional Western Catholicism we seem to have a comparable situation going on. Those who desire to adhere to and worship in the traditional Roman liturgy are viewed by many as schismatic and disrespectful of the Pope's authority, when in reality it is Rome's fault for exercising authority in a way that it cannot be exercised. I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of traditional Catholics who love the traditional liturgy do in fact have respect for the papal office and acknowledge that it is the highest authority in the Church, and do not deny any dogmas/doctrines of the Church (unlike the "progressive" and the "liberal" Catholics who rarely if ever undergo criticism for their truly heretical beliefs and actions).
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 163

    I do not think that the majority of traditional Catholics would claim that the 1962 books are "unacceptable." However, it is true that an increasing number of them are starting to realize that they nonetheless (after the 1955 Holy week and 1910 and 1955 Calendar changes) represent the beginning of discarding of traditions that there was no reason to universally impose on the Roman Rite.

    It is true, I think, that the 1962 is "hardly distinguishable" from the 1955 in all essential ways (aside from Holy Week), except to those who go out of their way to study the differences. But at least in my own experience, I do not prefer the pre-1955 practices (for the whole liturgical year, not just Holy Week, and if I did not pray the monastic breviary, I would add pre-1910 in some instances for the sake of the Roman Breviary) just because I notice every little difference compared to 1962; I prefer them because they represent the last practices that seem to have been organically handed down from generation to generation instead of universally imposed from above, usually on questionable antiquarian, utilitarian or supposedly pastoral grounds.
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    @chonak @CharlesSA

    Charles, thank you. I agree with your principal rationale for clinging to the old rites, and endorse it 100% (in case that's not obvious!).

    I would say, however, that as one lives those old (pre-reformed) rites....


    ("pre-55" isn't perfectly accurate because as you know the Holy Week ceremonies were progressively and serially altered, starting as least as early as 1953, then the Brieviary was altered in 55, and the new Holy Week ordo was not issued until 1956, in [literally] pamphlet/missalette form - because the changes were ADVERTISED as non-permanent, and the directive was NOT to publish the changes in the liturgical books, because more evolution was foreshadowed, anticipated, and publicly announced. Even rubricarum instructum (1960) where John XXIII promulgated the 61 (not 62) liturgy, for purposes of conforming it to the 1953-56 changes and calendar reform, said it was temporary, insofar as the "main" [whatever that means] liturgical questions were outsourced to, and to be settled by, the VII council fathers. Considering that Bugnini himself admitted that the 1948 Bea psalm re-translation was the opening shot and achievement in the liturgical reform, and that his activity continued through the 1970s, the reality is that nothing that was issued between 1947 and 1970 exclusive was intended to be permanent liturgical legislation - it was all part of a process starting with chucking St. Jerome's psalms and ending in the Novus Ordo, now the "ordinary" form but clearly a "new" rite having little to do with the "received and approved customary rites", to use Trent's language. In which case, if one of the characteristics of legitimate law is its permanent character, nothing following the pre-48/53/55/56 missal and breviary is "binding" - it's transitory, so the choice from a liturgical-legal history point of view, really is between those earlier rites and the Novus Ordo. Summorum pontificum, for all the admitted good it did, is slightly questionable in this regard insofar at it picks a random "sample" from liturgical history that the legislators in question never intended to be preserved in any kind of living museum. Indeed, and ironically, it suffers, but more and more accurately, from what the liturgical non-traditionalists and reformers (I believe this is the Jungmann position) criticized about Pius V's 1970 legislation - the idea that he ossified the liturgy by selecting something randomly from within a stage of evolution that rendered the codified liturgy stale and artificial. If that's true of Pius V (which I don't think it is, given the tolerance for historical rites, even if the 200 year timing was overly restrictive, and the similarity of the 1570 rite with previous Roman missals), it is certainly true, and arguably just strange, about the selection of 1962 as representative of the traditional rites.


    the difference with 62 (61) become unavoidable obvious. Most timely and conspicuous (I'm a pre-55 man - obvious, sorry! - but sing weekly at a 61 SSPX liturgy) is the use of Ite Missa Est during Lent when there is no Gloria. Musically this is a bit of nonsense, because where in the past one would have had Benedicamus Domino in the same tone as the Kyrie, keeping the penetential "sound" of the very recognizable Kyrie XVII, plus the omission of the Ite as something triumphant reserved for non-penetential Masses, we now have an "Ite" in a tune which does not match the Kyrie, destroying the penetential mood heretofore created by the replacement of Ite with B.D. during ferial celebrations and maintenance of the familiar ferial melodies. Along with this is other nonsense like getting the penetential B.D. on Corpus Christi if/when Mass is followed by a procession (presumably because the literalists cannot abide the idea of a "dismissal" where people don't "leave") - even though, in the (good) "old days," Corpus Christi was a feast only outranked in importance by Easter and Pentecost!

    Any laity who are remotely attuned to the liturgy will eventually pick up on these matters - and if they don't, it is again the fault of the abuse and neglect done to the liturgy over the last half-century (though, in defense of we moderns, Dom Gueranger observes that the lack of liturgical fervor is evident in Catholic society long before the Reformation - which, presumably, explains why when it came time for the English bishops to decide whether to chuck their historic rites in conjunction with their schism, they all [except for the martyr] said "go ahead.")

    I genuinely hope that this exchange is interesting and not tedious for anyone interested in the subject.

    Yours faithfully
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,767
    You initially had my full sympathy, but as Chonak suggests, assumptions are best spelled out. An invitation addressed to
    Fellow chant and liturgical-music enthusiasts:
    …intended to solicit singers from around the National Capital Region and DC-Philly-Harrisburg-Baltimore (etc) metro areas whose interests range from simple psalmody to melismatic chant and even classical polyphony.

    … to solicit another voice (or voices) for at least the male side (we alternate male-female voices for the psalmody of Tenebrae).

    … with the hope that there may be one or more individuals who are interested in experiencing the fullness of the old Holy Week and not otherwise engaged or, perhaps not having any other viable options, looking for a place to go this year.

    All are welcome

    might reasonably be interpreted to include the excellent choristers and enthusiasts of sacred music I know who are Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and atheist, let alone Protestant. Shouldn't they be forewarned if you have a don't-ask-don't-tell policy?
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    @Richard Mix - well, I certainly apologize - again - for what is an obvious incapacity to follow the ins and outs of this forum and be in sync with so many readers.

    Please allow me to respond, however, with just one point. I don't have a policy, which is to say that I don't have a policy. I indeed made the mistake of assuming that the directives of Pius X in his "charter" on sacred music were included among the "norms of ecclesiastical authority" that this association (CMAA) admittedly believes regulate the Catholic liturgy. To wit:
    With the exception of the melodies proper to the celebrant at the altar and to the ministers, which must be always sung in Gregorian Chant, and without accompaniment of the organ, all the rest of the liturgical chant belongs to the choir of Levites, and, therefore, singers in the church, even when they are laymen, are really taking the place of the ecclesiastical choir.
    [S]ingers in church have a real liturgical office
    and, finally
    [O]nly men of known piety and probity of life are to be admitted to form part of the choir of a church.
    Are these prescriptions no longer taken for granted in Catholic musical circles, such that liturgical music is not, in actuality, official, public prayer -- which would imply (rather obviously) that anyone taking a leading role in religious worship is a likewise a member of the religion (true, as it happens) engaging in the worship? Apologies if I am somehow really missing the point.

    It may be worth remembering that I only brought up the issue of paid non-Catholic singers as an illustration - not a policy, stated or otherwise - of the conundrum posed by our being gently criticized for the lack of "full liturgical communion" with the local bishop while elsewhere there is apparently a strong consensus that people of any religion whatsoever (or none) are perfectly welcome to sing the proper and ordinary parts of the Mass which, in fact, actually profess the Catholic faith (rather than just providing polished, classical or medieval background entertainment and ambiance), and which, presumably, the atheists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, etc. whom you refer to would not in fact profess.
    This people honoureth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me . . . .
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francis
    Posts: 10,668
    Wow... A simple point I was Also trying to make (on another thread) you have made well
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,767
    The Church Music Association of America is certainly historically Catholic and
    is an association of Catholic musicians and others
    but as far as I can see there's no requirement on the membership form that one be a Catholic. The forum has a wide assortment of members and perspectives on our common interest in sacred music and chant and, wisely I think, does not scorn the contributions of Anglicans, Orthodox, or purely academic enthusiasts.

    I reported on a West Coast TLM that advertised a chant workshop cum Mass, where my neighbor volunteered that he was curious about chant because of his experience in a Vendantic ashram. Should I have reacted to a sincere interest in the music I love with horror and denounced him to our tradie hosts? Your invitation is moot now, it seems, but I almost forwarded it to an African friend who moved to your area a few years ago, a real Notenfresser who knows all the Josquin masses inside out, but may not have the credentials you seem to expect.

    taken for granted in Catholic musical circles

    As we've learned, the circles are more than one.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    "We" shouldn't suppress (and, indeed, actively work to destroy) any high culture for fifty years, pretend that musicians are hobbyists who don't deserve any compensation for their duties, reduce the schola cantorum's historical place to merely "leading the congregation", and leave a vacuum since the seventies of complete musical turmoil and absolutely no compositional lineage - and then wonder why professional Catholic musicians aren't scampering to fill the choir lofts. Most of any skill simply assume that "church music" is something downright juvenile (save any High Protestant experience they may have had), and write off the Catholic Church in their musical careers altogether. Those few who are left and can put up with how dismissive of their art much of our clergy are indeed do admirable work - but compared to the Anglicans &c., we have a tiny pool of musicians from which to draw, plus usually 3-5x the services where music is necessary (1 Eucharist a day is somewhat easier than providing solid music for a myriad of Masses, to say nothing of the LotH)

    Change is happening in the seminaries and occasionally in the pews (though most of us would vomit if we saw what was happening in the schools), but if we're going to restore the choir to its rightful place of a liturgical office of the faithful, we need to acknowledge (and work to change) the reality that our church doesn't have the human resources at present to achieve the music ministry it deserves. Hiring of non-Catholics, liturgically careful or not, is an unfortunate but (in my opinion) legally excusable compromise in this age.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    @Schönbergian - all points well taken, and argued this way - as an exception justified by circumstance rather than a natural matter of principle - rather persuasive. Thank you.
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    @Richard Mix - Sir, I don't know if you are intentionally missing my point or the fault is mine in lack of ability to communicate. I made no reference to the CMAA membership criteria, but rather to its quasi-mission-statement comment about ecclesiastical authority and the requirements that said authority imposes (unless these requirements no longer apply) for participation in the liturgy insofar as one is fulfilling a clerical office.

    If you would care to look over what I actually wrote rather than perhaps (my fault) what I unintentionally implied (or, your fault, what you want to read in to my comments), I neither criticized nor questioned the reality that this
    forum has a wide assortment of members and perspectives on our common interest in sacred music and chant and, wisely I think, does not scorn the contributions of Anglicans, Orthodox, or purely academic enthusiasts.
    Because in the case you cite we are talking of participation in a professional forum, not of participation in public religious worship where the role a singer (in the context of schola member, not pew-sitter who can "observe" and "sing along" as, in effect, a religious "outsider," strictly speaking) takes on is a formal, official, and canonical one.

    Furthermore, your unfortunately sarcastic question -
    Should I have reacted to a sincere interest in the music I love with horror and denounced him to our tradie hosts?
    - with the regrettable term "tradie" for (presumably) Catholics attached to tradition (there is no such thing as Catholicism without tradition, insofar as that is the unique source of our - I assume our - faith which Protestants deny) - begs the question, or mixes what should be distinguished. A workshop is one thing - arguably delimted by the question of art, i.e., the technique of rightly making music (in this case). Worship is another - and, without meaning to offend, if one accepts that the schola fills a liturgical role, I will answer your question with another question (which I don't expect you to answer, but which may be useful for anyone still hanging on in this sadly sidetracked series of posts...) - if it became apparent that non-Catholic persons insinuated themselves into liturgical roles such as acolyte or MC or subdeacon, is that something which (to use your overly melodramatic term) should be "denounced" with "horror" and reported to proper authority? Bottom line: does one have to be a Catholic to perform an official role in Catholic liturgy? (I hope there are some who are wondering why the question even has to be asked....)

    I would humbly implore you to focus on the distinction between welcoming collaboration in perfecting an art and welcoming participation in a liturgy founded on the belief in a true religion as distinguished from false ones.

    And as an aside, the original invitation is not "moot" at all - and I don't know why you would come to such a conclusion. By all means pass on the invitation to your African friend (who, I gather, is not a Catholic), but let it be with candor about how the Catholic liturgy works and what the boundaries are. I would think if the situation were reversed we would owe him the same respect.

    PS As I understand it, the appelation "notenfresser" is not a particularly flattering term, though it does imply mechanical facility with sight reading - your use of it is thus interesting here. Perhaps you could explain.

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,767
    I'm sorry we do seem to be talking past each other by now. By moot I refer to social distancing rules that are unlikely to be lifted soon, and I'm not aware Notenfresser implies mechanical performance; on the contrary 'sight-reading animal' rather than 'machine' should be a badge of honor in my books. I do regret 'tradie', a shorthand for a bundle of admirable traditions and unnerving politics that make liberal Catholics uncharitable as well as nervous. Perhaps I should have clarified that the workshop was in fact a rehearsal for Mass.

    The question of non-Catholic singers has come up often in this forum, along with Leo X's favoring of Jewish musicians; you'll find past discussions in the archives no doubt. It is useful to argue for choir as a liturgical role and sling 'choir of Levites' at those who insist the choir shouldn't 'perform' anything too difficult for the congregation, but my own take is that the non-chancel choir are servants who sing on behalf of the congregation, and are qualified to do so by their expertise.

    So can "All are welcome" still do with a little bit of qualification?