• Jen
    Posts: 26
    What if...

    Our Lord has permitted a time where priests have to say Mass without a congregation to remind them that the Mass is not about them, or about capturing the attention of the congregation with their charisma?

    Our Lord has permitted a time where going to Mass is a choice (no obligation), and so only those who truly want to worship and receive Him come. [Reducing the number of sacrilegious receptions of the Blessed Sacrament]?

    Our Lord has permitted a time where we are unable to worship as we are accustomed so that we reflect on what it is that we’re really doing at the Mass?

    Our Lord has permitted a time where we cannot sing as a congregation, so we could introduce the congregation to speaking the Propers: and perhaps have the congregation speak the psalm verses alternating sides? Think of how this could help internalize the texts that are the most appropriate for the Mass! Although it appears permissible where I am, to have a cantor sing the Propers (or other songs….) I’m thinking that if the people themselves are saying the texts – that might begin a positive change in their perception of what is appropriate for Entrance, Offertory and Communion. This could lay the foundation to use these texts when we can return to singing. This would also be correct liturgically (vs the instrumental options unfortunately recommended…) It would also reduce the risk of training the people to not sing when there is music to be sung. [who knows how long this could go on?] We could still have organ prelude/postlude/Communion (if needed) in order to keep a music element that many appreciate.

    In reflecting and praying about this situation we’re in, regarding the Mass, I cannot help but feel a sense of the Lord trying to hit a “reset” button. For those who are willing to recognize it as such, this may be an opportunity to invest in the future of how we worship.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,310
    Food for thought, Jen. What an interesting perspective!
    Thanked by 2tomjaw cesarfranck
  • Jen,

    I second Charles' sentiment that you've provided real food for thought. Let me turn that back on you, for a second: could this be a purification of the rites themselves, not merely of the rubrics and the people?
  • Jen
    Posts: 26
    I'm not sure what would constitute a purification of the rites. I'm just observing the discourse over what we can do/should do (from my diocese and elsewhere) - and there seems to be a greater focus on how to accommodate the needs of the people, but no overarching concern over whether or not it gives right worship to the Lord. There doesn't seem to be any discernment - just knee jerk reactions to the situation we're in.

    I guess I'm trying to be hopeful about what good could come of this - if people are given an opportunity to think about it.








  • Jen,

    I think you're correct that, at least in public, the discussion centers around 1) cooperating with the public health officials and 2) accommodating the needs of the people, anthropocentrically speaking.


    Is it wrong to hope that not merely abuses of the rubrics (which is, so I hear, possible, in the OF) but the rubrics themselves might be revised in the light of the learning we are doing through live-streamed Masses?

    Could we, for example, refuse to have the priest face a camera, except when he is directly addressing those on the other end of it?

    Could we, perhaps, make a proper and clear distinction between the penitential rite and the Kyrie Eleison, at every Mass, rather than allowing a blending (and thus a confusion) of the two?

    Could we, again, use the reality of much reduced Holy Communion receptions to identify on what conditions one is permitted to receive? After all, we're not allowed to receive at all, just now, even those who aren't contumacious public sinners, and we're being told that some things will be phased back in. Perhaps we could phase back in the reception of Holy Communion in the following levels:

    1) Priest only.
    2) Priest and altar party, for whom confession has been available immediately before Mass.
    3) Priest and 10 people beyond altar party, for whom confession has been available immediately before Mass.
    4) Priest and 50 people certifying that they are in the state of grace, to the best of their knowledge.
    5) Priest and whoever in the parish presents himself, EXCEPT public officials, those publicly opposed to Church teaching, and journalists.
    6) Priest and every baptised Catholic, including those who were formerly opposed publicly to the Church's teaching but who have publicly been reconciled.
    7) Public officials who have publicly abjured their anti-Catholic positions.

    Each stage can be traversed as every person presenting himself for Holy Communion agrees to receive only on the tongue, and only kneeling (unless physically prevented from doing so by infirmity.)
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,989
    Another idea:

    Regular faithful give up claim on limited space to allow others to attend.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 425
    I do wish that I more often heard concern for Our Lord in this (and many other) subjects of public discussion. I must say I almost never do, except from a few traditionalist priests, and from some number of serious Protestants, I suppose.

    Jen, I think you have hit the nail on the head.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,577
    I am still kind of wondering what to do in this situation. Some things will be a no-brainer: We already had the choir chanting the Introit, Responsorial Psalm, Alleluia/Tract, Offertory and Communion before the closing, so resuming that will be business as usual; as will chanting/singing the ordinary.

    Having the Responsorial Psalm sung without any 'participation' from the people seems odd; during the shutdown I have had the priest (no readers) recite it at the live-streamed Masses, under the (maybe false?) impression that a recited Psalm would be open to 'participation' by those at home (my thoughts on live-streamed Masses is not the subject here, but suffice to say it is almost entirely negative). Should it simply be recited (as it was until a few years ago, as part of the slow implementation of a (nearly) fully sung Mass?); should the cantor sing it from the loft without a response (as is permitted by the GIRM); should I take the opportunity to introduce the Gradual (from whatever sources may be applicable)? Under the circumstances I am most hesitant to do the last--it's like introducing chant during Lent--but at the same time, the first option mightn't be feasible anyway, since hymnals & missals need to be removed from the pews. (Due to other bizarre circumstances, a weekly worship aide is out of the question---don't ask.) More thought is needed (I don't like Jesuit words like "discernment").

    As far as the non-singing of the congregation, the ordinary is no problem. I want to avoid settings known well by the congregation so that inadvertent congregational singing doesn't occur, so I went searching through my 'liberry', and have compiled all of the unison/single-voice Mass settings that I have at my disposal. In addition to un-used chants from the Kyriale, I've got four Messes en Plainchant by DuMont (1, 2, 5, 6 mode); one by Lully (6 mode); a mode 8 Mass from Amiens; and other accompanied Masses from the late 19th/early 20th century. Equally no problem are 'fillers'. To avoid the singing problem, I've found a number of Motets for solo voice and Basso Continuo that can be used. And lacking that, I can improvise on the organ.

    My biggest concern is with the handling of the Blessed Sacrament. I am concerned that some of the faithful in their zeal to comply with NPR, may approach the Sacrament with disposable gloves on, receive the Host, and then throw the gloves with Particles away after Mass. It is that that makes me wish the churches were still closed, or that the bishops would have opened the churches but not permit the faithful to receive until it is completely safe (or near completely as it ever is---it's never 100%) to receive in the proper manner. As an aside to virtue-signal a little bit: I never receive communion in the hand--I did once when I was about 12 at another parish at a funeral, I felt terrible about it--and if I am feeling under the weather, or someone in my immediate circle of contacts (Family, etc.) have been ill, I do not present myself for communion, just on the off chance that the priest might touch my tongue (which has only happened maybe five times in my life) and then someone else's. Is it really all that difficult for individuals to use prudence and to refrain from Holy Communion during a time of illness? But then again, I forgot: the Mass isn't about the worship of God, through the mediation of the once-for-all Sacrifice of Our Lord, but about queuing-up to get the White Thing (TM); which is why people don't see a difference between a Mass offered by a Priest, and a Communion Service performed by a Deacon or, heaven forbid, the omnipresent Pastoral Ministerette. (I know people for whom every religious service is call a "Mass", be it Vespers, Adoration, a Sermon, a Burial at the Cemetery, anything, it's all "Mass" to them.)
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 496
    Salieri, the Simplex RP approach seems quite suited to this situation (permitting better interplay between schola and cantor), as does in directum psalmody as you mentioned.
    Thanked by 2Salieri CHGiffen
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,577
    Schönbergian, I forgot to mention that choirs are also forbidden: only one cantor (and organist, if they are separate people) is permitted. Otherwise, I would add the Simplex to my list of options--at the moment, with one singer, it falls into the same problem as the regular RPs.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 496
    You could try doing some tricks with the organ registration, etc. to make the Simplex approach work - otherwise, in directum looks to be the best option.
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 71
    Just sing the Gradual!
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Drake
    Posts: 95
    I ran across a rather scary "what if" yesterday while reading/re-reading parts of St. Augustine's City of God, having studied it more in-depth while in high school.

    Speaking of the devil being bound (Christ, "a stronger than he", binds him to steal his property, i.e., souls) and later, briefly loosed, St. Augustine states:

    But what happens to the little ones? For it would be too incredible to suppose that at that time there will be no infant children of Christians, already born, who will be caught unbaptized, or that none will be born during that very period; or that if there are such, they will not somehow or other be brought by their parents to the 'washing of rebirth'. And yet if this happens, how are those pieces of 'property' to be snatched away from the Devil when he is unloosed, seeing that 'no one enters his house, to take off his property, without first binding him'? But in fact we must in preference believe that there will be instances both of people falling away from the Church and of new members being added, even in that period. We may be sure that there will be sufficient courage shown by parents in seeking baptism for their little ones... (City of God, pp. 912-913, Penguin Books)


    Something eerily similar to this actually happened to my wife and me. We had a child born to us when our county/diocese was on lockdown. It is a remarkable story how Providence made it possible for us to have our child baptized without violating either our bishop's decree or the county shelter-in-place order and without our child being in immediate danger of death. The circumstances that made this possible are so incredible that I have no doubt God mercifully granted us a great grace. We actually qualified for a listed county travel exemption that let us have the child baptized in another diocese with about four hours to spare before that diocese also went on lockdown. When I read the quoted passage above, I could not help but connect what happened to us with what I read.

    I'm not asserting that our period of time is the particular period of which St. Augustine speaks, but what if we have just received a warning of things to come?
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,577
    I'm not asserting that our period of time is the particular period of which St. Augustine speaks, but what if we have just received a warning of things to come?

    And when you add, Leo XIII, Pius X, and Fatima...
    Thanked by 1Drake
  • Drake
    Posts: 95
    From the same text, St. Augustine appears pretty certain that the devil will be loosed for 3 years 6 months specifically. That's a matter of opinion (but it is the opinion of St. Augustine after all). For me to put our present day in such a brief time window would be very presumptuous. So, I stated it the way I did knowing that I don't have any particular knowledge ... I am just drawing a connection based on an observation.
  • WGS
    Posts: 238
    "3 years 6 months" - is just another way of expressing "time, times and half a time" which is a Biblical expression for "a long time".
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,852
    Saying the Psalm (responsorial psalm) in directum seems a good choice to me. There is perpetual confusion about why it is called the Responsorial Psalm, and about why it is in the Lectionary (as opposed to elsewhere). Saying it collectively is an opportunity to show it is as a reading from scripture, in contrast to the use of verses of psalms in the proper chants.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,989
    Except that it would need to be included in disposable worship aids (not just the antiphon), with hymnals/missalettes being interdicted in many places.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,450
    Like many easterners, I sometimes view Augustine as somewhat heretical. Christianity was doing well until he messed with it. LOL
    Thanked by 1bhcordova
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 856
    a rather scary "what if"


    Luke 21:
    [12] But before all these things, they will lay their hands upon you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and into prisons, dragging you before kings and governors, for my name's sake. [13] And it shall happen unto you for a testimony. [14] Lay it up therefore into your hearts, not to meditate before how you shall answer: [15] For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay.

    [16] And you shall be betrayed by your parents and brethren, and kinsmen and friends; and some of you they will put to death. [17] And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake. [18] But a hair of your head shall not perish. [19] In your patience you shall possess your souls. [20] And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army; then know that the desolation thereof is at hand.

    [21] Then let those who are in Judea, flee to the mountains; and those who are in the midst thereof, depart out: and those who are in the countries, not enter into it. [22] For these are the days of vengeance, that all things may be fulfilled, that are written. [23] But woe to them that are with child, and give suck in those days; for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. [24] And they shall fall by the edge of the sword; and shall be led away captives into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles; till the times of the nations be fulfilled. [25] And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves;

    [26] Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved...

    - - - - -

    (As a wife and mother) That 23rd verse has always bothered me. =(
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Drake
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,773
    @ CCooze
    Luke 21, ibid, is referring to the siege of Jerusalem... (and other horrors from the past and perhaps the future!)

    See Gueranger, https://archive.org/details/liturgicalyear11gura/page/250/mode/2up

    For the full story of the siege where he paraphrases Josephus, De Bello...
    Page 198 onward, then Pg. 222 onward, continued pg. 236 onward. Page numbers are as in the book not the pdf.

    Deuteronomy 28, 49 also foretells the siege...
    https://biblehub.com/drb/deuteronomy/28.htm

    N.B. The above links is more graphic than Luke...
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,692
    What If...

    Men do not repent and stop offending the God who is already so much offended?

    What will happen tomorrow?

    What will happen next week?

    What will happen next month?

    Sins... lose them.
    Knees... use them.
    JMJ... choose them.
    Thanked by 2Carol bhcordova
  • Ken of Sarum
    Posts: 373
    All these thoughts are possible ONLY if you have a clergy that are true, real, total believers with spines of steel. Clergy that will respectfully do what GOD wants rather than what their bishop demands. I understand their vow of obedience to their bishop, but GOD COMES FIRST - PERIOD!
    Thanked by 2CCooze CHGiffen
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,604
    Could we, again, use the reality of much reduced Holy Communion receptions...

    ....to reconsider the use of EMHCs, given that in these extraordinary times not one was seen administering Holy Communion to the homebound?
    Thanked by 3tomjaw CCooze CHGiffen
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,166
    Ken -

    Obedience amongst the clerical orders is very flexible and variable - infinitely so. A typical example is a: friend (who had resigned and is now a glorious tenor in Walsingham's choir) who told me recently that his new pastor had decreed that Latin, chant, and fine choral music were to be discontinued and you know what put in its place. This was at a very old and very conservative parish with decades of good music - I, myself have directed Mozart, Haydn, Palestrina, and Monteverdi, etc. there many times. When my friend reminded him of the Council's expectations and clear commands in such matters the priest became angry and said that he didn't care WHAT the council said, and stopped the conversation with a defiant 'I want...'. There you have it - 'I want'... is what governs not all, but a high percentage of priests, deacons, bishops, and even cardinals. I know of a cardinal (I was present) who loves sung liturgy and was asked why he didn't insist that his priests sing the mass. His answer was 'my priests would crucify me'. (Say that again!!! They are supposed to be obedient!) We all know of many examples of those of all ranks who brazenly are disobedient to the Council, to their ecclesiastical superiors, and will do as they please in their little kingdoms, be those kingdoms parishes, dioceses, or other realms. At bottom, only the laity are expected to be in abject obedience to disobedient priests and bishops. They all 'cherry pick' to what they will and will not conform themselves, but let a layman choirmaster even think about chant, organs, choral heritage, and hymnody and he quite possibly may be dismissed summarily by his disobedient priest, who presumes to do what no authority exists for him to do - the very opposite of what he does have authority to do. To be sure, most priests are very good, holy, conscientious, and loving men, but far too many do as they please and have never learnt that obedience is supposed to be one of the bedrocks of the Church. Authority?? The title of this thread is What if?... well, if priests and bishops started doing what they DO have authority to do because the Council commanded it, rather than what they DON'T have any authority to do the Church would be a very different place and its worship of an altogether more glorious thing.

    (I often wonder why Rome doesn't sit on all these people and clerics who thumb their noses at what the Council actually enjoined upon all, and straighten them out. One can only conclude that in the end 'Rome' really doesn't care at all.)
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 856
    well, if priests and bishops started doing what they DO have authority to do, rather than what they DON'T have any authority to do the Church would be a very different place and its worship of an altogether more glorious thing.


    Amen. *insert "preach!" emoji hands here*