Freaking the mundanes: a contrarian view of Colloquium XXI.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,704
    I was at the closing luncheon, and somebody asked me which liturgy of the Colloquium I liked best. He liked the Ember Day service the best. I liked the very first, the English OF, as an example of what was possible in the world we live in. And that question got me thinking. about speed of change.

    Let me give you an example from my sordid past. Wiccans like to have pagan festivals where they can camp together and do witchy things. Pagan money is as green as any other, and campground operators don’t mind renting as long as it doesn’t create other problems for them. So the elders of the community tell everyone, “Don’t freak the mundanes”, because if the locals see a bunch of weird people running around, they’ll make trouble for the camp operator. So of course, folks go to get ice and beer in black witchy regalia, a big horking pentagram around their neck, full facial and digital jewelry, glitter and Goth-style eye shadow, etc. . Their idea is to be out and proud…”We’re here, get over it.”, to bring about a widescale acceptance even if the local result means they’ll need to find a different campground next year.

    I think we need to ask whether we are freaking the mundanes.

    I don’t know what kind of liturgy the Epiphany folks are used to. If they’re a vigorously Reform of the Reform parish, they might have adapted to us easily, and none of the following would apply. From what I saw, I suspect that is not the case. I also don’t know how much explanation they got the previous week. But if they were expecting a generic OF Mass, and got a Latin OF mass running into double overtime, there’d be some culture shock, for sure. Not just the liturgy per se…but is it SOP there to kneel to receive Communion?

    Several people at my table noted verbalized negative reactions from parishoners. Their opinion was that folks should just “deal with it”. They will deal with it…they’ll be the equivalent of the folks complaining to the camp operator, the township trustees, the police. We may want to go back to Duquesne some day (I hope so). We want to leave a good impression, both of ourselves and of our movement. Those seeing this liturgy might well think, “They want to overturn Vatican II!” And by my reading of the documents, they’d be right to think that. We are a church united in orthodoxy (womynpriests and political abortion promoters excluded), but the CMAA is not orthopractic to American Catholicism…that’s the whole point, to change praxis! But that means moving the Overton Window without stepping outside it . Are we doing that in the liturgies we share with a normal congregation? I’ll go to the barricades for the Ordinary in Latin, and for the Propers. The Collects and the Eucharistic Prayer? Notsomuch. Ultimately, it’s their house. We’re respectful of the building, because it’s ours too. But are we carefully wiping our feet, and then getting snooty with the host?

    Now, when we’re doing our own thing, we can be as extreme as we wanna be. Consider the Saturday liturgy. This is about the only context where you’ll find a sung Ember Day mass. We don’t even expect people to observe Holy Days of Obligation unless they’re moved to a Sunday, so we certainly don’t expect them to attend Mass on an Ember Day. And those who would are serious enough that they can roll with 5 lessons, chant, and the rest, all in Latin. So why not do it?

    Things are finally changing; we have hope. The danger is that we’ll get cocky. “Pride goeth before a fall, and a haughty spirit before destruction”. I hate to use the “p word” (pastoral), because it’s generally used to mean, “Don’t ever do anything that somebody might have an opinion about”. A shepherd leads the sheep, but doesn’t get so far out in front of them that they can’t see him…that’s ultimately the same as letting them wander away without guidance.

    I don’t have any fixed idea of what our strategy should be; maybe aggressively mainstreaming traditionalism is exactly what we need to do. But I think they question needs to be asked. Comments?
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    Several people at my table noted verbalized negative reactions from parishoners. Their opinion was that folks should just “deal with it”.

    I also observed a few regular parishioners reacting negatively in one way or another. (I had not seen any of that last year.)
    I was upset by one in particular who arrived about a mintue into the Introit. She made to sit in a space that was being kept open in the midst of the choir about to sing the Kyrie for a singer who was also involved in the chanted Introit (and would thus be making a mad dash.)
    One of the men told her very kindly that that was a choir seat and she hissed, "This is our parish, ya know."
    She walked further down the aisle and then turn and left the church (I assume she had run into another request not to sit in a choir seat.
    She was obviously angry.
    I thought of going after her but it was time to start the Kyrie.
    Later when I was walking through the vestibule to get from one choir to anothe4, I saw a woman directing ushers, and assuming she had some kind of authority or at least responsibility in the parish, stopped and told her how grateful we all were for the hospitality they had shown us, and how sorry I was about the incident I had observed.
    She brushed it off, and said everyone had received plenty of advance notice, and not to give it another thought.
    I thought on the whole the parishioners I saw took the inconvenience with good grace, (although there was a LOT of leaving after communion... but that's hardly atypical of Catholics ;oP) and some regular parishioners to whom I spoke were very glad to have us there, although they would have preferred if it were not so long. (I saw a number of small children who were fascinated by the whole thing. Who knows what seeds were planted?)

    I agree, good question, that need to be asked.
    Do we need to be more circumspect? Do "outreach"?
    I know that compromises were made, (celebrating Mass versus populum was a last minute concession, I believe.)
    I also know that there is no pleasing some people.
    But that doesn't relieve us of the responsibility of at least trying to win hearts and minds.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,939
    I don't know the answers to all of this. I support much of what CMAA tries to do, but not all of it. There is an element in the organization that wants to go back to the liturgy as it was before Vatican II. You can see that on many of the discussions here. It typically goes, "But "Antiquarianism ad Nauseum" says we have to do it this way and no other." Those folks have never forgiven the Church for changing the liturgy. Interestingly, they also seem to have an obsessive attachment to "The Propers," as well as an attachment to externals. The mass is not centered on Propers, although I use some of them every week where they fit in the current scheme of things. Propers are a minor part of mass, not major. Despite the beauty of older polyphonic Ordinary parts, they were never singable by a congregation. I am fine with them for special occasions, but not for every Sunday use. It seems clear to me that the Church actually intends for the congregation to sing those parts. The same with Latin. It's part of the heritage, and as the Church has said, the congregation should know at least the Latin Ordinary. I have no problem with that, and my congregation knows the Latin Ordinary. But I believe a language that is actually understood is of more benefit to the people for routine use. I have no desire to bring back the old liturgy. My parish offers it on Sunday afternoons for those who want it, and I wish them well. For now, my interests are in taking what will be the "Revised" missal and implementing it as best I can, with the best music possible - always subject to mine and my choir's abilities, or lack thereof.
  • Chironomo
    Posts: 29
    I wasn't at this year's Colloquium, but I know full well what is being talked about here. About a year ago, we had the "First Mass' of one of our newly ordained priests in the Diocese. He is a particularly Traditional young priest, and his First Mass featured complete chanted propers, a sung Latin Ordinary (Mass VIII) by the Schola and Latin hymnody in those places where we used hymns. This was at the 9;00 Mass where the usual fare is the Folk Group. It was to say the least quite a change from the ordinary (no pun intended!).

    Comments from the parishioners were mixed, and somewhat encouraging. We worked hard on the music, and the word heard most often was 'beautiful" when describing it. There were no complaints at all that the people were being excluded by this liturgy, and my operating dictum since then has been that such claims are a red herring...people don't feel excluded by not being "allowed" to do something which they generally don't do anyway (sing along with the communion song, etc.). It was an exercise in "immersion reform".

    On the other hand, I have to agree that this is NOT the way to enact reform in a parish. For the past two years I have chanted the communion antiphon immediately after the priest receives, prior to the communion hymn. For the past year, we have chanted the entrance antiphon as Mass begins. Beginning next Fall, we will begin chanting the Offertorium after the collection, as the gifts are brought to the altar and the priest does the preparations. Thus, it will have taken a period of three years to introduce the chanted propers (in English, using either the SEP or SCG by the way!). Either this Fall or at least by November, we will begin using the Missal Chants as part of the new translation rollout. The Priests are working on their chanted dialogues as part of this as well. At the end of this process, whenever that may be, the goal is to give chant that primary place that is called for and in doing so experience a transformation of the liturgy to a more reverent and devotional liturgy as opposed to a more "engaging" or "exciting" liturgy as has been the operative concept for quite a few years now.

    But it takes time, and the progress that we have made so far would likely have brought about complaints had we introduced everything at once.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,704
    Just as I am too stupid to determine right and wrong, so I am too stupid to determine what parts of the Mass are important or not. We've had a tradition which developed over 1900 years and worked. We now have a tradition (and it IS a tradition now; most Catholics have known no other) which arguably hasn't worked, in terms of vocations, retention of members, orthodoxy and sanctification. The Holy Father has ALLOWED us to go back pre-Vatican II. Yet I see no way that one can negate a general council of the Church, so ultimately I have to be a "Letter of Vatican 2" kind of guy, even if I don't like the missal of Paul VI or the decisions of bishops in the wake of the Council. Now the Propers are not graven in stone; consider the suppression of most Sequences at Trent. But they were suppressed by a general council, not by the USCCB, let alone CharlesW or Jeffrey Quick. I don't care which language they're in, but as new information, they are better suited to English than the Ordinary. I could make a better case for suppressing parts of the Ordinary. The Sanctus is always the same song of praise; why can't we occasionally replace it with a cantus alia apta? Or consider textual excisions in Landmesse or early-16thc. English Credos. I think the reason many of us have an obsessive attachment to the Propers is that they give us something objective to work for, a something with has chant associated with it, whereas arguments based on taste are inherently weak. Could we have to endure an "alleluia ch-ch" after the Gradual? Yes. But if it were followed with the proper verse, it would be an improvement in terms of the unity of the liturgy.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,939
    I don't think anyone here would say things are perfect. At a recent gathering of local Catholic musicians, a snicker went through the group when it was suggested that the rules for the current form of the mass be followed. I suspect much of that comes from the fact that these musicians have done as they pleased for too long. In a conversation with my pastor yesterday, we agreed that at our parish, we would do what was right and follow those rules. It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing. Many consider us old fashioned and out-of-date, but I would describe us as center, tilted toward the right. I think, however it is good to keep in mind that a council of the Church decided the existing order of mass was in great need of reform. Granted, the council had no idea what would actually happen.
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    With more than a little rue, I have to agree that JQ is right: when people get a little too much of something new, they run tattling to mommy, or Father, or anyone else who will agree that the sky is falling. (Note: I don't regret agreeing with Jeffrey, who is a fine fellow with a sharp mind - only agreeing with the content of his comments is sad.) I have no idea how much preparation was done with the congregation - my guess would be that they were not warned to expect a two-hour liturgy with loads of Latin. I can understand that they would be taken aback.

    A member of the parish finance council at my church, in a meeting where I was requesting to be allowed (yes, allowed) to raise my own money to pay choral scholars, opined that he didn't care what the music was like at Mass, as long as it didn't take longer than normal. While such a poverty of appreciation may seem sad to us, it is the reality of far more PIPs than we would like to acknowledge. Not everyone who comes face to face with beauty will react with wonderment. Recall that Balaam was in the presence of an angel, and only his ass reacted appropriately.

    Does this mean that the PIPs are duller than dumb asses? Draw your own conclusions. But the fact is that we will not win a lot of converts by "freaking the mundanes." (Jeffrey, I love that phrase and intend to steal it with wild abandon.)
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,704
    If they can only spend an hour with God, how will they manage eternity? OTOH, maybe it's not God that's the problem, but their neighbors, their neighbors' babies, loud air conditioning, no air conditioning, bad intonation, etc. I'm not going to diss PIPs; they're all the Church has, really, and they is us. All we can do is help PIPs become SIPs (saints in pews).
    If you want to run with the phrase, go ahead. But it's about as religiously identifying as "Offer it up!", so folks might wonder who you've been hanging with. ;-)
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Why should the Wiccans have all the good catchphrases?

    God is most definitely not the problem. The PIPs aren't the problem either - but the reality of the "I just want Mass to be over sooner" mindset is something we have to contend with on a weekly basis, or, in my case, at least as often as I have to defend the budget.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    I don't find anything wrong with the "I just want Mass to be over sooner" mindset when the offending party is a priest who bloviates random thoughts on assorted themes for 20+ minutes (and in some cases, then begins his homily).
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Right, DougS, neither do i. But the trogs who don't want the Music to go on longer, well, that's just unthinkable!

    (irony off)
  • Maureen
    Posts: 662
    If it makes people feel better, it was originally a science fiction/fantasy fan catchphrase from the Sixties, made it big among folks doing medieval recreation of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and has passed to various other small groups along the way. When you go to conventions for TV shows, etc., it often transmogrifies into the simple plea, "Don't scare the stars."

    Re: Colloquium, there were unhappy parishioners the first year at Duquesne, too. Not many, but I think a lot of people really didn't picture that there was going to be so much music, going on for so long, with no A/C; and they didn't realize it soon enough to go to another Sunday Mass if they had logistical difficulties. (Or they suddenly remembered that, 'Oh yeah, they said this thing was going on, and I was going to go to an earlier Mass but I didn't.' That sort of thing can make you grumpy at yourself, but not always grumpy only at yourself.) We may even be encountering the people at the parish who hate everything, of which there are always a few.
  • Boy, it all boils down to that obligation thing, doesn't it? We are the only ones who REQUIRE folks to attend on Sunday, so one shouldn't be surprised that a good majority just want it to be quick and painless. Then there are the folks who really do care and take part in parish activities but STILL want Mass to be short and sweet. The former group likely doesn't care what music is used as long as it doesn't prolong the obligation, while the latter group may actually have opinions about it. We must pray for both, I think. My hunch has always been that things got crazy when the Church took a centuries-old ritual and tried to get the congregation to take part in it. Most don't really understand what it's all about and perhaps would prefer it to be more like the Pentecostals with variety and straight-forward presentation. We are also in the post-participation era of human existence, I think. People divide themselves into performers and audience these days. There is almost no sense of "we do this together". The latter gets very uncomfortable and the former takes up the slack. Where does this leave the FCAP called for by Vatican II?
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,704
    More and more, I think the big problem with V2 was that it did away in practice with the distinction between Low Mass and High Mass. What we have in our parishes is stretched-out Low Masses. If you're expecting Low Mass and you get High Mass, you won't be happy. We hear horror stories of the old days when the little old ladies basically said the rosary and ignored the Mass. While that makes catechesis difficult, I'm not at all sure it was as bad as all that. If you have both efficient Masses and luxurious Masses available, everyone is happy.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,939
    Jeffrey, I agree with that. Now we have a "one size fits nobody."
  • fp
    Posts: 63
    Yes, you will always find a grumpy one ot two....and they are usually loud! Here is another side: Last year when I was leaving the church at the end of the last Mass of the Colloquium two parishioners stopped me to ask questions. They were astonished by the music they had just heard. It brought back so many beautiful memories to them. To prove it, one of the ladies sung the whole Credo I to me, right there on the sidewalk! They wanted to know where we were from and how soon we would be back! They both thought that kind of music had been extinguished for ever!....I just hope they made it back this year!
    FP
  • Maureen
    Posts: 662
    Yup, there are always some very happy people at Colloquium Masses. And there are some people in every parish who are happy with every Mass ever, as long as there's no actual abuse; cheerful people like that are very lucky.

    I don't think it's so much "make people take part" as "make people take part in a certain way". In an atmosphere conducive to recollection, there are plenty of people out there who could say and meditate upon the Rosary, meditate upon the Mass and keep up with it, and also watch their kids and calculate when Cousin Susie will come over for Sunday dinner.

    There seem to have been a lot of pre- and post-V2 folks who really really don't like this style of recollection at Mass. I'm not sure where they get the authority to assume they understand other people's interior lives, but they are always sure the old ladies with the rosaries aren't paying attention.

    But there have also been plenty of times in Church history when "juggle prayers and Mass in your mind all at once" was the Church-preferred style of devotion (at least for layfolk), and anything else was suspiciously weird and creepy. There are people out there who are sure that praying from a Missal is wrong and bad and distracting; but there was a time not long ago when going to church without a handmissal or devotional book was sure proof that you didn't care about paying attention to Mass. I've even heard horror stories about nuns and catechists who have insisted on trying to control every single thought of the entire congregation, riveting them solely to the literal words of Mass (neither skipping ahead nor lingering behind). They were actually under the impression that this sort of "don't think of a green elephant" prayer was both possible and the only legitimate way to attend Mass!

    So... yeah, people resented Mass being messed with. But they also resented their own personal space for interior life being messed with. If it had only been one or the other, I think people would have found a way to hunker down until the storm passed. But a lot of people for a lot of years have been stripped of any storm shelter beside staying home on Sunday morning.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 467
    Consider the Saturday liturgy. This is about the only context where you’ll find a sung Ember Day mass.

    We currently have a sung Mass every Wednesday and Friday here in New York City. This results in us doing quarterly sung Ember day Masses (barring the concurrence of a feast). We just did the ones for Pentecost. We also have a Sung Mass on Saturday about once a month, which sometimes is on the Ember Saturday, but not with any regular pattern.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,704
    Three words: "New York City". I just read that "Fifth Avenue Famous" book about St. Patrick's...sigh...
  • Ruth Lapeyre
    Posts: 338
    Jeffrey I like your comment about the low and high Mass. I have never heard it expressed this way but it sure makes sense. Coming to Catholicism as an adult I have seen, heard and felt a great loss. I don't think you have to have been in the Church before Vatican II to understand something profound happened. I know a few young Catholics (under 35) who, when they discover the beauty of a good musical liturgy whether OF or EF, are astonished and are curious as to why it isn't in their parish.

    It sounds as though you guys had a wonderful time this year. You need to keep doing what you are doing, it is very important. I will listen to the recordings and hopefully be able to come one of these years. Have really wanted to be at the Colloquiums since 2004 when I first heard about them from Cal. I think Ron Prowse was there again this year, he and I both teach at Sacred Heart and I know he has learned a tremendous amount from going.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,704
    Ruth, the thought isn't original with me; I got it from Ed Schaefer's book. It was the first idea about the change that really made sense to me. Here's a corollary (not in Schaefer): if we see SC and MS as documents trying to convert Low Masses to High Masses, then they're an unfunded mandate; V 2 did not provide resources in money or labor to make that a reality. Indeed, as the Church was weakened, there were even fewer resources. There weren't a ton of organists/sacred musicians appearing, but rock meant that the culture was producing a lot of guitarists, so it was inevitable that they'd fill the gap. (if V2 had happened 40 years earlier, accordions might be our problem.)

    I'm not clear what if anything this means for reform efforts; perhaps "less is more" in terms of some musical activities. Certainly chant is about as musically low-tech as you can get. But it does require people with some knowledge.
  • Ruth Lapeyre
    Posts: 338
    Yes Jeffrey chant is definitely low tech but training is essential. One of my students this past semester complained that I spent too much time on Gregorian chant. But others really appreciate chant, more than I would have expected. I have used Schaefer's book but didn't remember that part. It is the only book I have found to teach a history of liturgical music. Do you know of any others? Short of papering my students to death literally, I was very happy to find his little book as it gave them anchors (me too) in order to sort through the massive amount of information. The vast majority of Roman Catholics have no clue about our musical heritage. If they are lucky enough to go to a beautiful old church, which has not been destroyed, they can at least see it in the architecture, statues and windows.

    Accordions, funny thought. I wonder if there is an accordion Mass setting. I have heard there is a Polka Mass.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,704
    No, there's nothing quite like Schaefer (that I know of). Fellerer cuts out ca. 1900, Ken Caneda is useful for the '60s and '70s. If I had time to do musicology, I'd love to research and write the history of Catholic church music between 1789 and 1903.
  • You wanna know about 60/70's, give me a hollar.
    Just ask Fr Keyes for my resume...

    JQ- I've done some research for our 150th anniversary, circa 1850-1890, just as all over the map then as now, IMO.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,662
    I found this year's Colloquium Sunday Mass to be much more "pastoral" to those not used to Reform of the Reform style Masses..

    Comparing them quickly, we see:

    2010: Ad orientem
    2011: versus populum

    2010: Priest's prayers, including the (audible sections of the) canon, chanted in a very monastic (slow and reverent) style
    2011: Priest's prayers chanted at a more commonly acceptable speed

    2010: Orchestral Mass
    2011: Polyphonic Mass

    2010: Entirely (other than readings) in Latin
    2011: Introductory rites, readings, and various other sections in English

    2010: Split Sanctus/Benedictus. Silent canon, other than chanted consecration.
    2011: Sanctus/Benedictus sung together. Sung canon.

    2010: Penitential Rite B (which is rarely used in non-R2 parishes)
    2011: Penitential Rite A (which is relatively common)

    2010: No worship aid for parishioners
    2011: Worship aid with translations and order of what would be sung.

    2010: Fans were turned off (making sound much better)
    2011: at least some fans were left on (making it more comfortable but hindering sound)

    2010: Microphones were not working for the first two lessons, if my memory serves me, and I could not hear the readings
    2011: Microphones were working and the readings were very audible (and well chanted)

    If I were to compare the two Masses that Epiphany parishioners attended, I would say that 2010 was more "impressive" in that the Orchestral Mass was so well executed. I think the 2011 was more pastoral (especially because of the printed worship aid), but would leave less of a "wow" factor.

    I think the average vocal complainer in a parish would complain more about 2010, but I think the person on-the-fence about Reform of the Reform would be more motivated to join the revolution by 2010.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,507
    Thanks for the comparison, matthewj!
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,704
    OK, I wasn't there last year...thanks for the comparison. And from what I heard, reaction was all over the map last year.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,662
    One more...

    2010: Credo III chanted by an entire Church full of people who knew it (other than, perhaps, some of the Epiphany parishioners)
    2011: Glorious polyphonic Credo chanted by a choir while everyone else sat.

    The polyphonic Credo was very good, but didn't have the "oomph" of Credo III filling the church (without the fans it really just echoed through the building).
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    If you attended and have not filled out the evaluation form, please do so
  • mahrt
    Posts: 514
    Musicam sacram, which is still valid liturgical law, says that the distinction between the low Mass and the high Mass is to be retained. In my view, the completely sung Mass achieves a level of elevation and beautiful distinction of parts that is not possible in a mixed Mass.

    Musicam sacram also provides for the gradual introduction of the elements of the high Mass, avoiding the shock of the sudden high Mass that some may have experienced.

    I cannot agree that the propers are a minor part of the Mass, even though they have been ignored since the introduction of the OF. They form an integral part of the liturgical action, as my talk at the colloquium attempted to show.

    I can easily understand the reaction of some to the unexpected introduction of a high Mass into a parish, but from my position at the front of the church, I saw a family sitting near the front, who seemed to be enthralled by the whole proceeding. I remember some people last year who said they were dismayed when they discovered what was going on, but in the course of the Mass, they were convinced and said they were glad they had been there.