Thoughts For the Reform of the Reform (II)
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    (Part 1: http://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/12842/thoughts-for-the-reform-of-the-reform-i#Item_1)

    In contrast to the EF, we have the OF.

    ...Although the traditional Latin mass is a form of religious worship of this sort, the Novus Ordo is not. This is not simply a matter of its having abandoned most of the ritual acts and details of the traditional mass; it is also a result of its practice of offering many different options for the way the mass is celebrated. The simplest options of course involve very little time, knowledge and effort on the part of the priest, but the very existence of such options makes the Novus Ordo an anti-liturgy by the standards of most human religions. In the Novus Ordo there is no determinate language or form in which worship is offered. The nature of the worship is left up within wide limits to the whim of the individual priest, and the easiest and least complicated form is the most commonly used ('Eucharistic Prayer II', a fabrication produced over the course of an afternoon in a farcical episode in a Roman bistro). The Novus Ordo is not a form of worship, of the kind of worship that is common not only to traditional Christian and Jewish liturgies, but also to all the main religions of the world. This is why the contents of the Kyriale Romanum are virtually never used in the Novus Ordo, although it is theoretically permissible to use them. These contents are parts of a liturgy that is worship of God in the traditional sense. Their function does not exist in the Novus Ordo, so they are useless and confusing if they are introduced into that form of the mass. The ugliness, banality and idiocy of the architecture, vestments, art, and music that has been developed for the Novus Ordo express its nature and purpose as an anti-liturgy. Their character faithfully communicates the nihilism implicit in the rejection by the Novus Ordo of the traditional Catholic and human conception of worship. It is a rejection both of the duty owed to God to devote the best resources to his worship, and of the sanctification of human culture – and thus of human society – that results from the performance of this duty. This nihilism was the force behind the orgy of destruction of sacred things – altars, sanctuaries, crucifixes, paintings, statues, vestments – that accompanied the introduction of the new rite....


    A condemnation which is, frankly, deserved--and the exceptions (St. Agnes in St. Paul, St. John Cantius, the Oratorians, and CMAA Masses, inter alia) prove the rule.

    ...The traditional mass is a liturgy in a way that the Novus Ordo is not; it is a complex and ancient mass of ceremonies, having many-layered depths of meaning and symbolism that are rooted in a great and deep literary past, and having one of the world's great musical traditions – and one of the world's great architectural traditions – as its components. The Novus Ordo was deliberately created to be none of these things. These features possessed by the traditional mass and lacking in the Novus Ordo mean that the nature and possibilities of lay participation in the traditional mass are completely different from those in the Novus Ordo....


    So to this Lamont, the "reform of the reform" is not really possible; it is either/or.

    Maybe that is so, but a less-revolutionary path could include deleting a number of the 'options,' using the vernacular only for the readings, responsorial psalm, and bidding prayers, outright ditching "hymns at the Mass", and training the clergy to use--always--a praxis which reflects the nature and purpose of true worship.

    Thanked by 1Arthur Connick
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    I'm thrilled to see this article, since it confirms principles that are very important to us in the work we have tried to do at our own weekly EF Mass. I sometimes wonder if the reason there was such hatred and vitriol for the preconciliar liturgy in the diocese we came from was precisely because the silent Low Mass was the norm here, and the kind of participation described by Mr. Lamont above was practically non-existent.

    I would sometimes like to ask those who are still old enough to remember if it was precisely this lack of participation which led to their eventual desire to disconnect completely from the old rite.

    I would also like to ask the priests of the diocese if they know that a high level of participation is possible in the EF. If they were to find this out---that the people may sing sing close to 12 pieces of music and all the responses at the Latin Mass----whether this would change their perception of the Latin Mass.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,839
    I would sometimes like to ask those who are still old enough to remember if it was precisely this lack of participation which led to their eventual desire to disconnect completely from the old rite.


    I would suggest the MORALS were the problem, A new Liturgy could be seen as a new beginning, with ALL the old swept away. More than a few times I have heard Bishops, priests and laity imply that they have nothing against the T.L.M, but they object to all the rules that come with it. Lex credendi lex orandi.

    As for the Low Mass (Not Dialogue) I know MANY people that prefer it to a Sung Mass. In our Parish we are lucky to have priests and people that are more than happy for one of the low Masses (9am or 12.30pm) to become at short notice a Missa Cantata. Even I enjoy the 7am Low Mass (Non Dialogue) each weekday morning.

    From our Choir loft I can look down and see what the congregation is doing,
    Reading their Missal
    Reading the Mass Booklet, UVOC propers sheet.
    Following the Mass from an App on their phone.
    Following the music in a L.U. or similar book.
    Saying the Rosary.
    Sitting and presumably listening / praying.
    Helping children follow their children's Missals / Story books.
    Keeping overactive children / babies calm.
    Reading a commentary on the Liturgy such as Gueranger.

    Does everybody make all the responses / sing the Ordinary? No. Is this a problem that each person is participating differently to their neighbour? In my opinion, No.

    While we can be sure that the intention that people participate in certain ways and not others is a good thing, I think we also need to look at how these efforts have worked out, and what they have inadvertently brought with them.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    As always, a thoughtful and illuminating response, tomjaw! I believe every parish should have several liturgical options available to the people, and I don't believe people should be forced/coerced/hounded to participate externally in the liturgy, but because it is clearly the Church's oft-repeated desire that they be taught to sing or say in Latin those parts of the Mass that belong to them, they ought to be aware of that option, and be made welcome to do so if they desire. I guess you might call that liturgical libertarianism, to some extent---that Catholics should be free to exercise their share in the royal priesthood as they see fit, aloud or silently.

    What I am opposed to is a situation where people are openly forbidden to participate vocally at a Low Mass, where they are told, for example, that it is the parish or diocesan policy that no audible responses are to come from the congregation and that only the altar servers can make the responses, which is something I have been told and which is still the official policy in some Latin Mass venues---the unfortunate experience of which is part of the reason I became an advocate for participatio actuosa at the Latin Mass.

    I really love this description of the Mass by Cardinal Ratzinger in his book, The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood, as quoted by Bishop Aillet in his book, The Old Mass and the New:

    The recognition that ekklesia (Church) and adelphotes (brotherhood) are the same thing, that the Church that fulfills herself in the celebration of the Eucharist as essentially a community of brothers, compels us to celebrate the Eucharist as a rite of brotherhood in responsory dialogue---and not to have a lonely hierarchy facing a group of laymen each one of whom is shut off in his own missal or other devotional book. The Eucharist must again become visibly the sacrament of brotherhood in order to be able to achieve its full, community-creating power.


    It was a watershed moment for me to think of the Mass in the EF as "a rite of brotherhood in responsory dialogue", but that is just as much its essence as Mass in the OF, but, generally speaking, brothers don't beat brothers over the head if they all don't worship exactly the same.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    P.S. Apropos this discussion, we happened to pass this sign this afternoon at a nearby Catholic parish, announcing a "new worship experience" to begin in October:

    image

    From the parish's Pastor's page is this explanation of the new campaign:

    Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel.” (#20)

    When we combine this mandate to evangelization others with one we found in Rebuilt, namely, that the music we sing, pray and play in church or in the hall can be focused on bringing new members to our faith community, we decided to step out in faith and “out of our comfort zone” by initiating a new evangelization project. By Pastoral Staff consensus and with my approval, our plan is to design and pray a Eucharistic Liturgy (Mass) with an engaging and easy-to-sing music format that invites and encourages maximum congregation participation. . . .

    This proposal for a new music format at 11:45am Mass in no way disparages or diminishes the rich diversity of our musical heritage, represented in our Parish in our Music Director, organ, adult choir, cantors, instrumentalists, singers, contemporary adult ensemble, children’s choir & teen band. In fact, it is in our continued diverse tradition that so many people find their Mass, the unique one at which they are most comfortable praying weekly.

    The new music for the 11:45am Mass is often called Contemporary Christian. The music will be selected from several different resources, including the repertoires of instrumentalists and singers who have used CC music at Masses and other Christian worship experiences. Copyright permissions to reproduce the music will be obtained, and a budget to support this evangelization project will be created.

    There will be publicity through print and other available social media to reach out to non-churchgoers, inviting them to worship with us through advertisements posted online, flyers distributed at local community events and business establishments, and signs posted on our property and throughout our local communities.



    Clearly, if you have to design "a new liturgy" to reach out to people, you are saying in no small way that what you're presently doing has totally failed.

    So, after 50 years of experimentation and novelty, if you're still searching for something "new" which will guarantee "maximum congregation participation", then I have a suggestion: Dear Father, nothing could be "newer" and more appealing and guaranteed to reach people with an experience of the essential and Eternal, drawing them irresistibly into "responsory dialogue" than this iconic and exquisite Catholic liturgy.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    I wonder if they're toying with the Rebuilt model of Church of the Nativity in Timonium MD...
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    LOL! Sorry--- I didn't include the reference. Father was referring to a book called Rebuilt, by Fr. Michael White & Tom Corcoran .
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    Clearly, if you have to design "a new liturgy" to reach out to people, you are saying in no small way that what you're presently doing has totally failed.


    You're right, and that parish is demonstrating a category error.

    "Liturgy" does not "reach out." Only PEOPLE "reach out." They might as well put in new carpets which will "reach out."
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    JulieColl:

    (bingo)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    It wasn't written 'to design a "new liturgy" that reaches out to people' ... rather, it was written 'to design a "new liturgy" [so that you may be able] to reach out to people' ... the phrase in brackets is elliptical but pretty clearly implied in the sentence construction, since, as dad29 points out "liturgy" does not "reach out."
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • and that parish is demonstrating a category error.


    Perhaps not a category error, per previous post, but a category misunderstanding. How sad.

    One irony (among many) is that what they are describing is almost certainly not at all out of their 'comfort zone'. I suspect, rather, that they will be deep within it.
  • I think, after watching a video by His Excellency Bishop Robert Barron, that much of the clamor for continued novelty, continued use of music from the 70s and 80s, and basically renewed efforts to eradicate anything traditional from the liturgy has to do with people from the time of the Council and immediately after trying to recapture the feeling of excitement and energy that came from the pending changes. The world was changing, and it was a revolution, and it was exciting to be a part of. There were some that understood the implications, but many were just caught up with the fervor of the time. His Excellency also mentions that immediately following the Council, the "winners" of Vatican II created a publication called "Consilium," and a few prominent members (even one who became Pope B16 later) left the group over three issues: 1. "Consilium" wanted to create their own teaching authority outside the Magesterium, 2. "Consilium" immediately wanted to convoke Vatican III, and 3. "Consilium" wanted to do anything and everything to continue the "forward motion" of the "spirit" following V2.

    What has this to do with laypeople, though? I think that there definitely were laypeople caught up in the fervor of the liturgical changes, and legitimately thought that they were changing the world, and spreading the Gospel in new and innovative ways, and that the world would become one in Christ. However, when the novelty wore off 20-30 years later, they began perhaps to realize that there was no substance to it. In order to combat this, and reclaim that feeling of "progress" and energy and excitement, they simply think that what was done before must be redoubled and towards that end, they attack the traditional elements of the faith that bring true substance to the Mass. His Excellency in the same video mentions that during the time of V2, the Council of Trent was the "bad Council" and Vatican II was the "cool council" and anything associated with Trent was considered anti-progress and bad, "backwards" and needed to be thrown away. This is essentially what we are seeing in the push-back against Sacred Music.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Thanks for the report on Bishop Barron's video. Sounds like he may be a "hermeutic of continuity" man, which is encouraging to hear.

    Just two thoughts about the proposed liturgy changes at my neighboring parish mentioned above:

    Since this parish is already well known to be on the progressive side of things, I'm puzzled by the emphasis on "upbeat" and "easy-to-sing" music since that's what I thought they've been doing for decades. They already have a very hip adult contemporary choir and a rock n'roll youth band who perform at their respective Mass times, but that isn't enough aggiornamento, and is not "dumbed down" enough and not appealing enough to those who are on the peripheries.

    In fact, from what Fr. said above, it sounds like "Praise and Worship" and "Life Teen" are already considered old-hat---ancient relics that have been relegated to the status of "rich musical heritage."

    They want music that is so brand spanking new---"Contemporary Christian"---that there aren't even printed resources for it yet, as he explains above. My kids who are far more upbeat than I am say Chris Tomlin is an example of this genre:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJpt1hSYf2o

    The other thought is that all this seems to be directed towards encouraging "maximum congregational participation." Very interesting admission, that, but isn't that what they've been trying to do since the '60's???

    If a non-stop steady diet of "Sunshine on My Shoulders"and "City of God" and "Eagle's Wings" and "We Are Called" hasn't got the people singing and swinging at Mass, then what makes them think Chris Tomlin will?
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Because he shares the generic typical celebrity look.

    It may be hard to see because it's something that our culture is immersed in.

    A favorite point of contrasting reference in film would be Fame (1980). There were a small handful of glamourpusses in that movie, but that film would not have the main cast or, more importantly, the extras that it had were it cast today. By and large, people look ordinary (even the dancing extras - who must have been quite fit - are not given a glamorous polish - rather, they share that strong whiff of late 1970s NYC grunge). Other than the principals, not made up (other than probably dusted to not look too sweaty under set lights), and they have an ordinary range of bodies. Nowadays, the background context for TV and film is gleaming fitness and attractiveness as the baseline (note: beauty still has to stick out, so it's not like everyone's gorgeous. It's just that unattractive people are a rare spice.)

    Going back further in film history, the final scenes of San Francisco (1936) come to mind: a host of extras, with many faces and bodies of great *character* but few of whom would qualify as "attractive" - the faces and bodies show the wear of the hardness of life. Again, would never be cast that way today.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M4xPbSA2Xo
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Ha! In other words, people who earned their muscles through actual work and not from a workout in the gym. I wonder where they'll find all the glamorous musicians to sing at the 11:45 am Mass. All things being told, I'd much prefer the Adult Contemporary Choir---they are just adorable, God bless them. : )
  • While neither is my cup of tea, if we're going to have a contemporary Mass, it should be contemporary (e.g., Chris Tomlin), not Eagle's Wings.
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    . . . and who will replace Chris Tomlin in 5 years when he's outdated, I wonder? It's hard to imagine but when my 13 year old is a college student, the ageing hipsters grinding out CCM tunes with HD video screens flashing the lyrics will elicit nothing but yawns and boredom.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    P.S. This whole ongoing liturgical updating thing reminds me of the phenomenon of Levitt homes here on Long Island. Levitt homes were very basic cheap home units which made the creation of mass-produced, homogenous suburban neighborhoods possible in the 50's. The Levitt home came in a few basic configurations and caused quite a sensation in the beginning, but as they quickly began to age and deteriorate, people were less inclined to buy them. The real estate agents, however, came up with a clever marketing scheme in the 90's to make them more appealing: "Look at all the things you can do with your old, tired-out, inadequate Levitt home!", based on the proposition that if you only invested about $10,000 in add-ons and improvements, your Levitt home could become your dream home.

    In some way, the analogy fits with the OF; "Look at all the things you can do with it!"---the hidden assumption being that nobody wants it in its original state.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    The funny thing is that the Levitt homes were better built than many seemingly fancier but still entry-level homes of later decades.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    Not to create a rabbit hole, but it is interesting that the terms

    NO and OF are interchangeable
    TLM and EF are interchangeable

    to make us think that the OF and EF belong to the same family of "form" when in reality the NO and the TLM are completely different "forms" altogether, the NO being the 'newer and better updated' Levitt home. Prob is, it will always be a Levitt no matter what you do with it.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Except that they are not completely different "forms". YMMV.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    You could also say the original Levitt homes (the OF) were a vast improvement over the crowded bleak tenement houses in the Bronx, (the silent Low Mass) but they could never compare with a Victorian "Painted Lady" or a Craftsman home nestled in a village setting, a block away from the church and the main street (the EF)---all analogous, of course.

    P.S. Even better, a French villa in Provence on the Cote D'Azur. ; )
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    Liam:

    ^^Many beg to differ. I think Cranmer would think they are the same also. The main (only?) difference between Cranmer's form and the NO is that the NO is licit and valid, although not always. It is probably extremely rare to find a TLM that is invalid or illicit. Unfortunately I have been the victim of attending an invalid NO on numerous occasions (and the people are for the most part, naive on the matter)
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Julie

    The funny thing is that the construction of the Victorian is typically a lot "cheaper" and mass-produced than what came before it.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    That's a great point, and the Craftsman house was basically a kit you could order from Sears Roebuck if I'm not mistaken, so my analogy is falling apart faster than a Levitt house.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Correct. An Arts & Crafts home, the genuine article, was often (but not always) an artisinal labor of love, in varying degrees. Then there were industrialized knock-offs. My own home is 100 years old, built to imitate the A&C style but with numbered parts (too big for someone to build alone, though). Still, people would kill for the gumwood moldings and flooring and strength of the thing. Then again, they get the delights of 100 year old plaster on lathe (hint: don't insulate unless you want mold).
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • As it so happens, I just finished renovating an aging relative's kitchen. We vigorously debated how trendy it should be. Cutting-edge was immediately ruled out. It would look dated in a matter of years. I naturally argued for a traditional timeless design that wasn't too ornate or gaudy. Sure it's not the "in" thing but it will never be "out." I was vetoed in favor of a 1970-90's design. Some people's tastes were shaped and solidified in a bygone era and there's no convincing them to look beyond it.

    There's more to the analogy. There was debate over practicality too. This mostly concerned the placement of fixtures. There was no disagreement as to the superiority in style of less practical elements nor was there disagreement that they were less practical. I argued that a slight improvement in practicality wasn't worth the larger detriment to style. Here, I won some battles and lost others.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    A good rule of thumb in kitchen design: surfaces should be determined based on how difficult they would be to clean if you splattered a bowl of tomato sauce, pickled red beets, or [insert nasty-to-clean thing of choice here] all over the place. Because...you will.

    Returning to music: perhaps one liturgical musical rule of thumb like that kitchen-design rule of thumb is to give preferential status to music that sounds good without accompaniment.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Yes, indeed, Chuck! All the little houses on the hill that look exactly the same. A priest friend of mine once used a phrase to describe the suburban parishes on Long Island that I've never forgotten: "bland, sterile, homogenized . . . and shrinking." I grew up in an old part of Denver with mostly Victorian and Craftsman-style houses and had such a difficult time reconciling myself to the ranch houses and capes here with no variation in sight for miles.

    Johnmann, your experience reminds me of something Martin Mosebach said in his book, The Heresy of Formlessness: "I admit quite openly that I am one of those naive folk who look at the surface, the external appearance of things, in order to judge their inner nature, their truth or spuriousness."

    So, you're probably guilty of aestheticism which Mosebach says, at least to the modern German mind, is "fatal for those trying to defend the liturgy."

    "Nowadays the most withering condemnation is to say that something is 'merely beautiful.'" -Martin Mosebach
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    My then newlywed parents moved into their rental in Levittown (NY) in autumn 1948 (they moved further east 5 years later).

    Think: http://jamescolincampbell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/levittown_page51_2.jpg

    My father remembers how the street trees came to be: the Levitt company simply dropped a bare-root sapling on your lawn. You planted it in the margin between the sidewalk and the street. (But at least there were sidewalks; people walked a lot.)

    PS: The Levitt company was not the inventor of the Cape Cod house as a suburban home style. Most people are unaware they stripped down an idea from the interwar era (1920s-1930) that was made famous by the architect Royal Barry Wills, whose 1920 design for his own home in Melrose MA was the prototype for lovely Cape Cod homes of that earlier period:

    http://retrorenovation.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/royal-barry-wills-the-architects-house-1920-melrose-mass.png

    Getting back to the liturgical music idea: ritual runs the risk of becoming routinized, and therefore made a servant of pragmatic considerations. The Low Mass of the preconciliar era has some continuity with the OF "Low Mass" sensibility of today.
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • JulieColl, I would admit that when it comes to kitchen decor, I'm guilty of aestheticism. On the liturgy, much less so.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    That's a very nice cape on the outside anyway, but I was always disappointed at how every cape we looked at had two tiny bedrooms up and two down which wasn't very family friendly if you had lots of little kids. there were many other inconveniences, too, for the mid to large size family which always made me wonder if suburban planners had a social engineering agenda in mind.

    Mostly though, it''s a failure to allow for independence of thought or social variaitions, much the same way as the Low Mass mentality which can be just as stifling to the spiritual health of the family and the wider community--since it seems to be the product of those who want to control the liturgical status quo and offer only the bare minimum for utilitarian or other reasons. Like the Levitt Cape there is a handful who leave it as is, but the super-majority choose to alter it radically and tear down walls and add all kinds of innovations or move away altogether. I think if you had a liturgical Frank Luntz focus group composed of French traditional Catholics used to the sung High Mass observing a silent Low Mass for the first time the dials wouldn't go very high. I think it's a similar reaction from those who come from living in a spacious house with large rooms, high ceilings and open vistas being forced to spend an afternoon in a dark cramped Long Island Cape, but that's obviously my own unique take on things; the experience of others could be quite different.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Julie

    Actually, to digress into a little remembered history of social policy, the Baby Boom was midwifed by government-business partnership.* The design of Cape Cod homes was designed for entry-level buyers (actually, renters to start), and to accommodate additions and dormers as needed. (People didn't have one child per bedroom in those days; that would have been considered a luxury.)

    * Short version: World War I ended sooner than the Wilson administration expected, and ti was caught short by demobilisation. A short but sharp depression ensued, and it played a large role in the GOP wave in 1920. FDR's administration was determined to avoid that fate after World War II, so it planned demobilisation carefully, and worked out the conversion back to domestic production by a propoganda campaign designed to encourage women to leave factories and offices and start having families, which would help stimulate demand for non-war goods and services. THere was still a sharp recession, but nothing like the post-WW1 depression. It was so successful that people today imagine it was natural. Nope - it was the planned. To circle back to liturgical music, people's memory of what seems organic neglects that, at one point in time, it wasn't necessarily so.
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    As long as we're into housing analogies, how about this:

    "A fence around a home is like the sacred language/space/time/music surrounding the Sacrifice of the Mass. It serves to protect, while admitting both residents and strangers alike to the sanctity of the Home."
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    I love the way this discussion is stretching the imagination, but the connection between architecture and the liturgy is very real, and sometimes you have to use concrete examples to illustrate spiritual realities. I like your analogy very much, dad29, and it reminds me of something in Martin Mosebach's book, The Heresy of Formlessness, where he says:

    "Man's first religious act was to fence around the sacred place; in the old churches this was done not only the walls that protected it against the outside world, but also by the inner arrangement: choir stalls, communion rails, grilles, choir screens and iconostases, all create a space for the Blessed Sacrament (das Allerheiligste, the Holy of Holies). These things showed faith in God's bodily presence, a faith that was embodied in architecture."
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    P.S. The fence that is used to protect the sacred is itself of great significance. Just as there is a need for a sacred language to encircle and protect as well as admit residents and strangers, so that language ought to be something of beauty in itself. Martin Mosebach demonstrates quite convincingly how there was an effort to have EVERYTHING surrounding or related to the traditional Mass be beautiful and pleasing to the eye, senses and intellect.

    On the other hand, as he reveals, most of the architecture and ornaments surrounding the OF are not what can be considered beautiful in the conventional or classical sense, or even by plain old common sense.

    The most telling illustration in his book is his description of the modern renovation of St. Horten in Ahaus. The ancient tower was left standing and joined to the modern nave.

    image

    There is a poem by Robert Gernhardt about the church in Ahaus, and Martin M. gives the English translation of the poet's bitter, pained response to this eyesore: (II've censored two words for the sake of the modest reader.)

    There stands a church in Ahaus
    Saint Horten’s is what they call it,
    and even living near this place
    will shrivel up your spirit.

    The thing towers up and sits there
    stupid in concrete.

    The old church in Ahaus
    was torn down; the new replaced it.
    Only the tower was left there.
    You can keep the rest; it’s just ----.

    Gray and bare
    it oppresses the air,
    stupid and brutal.

    The Ahaus church—you don’t know
    whether to laugh or cry.
    It’s sad what they get up to,
    hilarious
    to the stranger’s eye.

    They’re even proud of the ---,
    stupid and complex.

    Saint Horten’s church in Ahaus
    in another thousand years
    will tell those who have lost all heart
    about our pride and sneers:

    tormented by choice,
    stupid totally.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    It should be noted that the 19th century church it replaced was condemned for structural deficiencies. It wasn't a renovation, but a replacement. Ugly, to be sure. But not a mere whim. Even if they wanted a modern non-historicist design, there are beautiful modern non-historicist church designs.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    I wonder if there are any interior photos? St. Google didn't seem to have any. All modern architecture isn't bad.

    I am old enough to remember all the flap about Coventry Cathedral. One writer even referred to it as, "A ring-a-ding God box." Granted, the outside is a bit plain. The interior, however, is stunning. A grand space with a glorious organ. I even like the tapestry. I am interested in seeing how the former Crystal Cathedral redesign turns out.
  • I wonder if there are any interior photos?


    image
    Thanked by 2CharlesW eft94530
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,827
    Holy birdcage, batman... what just flew into the organ pipes?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Compare with another modern design for an American cathedral in the same decade:

    http://g3.img-dpreview.com/F765EF171BAD48109824D1DD683916DB.jpg
    Thanked by 2Spriggo eft94530
  • birdcage


    I was trying to figure out what it must feel like in there. I think you nailed it.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Gorgeous church, Liam. Another very nice modern church is the spectacular Church of the Transfiguration built by the Community of Jesus in Orleans on Cape Cod. It's not Catholic, but I wonder if the fact that the ecumenical community (who publish Paraclete Press books) center their daily liturgy around Gregorian chant has had its own influence on their art and architecture.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Yes, I remember when that church was being built. I've never visited it, but I am a sucker for Romanesque.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    (re: JulieColl's posting of a parish ad, but not directed at her)

    "Contemporary Christian" Masses?? That is not "a new worship experience". That is old news and readily available, often courtesy of your local campus Catholic ministry. *Yawn*
    Thanked by 2JulieColl Vilyanor