Dies irae in November
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    One of our priest, who is very fond of our little schola, who has been singing Satruday morning Mass since this Feb, requested Dies Irae, for November Masses. Has anyone done this in a regular Mass? (not funeral) I don't want to turn him down, but it's pretty long. Maybe there are some other chants, we can sing instead. (in November, to celebrate All Souls day) Our schola sings simple Ordinary parts, Salve Regina at the end and a popular chant hymn at the communion (and not ready to sing Propers yet).
    if you can give me any advices or ideas, I'll appreciate them.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Dear Mia,

    I don't know if this will help you, but HERE is a practice mp3 of the Dies Irae (and Requiem Mass).

    In Christ,
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 992
    My schola did this last year on November 2nd during an OF Mass. I believe we did it at Communion. It's long, but it really clips by (in other words, don't sing it at "dirge speed"). I'm not sure I'd do it at every Mass. A good and shorter alternative is to sing the In Paradisum and Chorus Angelorum. I think we did those at the Offertory for this Mass. The result were some requests for these at funerals that came shortly thereafter.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thank you Jeff and Mary Jane for the great info. I'm very encouraged. Maybe I can do Dies in communion and In Paradisum and Chorus Angelorum at the end. This will be a big challenge for us. The recordings will also help my schola. They do really need them.
  • Maybe you could say a couple of things.

    1. Let's see if the chant works with the gospel of the day
    2. If we do this every Sunday, the chant will get a little tired, when it should be special and evocative of the funeral liturgy
    3. Finally, we'd love to sing it a couple of times, but see nos. 1 and 2
  • G
    Posts: 1,396
    Is there any sanctioned procedure for "cutting" this sequence, the way there is with Lauda Sion, for instance?
    Not that I would be allowed to us it in any case, under any circumstances...

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Geoff
    Posts: 22

    Dies Irae is already cut into sections in the LotH (back of Volume IV, I think) for use at the different hours of prayer for All Souls. All the sections use the same verse for the ending, if I recall correctly.

  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    So, it's ok to cut some parts?
  • paul
    Posts: 60
    a crazy question, but, would it be totally liturgically incorrect to sing it as a sequence for All Souls?
  • I think so, but you could use it somewhere else as alius cantus aptus.
  • No. But this is an old debate.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,100
    Is there a FAQ statement somewhere explaining the current status of the Dies Irae? I still hear occasionally that it's "suppressed".
  • Dies iræ was omitted from the post-V2 liturgical books for the Mass. Given how well-known the text is, and that other sequences were retained as options, I can’t see this as anything but a purposeful omission.

    It is in the Divine Office for the last week of Ordinary Time. An important word change was made: “Qui Mariam absolvisti” became “Peccatricem qui solvisti”; modern Biblical scholarship seriously questions the oft-made connection between Mary Magdalene and the sinful woman.

    Strictly speaking, then, to sing Dies iræ as a sequence in the modern rite is an addition to the Mass, since it is adding to what is found in the ritual books (in a place where no freedom is given to do so).

    However, the fact that the Mass of Pius V is now the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, able to be celebrated with (relatively) few restrictions by any Roman Rite priest, produces the seemingly silly situation wherein the same sequence is required in one form but forbidden in the other when celebrating the very same occasion. All else aside, it would be sensible to have parity between the two: either remove the sequence from the EF as well, or add it as an option in the OF. (Personally, I would advocate for the latter.)
  • I must tell you that my attendance at the Byrd Festival really opened up my mind to many things, among which the need for liberality with regards to tradition. The propers for one Mass were take from older Missals. The Gospel was read from the nave, contrary to the statement in the GIRM. There were other liberties taken. The Sequence is always sung at the Colloq for ordinary form Requiem Mass. And so on. How can we justify these liberties taken with the letter of the law? I think it has to do with the spirit of the Motu Proprio. The idea isn't only to liberalize the 1962 rite but to open up all of history. What was sacred then is sacred now. I can't really make the argument here according to the letter of the law but would rather appeal to a normal sense of liberality, which is a welcome relief after 40 years in which the past has been artificially closed to us.
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    OK, so the issues is still unclear in my mind. Can we sing Dies Irae during All Souls Day EF Missa Cantata or not? But a much broader issue as been introduced
    by what Jeffrey brought back from his experiences at the Byrd Festival. 'How can we justify these liberties taken with the letter of the law?' A better question
    might be, What is the 'letter of the law' as relates to music for the 1962 EF Mass (be it Low or High) in this post-V2 world? My eyes have really been opened
    to the complicated history of the EF of the Mass after reading Fr. Ruff's book Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform. The EF Mass tradition is certainly not that
    cut and dry. (Consider the liturgical practices of mixing venacular singing during the Latin High Mass in such countries at Germany & Austria. And that was accepted practice way before V2!). 'What was sacred then is sacred now.' Yes. 'The idea isn't ONLY to liberalize the 1962 rite but to open up all of history.'
    OK...now I've gotta say wait a second & lets get a plan in place here! This is really important and we need to formally address this. (Case in point: the priest
    at my EF Mass (Missa Cantata) said he's not against venacular hymns during Mass but adds he's not a liturgist. Well I'm not either but I really want to do this right. We've got a lot of new folks coming to our EF Mass from an OF background. I could certainly see the appeal/benefits of changing things in 'the spirit of the
    Motu Proprio' if I knew just exactly what the rules are & what exactly is 'the spirit of the Motu Proprio.') Please help me out here.
  • Well, in this case, you have a pretty clear prohibition that goes way back, as Fr. Ruff points out. That it was ignored is another matter. It really has to do with whether we take liberties in the direction of ideals or in the direction away from them.
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    OK...so no venacular hymns during EF Mass. I guess I misunderstood Fr. Ruff's discussion on the practices in Germany & Austria. Still finishing the book. Probably will have to re-read it. The history of the Mass is fascinating and certainly not linear.

    I'm with you (above) but struggling to fully understand 'the spirit of the Motu Proprio'. Would love to know more about your thoughts/experiences at the Byrd Festival & 'the need for liberality with regard to tradition' & 'liberties in the direction of ideals'. The concept 'tradition' is certainly NOT static of fixed (IMHO). Nor is the concept 'ideals'. (Perhaps I had too much coffee this morning!).

    Please clarify: Can we sing the Dies Irae during EF Missa Cantata Feast of All Souls?
  • Well, I don't have enough experience in the EF but in the OF, you certainly could.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,202
    Given what Felipe has said about the letter of the law and Jeffrey's responses in reflecting on his colloquium experience, I have to wonder out loud two things:

    1) Inasmuch as "cross-pollinating" from the EF to the OF seems to be an unintended (but perhaps nevertheless welcomed) consequence of the motu, and since it's not taking something from "outside the temple", but rather is introducing or reintroducing something from the EF to the OF, it seems that placing (or restoring, depending on your point of view in this matter) portions of the Dies irae wouldn't cause me to fear a visit from the "Men in Black" (as a conservative priest used to light-heartedly call Opus Dei, or perhaps he meant Ecclesia Dei).

    2) Given much of what I've read lately regarding the whole-cloth reinvention of the Mass into the form we now have from 1970, how can we be sure the why's and wherefore's of anything that was once sacred being later suppressed, as if "our liturgical spirituality has grown beyond all that," a typical excuse we hear from the progressivist types who want to permit legitimate abuses to continue in the liturgy?

    Just askin'.
  • Please forgive me Jeffrey, but I cringed when you said "spirit of the motu proprio". How far is this from the "spirit of Vatican II" that many of us deal with all the time? Just asking..

    For me, I prefer to stick to what Church gives us. Traditional practice can be placed before the proper authorities and I am not one among them. You know I'd like go back to the medieval Office, but I don't have that authority.
  • Well, cringe? really? There is a reason why the old saw about the Spirit of Vatican II was so compelling for so long. The rhetoric has a heritage and truth in it, even if it was used for wrong in recent decades. The liturgy and Church is just an uninspired mini-government without the spirit. The letter of the law just isn't enough alone to get us where we are going. It doesn't give us guidance in every instance. We need to recognize that or else we just become automatons.We need to use the sense of the faith and see the intent and gather the direction of change and what it all means.
  • Jeffrey, I think you’re treading a slippery slope when you advocate deviating from the norms of the Mass. It is not within the authority of an individual to change the Mass as given in the books in any way. We are supposed to be automatons in implementing the liturgy; to do otherwise is to bring our subjectivity into it at the expense of catholicity. (small c)

    Dies iræ is not given in the OF books, and there is no freedom given for sequences to be sung that aren’t in those books.

    As I say, this is a rather silly situation because (almost) the same text is required for the same celebration in the EF.

    Jan: AFAIK, in the EF, Dies iræ is required for All Souls, not just “permitted”.
  • Rather than abstractions, look at what happened at the Byrd Festival. There was an older use of the Roman Rite. The idea was to sing the Mass with polyphonic propers written by Byrd. Byrd had written music for the propers for the Assumption. They remained that way until 1950 or so, when new propers were introduced and then written by Solesmes. After 1970, the old propers were restored. Now, at the Festival the Mass was being said according to the 1962 Missal. Would you do Byrd's propers for the Assumption or not? If you say no, you have a rather absurd situation in which, for example, the Introit would have been sung polyphonically before 1950 and after 1970 but because the 1962 Missal is being said, Byrd's Introit proper cannot be used.

    I submit that here we see the difference between the letter and the spirit.
  • Well, there is a compromise that can be employed. For the 1962 Missal, one could sing one of the Byrd proper as a motet in the traditional place (Communion). I sympathize with your desire, but also think of the great Gabrieli works that don't fit because we don't use the old Venetian Rite. One might look to see if the texts Byrd employs were shifted to another day. But, as you say, we can sing the Byrd propers for the modern liturgy. Since we mostly all want to move that liturgy towards more Latin, it would be a wonderful way. OTOH if there was a good polyphonic setting of the proper Introit assigned by the 1962 Missal for Assumption, one couldn't do it for the modern OF. I guess I just prefer to let Rome decide these things and work within those parameters. I think I've read more than once at NLM and maybe here that by giving oneself up to the rigidity of the older Rite, one achieves a liberation. But, Jeffrey, I do understand. Some of the best music I've ever heard was at reconstructed liturgies.
  • At this Mass, there was a Bishop, several of the country's and England's most learned liturgists and musicologists, the most experienced Byrd choir in North America, and many hundreds of dedicated Catholics. Not one--not even one--person imagined that there was any illicit going on in choosing Byrd's propers. I'm beginning to think that the Catholic blogosphere is fostering and feeding a kind of pointless legalism.
  • Jeffrey, I sympathize with you! I am faced with this situation all the time at St Stephen's which of course is a parish exclusively dedicated to the EF in the diocese of Sacramento. The feast of the Assumption is a good case in point. I look longingly at the restored medieval propers in the Graduale Romanum (1974) realizing I am must sing the modern musical creations appointed to be sung in 1950. I see this as part of the problem of using a missal (1962) frozen in time, without any elasticity. At St Stephen's, the Byrd propers for the Assumption would not be allowed to be sung (nor would they ever allow a "straw" or lay sub-deacon), the FSSP liturgists and rubricists are clear, and I have to be obedient, though of course I thoroughly disagree. The Church dumped the 1950 propers in favor of the medieval ones, and yet, because we celebrate with the 1962 books, we have to continue using these texts. It is my belief that these questions will have to be addressed by the Ecclesia Dei commission at some point, along with questions of calendar, the horribly "restored" Holy Week of 1955, the use of english, etc. etc., but until then we can only wait and hope!
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    Thanks Jeffrey for your clearer explanation of what went on with the propers at the Byrd Festival Mass. Did I miss a thread or website where this was discussed?
    (ie: pointless legalism).
  • Well, Jeffrey, you have to follow authority and the FSSP is used to watching its Ps and Qs (hey, where did that expression come from?). But I must say that the atmosphere of liberality that I found in Portland was a great thing. There was no one around to wag fingers etc., like the Red Guard liturgy police. People actually use their brains to think reasonable thoughts about the spirit of the times.

    This whole thing reminds me of the time we called Fr. Skeris about using the Dies Irae in the new rite, and we were seeking a justification for putting it before the Gospel rather than singing it for offertory or something. He explained and explained and finally just said: "Oh for goodness sake, this is ridiculous: it IS a Sequence!!!"

    With this liturgy stuff, it is all too easy to get focused on the trees and forget the forest. St. Paul says something about the law and the spirit that would seem to apply here.
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 236
    David commented

    Inasmuch as "cross-pollinating" from the EF to the OF seems to be an unintended (but perhaps nevertheless welcomed) consequence of the motu

    On the contrary. It seems clear to me that cross-pollination was a very deliberate, very much intended consequence of Benedict's document.

    And while we're at it--Byrd propers? By all means yes. Why in the world not?
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    One more question about All Souls Day. In my 1952 St. Andrew's Missal it says if Nov 2nd falls on a Sunday, one celebrates the Feast on Nov 3rd. Is that still in effect for the 1962 Mass? It says nothing in my 1962 Missal nor in the 1962 Liber. (I need a 1962 'Ordo'...is there an online source?). Sorry all. This is my first
    year with the EF.
  • By the way, I find it interesting that the entire rhetorical apparatus of Summorum is designed to liberalize the whole of the Roman Rite, even pre-Trent Missals. You can find a justification for this in what the Pope says about his overarching philosophy. What was holy then is holy now. Nor would there be any problem with this from a practical point of view. Only when you come to the letter of the law do we find that the liberalization seems focused on the 1962 Missal in particular, but this strikes me as more of a canonical issue more than anything else. I had hoped that the liberalization would apply to all Missals from the past but such a move would probably create certain problems for the lawyers, so what we end up with was a norm that is focused on 62. But there are norms and there are exceptions, and I wholly expect that the direction of change will continue in favor of permitting freedom for the whole of our tradition.
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    Found the answer. www.sanctamissa.org has the ordo for 1962. November 2nd (All Souls Day) is on a Sunday this year but celebrated on November 3rd (Monday).
  • Jeffrey, you know I hate to be on this side of the argument. I would love Byrd propers or even the Sevillian pre-Trent liturgy. If that is what Summorum is really all about, I'm on board. I suspect that the Mass you attended was given some leeway due to the fact that it was a Byrd conference. In any case, let me echo yours and the sentiments of others and you may count me in regarding the opening of older liturgies. Questions do need to be raised. If Trent banned all but 4 sequences (with Stabat returning later), then how do you resurrect pre-Trent Rites? I'd like to know what legal standing the old sequences would have. Please pardon me, but the free interpretation of liturgy is what got us where we are and I don't want to commit the sins I have deplored in public!
  • What we need is a fix on precisely what the error of the "Spirit of Vatican II" truly was. It was an excuse for mandatory heterodoxy, for undermining the true intent and contradicting the letter and the purpose of the reform. The great irony is that this liberalizing Council was used by people invoking its spirit as a means for closing off all history and tradition to us, banning the past -- a kind of autocratic and despotic censorship of all treasured things came into effect. It was NOT, however, the mere desire to follow the spirit of the Council that itself was the problem. The Council did have a spirit but it was one that opened up the Church, not shut it off from its source of life, as they attempted.

    We don't want to react against their errors by becoming liturgical pharisees.

    I don't see why there would be any problem at all in liberalizing all Sequences right now. There would be no meltdown, no disaster. It would provide fantastic new energy. By the way, there are some people who claim that this is precisely what V2 effectively did in making Sequences optional.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "Mind your Ps and Qs", as I've heard it explained, was a "pipe down" exclamation in British pubs - mind your Pints and Quarts of ale. Not a bad suggestion indeed!

    As per the topic, this is a case of great soul-searching for me. Do I do something illicit in order to further my goals? I say, sin boldly but be equally willing to overlook. If you're ok with using the Gaudeamus on Assumption, I expect you not to complain to me if I use "Hail Holy Queen". And so on. If you ignore the letter of the law for your purposes, I'm not going to get in your face about it. But don't turn around and bash progressives who do this or that unless it's worse that whatever you're doing.
  • In answer to your question, Jeffrey, I would simply “say the black, do the red”. Yes, even if this means restricting oneself to settings of texts that may have been composed recently.

    The Mass is what it is as a result of the competence of the designated authorities. We have no right to be changing it. If you make this change, there is ultimately little argument one can make against less benign changes.....ISTM.

    Of course, this very situation is maybe one reason why the “alius cantus aptus” permission is in the OF rubrics for introits--allowance for texts that are part of the rite’s tradition without being part of the book itself.

    In the EF Mass, until further change from Rome, 1950s proper texts it is...for now, at least. The proper course here, strictly speaking, if one disagrees with this is not to implement the changes oneself, but to push for change to allow some form of “alius cantus aptus”.

    That’s just what the books say. Don’t shoot the messenger.
  • It's probably too early to hope for a full recovery from the last decades of liturgical Weimar, but we should do our best to avoid longing for law and order as a solution to all things.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 866
    I appreciate Jeffrey Tucker's reading of the spirit of the motu proprio and the papal teaching which accompanied it. There was more depth to Summorum Pontificum than most people realize, including apparent restrictions on papal authority over the liturgy. But I would caution others against overexuberance.

    Firstly, in the old days, a national Byrd Festival would have merited an episcopal or even papal indult for use of the older Propers.

    Secondly, the radical liturgical changes issued from 1947 to 1962 were not universally implemented, and/or have not been universally followed by groups under the pastoral care of Ecclesia Dei. One well-known example is the Confiteor before Communion. Another is the Missa "Gaudeamus" for Assumption. However, these differences are already a real source of real strife in the lives of the EF communities, which is to be expected from the Scriptural institution of liturgical norms (I Cor 14.26-40). Some groups even use certain particular Missal editions simply to make the point that they don't recognize the validity of certain Popes.

    All of the aforementioned older practices occurred within living memory, and so form a living tradition in living communities; there was no resurrection from dead text. And all of the practices had received explicit, longstanding papal approval--so we know that they are surely "what earlier generations held sacred", and not some abuse of which earlier generations were guilty. None of the practices was officially reprobated by Rome, just removed, which is a subtle distinction--the intent was still to forbid, but not because the original practice isn't salutary.

    Pastorally, I think you would have a hard time at an existing EF community (or a new one which is trying to attract the faithful from, say, the SSPX) if you were to try to reintroduce, for example, a sequence at Christmas Midnight Mass. There are people who would be suspicious if the Pope himself reintroduced that sequence. They have hand missals which don't have a sequence. Many have been going to Midnight Mass for years and know what to expect. A sequence would be hard to miss, so you couldn't just slip it in. Perhaps it is something for the Novus Ordo.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,202
    (Warning: Off-topic comment follows)


    I was taught by a very fine professor in history of printing and publishing class that "mind your p's and q's" was an expression that came from the era of typeset print. Just take look at a lower case p versus a lower case q. Apart from the side of the oval aspect the tail sits on, they look the same. Given that typeset is set up with the characters in reverse, it would be easy for a typesetter who isn't paying attention (minding) to accidentally set a lower case p for q or visa versa, or place them back into the storage trays incorrectly, either of which would be a costly mistake.

    Just a little bit of esoterica.

    Now, back to our regularly-scheduled discussion thread . . .