New Rescript from His Holiness
  • His Holiness Pope Francis, the Pope of accompaniment and decentralization has attempted (see my expansion of this word below) to further restrict both the traditional forms of the Mass and the sacraments and the freedom of diocesan bishops on the other.

    Where does this leave musicians?

    About my use of the word "attempted", I want to be clear:

    His Holiness has issued a document on a matter on which he has jurisdiction, it seems to me, since moderation of the liturgy has been reserved to the Holy See for some time.

    Nevertheless, by his action, His Holiness attempts to do contradictory things at the same instant: he is the pope of accompaniment, so he wishes his clergy to walk with sinners in difficult situations, and yet he wishes the adherents of the traditional forms of worship to be shown the coldest shoulder imaginable; he also is the pope of decentralization, reducing the role of the Vatican in the promulgation of Mass texts, and yet fewer and fewer of the responsibilities of bishops are they allowed to do.

    Furthermore, although a legal piece of paperwork may say that two persons are married, and under ordinary circumstances should be presumed to be validly married, if there is an impediment (such as consanguinity or an existing marriage or the chosen "partner" ineligible because of being the same sex) the paperwork notwithstanding and the authority conceded in principle, those two persons are not married to each other.

    Since his actions are, to my mind, irreconcilable with his own stated program of accompaniment and decentralization and, to be circumspect, nearly impossible to reconcile with his Office of confirming the brethren in the faith, confusion among his spiritual children will ensue.

    Therefore.... is our job as church musicians to soldier on bravely in the face of the headwinds, or to begin looking for work in other fields, since our pastors will have a difficult time resisting both their bishops (or other superiors) and the Holy See's press office, or to change what we program as music, or something else? How do we lead those in choirs under our direction?
  • We cleave to Tradition & tradition, as they carry greater force and are inscrutable. It seems to me that basic common sense tells us (as well as St. Paul, frankly) that we are to stick with the Gospel as has been handed down to us, not as it is twisted and warped by people who happen to have sway in Rome at this hour. Until my dying breath, I will never believe it is wrong to attend a TLM, or sing in Latin, or employ traditional devotions. To do otherwise, is to believe the false gospel that is precisely the meaning of St. Paul's warning.

    I've long struggled with your sentiment to wash my hands of it and find a nice little hidey-hole. But as my current pastor put it to me four years ago: if people like us aren't fighting in the trenches, then who would be? If we give up outright, we cede all ground to the people who would seek to destroy the church, be it out of genuine malice or merely being a "useful idiot". So, we must stay and fight. We must continue to sing and offer the true music of the roman rite wherever we minister (Vetus AND Novus), and we must continue to strive to lead our congregations and choirs to richer fare. To do otherwise is to abandon ship. All the while, we continue to believe what we know to be true, and not what is being sputtered at any given moment.

    (And lest anyone accuse me of being a cafeteria catholic by choosing what is convenient to me, I am doing no such thing; my judgements are not my own, but rather I cling to things like the Catechism of the Council of Trent, dogmatic-binding councils and pronouncements (not "non-binding, pastoral" ones), the writings of the Saints, perennial Traditions & traditions, etc. As I once quipped to a friend: your beef with my acceptance of the death penalty is not with me; it's with St. Thomas Aquinas. Thus is my modus operandi for the rest of my Faith. Take it up with 1600 years of liturgical tradition. Go complain to St. Augustine. Duke it out with the council fathers in Trent. etc. etc.)
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,031
    As I see it, I think the way forward is for musicians and pastors to direct their efforts toward beautifying, solemnizing, and celebrating the post-Conciliar Mass more in harmony with the Church's liturgical tradition and post-Conciliar liturgical norms. There are hardly any opportunities for Catholics to celebrate the Novus Ordo reverently and authentically.

    In terms of music, that means, among other things, greater implementation of Gregorian and vernacular chanted Mass propers and settings of the Mass ordinary to replace song selection and Mass settings from among what OCP and GIA promote, and more frequent chanting by priests of the Mass dialogues and presidential prayers.

    Here's an article from this past weekend about a success story in St. Louis:
    https://adoremus.org/2023/02/poetry-of-the-mass-is-an-open-door-to-heaven-how-a-revitalized-liturgy-has-reenergized-a-st-louis-parish/

    Here's a video of a homily by a cathedral pastor informing his parishioners about why they do what they do with music at Mass. It's an excellent 18-minute summary explanation of the Church's norms for music at Mass:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CirvhwH2KUk&t=400s

    Those are two examples of good work being done to revitalize parish celebrations of the post-Conciliar liturgy. I'm trying to do what I can along those lines in my own parish ministry.
  • Mark,

    There's a fly in the ointment. Put in its most succinct form, the people making the regulations about liturgy will take any attempt to "beautify" the liturgy and "solemnify" it as attempts to refuse to accept the Council, and thus needing to be explicitly prohibited and those attached to such earlier ideas needing to be accompanied to acceptance of the modern liturgical form which excludes all those things.

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,949
    What has gotten the Trads in trouble with Pope Francis is acting like a church within the church, a remnant of the true faith and "Lord, I thank thee I am not like those Novus Ordo folks." I am all for improving the NO with better music and more serious liturgy. Some of our priests need to realize they are not entertainers and stop acting like it. Throw out the glut of eucharistic prayers, and clean the mass up.
    Thanked by 1toddevoss
  • Chrism
    Posts: 869
    The great story here is the edifying widespread and cheerful obedience of the vast majority of the people who attend the Traditional Latin Mass and their clergy.

    Where does this leave musicians? As we approach Lent, maybe meaning the music a bit more: Lift High the Cross!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    If TC and its subsequent "clarifications" had stopped at reaffirming that the norm is the OF and other 'forms' are exceptions with limited permission, and that the diocesan ordinary is responsible for overseeing this and has control, then I would have applauded. But the pettifogging details would prevent the practice (not uncommon in England) of one EF/TLM a month, an extra Low Mass on the First Friday, since it is in the parish church and involves bination. Regulation at this level by SCR was the bane of the 1570 rite, plus ça change.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • As I see it, I think the way forward is for musicians and pastors to direct their efforts toward beautifying, solemnizing, and celebrating the post-Conciliar Mass more in harmony with the Church's liturgical tradition and post-Conciliar liturgical norms.
    But don’t be too traditional! Or you’ll have a target on your back. Of course, Christ had a target on His back, too, and was eventually nailed to it.

    But the fact remains that in many places the powers that he do not want this. Look at Atlanta; written permission is [supposedly] required to even say a vernacular mass ad orientem. Novus ordo in Latin also requires explicit permission. This in spite of the fact that Latin was to be retained and the missal presumes an ad orientem posture. So there you have it: try to do what’s on the books and you’re remonstrated. Don’t do what’s on the books and you’re A OK.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,038
    I'm trying to understand how the Latin Mass stands in the way of what MarkB is recommending for the new rite. Are too many talented people working for the TLM when they could be making music for the Novus Ordo? (There's a grand total of about 75 apostolates of the FSSP and ICKSP out together in the US.) Are bishops now free from the distraction of the old rite so they can finally promote good music in the new? Would this mean an end of the liturgy wars and futile infighting so that we could all now pull things in the same direction?

    From what I can see the end of the TLM would do nothing either to discourage sub-standard music or encourage better music in the new. We're still left with the same underlying issues with the music for the new rite whether the TLM is around or not. In fact, as I've seen first hand, the celebration of the older rite has often been a major impetus for improving the music in the new.

    In other words, nothing gives me any reason to think that I would be able to do more traditional music in the new rite than I have been trying to do for the past 25 years. If anything, as ServiamScores suggests, there are as just as many roadblocks as ever, maybe more.
  • Since the TLM folks are such a tiny group of people, exercising only power and influence in their circular firing squad networks composed of the mentally unstable, rigid people.... why does anyone think they're working to stamp this group out with such vehemence?
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Jeffrey Quick
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,949
    I think the more vocal TLM people should have celebrated the liturgy and kept their mouths shut. It was the squeaking wheels (Marshall, Prof. K) and such that attracted too much attention. Sometimes squeaking wheels don't get greased, they become annoying to the point they get replaced. As far as music goes, I agree the TLM may not make much difference in the average parish. Bad music existed when the TLM was the only mass.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 263
    It is surprising to see the number of items reserved to the Holy See from a document which starts: "Guardians of the tradition, the bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome constitute the visible principle and foundation of the unity of their particular Churches."

    That said, with a few exceptions it remains entirely legal for a priest to celebrate a Novus Ordo mass in Latin with chanted propers and ordinaries ad orientem. There are some bishops who are trying to regulate ad orientem worship, but given the Vatican's pronouncements on the subject, I don't know that the bishops have that authority. Likewise, given the statements in Sacrosanctum Concilium that "the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites," I don't see how a bishop could forbid a priest who is relatively fluent in Latin from saying a mass in that language.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    Orders from US bishops restricting Latin are not a new phenomenon. Cdl Shehan of Baltimore issued an edict in 1967, as soon as the whole VO Mass was translated into English, forbidding any use of Latin at Mass by his diocesan clergy.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    Charles

    Taylor Marshall has typically less than 100,000 views. Do you actually think that has anything to do with what the pope is doing? I hardly think so. However, let’s give you the benefit of the doubt … if what you say is true, that has got to be the tiniest and loudest squeaky wheel that’s ever been squeeked!

    Peter K… I don’t think he even has his own blog. He has a website that list his pubs, but he just travels around and speaks to small groups. In essence, his teeny wheel is smaller than Taylor’s. I think you’re measuring a scale that simply has no weight.

    I believe your comments are nothing but a ruse.

    Since the TLM folks are such a tiny group of people, exercising only power and influence in their circular firing squad networks composed of the mentally unstable, rigid people.... why does anyone think they're working to stamp this group out with such vehemence?
    weigh this.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,949
    Francis, if you poke the bear needlessly, don't be shocked when he bites. Those two, Peter and Marshall, are not the only gadflies out there. There are others.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    Bear. Interesting choice of a metaphor.

    Are you insinuating that the holy father bites and devours his own children?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,949
    Stranger things have happened and worse will likely occur in the future, given current trends
  • Charles,

    I don't think the Holy See believes that the TLM folk, clerics and laymen alike, those with an internet megaphone and those without, are an inconsequential threat, which is slightly amusing because none of us (that I know of) intend the Holy Father harm.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,949
    I didn't say they were inconsequential, that was Francis. I think to get the attention they are getting, Rome must see them as a genuine threat.
  • ...or...hear me out... Rome is just trying to slowly murder tradition by squeezing tighter and tighter until there are no more gasps for air.

    It seems fairly evident to me that if the pope can ignore the entire conference of German bishops who are in literal, public, —obstinate— material heresy, then TM & PK can hardly be a concern in, and of themselves. What seems highly more likely is simply the fact that there is an agenda with the powers that be, and they are reaching the end of their lives, and they are trying to seal the deal before they run out of time.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw LauraKaz
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    Some think that it is a group of US bishops who perceive it as a threat, and that they managed to persuade Francis to this view. I have no idea. There seems to be a scatter across many countries of prelates who see "trads" as a serious problem. And a much larger number who do not. DDWDS seems to me to be as inept as SCR was. It is a problem with all bureaucracies (I spent 33 years in government service).
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    Serviam... you made the point I was trying to make. Thanks.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • If the Lex Credendi of the New Mass is the same as the Old Mass, as we are taught, there's no reason to suppress it; it's just "a different way to worship", and that's good, right? "Unity", the stated reason, is a ruse, because there has been no attempt to suppress the Ordinariate, the Eastern rites, the rite of Zaire, or anything else. This should be brought to the attention of the Vatican; we should DEMAND that these other groups be brought into line. (St. Saul Chicagoensis, Regula quarta). Indeed, since some here think that those who note the differences between rites are at fault, we should get up in the grills of Eastern Rite Catholics who presume to flout the desired unity.

    If my Mass is put to death, there are things I can do closer to home; I won't get paid, but that's not important to me. I would have to be convinced without doubt that Rome was in schism with historical Catholicism before I went SSPX, I think, and we aren't at all there yet, though we seem headed in that direction. I'm not personally interested, at my age, in applying the baculum labialis to the porcus. But everything I've written can be done under the Missal of Paul VI (yes, even those pesky ninefold Kyries). And I've written the first of a series of English anthems using texts bowdlerized from the old lectionary...which strikes me as a more substantive approach to "Making the New Rite better."

    As for the new rescript, it sounds to me as more "We REALLY MEAN IT this time" than anything new. I doubt it will be enforced by the Pope.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw LauraKaz
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,949
    we should get up in the grills of Eastern Rite Catholics who presume to flout the desired unity.

    A key difference. We Easterners have the body parts to leave and return to our mother church - Orthodoxy - if anyone tampers with our liturgy. It is older than the "Roman" Rite to begin with. Too many of you are hung up on that papal office even when it is filled with an idiot. One can hope the next pope will think differently on the TLM.

    Another thing. The battle over the old and new Roman Rites is an internal matter to the western church. It doesn't affect anyone outside of the western church. Our dog is not in that fight although I can sympathize with you.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    CharlesW - Greek was used liturgically before Latin, I agree, but the Roman Canon may well be older than any other anaphora, since the lack of a clear epiclesis could be proof that it predates the clarifications of the role of the Holy Spirit. Of course the structure of the 1570 codification is far removed from the original. To quote Fortescue
    whatever beauty interest or historic value, or dignity, the Roman rite ever had has been utterly destroyed by the uneducated little cads who run that filthy congregation at Rome
    Thanked by 2hilluminar toddevoss
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    Jeffrey Quick - assuming that the lex orandi includes the rubrics as well as the texts spoken, there is reason to suppress 1962, or at least replace it with 1965. That is that 1570/1962 reduces the Mass to a chantry mass, in the case of High Mass (or even Pontifical mass at the throne) with copious but superfluous decoration.
    Thanked by 1Gamba
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,949
    Hawkins, Christianity started in the east.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    That is that 1570/1962 reduces the Mass to a chantry mass, in the case of High Mass (or even Pontifical mass at the throne) with copious but superfluous decoration.
    Could you please elaborate WHY and WHAT elements are unacceptable to you?
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,038
    Way too much logic and common sense on this thread. You guys are trying to make sense out of something that doesn't make much sense.

    Phil Lawler has a good take here.
    The Vatican “carried out a detailed consultation of the bishops in 2020” regarding the use of the traditional Latin Mass. Although we’ve never seen the results of that consultation, Pope Francis determined that “the wishes expressed by the episcopate” called for a crackdown on traditionalism. But the bishops who wanted that crackdown can’t be trusted to do it themselves.

    Pope Francis is acting to unify the Church—“to press on ever more in the constant search for ecclesial communion”—so he felt it necessary to take actions that will leave thousands of Catholics frustrated, angry, and dispirited. He wants to “reach out to the marginalized,” so he needs to marginalize traditionalist Catholics.

    Even if you agree with the Holy Father's goals here, you have to admit this is a ham-handed, and in the final analysis, self-defeating way to go about it.
  • Don’t forget: because of ecumenism, it’s A OK to let the Methodists use your cathedral to “ordinate” a woman, but it’s not ok for a small group of the faithful to gather to have a TLM in a side chapel. SPRINGTIME, baby!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,949
    SS, I agree it all seems rather one-sided, doesn't it?
    Thanked by 2tomjaw LauraKaz
  • there is reason to suppress 1962, or at least replace it with 1965

    That may be. One can always tinker with something. The problem is that religion is not an iphone, where people want the newest model. People want stability from religion. They perceive suppression of a rite as suppression of them.

    It would have been better if 1965 or 1969 had been introduced as options instead of mandates. Churches could have chosen, and we'd see how things played out. It would be market-oriented research. It didn't happen, largely because of the parish model. The whole personal prelature thing has eroded that model. I came into the Church as a TLM Catholic, and while I support a parish, that is not my geographical parish. I perceive the Church as a McDonalds: one store over another might have a better playground, or be cleaner, or have less surly and pierced staff, but it's the same menu. I realize that's a wildly unhistorical and problematic take, but it's what it is.
    Thanked by 2rich_enough tomjaw
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,188
    You can spill a lot of words here about this or that but the TLM communities that I know and have some relationship to are neither going away nor are they dying. On the whole, they are growing and the idiotic words of a Pope or the infamous and stupid Roche are not going to change that. Rather, they will grow despite the merciful words of Francis. Its business as usual and they, like me, await the biological solution. And it will come.....Fiat voluntas tua, Domine.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Jeffrey Quick
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    As it has always been said, the church buries her undertakers.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    francis - an illustration (not exhaustive)
    If a crowd of people starts t0 sing the national anthem of your country, and someone ostentatiously sits down and puts his hat on, you conclude that he is disassociating himself from the collective symbolic action. If the congregation at Ealing Abbey, or Westminster Cathedral started singing Credo III alternatim with the choir the celebrant would leave center stage, sit down and put his hat on. If the choir sang the whole Creed in some beautiful polyphony we would all sit down (though only the sacred ministers put hats on). I don't know what the intention behind the rubric was, but it conveyed that we the congregation had nothing to contribute. Our profession of belief was unimportant. Now of course the priest does invite us to pray that 'my sacrifice and yours' should be acceptable, but these words are deliberately said silently.
    The whole of High Mass was designed on this same principle, the irrelevance of anything except the chantry mass.
    Thanked by 3Gamba GerardH toddevoss
  • The whole of High Mass was designed on this same principle, the irrelevance of anything except the chantry mass.


    Can you support this rather remarkable claim?
    Thanked by 2NihilNominis francis
  • Our practice is that the celebrant stand when the congregation are singing the Credo, or the Gloria, but when it is the choir alone, then it is very helpful at the celebrant stand for the space of time he requires to recite that part of the mass, after which he sits down.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    The whole of High Mass was designed on this same principle, the irrelevance of anything except the chantry mass



    Can you support this rather remarkable claim?


    If the choir pantomimed all the music, or sang all the wrong words, or started from the Communion and sang backwards to the Asperges, the words and behaviour of the priest and server would be the same. The priest would still recite everything the choir sang, whenever he had finished with the previous thing, and moving on to the next when he was done (excepting the Credo and the Sursum Corda).

    Similarly, the 1570 text doesn’t care one way or the other if the people are reciting the Rosary or the 99 Names of Allah or the weather report.

    The priest and server still carry on, no matter what, as they would in a chantry Mass. The choir and the people are de facto decoration and bystanders, respectively.

    Notwithstanding the Liturgical Movement and all the catechesis about praying the Mass that came later. I agree with Hawkins about the post-Trent Missal. Not that it didn’t produce breathtaking music and wonderful theology, but he’s right.
    Thanked by 2GerardH toddevoss
  • Gamba,

    Wow. Just wow. You've been taking cribbing lessons from His Holiness! I recognize the truth in what you wrote, but not the way you perceive it.

    Of course the priest would do what he should do, saying the black and doing the red, because that's what is necessary to make the sacrifice pleasing to God. He's praying to God, doing the work he has been ordained to do, or at least part of it.

    If the choir sang everything backwards, as you put it, the priest, if he were doing his office properly, would ignore the choir and read things in the correct order, propers, ordinary and the rest. If he modified his words or postures to suit the idiotic hypothetical you amusingly propose (for the purpose of exaggeration, I understand, because the behavior you describe is idiotic, and you're not) he would be failing in his most basic duty.

    The 1570 text doesn't "care" about what the "people" are doing because it regulates not more than is absolutely necessary. To put it another way, it shows admirable restraint in what it regulates, allowing those not bound by strict laws to act according to right thinking custom or not to do so.

    Decoration and bystanders....

    I heard a sermon preached on this recently by a visiting priest. He noted that the 12th man (a football term, I guess, based on the fact that the Super Bowl figured prominently in his analogies) isn't sitting lazily back, but earnestly engaging in the action to the extent and in the manner proper for him. He might be praying to God for the priest, or asking Our Lady to help him (the layman in the pew) cope with a particularly difficult situation. He might be praying for the dead who need those prayers most of all. Since the rosary, prayed properly, leads us to deeper union with Christ, praying the rosary (as Pope Pius XII noted) at Mass isn't an evil to be prevented, but (my words, not His Holiness') an access port, an on ramp, a weigh station, to be recognized and left unmolested. Hence, "my sacrifice and yours".

    If the choir does its job properly, it renders more evident the beauty of the Mass and assists in the increase of devotion of all present.

    Back to Pope Pius XII for a moment: His Holiness asserted that it would be wrong-headed to insist that every person at Mass participate in the same way and to the same degree. Some of us have been raised in Catholic families and are now in our twilight years; others are new at this; some resisted grace mightily and are only recently reconciled; some are, perhaps, thinking more about the sins we wished we could commit but can't because of lack of opportunity; some are worrying about sick relatives... and so on.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw francis
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    more in harmony with the Church's liturgical tradition and post-Conciliar liturgical norms.
    the pope has already said the two are incompatible
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores tomjaw
  • And that is the crux of the matter.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • IF Fr. John Zuhlsdorf is right, that we are our rites, and right again that worship is doctrine, then the logical conclusion of our Francis' comment is that the Ordo of Paul VI represents a different religion because the highest authority in the Church is trying to declare exactly what Francis (ours, not Rome's) has said.


    Whether one likes Fr. Zuhlsdorf or not, his argument seems sound on these points. Would anyone here, for example, say that we could exchange, say, Lauda Sion for "Sing of the Lord's goodness" or its twin in Jesus Christ Superstar and be expressing the same thought?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,031
    More good things happening re: music in the reformed Mass done properly. This story is about the Diocese of Wichita's vision for music in the post-conciliar Mass.

    https://catholicdioceseofwichita.org/cantors-musicians-gather-to-hear-about-the-diocesan-long-term-vision-for-sacred-music/
  • Mark,

    Good news. How old is Bishop Kemme? How long has he been in Kansas?
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    @MarkB

    Curious...

    At that event, what percentage of music is/was/will be sung in Latin?