"It's hymn time!"
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,398
    I was listening to the local bluegrass station, 1-800-BANJO or something, and the dj, who is either very funny or a drinker, said, "Well, it's hymn time!"

    I've probably mentioned this before, but one of our parish organist's insights into the difference between the EF and OF is: in the OF, things start and stop. In the EF, there are almost always several things going on at once (an exception is the consecration). Usually, things overlap. There are no starts and stops. No one announces, "Well, it's hymn time!"
  • WGS
    Posts: 270
    No disrespect, but I liken the E.F. Mass to a three ring circus. - with the celebrant, ministers, servers, choir, congregation all doing their own thing as part of the drama - I know that's more than three, but you get the idea.

    The O.F. Mass is more like a series of one act plays.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,398
    The constant action promotes an idea of unity:

    the Church that is unified through space and time
    a unified sacramental system
    the One God
    the consonance of Old and New Testaments
    the concord of truth and action\

    etc etc
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    No disrespect, but I liken the E.F. Mass to a three ring circus. - with the celebrant, ministers, servers, choir, congregation all doing their own thing as part of the drama - I know that's more than three, but you get the idea.


    My grandfather grew up in (nominally) Protestant community where he was told that Catholics were the whore of Babylon (and all that...)

    He fell in love with the Church while aboard ship in the Pacific in WW2.
    (The story goes that he was trying to spy on the Mass, so he could see them sacrifice a baby or whatever it was, and the priest spotted him and invited him to learn what was really going on).

    He learned the Mass, learned the Latin prayer.
    And he never, ever got over the shock of the liturgical reforms.

    Anyway- I'm telling you this whole story because of how he used to describe the (Novus Ordo) Mass at his parish:

    "It's like a three-ring circus with two rings broken."


    Anima eius et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum per Dei misericordiam requiescant in pace.
  • WGS wrote: "...all doing their own thing..."

    Well if by 'doing their own thing' you mean carrying out their assigned roles (and only those) in accomplishing the great work being done. It's one of the aspects I love about the TLM. When well done (in the human aspect), all the roles work together to the one purpose. When I started attending the TLM (Solemn High Mass by the way), what made the biggest impression on me was how everything worked together and was intently focussed and oriented on the action at the altar.

    Kathy's probably too young to remember, but local radio station WMAL used to have a regular "hymn time" every morning during the morning drive. There was also a "march time" later in the morning, which the host in his best Senator Foghorn voice, announced....Fooorwaarrd Haarrrch!! The hymn and the march are both long gone.
  • In the EF, there are almost always several things going on at once (an exception is the consecration). Usually, things overlap. There are no starts and stops. No one announces, "Well, it's hymn time!"


    The flip side of that, of course, is the view that this overlap is merely the accidental result of having a soundtrack (the choir) that is poorly synced to the actual liturgy (all that stuff that's going on up at the altar). Note, for instance, that no one bothers to stand while the choir drones on with an interminable Gloria; the real liturgical Gloria finished ages ago. That's the sort of problem drawn out by J. Ratzinger, who spoke of the role of music in the "embalmed" and "firmly encrusted" EF as merely "superimposing a kind of para-liturgy on the archaized actual liturgy. Accompanied by the splendor of orchestral performance, the baroque high Mass became a kind of sacred opera in which the chants of the priest functioned as a kind of periodic recitative." The overlap wasn't by design to avoid having moments when things start and stop; it simply got to be more that way the less the choir bothered syncing up with the liturgy and exercising an honest liturgical, rather than para-liturgical, role. Thus, likewise, "[o]n ordinary days, when such display was not possible, the Mass was frequently covered over with devotions more attractive to the popular mentality" -- another kind of "overlap," to be sure, but one which I think our modern sensibilities rightly reject.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,398
    Mark,

    Just to clarify, you are quoting J. Ratzinger's writings from 1966, correct?

    My post is meant to agree with the later Ratzinger, in the Spirit of the Liturgy:

    "Unspontaneity is of their essence. In these rites I discover that something is approaching me here that I did not produce myself, that I am entering into something greater than myself, which ultimately derives from divine revelation."

    To your point, Mark, from SotL:

    "Whether it is Bach or Mozart that we hear in church, we have a sense in either case of what Gloria Dei, the glory of God, means. The mystery of infinite beauty is there and enables us to experience the presence of God more truly and vividly than in many sermons. But there are already signs of danger to come. Subjective experience and passion are still held in check by the order of the musical universe, reflecting as it does the order of the divine creation itself. But there is already the threat of invasion by the virtuoso mentality, the vanity of technique, which is no longer the servant of the whole but wants to push itself to the fore. During the nineteenth century, the century of self-emancipating subjectivity, this led in many places to the obscuring of the sacred by the operatic. The dangers that had forced the Council of Trent to intervene were back again. In similar fashion, Pope Pius X tried to remove the operatic element from the liturgy and declared Gregorian chant and the great polyphony of the age of the Catholic Reformation (of which Palestrina was the outstanding representative) to be the standard for liturgical music. A clear distinction was made between liturgical music and religious music in general, just as visual art in the liturgy has to conform to different standards from those employed in religious art in general. Art in the liturgy has a very specific responsibility, and precisely as such does it serve as a wellspring of culture, which in the final analysis owes its existence to cult."
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Mark's comments are my main complaint with the EF, or even the "Reform of the Reform" OF, particularly with orchestral Masses: it's so detached. Every time I've been to an EF Mass, as soon as the Gloria begins (whether choral or chant), all butts hit the pews. After 30 seconds or so, the priest sits down and we all sit there for another five or more minutes, trying not to awkwardly look at our watches while the pretty Haydn concert continues in the loft. In the creed, we all know that we are to kneel twice - when the priest recites "et incarnatus", and again when it is sung! At least in an OF orchestral Mass, there isn't that competition between the choir and the priest, but so often the whole congregation will sit through the Gloria - during a hymn of praise! I've tried remaining standing at the EF, but the awkwardness becomes too much.

    Too often, the music becomes detached from the rites, and if one actively participates, it can only be in the music and not the Mass - again, at the EF the Mass is the priest reading the Gloria, not the choir singing it. I think the best thing to do would be to remove that duality and allow the priest to sing the Gloria with the choir (when chanted) and to clearly mandate posture during those moments of the Mass.

    Let me not be accused of opposing the orchestral Mass - it's a beautiful practice, and in tune with the spirit of the liturgy. BUT I think the way it is implemented, and indeed most music at the EF, actually hinders active participation in the liturgy (which, yes, is opening one's heart and not necessarily the mouth).
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Ah, I think I can sum up my above rant much more succinctly:

    I've played for the EF Mass before. Once I began to understand the role of music in this particular liturgy, I figured out: I can play whatever I want! There's a great freedom in it, but quite frankly I could improvise on the chants while the Epistle is read, or I could play "In a godda da vida" during the Canon - it really didn't matter, so long as I recto tono'd the propers and ordinary whenever I felt like it.

    I think this is a bug, not a feature. I STILL prefer the EF over the OF, but I think we need to give serious thought as to how better to connect the music with the action. Otherwise, we're just entertainers.
  • Brilliant conversation, Kathy, Mark and Gavin! I'm still doe-eyed early Saturday morning, so I can't contribute, and I don't know whether to thank you for getting my brain cells all fired up before coffee, or to flip the TV on and lapse back into semi-consciousness. I'll check in later.
  • Kathy,

    Yes, that was my reference, but I don't think I see any contradiction between the early Ratzinger and the later Ratzinger. The problem we face as a Church over the centuries is how to preserve "unspontaniety" (later Ratzinger), which is good inasmuch as it "creates communion among different cultures and languages" and provides a setting where one is "entering into something greater than myself, which ultimately derives from divine revelation," while avoiding "the complete archaizing of the liturgy," (earlier Ratzinger) where it "passe[s] from the stage of living history, bec[omes] embalmed in the status quo, and [is] ultimately doomed to internal decay."

    Thus "[t]he liturgy can be compared . . . to a plant, something organic that grows and whose laws of growth determine the possibility of further development" (later Ratzinger), which can happen only if we reject and defeat the hindrances observed by early Ratzinger: "New overgrowths were in fact prevented [after Trent], but the fate of liturgy in the West was now in the hands of a strictly centralized and purely bureaucratic authority. This authority completely lacked historical perspective; it viewed the liturgy solely in terms of ceremonial rubrics, treating it as a kind of problem of proper court etiquette for sacred matters. . . . The liturgy had become a rigid, fixed and firmly encrusted system; the more out of touch with genuine piety, the more attention was paid to its prescribed forms." That is not organic; and although what happened after Vatican II was not organic either it can only be seen as the sudden and violent outpouring of development that had been held in check artificially for four centuries, and thus the "Spirit of Trent" is as much to blame for the current state of affairs as the "Spirit of Vatican II." The latter could not possibly have arisen in the absence of the climate created by the former. Or to quote the great theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm, "If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territories, and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, ah, well, there it is." True of plants (and hence liturgies, if we listen to later Ratzinger) just as much as dinosaurs, I'm afraid.
  • Most music in the EF does not hinder active/actual participation. As I sing and direct this form weekly, I can say we have (excluding responses)
    11 sung parts- congregation sings 6 of these
    1-2 chant hymns- congregation sings 1-2
    2 motets- congregation sings 0
    2 metrical, vernacular hymns- congregation sings 2

    Choir sings 16-17 pieces of music. Congregation participates in all of them, and sings 11-12, the majority of music. Congregation sings all responses... This could be almost identical (Pater noster is the exception) in the OF (when a sprinkling rite is used).
    Taking the two forms- fully sung- side by side, one cannot claim that the congregation sings more in the OF than the EF.
  • But I do agree that people singing the Gloria (or choosing to participate internally) sitting down is weird.

    Kathy, I agree with your overall observation about layers and unity in prayer. Regardless of how it came to be that way (over centuries) that aspect of the EF seems more transcendent that the newer form. Perhaps it was too pruned, made too 'intelligible'...
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,067
    This is one of the better discussions of EF vs. OF I've seen on here in quite some time. What Mark is first mentioning is perhaps some of the "rubricism" that was attacked in the Liturgical Movement and Vatican II (i.e., the priest finishing "his" Gloria, the choir's Gloria continuing with a sitting priest...even when it's a Gregorian Gloria, from my experience!) If this sort of thing were all that was "reformed", I doubt many EF or OF people could really get angry about liturgical reform. What is unfortunate was that the party of the day exploited the fact that these minor tweakings were needed, and we ended up with the 1970 Missal, which greatly overstepped the bounds of what was called for at the Council.

    Agreed again with Mark: I don't see a contradiction between early and late Ratzinger. It's more that the change in scenery, if you will, both liturgically and eccesiastically, would prompt someone as intelligent as Ratzinger to emphasize one element more than another on account of the situation.

    Contra Gavin, though, I don't think it's fair to say you could play whatever you want. As an organist, the EF Mass is really wonderful and somehow more inspiring due to the occasional unsynchronized moments in the Mass. Hopefully, by the same token, that fact (combined with the beauty of the language and symbolizing) would evoke great artistry rather than a descent to playing whatever one wants.

    Finally, I hope that we don't associate the EF too heavily with the orchestral Masses. It is more helpful to associate the EF with the music that is really an integral part of it, the chant. The fact that we can use an orchestral Mass at EF or OF doesn't change the fact that it is more likely to seem out of place at either than a Gregorian ordinary or a polyphonic choral ordinary. As I mentioned in a discussion at PrayTell, it is difficult to imagine that a cleric like Victoria didn't see his Sanctus settings as "part of the liturgy", while I find it less difficult to imagine that Mozart or Haydn were just composing "sacred music". I think it's legitimate to argue that without questioning the sincerity of either.
  • Sitting during the Gloria and Credo: Consider this - times of silence in the EF Mass. We in the congregation have a number of chances to simply listen and actively participate through that listening. Actually, I've always been in congregations who do NOT sit UNTIL the Celebrant sits, i.e. his recitation is over with. This is the only chance the Celebrant and others in the Sanctuary have a chance to meditate on the beauty of the text AND music. Through the rest of the Mass, the Celebrant is basically non-stop reciting text. I've even seen the ministers sit during the melismatic Gradual/Tract/Alleluia since it takes so much longer to chant that the Psalm tone Propers. Again, the ministers get to meditate on the text and music along with the congregation.

    Why does everyone seem to NEED the Mass to be over with in just 60 minutes?!
  • Steve, point taken. If one is participating through meditation (and who could say that's not participating?) then sitting can make sense. And those in the congregation who care to sing the parts that belong to them can do so. It's the sitting in the middle of a piece that seems so awkward to me, but my foundational years were all in the OF, where I got used to 'your turn, my turn'.