Edward Schaefer - Journey to the EF
  • Perhaps because I am near the same age and have had similar experiences, I read Edward Schaefer's confession with sympathy and agreement. Any one who has planned music programs for both OF and EF communities, knows how much more difficult and frustrating the OF task can be. That said, I particularly appreciate that Schaefer doesn't fall into the trap of denying that the pre-council liturgy needed reform. Those of us who lived it know better.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    Of course we know that reform was needed. There were many problems with the pre-60s church that are often forgotten in the chaos that followed Vatican II. It was too clericalized, for one thing. I can also understand the association of chant with terms like, "depressing." The western church, for a host of reasons, was a church of doom and gloom. It had forgotten the resurrection and was overly focused on the death and suffering of Christ. Granted, those are not small things, but they are not the total of Christianity. Monasticism, Calvinism and Jansenism only made matters worse, I think. In the east, we consider ourselves people of the resurrection. Worship is a joyful thing, not obsessed with death, but with life. Somehow, the west lost its way on that.
  • One could argue that the Church is in need of reform now, since we've now gone to the other extreme - from all doom and gloom to all sweetness and light. (Did we really "forget" the Resurrection? Have we now "forgotten" Christ's passion? Not sure about that.)

    Semper reformanda, as they say.

    But I always wonder whether this reform was best done through an ecumenical council? Reform may be needed in the US, but would a consititutional convention be necessary or even desirable?

    Sam Schmitt
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    You are right about the church going from one extreme to another. And there's no doubt in my mind that the church has suffered for years from a general lack of leadership. Unfortunately, the Vatican II Council was hastily called, poorly planned, and badly executed.

    Besides, there were no ecumencal councils after the first seven. Everyone in the east knows that. ;-) It's commonly said in the east, that every time the Latins have a council, they think it is ecumenical. Granted, some were more ecumenical in scope than others. But many handled only Latin church issues. One Latin Trad person I know likes to quote from Trent. She is always horrified when I tell her we easterners don't care about Trent. It met to address Protestantism in the west and did not apply to the east.
  • Regarding the pre-Vatican II liturgy: was it the Mass itself--texts and rubrics--that needed reform (in the eyes of those here who believe so), or was it the typical ways in which it was celebrated? The things I hear people saying seem mostly to be cultural and attitudinal rather than inherent in the rite. I certainly have been to my share of horribly gloomy EF Masses, but it has had entirely to do with the priest's way of celebrating, the music (or lack thereof), and the exterior 'feel' of the faithful in the pews. None of these things is required by the EF.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    None of those things were required by the EF. However, I am of the opinion that vernacular masses should have existed many centuries sooner. I remember the 1964/1965 English missal and still have a copy of it. There was nothing in it I really objected to, although I did think turning the altar around violated tradition.
  • And yet the Latin Mass and the Roman church survive the bashing.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    The church survives, but I don't believe the EF will ever be the dominant mass in the U.S. again. While there is interest in the EF, there is no groundswell to replace the OF with it. Perhaps it can influence the powers that be to correct some of the abuses in the OF. That would be a good thing. I would see nothing wrong with going back to the 1965 missal. That's actually what Vatican II had in mind.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,079
    Umnnnhh....Charles, I agree with your overall conclusion, but I did NOT know that you were a periti at VatII, thus completely confident that the 1965 missal is 'actually' what the Council fathers had in mind.



    That "gloomy chant" remark is intriguing. Seems to me that one can make Chant sound gloomy, or not; it depends entirely on the choirmaster and the TEMPO at which the Chant is sung. It's also likely that the schola is ignoring (or ignorant of) the meaning of the text.

    At Sexagesima, the words "exsurge" and "adjuva" should be sung with a bit of force--just a BIT--before the compliant/suppliant end of the melody a few words later. If that is not present in the singing, then yes, I expect that the Chant will be 'gloomy.' Or at least very boring.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    I was in my early teens when the Council started. How old were you, whipper-snapper? ;-) I strongly suspect that the 1965 missal is closer to the Council's intent, than any that has followed it. I also suspect that the missal of Paul VI bore little resemblance to what the Council Fathers had in mind.

    I recall the church emphasizing, prior to the Council, the gloomier and darker aspects of its theology and practice. The atmosphere and mood were often somber and dark. So was some of the music. The meanings of the chant texts were, and still are, fine. Granted, many never understood them, and still don't. And I do believe chant can be sung in English. The Anglicans have done an excellent job proving that for centuries.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,079
    We're about the same age, Charles.

    It was your confidence-level that piqued my curiosity.

    The 1965 edition was certainly preferable to the later ones, by far; I don't doubt that the current mishmosh strayed quite a distance from the vision. Neither does/did Ratzinger/B-16.

    I don't recall, however, the darkness/sombreness which you do. Perhaps "sober" would be the word I'd choose. I think that it's theological: many seem to think that this life is the only one and they've 'immanentized the Eschaton.'

    As to the music, well.......a lot depends on your parish choir director, no? In my home parish there was plenty of joyful music, which I used later as the choir director for the local EF Mass.

    And Chant is also quite joyful, when it should be, viz., Christmas and Easter (inter alia).

    BUT: Chant can be funereal dirge-music when the tempo drags, as some self-appointed experts suggest or insist. It's not 'sober' nor 'somber' then; it's downright awful. "Purgatorial" is the best word for it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    I remember the Council vividly. With the guidance of an adult friend, several of us teens read everything that came out from the Council. Then it was mostly from newspapers, so there was a bit of a time lag. But we were vitally interested in everything and followed every detail.

    Bad chant can turn anyone off. I also remember "low masses" in which the priest rushed through the entire liturgy in 25 minutes or less. Some even bragged about it. Everything wasn't wonderful because the priest faced the altar and the mass was in Latin.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 468
    "I also remember "low masses" in which the priest rushed through the entire liturgy in 25 minutes or less."

    25 minutes is probably about what priests should shoot for in celebrating the EF Low Mass without a sermon (unless the readings for the day are particularly long.) With a competent celebrant, it shouldn't feel rushed. The Mass will be slightly longer if there is both a general communion and prayers after Mass.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thank you Adam for posting the article. I truly enjoyed reading it.
  • The drive to reform comprised much more than the twenty-minute mass with its auctioneer delivery. Twentieth-century scriptural scholarship exceeded the cumulative knowledge of what had preceded it, yet Catholics tended to have little acquaintance with the full range of the revealed Word. Thomas Aquinas had become deified to the point that other significant philosophical developments and points of view were left unexplored. (How can one argue against the other side if you’re not even permitted to examine the precepts of the other side?) The pervasive understanding of sexual development sustained attitudes that today would hardly be considered healthy. In short, the whole of Catholic culture needed reexamination.

    Schaefer is careful to distinguish his admiration for the Latin mass from such needed correctives. By doing so, he embraces something that can -with nuture- be shared with many others.
  • The only thing worse that a 20-minute Low Mass is a 90-minute Low Mass with sermon (and no hymns). This is the norm on two Sundays each month at the only EF/TLM in a large east-coast diocese.
  • There are vernacular Masses today that are 30 minutes or shorter - with or without any singing. Mid-day Masses for downtown workers on a short lunch break. Sunday Masses on military bases or in reserve units. It's not the time taken, but the attitude. And it has nothing to do with which direction the priest faces.

    Gregorian chant is not as difficult as many make it out to be. Some of it is quite complicated, but much of it is not. Psalm tones can be used for the Propers when preferable. Again, it's not in the time taken, but in the attitude of the musician how the chant will sound.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    As an eastern Christian, our liturgies typically run up to 3 hours long. I can't fathom 30 minute liturgies, although most of the Latins I know wimp out after an hour. I play for those hour-long liturgies, but they seem awfully short to me. As we say in the east, less can be more, but more is better. :-)