Article: Why the Novus Ordo Needs Gregorian Chant
  • MarkB
    Posts: 683
    Just sharing this very good article that some of you might find useful to read and share with others in parish work:
    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2021/09/why-the-novus-ordo-needs-gregorian-chant

    Thanked by 1GregoryWeber
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,730
    Thanked by 1GregoryWeber
  • MarkB
    Posts: 683
    Interesting that the chants feature rhythmic signs. I thought the Vatican editions didn't include those.

    But way more chanting of the Mass ordinary than is common in large diocesan celebrations in the United States. The U.S. is way out of sync with the Council.
  • And show them what the pope expects a congregation to sing


    A little chant and some bizarre Italian hymns in place of the minor propers?

    As to the article, one gets the sense of an author unfamiliar with parish work.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,805
    As to the article, one gets the sense of an author unfamiliar with parish work.

    Yes. It's the same thing that has been said since 1990---actually, the same thing that has been said since Paul VI issued Jubilate Deo: which had no effect except making priests believe that the only Gregorian chant this is permitted or even exists are the examples in that booklet: For example, when the new pastor arrived several years ago, we were already singing Masses 8 & 17, complete, Kyrie 11, and parts from the simplex Masses, like Agnus ad lib II, and the Abrosiano Sanctus, reserving Mass 18 for Weekdays of Advent & Lent and Masses for the Dead--as in the Kyriale; He arrived during Ordinary time and so we were singing Kyrie 11, an English chant Glory to God, and Sanctus & Agnus 17, as well as the Propers (Weber, in English): After a few weeks, he asked me why we weren't singing any Gregorian Chant.

    I have been working in this parish as Director of Music since 2005, I was assistant Organist from about 2002, if my memory serve me correct: It is a tremendous amount of work to build and maintain a program like this, and all it will take is one pastoral change or a whiny person of the parish council ($$$) for it all to come crashing down--it is especially precarious because we are the only parish that seems to be doing any of this in the entire Diocese, which is not supportive, and because we have a Spanish Mass we need a Spanish-speaking priest, which are in short supply in the Diocese, and, if you will forgive me, are notoriously horrible in their liturgical and musical sense: As a friend of mine says: "It's not High Church; it's not Low Church; it's No Church."

    I want to apologize if it seems like I am always at logger-heads with MarkB on things the forum, or that my outlook seems overly negative, but articles like this seem to come from the ivory-tower of neo-con Catholic academia, as if all parishes are staffed by the religious at EWTN and devoid of the Parish Council--which entity is as demonically inspired as Eve's taking of the fruit--rather than pastoral reality.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    Let’s make the Novus Ordo so compelling that no one will want to leave.


    You can’t. As others point out, it is not in the nature or design of this fabrication to incorporate what is foreign to it.
  • After a few weeks, he asked me why we weren't singing any Gregorian Chant.


    That's funny.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,154
    @Salieri
    the Parish Council--which entity is as demonically inspired as Eve's taking of the fruit
    This is brilliant I am going to steal this.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    I once suggested the parish council should be loaded on a barge, taken to the middle of the TN river, and sunk. They didn't like me after that but fortunately, the pastor largely disregarded them, anyway.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 879
    What Salieri said.

    I'm all for building these programs - just be aware of how quixotic it is and prepare yourself to move on when the time comes.
  • toddevoss
    Posts: 154
    I previously had suggested in a different thread that a diocesan Bishop initiate a "Year of loving tradition in the Ordinary Form" and beg/request/direct/order that for a year all parishes for a year utilize specified traditional options in the OF (including Gregorian chant in the ordinaries). See prior post for some suggested details. Or at least the sort of thing Archbishop Sample pushed when he was in Michigan. Not sure what more can be done as he likely can't permanently overrule the optionality of the OF.

    In any case, Salieri's points are well taken and that is my lame attempt to take them into account.
  • he likely can't permanently overrule the optionality of the OF.


    Could the good archbishop (or any bishop) decide, citing Canon ... (I forget the number) that the current ars celebrandi of the Missal of Paul VI is hazardous to the spiritual health of the faithful in his diocese, and, accordingly, stridently restrict its use?
  • Your lips to God’s ears…

    Jokes aside, this seems to me a very serious quandary to ponder. Seems to me a legitimate argument could be made.
  • I respectfully disagree that the article is "very good". Apart from gliding over (as has been pointed out) the practical problems faced by many who seek to include chant in the mass (never mind banning "certain common hymns"), the article is heavy on assertion and light on reasons. Moreover, the assertions are ones that have been made already by many (as has also been pointed out), over the past decades.

    There are also some rather bizarre remarks in the article, such as the one about singing "in the eight Gregorian modes throughout the Mass". (I sing a lot of chant, and I'm not sure I've ever sung all eight modes in one mass, though perhaps the remark isn't intended to be read that way.) I was also puzzled by the remark "the great ascetics who wrote the melodies that are about Christ", which suggests a precision of knowledge about the history of the composition of the chants that I've never heard claimed before.

    The central problem is that this discussion needs a depth of exploration and reason-giving that is not even acknowledged much less pursued in this article.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,730
    The problems start in the title. What is meant by "Gregorian chant"? Some protagonists consider the full melismatic propers of the GR to be essential. An attitude which led to attempts to strangle at birth the process initiated by SC§117
    ... It is desirable also that an edition be prepared containing simpler melodies, for use in small churches.
    St Jerome had some typically acerbic comments about the operatic pretensions of cantors.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    I know first hand about those cantor pretensions. At the same time, I am so glad I don't know St. Jerome. I know, he is patron of librarians, but what a curmudgeon.
  • Another question, corollary to the observations above:

    Is the once-redoubtable First Things slipping?
  • MarkB
    Posts: 683
    I think the article should be appreciated in this sense:

    There is still a misperception among many Catholics, even those who work in parish ministry, that Latin and Gregorian chant are relics of the 1962 Missal. This article states that Pope Francis' recent restrictions on the celebration of the unreformed liturgy concomitantly include, at least implicitly, a call to make celebrations of the reformed liturgy more beautiful, which should involve singing Gregorian chant in the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass. Restricting the use of the 1962 Missal should not entail a rejection of chant at Mass.

    Not many Catholics are aware that the Church still promotes Latin and chant at Mass because that isn't their experience at Mass; they are even less aware that "for decades" liturgical scholars in journals and on message boards have been advocating restoring chant to the Novus Ordo. This very recent article can be shown to such Catholics in parish work as an example of how, even today, there is a serious call in some circles to sing chant at Mass.

    The article asks people to think about whether some of the most commonly sung songs at Mass are appropriate for Mass. Many Catholics have probably never stopped to think about that.

    The article refers to the demographic collapse in the Catholic Church, and suggests one contributor to younger Catholics leaving the Church is the abysmal quality of the Church's worship, especially the bad music at Mass. Decades ago those trends were beginning but weren't as severe as they are now. Suggesting that beautifying Mass with chant as a way to attract interest in the liturgy among young Catholics who want worship to be more sacred instead of imitating pop culture is a message that quite a few older Catholics in parish work need to read or hear since they think playing music in popular styles is something to do "for the youth".

    It's brief, so it doesn't demand more than a couple minutes of reading. Most people in parish work, including many pastors, are not going to be interested in reading an article of more than three pages, and they certainly won't be interested in a detailed, sourced (with footnotes) analysis of why chant should be sung in the Novus Ordo Mass. Short and sweet. To the point.

    I think the points above will resonate with any music director involved in ministering at a typical American parish who has had to face resistance to singing chant at Mass among parish staff and parishioners.
    Thanked by 2smvanroode toddevoss
  • One of the worst side effects of Summorum Pontificum has been the exclusive association of chant, incense, the Latin language, and other forms of solemnity and/or tradition with the Extraordinary Form, inaccurately dubbed the "(Traditional) Latin Mass" by people who should really know better. Turning the Novus Ordo into a liturgical ghetto is not what Benedict had in mind. It has been my mission to re-associate all forms of solemnity with both forms of the Roman Rite where appropriate, and this article—though not flawless—is in accord with that in my eyes.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 879
    As I said, I'm not against the points made in the article, as far as they go. It's the same points I've seen in dozens of articles over the past 25 or 30 years. And whoever wants to pursue this - more power to them. I've been attempting it myself lo these many years.

    It's just that the very attempt has shown to me that this model is (with some notable exceptions) not sustainable in the current environment. In so far as the article doesn't address this, it comes across as naive at best and at worst, wishful thinking.

    I appreciate the shortness and sweetness of the writing, and understand the author can't cover everything, but a nod to the fact that such a venture will involve serious and in some cases sustained opposition would lend a note of realism to the proceedings. It might also waylay the over-zealous musician from a potentially disastrous roll-out.
  • inaccurately dubbed the "(Traditional) Latin Mass"

    True, but it's often easiest to use such common-parlance terms, even if they aren't quite precise, if that's the term that everyone knows. That's why I use the term. If I say TLM, even the most ho-hum N.O. catholic knows what I mean without any clarifications.

  • True, but it's often easiest to use such common-parlance terms, even if they aren't quite precise, if that's the term that everyone knows.

    When such terms are contributing to the division that is currently ailing the Church and preventing legitimate progress in the Novus Ordo, I don't think it's worth it. I don't use "Mass parts" instead of "Ordinary" or "Eucharistic Minister" for "Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion" for the same reason, even if those terms would be more understood by uncatechized Catholics.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,374
    "Is the once-redoubtable First Things slipping?"

    For quite a while.
    Thanked by 1JL
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    One of the worst side effects of Summorum Pontificum has been the exclusive association of chant, incense, the Latin language, and other forms of solemnity and/or tradition with the Extraordinary Form, inaccurately dubbed the "(Traditional) Latin Mass" by people who should really know better.


    I have said for some time that the worst thing about some of the EF folks is that they have started believing their own hype. There is nothing particularly wrong with the EF mass, but Christ did not reach down from the cross and hand the apostle - there was only one there, btw. The rest ran away. He didn't reach down and hand the apostle the Missal of Pius V. There was roughly 1,000 years of liturgy before Trent with similarities to, and differences from, what came after Trent. Councils are always affected by the culture and state of affairs at the time those councils meet. Documents of Vatican II, for example, are mired in the 1960s era.

    I wish better minds in the church could come to some agreement on what is good in both forms of the mass and promulgate the best of both as the norm. Of course, I don't know how to get the inevitable politics out of that kind of effort. Too many oxen would get gored.
    Thanked by 1MichaelDickson
  • The Roman, Ambrosian, Cistercian, Carthusian, Mozarabic, etc rites are all different of course. When people say the Traditional Latin Rite there is an element of synecdoche, unsurprising since of the traditional Latin rites the Roman is by far the most often encountered.

    As for the Montinian ("Novus Ordo") rite, is a bit of an anomaly: it's obviously another, different Latin rite since it's quite a bit further from the Roman than most of the others above mentioned. But in addition it's rather young. Younger than me, for example. Is it so inaccurate to exclude it when saying "Traditional Latin Mass"? I don't think so myself.
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    I still think greater effort to tie the two uses together would have been helpful. There are feasts/observances in the EF that are largely meaningless today in a non-agrarian society. Much of the older music could have been preserved and adapted for use today instead of being tossed out, as it was for any practical purposes. More use of the vernacular since there never was anything particularly sacred about Latin. Preserve it for special occasions and high masses. However, the high masses are gone, as well. Unfortunately, we now have two camps that don't even speak to each other. I am not any great advocate for Pope Francis, but he is right that we now have a church within a church.
    Thanked by 1toddevoss
  • More use of the vernacular since there never was anything particularly sacred about Latin.

    Exorcists have much to say about this.

    There was nothing special about water until Jesus instructed that everyone should be baptized. Similarly, the latin was sacralized by holy mother church. God, in His mercy and wisdom, allowed its quotidian use to die so that the language became both frozen and perfectly preserved by the church. What words meant 1000 years ago, they still mean today. Something that cannot be said for almost any other language. English, for instance, notoriously shifts, and rapidly too. It has been THE language of the liturgy for 2000 years. (And is still supposed to be if the council fathers are to be taken at their word.)

    Now I'm not against increased use of the vernacular, particularly where readings of holy writ are concerned, but beyond that and the sermon? Sacred language, please.

    For the life of me I don't understand why Catholics seem to be the only people who don't believe in sacred languages anymore... (I'm not accusing you of this, Charles, just commenting in general.) The mennonites and amish have their sacred "pennsylvania deutch" (16th century high german), islam has high arabic, maronites use aramaic in their liturgy (even in the USA where Aramaic is not spoken by the people), Anglicans have high church english (once quotidian but later preserved as custom), etc. etc. Shirking Latin is just another symptom of people's effort to throw off the yoke of Faith writ large. People don't want to submit to the liturgy and its demands.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    I didn't say throw out Latin, just use it more judiciously. As for what the exorcists say, and I have read some of their comments, they border on the superstitious. Latin in the church was in origin, not sacred but the language of the day. Rome fell, the civilization collapsed and Latin stopped developing. The people moved closer to modern Italian. If Latin had remained the vernacular language, it would have shifted, too. Latin scholars tell me Church Latin is not even good Latin.

  • As for the Montinian ("Novus Ordo") rite, is a bit of an anomaly: it's obviously another, different Latin rite since it's quite a bit further from the Roman than most of the others above mentioned. But in addition it's rather young. Younger than me, for example. Is it so inaccurate to exclude it when saying "Traditional Latin Mass"? I don't think so myself.

    Considering that - whether we like it or not - it is a revision of the Roman Rite, yes. Neither tradition nor Latin are alien to the Novus Ordo in the same way that Roman elements would be alien to the Byzantine rite. If the youth of the Novus Ordo is what you wish to distinguish, then the terms vetus ordo or usus antiquior would be more accurate and politically neutral. If "traditional" is the opposite of "contemporary" in today's liturgical parlance, then would a Latin Novus Ordo Mass be a "Contemporary Latin Mass"? I think not.
  • legitimate progress in the Novus Ordo


    Could you define this?
  • Progress away from the 1970s nonsense and towards an authentic rite as desired by the Second Vatican Council.
    Thanked by 2toddevoss tomjaw
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    If the Vatican itself has defined the rite it has put forward (and its rubrics), how can you call it “nonsense”, and what change from the official definition makes it “authentic”?
  • Francis, I'm not calling the Novus Ordo itself 1970s nonsense, even if you may see it as such.
  • Schoenbergian,

    Neither is Francis. He's trying to find the daylight between the officially promulgated forms, complete with all their legitimate options and the nonsense.

    What constitutes legitimate progress, instead of illegitimate progress?

    (Francis, I'm going to go on a bit of a rant here, so stand by)

    Is the use of any of 12 Eucharistic prayers, but mostly Eucharistic Prayer II legitimate progress?

    Is the near complete ephemeralization of Latin in the prayers said by the priest and/or people legitimate progress?

    Is Communion in the Hand legitimate progress?

    Is the fact that, within the published, listed options, it possible to attend Mass every Sunday and never attend the same ritual twice, not counting as a change the lectionary, legitimate progress?

    Is the clear insinuation that versus populum is to be preferred legitimate progress?

    Is the use of girl altar boys or the ubiquity of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion legitimate progress?

    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Elmar
    Posts: 371
    Today we'll have a Latin NO Mass with Gregorian chant in the (single) Sunday Mass (I'm on duty elswhere). I'm curious to hear my family's reactions this afternoon!
    Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion legitimate progress?
    And to a more extreme note: Will it be 'legitimate progress' if (if!) they come back after 18 months of suspension due te covid measures?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • We had our first reappearance of an EMHO just the other day and I was soooooo disappointed. I just don’t get it. I grew up with priests who would alternate line a, line b, line a, etc. and it worked just fine.

    In fairness to my pastor, it was because the other priest was not available to be at that mass. (I genuinely do not see the point, especially since our church only seats 350 people comfortably, but the good news is that: ) Since the arrival of our new associate, they have both taken to being at every mass. Right before “behold the Lamb of God…” The priest who is not celebrating quietly come out of the sacristy in preparation to distribute holy communion. It’s been very nice only having two priests in the center aisle.

    For my part, I refuse to receive communion from anyone but a priest. I will change lines and everything. Mercifully, I am almost never put in this position since it’s exceedingly rare that we travel.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,730
    I understood progress to mean moving on from 1969/2002 not questioning the legitimacy of what popes have decreed. Of course the members of the Consilium themselves questioned the commonsense of parts of the rite as published.