Liturgy and Church Music : by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    I would like to lead a thread based soley on small parts of this incredible writing. Please keep all comments focused on the content. I will wait until the postings have slowed before moving onto the next section. If no comments appear, I will post the next section.

    Let's begin:

    Part I

    LITURGY AND CHURCH MUSIC

    by Pope Benedict XVI

    Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger delivered this lecture in Italian at the VIII International Church Music Congress in Rome, November 17, 1985. It was printed Sacred Music 112 (1986, pp. 13-22), and also in A New Song for the Lord (NY: Crossroad, 1995)

    From the very beginning, liturgy and music have been quite closely related. Mere words do not suffice when man praises God. Discourse with God goes beyond the boundaries of human speech. Hence by its very nature the liturgy has everywhere called upon the help of music, of singing, and of the voices of creation in the sounds of instruments. The praise of God, after all, does not involve only man. To worship God means to join in that of which all creatures speak.

    Although liturgy and music are by their very nature closely linked with each other, their relationship has always been a difficult one as well, above all in times of cultural change and at turning points in history. It is thus no surprise that today, the question of the right form of music in worship is once again disputed. The debates of the last council and the years immediately following it seemed to center solely upon the antithesis between the men of pastoral practice and the church musicians who refused to submit to classification in categories of mere pastoral expediency, but strove instead to assert the validity of music’s inner worthiness as a pastoral and liturgical standard with a rank of its own. In other words, at bottom the debate seemed limited to the level of concrete application. In the meantime, however, the rift goes much deeper.

    The second wave of liturgical reform stimulates a questioning of the very principles themselves. It is question here of the very essence of worship activity as such, of its anthropological and theological foundations. The dispute about church, music is symptomatic of a more profound question: what is worship?

    1. Outstripping the council? A new conception of the liturgy.

    The new phase of liturgical reform efforts is explicitly based not upon the texts of the Second Vatican Council, but upon its “Spirit.” As symptomatic of this view, I shall use here the informative and clearly conceived article, “Song and Music in the Church” which appeared in the Nuovo Dizionario di Liturgia. There, the high artistic rank of Gregorian chant and classical polyphony is not called into question. It is not even a case of playing off community activity against elitist art. Indeed, the rejection of an historicist rigidity which merely copies the past and thus lacks both a present and a future, is not the real point at issue, either. It is rather a question of a new basic understanding of liturgy, with which the council, whose constitution on the sacred liturgy is said to contain a split personality, is to be outstripped.

    Let us attempt to familiarize ourselves briefly with the basic outlines of this new conception. The point of departure for the liturgy (so we are told) lies in the assembly of two or three who gather in Christ’s name. At first hearing, this reference to the promise of Jesus in Matthew 16:20 sounds harmless and quite traditional. However, it acquires a revolutionary impetus through the isolation of this one biblical text, which is viewed in contrast to the entire liturgical tradition. The “two or three” are not set up as the antithesis of an institution with institutional roles, as the antithesis of any kind of “codified program.” This definition of the liturgy therefore means that it is not the Church which takes precedence of the group, but rather that the group is more important than the Church. It is not the Church as total entity which supports the liturgy of an individual group or congregation, but rather the group itself is the point at which liturgy begins in every instance. Hence, it also follows that liturgy does not grow out of a model shared in common, out of a “rite” (which as a “codified program” now becomes a negative image of constraint): liturgy rather arises on the spot, out of the creativity of those assembled. In such a sociological view, the sacrament of priestly ordination appears as an institutional role which has created a monopoly for itself and which by means of the institution (the Church) undoes the pristine unity and community of the group. In this constellation, we are told, both music and the Latin tongue have become a language of the initiates, “the language of another Church, namely of the institution and of its clergy.”
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    I will start with saying that the Priesthood has been hijacked by the "movement of the spirit". What "spirit" is this? Priests generally view themselves as administrators and employers of the church rather than ordained ministers of the Sacrifice and Shepherds of souls. In Personae Christi. They are afraid to give direction and guidance for fear of contestation. The lay people and progressives feel that they have an equal share in shaping the liturgy, participation in the daily ministries as though they own the Church. They feel their opinions need to be counted and weighed. This is at the very base of the confusion that circles round the ministry of the priesthood and the sacramental life.
  • "The lay people and progressives feel that they have an equal share in shaping the liturgy, participation in the daily ministries as though they own the Church."

    This is so well put. This is the entitlement written so eloquently about in WHEN SHEEP ATTACK.

    Bishop and priests gave up their role to guide the liturgy and the music. And this is what we have been given. There are those holy men who realize the error this was and we all need to pray for them today and every day.

    Especially you, those Catholic musicians who are forced to work in non-Catholic churches since there is no home for them in the Church, your prayers are most powerful.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,861
    As the Holy Father points out, it does seem that have been tensions between, on one hand, claims of pastoral need and pastoral usefulness, and on the other hand, claims to uphold the Church's standards for music.

    If pastoral utility consistently overrides the Church's ideals for beauty and dignity, then the liturgy is being evaluated in terms of utility. That is, it is no longer done as an end in itself, but becomes a means to achieve some effect. The effect desired may be worldly (social, emotional, political) or religious (catechetical, evangelistic). But in either case, the intention to worship God for His own sake loses its central place.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Chonak

    It's a tricky balance.

    So much utilitarianism eliminates the time it takes to reach the maturity found in the height of beauty. Our society wants to get everything done in a couple of minutes. Breakfast, cleaning tasks, games, work, lunch, excersizing, etc. The liturgy has become utilitarian. One hour of my time and then I am done! We don't have the time to wait for God to appear, or if he does, we don't recognize Him because we are thinking about everything else we are going to do next. I learned in my twenties the simple phrase, 'the gift of the present moment'.

    My last organ concert took about 200 hours to prepare. It took 80 minutes to perform for a small crowd of 40. In order for us all to 'ascend into beauty' for that mere 80 minutes took a mammoth amount of time, thinking, working, praying, refining and then finally... beauty emerged. Too little of this type of thinking and effort is applied within our daily lives, and especially the Liturgy. It is the great drama of dramas, and we treat it as something we must get out of the way.

    Choirs need to practice, music directors need to pray and plan, organists need to practice and the priests, deacons and altar servers need to prepare their hearts and minds for what is about to unfold in The Holy Sacrifice.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Part II

    It is evident that the isolation of Matthew 16:20 from the entire biblical and ecclesiastical tradition of the Church’s common prayer has far-reaching consequences: the Lord’s promise to those praying anywhere is transformed into the dogma of the autonomous group. The joint action of praying has been intensified to an egalitarianism which regards the development of spiritual offices as the beginning of a different Church. From this point of view, any guiding postulates derived from the Church as a whole are restraints which must be resisted for the sake of the originality and freedom of the liturgical celebration. It is not obedience to a totality but rather the creativity of the moment which becomes determinative.


    Wow. I think the American Catholic Church has swallowed the hook-line and sinker of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

    Plainly, with the acceptance of sociological terminology, certain evaluations have also been accepted here: the value system formed by sociological language builds a new view of past and present, negative and positive. And so, conventional (indeed, even conciliar!) terms like the “treasury of sacred music,” the “organ as queen of instruments” or the “universality of Gregorian chant” now appear as “mystifications” whose purpose is “to preserve a particular form of power.” A certain administration of power (so we are told) feels threatened by the processes of cultural change. It (allegedly) reacts by masking its effort at self-preservation in the guise of love for tradition. Gregorian chant and Palestrina are said to be the tutelary deities of a mythicized ancient repertory, ingredients of a Catholic counter-culture supported by re-mythicized and super-sacralized archetypes. In fact, the entire historical liturgy of the Church is claimed to be more concerned with the representation of a cultic bureaucracy than with the singing activity of the congregation. And finally, the content of Pope St. Pius X’s motu proprio on church music is called a “culturally shortsighted and theologically worthless ideology of sacred music.”


    I really love that phrase, "Gregorian chant and Palestrina are said to be the tutelary deities of a mythicized ancient repertory"

    Now, of course, it is not only sociologism which is at work here, but also a complete separation of the New Testament from the Church’s history, linked to a theory of decadence which is quite typical of many an Enlightenment situation: real purity can only be found in the “Jesuistic” origins, and all the rest of history seems to be a “musical adventure with false and disoriented experiences.” This history must now “be brought to an end” in order to begin again with what is right.


    No problem calling a spade a spade.

    But just what does the new and better look like? The basic ideas have already been hinted at earlier, and we must now try to render them more concrete. Two fundamental values are stated quite clearly. The “primary value” of a renewed liturgy, so we are told, is “the activity of all persons in fullness and in authenticity.”


    Sound sickingly familiar? I think we need to remove all activity of those authentic persons.


    Accordingly, church music primarily means that the “People of God” depicts its own identity by singing. And with this, we arrive at the second value decision which is operative here: music proves to be a force which causes the group to cohere. The familiar songs are, so to speak, the hallmarks of a community. From these two principles there follow the main categories of music at worship: project, program, animation, management. The “how,” so we are told, is much more important than the “what.” The ability to celebrate is claimed to be primarily “the ability to produce”: music must above all be “produced” or “made”. In order to be fair, I must add that the article shows complete appreciation for different cultural situations and leaves room for the acceptance of historical materials as well. And above all, the article stresses the paschal character of Christian liturgy, whose song not only depicts the identity of the People of God, but should also render an account of its hope and proclaim to all the countenance of the Father of Jesus Christ.


    So much for 'active participation'. We are so 'cohered' that we are stuck with each other in a huge liturgical rut.

    In spite of the great rupture, there thus remain elements which make dialogue feasible and offer the hope that unity in our basic understanding of the liturgy can once again be achieved. Because the liturgy is derived from the group instead of from the Church, this unity threatens to disappear, and that not merely in theory, but in actual liturgical practice.


    I think the threat pretty much became a reality.

    I would not speak at such length about all of this if I believed that such ideas were attributable only to a few individual theorists. Although it is beyond all dispute that they are not supported by the texts of Vatican II, many a liturgical office and its organs firmly believes that the “spirit” of the council points in this direction. In the sense of what has been described above, an all too widespread opinion today holds that the real categories of the conciliar understanding of liturgy are a so-called creativity, the activity of all those present, and the reference to a group whose members know and are drawn to each other. Not only assistant pastors, but sometimes even bishops have the feeling that they are not loyal to the council if they celebrate Holy Mass exactly as it is printed in the Missale: at least one “creative” formula must be slipped in, no matter how banal it might be. Of course, the bourgeois greeting of the audience and if possible also the friendly greetings at leave taking have already become an obligatory element of the sacred action which scarcely anyone dare omit.


    "The friendly greetings no one dare omit." God forbid we don't acknowledge the pips publicly and thank them for their presence, by which the Mass becomes 'our Mass'!

    More of this soon... I have about 10 more parts.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    The "spirit" of the Council--how many times have we all heard that to justify any number of things?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    It is interesting that one cannot put their hands on "Song and Music in the Church" (the document that Cardinal Ratzinger refutes) on the internet!
  • kathyf
    Posts: 21
    And who do the priests think they are employed by? The parish council? the "worship committee", whatever that is?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,861
    It is interesting that one cannot put their hands on "Song and Music in the Church" (the document that Cardinal Ratzinger refutes) on the internet!

    Well, it wasn't published as a work on its own: it's an article ("Canto e musica nella Chiesa") within an Italian book ("Nuovo dizionario di liturgia") published in 1984. Not only was it nine years before the Web got going, the book itself sounds rather dated, based on the philosophy of liturgy apparently expressed in it.
  • Kathyf:

    interesting comment....I'm not sure what you mean and this prompts me to ask if you are RC and for how long. That may clarify what you are asking.
  • kathyf
    Posts: 21
    Yes I am RC. I just never really figured out what a worship committee was. I don't believe we have one at our church which is probably why we have such a great Mass. I have been RC my whole life except a few years when I did not practice. I'm only taking off on what Francis said. but now I see he said "employers" not "employees". so forget what I said.
  • Forgotten.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Part III tomorrow
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    The debates of the last council and the years immediately following ...
    The second wave of liturgical reform ...


    I am enjoying these phrases.
    Perhaps other Ratzinger/Benedict writings can be consulted to determine
    what wave number is now crashing ashore and what are its symptoms/components.
    Can we create a timeline specifying date-ranges, wave numbers, preoccupations?

    based not upon the texts of the Second Vatican Council, but upon its “Spirit.”

    Straight from the mouth of Pope Paul VI ...

    1964-jan-25 Sacram Liturgiam (establishes Consilium)
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_p-vi_motu-proprio_19640125_sacram-liturgiam_en.html
    1964-jun-23 Address to the Sacred College (Spirit of Vatican II)
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/speeches/1964/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19640623_sacro-collegio_it.html
    1969-may-08 Sacra Rituum Congregatio (disolves Consilium)
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19690508_sacra-rituum-congregatio_it.html

    Whenever I see or hear that phrase, my mind alternates between ...

    "That is so 1960s!"
    "So, you are a member of the Consilium; it must be exciting to have such an unusual imagination!"
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    It's spelt

    you've been

    conned, silly uhmmmm!
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    No typos.
    Concilium, c as in council.
    Consilium, s as in spirit.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    constitution on the sacred liturgy is said to contain a split personality

    Has any CMAA member read the CSL and seen this?
    I am going to have to print out a copy and try to identify pieces that could be seen that way.

    St. Pius X’s motu proprio

    Phrases from the motu appear in CSL, therefore hardly shortsighted or worthless.
    Regretably they are not foot-noted.

    real purity can only be found in the “Jesuistic” origins

    I think Jesuistic should mean "what did Jesus do?" but even that has become "what would Jesus do?".
    Is this behavior only post-Enlightenment?

    begin again with what is right

    It is impossible to show the point at which the Church left the rails,
    yet we do not like where we are,
    and so we must cut between Source and beginning of the Church and restart.
    Isn't this the solution advanced by all Church opponents?
    But on whose authority do we accept the Source as Source?
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,152
    Gregorian chant and Palestrina are said to be the tutelary deities of a mythicized ancient repertory, ingredients of a Catholic counter-culture supported by re-mythicized and super-sacralized archetypes.

    Not all that remote from his valid critique of "historical/critical" method of Biblical exegesis.

    And related to JPII's analysis of the Tower of Babel!
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    "Gregorian chant and Palestrina are said to be the tutelary deities of a mythicized ancient repertory, ingredients of a Catholic counter-culture supported by re-mythicized and super-sacralized archetypes."

    Of all the "sociological" critiques with which Ratzinger apparently disagrees, I see this one as the most legitimate. There certainly were and are extremists in the "Caecilian" camp who mythicize musical repertories in an uncomfortably idolatrous way.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Doug

    I believe he is saying the Church's opponents tout that view to justify their break with liturgical tradition and heirarchical authority.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    I agree, Francis.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Part III

    2. The philosophical foundation of this conception and its questionable aspects.

    In spite of all that has been said thus far, we have not yet reached the center of this change of values. The points already discussed all follow from the preferential ranking of the group above the Church. How so? Because the Church is classified under the general term “institution,” and in the type of sociology being borrowed here, “institution” bears the quality of a negative value. “Institution” embodies power, and power is viewed as the antithesis of freedom. Since faith (“imitation of Jesus”) is conceived of as a positive value, it must stand on the side of freedom and hence by its very nature be anti-institutional as well. Accordingly, worship may not be a prop for or a part of an institution either, but it must instead be a counterforce which helps bring down the mighty from their thrones.


    The error of protestantism emerges within the Catholic Church through its most sacred of arts!

    If that be the point of departure, then of course, the paschal hope (to which the liturgy is supposed to testify) can become quite terrestrial. It can become the hope of overcoming the institutions, and in fact it becomes a weapon in the struggle against the powers that be.


    Even if that power to be is God Himself!

    For example, he who merely reads the texts of the Missa Nicaraguensis
    boy, I would really like to see this writing!
    can get a good idea of this shifting of hope and of the new realism which liturgy acquires here, as instrument of a militant promise. And something else becomes evident: the importance which actually accrues to music in the new conception. The revolutionary songs have the power to arouse, and this communicates an enthusiasm and a conviction which a merely spoken liturgy could not evoke.


    I would warn liturgical musicians to be careful that they do not consider themselves indespensible to the liturgy. As central as music is to liturgy, it is not indespensible.

    Here, there is no longer any opposition to liturgical music, since music has received a new and indispensable function of arousing irrational powers and a communitarian impulse which is the purpose of the entire process. And music simultaneously contributes to the formation of consciousness, because something which is sung gradually communicates itself to the spirit much more effectively than something merely spoken or thought.


    This is where music, although, important to the Mass, is not an intrinsic element. The Mass CAN be celebrated fully and completely without any music. As Doug hints, some Cecilians have subscribed to a theology that borders on this way of thinking almost as much as the progressives that moved to alter the basics of liturgical music found in the tradition of chant and polyphony. But the music alone is NOT the liturgy. The words of Consecration (transubstantiation) are the heart of the Holy Sacrifice. So I would challenge those who subscribe to the need for Liturgy that always has music. It is NOT necessary to the Sacrifice although it is highly desireable.

    Moreover, by way of the group liturgy, the boundaries of the locally assembled community are here quite deliberately overstepped: by means of the liturgical form and its music there arises a new solidarity which is supposed to bring forth a new people that calls itself the people of God, although “God” really means the people themselves and the historical energies realized in them.


    Remember, fellow musicians of Sacred Music, that music is at the SERVICE of the Mass. It is not irrevocably part and partial to it. We are only humble servants who increase its transparency and elevate its truth and power. We must view ourselves very much like the Virgin Mary who although saw herself as a crucial element to the Nativity of Jesus, was not indespensible to God, but a chosen vessel through which salvation is poured out on the earth. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less. It is (sacred music) the greatest of arts and is wonderfully made to serve the most central and all important drama (The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) which is played out here on earth and then in the hereafter. But let us not forget our humble place. Let us never put music on equal or above the Great Sacrifice Himself.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,861
    I think, Francis, that your last portion is not really an ideal way of expressing the reality.

    Rather than thinking of music as an optional supplement that enhances the liturgy in some way, we should regard the normative liturgy as a sung liturgy, and think of the liturgy without music as deprived of some of its beauty, expressiveness, and dignity.

    The deviations which the Holy Father described are erroneous not because of a too exalted role for music, but because of erroneous concepts of God and of worship.

    The error behind them is not even protestantism, really, but Marxist millenarianism.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Chonak:

    Whatever the error behind the extreme is, music is not indespensible, and it is our strength (as liturgical musicians) that can also be our greatest weakness and blind us to the truth. Music IS intricately tied to the Mass, but it is not indispensible. That way of thinking opens us up to pride. Remember, Lucifer was the greatest musician of all. But his thinking his gifts were indispensible that had God throw him from heaven and replace his seat with the humble Virgin.

    I beg to differ with you. Protestantism is that which protests against the very essence of the Mass itself. Music as Cardinal Ratizinger is proposing in this writing, is used as a weapon to divide the church. That is 'protesting' the essence of the faith.

    If that be the point of departure, then of course, the paschal hope (to which the liturgy is supposed to testify) can become quite terrestrial. It can become the hope of overcoming the institutions, and in fact it becomes a weapon in the struggle against the powers that be.


    I will agree with you that music does heighten the beauty of the liturgy, and that it lacks without it, but I still hold it is not indispensible. The LOGO (Word) or text, is paramount to the music.

    You must readily admit that if the Words of the Mass are not spoken, then transubstantiation does not occur and the sacrament is not confected. No matter how much music is utilized during the Mass, if it is devoid of the priest and the action (including the rite) which brings about transubstantiation, then it is just a shell without purpose and is invalid.

    I have participated (unwillingly) in invalid Masses. The music at that point is for naught, no matter how beautiful the music may be. If I knew the Mass was going to be invalid before it started, I would seriously consider NOT playing music for such an event.

    It is the same reason I do not provide sacred music for any religious denomination except RC.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,861
    Thanks for the follow-up, Francis.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    deleted
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    deleted
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777


    Part IV

    Let us now return to our analysis of the values which have become determinant of the new liturgical consciousness. First of all, there is the negative quality of the concept “institution” and the fact that the Church is considered solely under this sociological aspect, which is not that of an empirical sociology (be it noted), but from a point of view for which we are indebted to the so-called masters of distrust. They have obviously done their work quite well, and have achieved a mind-set which remains effective even when its origin goes unremarked. But the distrust could not have had such explosive power if it were not accompanied by a promise whose fascination is almost unavoidable: the idea of freedom as the real requirement of human dignity. To this extent the question of the correct concept of freedom must represent the heart of the discussion. And thereby the dispute about the liturgy is brought back from all the superficial questions about its shape, to the real matter at hand, for in the liturgy it is actually a matter of the presence of the Redemption and of the approach to genuine freedom. The positive side of the new dispute is undoubtedly to be found in thus pointing up the central issue.

    At the same time, we can see just what Catholic Christianity is suffering from today. If the Church appears to be merely an institution, a bearer of power and thus an opponent of freedom and a hindrance to redemption, then the faith lives in contradiction to itself, because on the one hand faith cannot dispense with the Church, and on the other hand faith is fundamentally opposed to the Church. Therein lies the tragic paradox of this trend in liturgical reform. After all, liturgy without the Church is a contradiction in terms.


    This reinforces my point about having all the trappings of liturgy, but without the very essence of Christ himself (through transubstantiation) it is all for naught and worthless.

    Where all are active so that all become themselves the subject, the real agent in the liturgy disappears along with the common subject “Church.” People forget that the liturgy is supposed to be opus Dei, God’s work, in which He Himself acts first, and we become the redeemed precisely because He is at work. The group celebrates itself, and in so doing it celebrates absolutely nothing, because the group is no reason for celebrating. This is why universal activity leads to boredom. Nothing at all happens without Him Whom the whole world awaits. Only in light of this fact is the transition to more concrete purposes, as they are reflected in the Missa Nicaraguensis, a logical conclusion.

    Hence, the representatives of this view must be asked with all firmness: Is the Church really just an institution, a cultic bureaucracy, a power apparatus? Is the spiritual office (of Holy Orders) merely the monopolization of sacred prerogatives? If it proves impossible to overcome these ideas at the level of the emotions as well, and to view the Church once again from the heart in a different light, then we will not be renewing liturgy, but the dead will be burying the dead and calling it “reform.”


    This again, is why we as sacred music(ians) must not replace the bad music with the good in the same wrong "spirit". We must excersize humility, patience, long-suffering and with an understanding to bring the entire church into the sanctuary of her traditions in a way that is inviting. We can be clear about our position but unless we have the Holy Spirit, are fully immersed in our own Catholic Faith, and not just driven by the 'Spirit of the Reform' so to speak, then WE will be dead burying the dead.

    And then, of course, church music no longer exists either, because it has lost its subject, the Church. In fact, in such a case one could no longer correctly speak of liturgy at all, because liturgy presupposes the Church, and what would remain are mere group rituals which use musical means of expression more or less adroitly. If liturgy is to survive or indeed be renewed, it is essential that the Church be discovered anew.

    And I would add: if man’s alienation is to be overcome and if he is to rediscover his identity, then it is obligatory that man re-discover the Church, which is not an institution inimical to humanity, but that new We in which alone the individual can achieve his stability and his permanence.


    This means a rediscovery of the faith, the sacramental life, constant recourse to confession and the Eucharist, and our individual full intentions to live out our faith daily.

    In this connection it would be salutary indeed to re-study with all thoroughness the small book with which Romano Guardini, the great pioneer of the liturgical renewal concluded his literary activity in the year the council ended. He himself stressed that he wrote this book out of concern and love for the Church whose human side—and its perilous state—he knew quite well. But he had learned to discover in the Church’s human frailty the scandal of God’s Incarnation; he had learned to see in the Church the presence of the Lord Who had made the Church, His Body.

    Only when that is accomplished does Jesus Christ synchronize or co-exist with us. Without this, there is no real liturgy, which is not a mere recalling of the paschal mystery but its true presence. And again, only when this is the case, is liturgy a sharing in the Trinitarian dialogue between Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Only in this way is liturgy not our “making” but the opus Dei— God’s action upon and with us. Therefore, Guardini emphatically stressed that in the liturgy, it was not a matter of doing something, but of being. The idea that general activity is the central value of the liturgy, is the most complete antithesis to Guardini’s liturgical conception which one could imagine. The truth is that the general activity of all is not simply not the liturgy’s basic value: it is as such no value at all.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,152
    Remember, fellow musicians of Sacred Music, that music is at the SERVICE of the Mass.

    You could give the same admonition to certain priest-members of the ICK who insist that orgelmusik be played almost continuously during the Mass.

    At the very least, it is tasteless.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    dad

    I am certainly not arguing that point. Another thing to add to this is that the local ordinaries should not be able to override liturgical music based on popular taste of pips or self. This is why a definitive list is a good idea, but I don't think we will ever see that in my lifetime.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Part V

    I shall forego any further discussion of this question, for we must concentrate upon finding a point of departure and a standard for the correct relationship between liturgy and music. As a matter of fact, even from this point of view far-reaching consequences flow from establishing the fact that the Church is the real subject of the liturgy—the Church as the communio sanctorum of all places and of all times. From this there follows (as Guardini exhaustively showed in his early work Liturgical Formation) not merely the withdrawal of the liturgy from the arbitrariness of the group and of the individual (even though he be cleric or specialist) which Guardini termed the objectivity and the positive nature of the liturgy. Above all, there follow the three ontological dimensions in which the liturgy lives: the cosmos, history and the mysterium. The connection with history includes development, meaning that liturgy is part of something living, something which has a beginning, which continues to exert its influence and which, remains present without being completed, but rather lives only by being further developed. Some elements die off, others are forgotten and return later on in a different way, but development always implies partaking of an open-ended beginning.

    And this brings us to a second category which is especially important because it is related to the cosmos: liturgy so conceived exists basically as partaking. No one is the first and only creator of liturgy. For everyone, liturgy is participation in something larger, which goes beyond the mere individual. And in this way each individual is also an agent, active precisely because he is a recipient.

    Finally, relationship to the mystery means that the beginning of the liturgical event never lies within ourselves. It is rather response to an initiative from above, to a call and an act of love, which is mystery. There are problems here which need to be explained, but the mystery does not open itself to explanation. It becomes accessible only by being accepted, in the “yes” which even today we can safely call obedience, in a biblical sense.

    And this brings us to a point which is very important for the onset of art. Group liturgy is not cosmic, since it lives from the autonomy of the group. Group liturgy has no history, for it is characterized precisely by emancipation from history and by a “do-it-yourself” attitude, even when a group uses moveable scenery borrowed from history. And group liturgy knows nothing of the mystery, for in group liturgy everything is explained and must be explained. That is why development and partaking are just as foreign to group liturgy as is obedience, which perceives a meaning greater than that which can be explained.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    Group liturgy is not cosmic, since it lives from the autonomy of the group. Group liturgy has no history, for it is characterized precisely by emancipation from history and by a “do-it-yourself” attitude, even when a group uses moveable scenery borrowed from history. And group liturgy knows nothing of the mystery, for in group liturgy everything is explained and must be explained. That is why development and partaking are just as foreign to group liturgy as is obedience, which perceives a meaning greater than that which can be explained.

    This might be the best thing I've ever read in reference to liturgical creativity. I especially like "movable scenery borrowed from history."
  • Hi all,

    In reading through this thread, I can't help but remember reading this piece by Dr. Jeff Mirus last week: The Mind of the Church on the Novus Ordo

    Here's the chunk that I remembered when reading the thread above:

    First, it is absolutely critical to note that the mind of the Church or even of the Pope himself cannot be determined by looking at the writings of a future pope before he became pope. A cardinal’s election as pope does not in any way validate his earlier remarks, none of which were protected in the least by the grace of his later office. To assert that the mind of the Church is known from the work of Joseph Ratzinger in, say, 1990, is no wiser than saying it can be known by his common theological opponent, Walter Kasper.


    If what he's said is true, then most of what we're talking about could be rendered null.

    Thoughts?

    -Mark
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Truth is truth. Rank or authority has no bearing on whether it is or isn't. Who is Kasper and why would his sayings be more authoritative or more true?

    You can't knock the authority of one Bishop by the words that knock the authority of another. Isn't that hypocritical?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    I think that's a good point to remember:
    No, it isn't doctrine or law. It is just an opinion.
    But:
    The opinion can be evaluated based on:
    the source- a high ranking cardinal who was the head of an important Congregation.
    the argument itself, and it's own logical and rhetorical support- which (to my mind) is pretty strong and convincing.

    Do I agree with everything he says? No, but I'm an acknowledged heretic. Even still, I find a great deal of value in his reasoning and have a hard time disagreeing with even the stuff I want to disagree with.

    Not incidentally:
    I'm struck by how "on-point" and accurate are his assessments of creative, self-obsessed, group-centered liturgy. I have wondered in the past if "they over there in Rome" have a good idea of what is happening in an average, suburban parish in the US. Clearly at least one person over there does.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Adam:

    Why are you a heretic?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    Adam:

    Why are you a heretic?

    I don't want to derail this excellent thread with the answer to that question. So I will simply answer it, and ask that any further comment on the issue be either moved to a new thread (if deemed useful) or directed to me personally by email (adam.michael.wood@gmail.com).

    I believe that the Church's stance on gender roles is a grave error.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,152
    Well, Mark, let's first clear the table: R's lecture is not about doctrine/dogma/morals--therefore, whatever he says either does or does not have merit on "other" grounds.

    Ratzinger constructs a theory of music in Liturgy, based on his understanding of the Liturgy's ontology. You may argue either with his understanding of the Liturgy (that which is not dogmatic, of course) or with his application of that theory to "music for worship," because that is not dogmatic, either.

    But, of course, you must counter his arguments with equally well-constructed and -grounded arguments of your own. As Francis says, however, "truth is truth." What R said above (and what he will say below) is simply not exceptionable.

    Is it "the mind of the Church"? Well, it IS consistent with teachings and exhortations of Popes over the last 1,000 years or so--so it has the force of tradition, not to mention logic.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Mark

    After reading your post, it became clear to me that those words are the reflections of Jeff Mirus and have little weight on the truth that has been set forth by Cardinal Ratzinger in this particular writing.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    You may argue either with his understanding of the Liturgy (that which is not dogmatic, of course) or with his application of that theory to "music for worship," because that is not dogmatic, either.

    But, of course, you must counter his arguments with equally well-constructed and -grounded arguments of your own.

    That would be very difficult to do.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Mark

    I also think you should put more weight on this part of the same article.



    Benedict went on to explain that many have continued to long for the older liturgy (which is one reason for making it more widely available, the other being to try to reconcile those who have fallen out of full communion with the Church over it), but he also explained what the real problem was:

    Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. [emphasis added]


    This is the abuse which the document we are presently discussing addresses head on!

    Finally, the Pope ended his discussion of the Novus Ordo by stating that the key to its use in unifying the Church is a reverent fidelity to the actual rubrics of the missal itself, and he closed by expressing his fundamental judgment of the value of this normal form of the rite:

    The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.
    My advice to those who seriously dislike the Novus Ordo is this: Admit your personal preference for the Extraordinary Form if you like; true Catholics should not criticize you for it, even if they prefer the Ordinary Form. Combat abuses of the Novus Ordo where you can; the Church will thank you for that. But do not denigrate the rite itself, as if it is something unworthy or profane, and never imply that the billion Catholics who use and have come to love it are somehow inferior in their Faith.



    It is possible to debate the merits and demerits of any liturgy, but it is not possible to cite either Pope Benedict XVI or the mind of the Church as being anything less than in favor of the prescribed use of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite. Finally, no approved liturgy of the Church should ever be treated with disrespect, nor its adherents stigmatized if they are not disobedient, for it is a sacred thing.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    One very loose comparison might be Karol Wojtyla's excellent book, The Acting Person. Sure, his life and work as a phenomenologist greatly affected the focus of his papacy, especially the encyclicals, but we can't grant the book the same status--far from it.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    What is the jist of that book in a few sentences?
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    It is a very thorny book--hard to understand, and I'm not sure I did after only one reading--but it's basically that the human is defined by his/her actions as a being-in-the-world, in contradistinction to the notion of "cogito ergo sum." Hopefully you can see how this has huge implications for ethics, especially with regard to the culture of life. So far as I can tell, the language of Evangelium vitae (and certain other encyclicals) is borrowed more or less directly from this book.

    On a slightly different note, JPII's Fides et Ratio officially abrogated strict Thomism as the philosophy of the Church--predictable from someone whose own eclectic philosophy extended far beyond Thomism into existentialism and phenomenology.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    We have raised our kids using Thomism as the foundation for their catechesis including the Baltimore Cathechism which is based in Thomism, a kind of "Aquinas distilled." Last week at our state fair our 16 year old son introduced himself to a Protestant booth set up to question anyone about their faith. He took on three adults for two hours and then came home and told us all about it concerning things about sacraments, salvation, and more. He applied Thomism head on to that situation.

    Aquinas is a timeless philosophy for human living. I find it difficult to believe JPII would make a statement abrogating TA. I would like to see a quote of abrogation.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    You have misunderstood what I wrote, Francis. It wasn't that JPII abrogated Aquinas, but the imposition of Thomism as the single official philosophy of the church.

    Beginning with Aeterni Patris, Thomism became the single philosophy guiding official Church thought and theology. Throughout the course of the twentieth century, feelings began to change--just look at the ressourcement movement in France, led by, among others, de Lubac and Danielou.

    Follow the thread through Fides et Ratio and Veritatis Splendor and you will find your answers.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    And just for your reference:

    VS § 29, para. 4:

    At the same time, however, within the context of the theological debates which followed the Council, there have developed certain interpretations of Christian morality which are not consistent with "sound teaching" (2 Tim 4:3). Certainly the Church's Magisterium does not intend to impose upon the faithful any particular theological system, still less a philosophical one. Nevertheless, in order to "reverently preserve and faithfully expound" the word of God, the Magisterium has the duty to state that some trends of theological thinking and certain philosophical affirmations are incompatible with revealed truth.


    and FR, §49, para. 1:

    he Church has no philosophy of her own nor does she canonize any one particular philosophy in preference to others. The underlying reason for this reluctance is that, even when it engages theology, philosophy must remain faithful to its own principles and methods. Otherwise there would be no guarantee that it would remain oriented to truth and that it was moving towards truth by way of a process governed by reason. A philosophy which did not proceed in the light of reason according to its own principles and methods would serve little purpose. At the deepest level, the autonomy which philosophy enjoys is rooted in the fact that reason is by its nature oriented to truth and is equipped moreover with the means necessary to arrive at truth. A philosophy conscious of this as its “constitutive status” cannot but respect the demands and the data of revealed truth.


    The one philosophy he is referring to in both passages is Thomism.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    And to complicate matters even further, since the time of the neo-Scholastics, there has been lack of clarity regarding Thomism as "philosophy" vs. Thomism as "theology." I was speaking mainly about philosophy, as JPII's professional training and career was as a philosopher.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    Certainly the Church's Magisterium does not intend to impose upon the faithful any particular theological system

    Wow, really?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Doug Shadle said

    JPII's Fides et Ratio officially abrogated strict Thomism as the philosophy of the Church

    and then said

    You have misunderstood what I wrote, Francis. It wasn't that JPII abrogated Aquinas, but the imposition of Thomism as the single official philosophy of the church.

    OK

    kinda splitting hairs, but then you must admit that Thomistic Theology is accurate nonetheless.