Deacon Fritz's report from USCCB Mass via Pray Tell Blog
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Just so everyone, live or lurker, knows*-

    Field Report: Mass with the USCCB
    Nov 18

    Posted by Fritz Bauerschmidt in BCDW / USCCB, Conferences / Workshops / Meetings | 3 Comments

    One on the benefits of being a deacon of the Premier See is that you occasionally have the opportunity to serve at one of the Masses celebrated by the bishops of the United States during their November Meeting. It was my turn this morning.

    The short version of my report is that it was on the whole exactly what I would hope to find on a weekday at a meeting of Catholic bishops in 2015: the reformed liturgy celebrated in accord with the current liturgical books and the spirit of the reformed liturgy.

    Though celebrated in a temporary liturgical space set up in a hotel ballroom, the liturgy did not feel like an improvised affair. Fr. Michael Flynn, executive director of the USCCB’s Office of Divine Worship, was the MC, though in this case this did not mean (as it all too often does) usurping the deacon as the celebrant’s chief liturgical minister, but rather working unobtrusively behind the scenes to make sure things went smoothly and that the ministers of the Mass, who had all of three minutes to run through things beforehand, knew what they were supposed to do.

    The Archbishop who was principal celebrant took the time before Mass to quiz me a bit on the Gospel reading, to make sure I had a grasp of the meaning of what I was reading. I suppose I could be insulted that he would think that I didn’t have a grasp of it, but I suspect that he has some experience of inept or ill-prepared readers and I was glad that he took an interest in the quality of the proclamation of the Word. He gave a well-prepared and brief homily (reading from an i-Pad).

    There was little evidence of what is sometimes called the “reform of the reform.” The chief celebrant chanted some of the dialogues and led us in chanting the Our Father, but there were no chanted propers, no ad orientem, no bells or birettas or “Benedictine arrangement” of the altar. The Eucharistic Prayer was EPII. Aside from the principal celebrant, the concelebrating bishops simply wore albs and stoles—pretty much what you would expect from a liturgy celebrated in a hotel.

    We sang at all the places that one would expect to sing: entrance, preparation, communion, and conclusion as well as the responsorial psalm, gospel acclamation, and eucharistic prayer acclamations (these last in Spanish). Some of the music, accompanied by electronic piano, seemed a bit “lush” for what I would expect on a weekday, and my own preference would have been something more in the chant idiom, but it was absolutely typically of what one would find in most of the parishes in the US. The bishops’ participation in the singing was not exactly robust, but the acoustics of hotel ballrooms do not exactly encourage participation so I’m inclined to be forgiving.

    It was a little odd to participate in a liturgy with forty-some concelebrants (there had been a larger group at an earlier Mass), six ministers, and only eight or so lay members of the assembly. But I suppose that comes with the territory at a meeting like this.

    On the whole, it was the modern Roman Rite, celebrated with dignity but without any neurotic fussiness. If the bishops are supposed to model for us how the liturgy should be celebrated, I would say that at least on this occasion they did they job.

    *italicized portions were of particular interest to me and indicated so.
  • One man's "neurotic fussiness" is another's rich symbolism. YMMV
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,181
    It reminds me of the line about drivers: anyone who drives faster than me is a maniac, and whoever drives slower than me is an idiot!

    Mutatis mutandis:
    Whoever wants more expression of solemnity than me is neurotic, and whoever wants less expression of solemnity is barbarian!
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 336
    How foolish of me to follow Aristotle in thinking that virtue is the mean between two vices.
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
    As C.S. Lewis wrote:

    “He [the devil] always sends error into the world in pairs -- pairs that are opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking about which is worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than than with either of them.” (Mere Christianity)
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    but there were no chanted propers, no ad orientem, no bells or birettas or “Benedictine arrangement” of the altar. The Eucharistic Prayer was EPII.


    If the bishops are supposed to model for us how the liturgy should be celebrated, I would say that at least on this occasion they did they job.


    No they did not. See quote #1
  • That use of Aristotle's definition has always troubled me. In a general decadence, the "mean" between the extremes as they really exist is a moving target, moving (with society) towards greater and greater decadence.

    Aristotle intends virtue to be a mean between theoretical extremes, not observed extremes. Just because the bishops' celebration was "average" in terms of what kinds of things are done in parishes across the country, does not mean that it was exemplary, or even good according to an Aristotelian definition of virtue.

    Aristotle would rather have defined the extremes to which liturgy can, in theory, be taken, drawing, if anything, from the uttermost limits of experience. Then he would have found his average or mean.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    As long as the Church and its Magisterium decline to state unequivocally whether the processional options are hierarchical or not, this middle ground cannot be regarded as a virtue or vice, it is compromise.
    Thanked by 1RMSawicki
  • NihilNominis, you're correct, of course. I took fcb's remark (perhaps incorrectly) to be a criticism of the good Deacon's account, rather than an endorsement of it. The Deacon seems to be describing the mass in question as somehow sitting appropriately between two (observed, empirical) extremes, when in fact, as some have intimated, it seems to have been rather closer to one of the (theoretical) extremes than to the other.
  • Unless I am gravely mistaken, fcb is the good Deacon himself!
  • And to Adam, of course, my account was oversimplified, as Aristotle's "extremes" would not merely be extreme in any sense, but extreme to the point of being defective, containing an implicit, negative value-judgment.
  • Well, there you go. So yes, I do agree with you.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 336
    Aristotle intends virtue to be a mean between theoretical extremes, not observed extremes.


    Well, not exactly, inasmuch as he presumes that we develop virtues in par by observing exemplars, not simple imagining theoretical limit cases. But it is true that what falls between bad and worse is not a virtue simply by being in between. The virtue must fall between opposed vices. In this case I identified the opposed vices as neurotic fussiness and (implicitly) lack of dignity.

    So is the point that there is no such thing as liturgical "fussiness"? That this is a phantom vice? That, like charity, liturgical elaboration and complexity and a concern that nothing ever deviate from saying the black and doing the red do not observe a mean? That, liturgically speaking, more is always better? It seems to be that for this to be true it would have to be the case that ritual is, like charity, an end in itself. Last I checked, this was not the case.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • johnmann
    Posts: 175
    If the bishops are supposed to model for us how the liturgy should be celebrated


    I'm sure I've read documents to that effect but always in the context of bishops celebrating from the chair, not hotel conference rooms.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,181
    "Reform of the reform" liturgical practices are within the Church's norms and are not objectively wrong, and no one should be disparaged with pseudo-psychological terms (such as the outdated word "neurotic") for favoring them.

    It is disappointing to see divisive rhetoric like that.

    [PS: I'm not suggesting that Dcn. Fritz should have hidden his opinions, only that the choice of words could have been better.]
  • So is the point that there is no such thing as liturgical "fussiness"?


    I'm probably going to get myself in trouble for going down this road, but here goes...

    As long as we're invoking Aristotle, then the point is (in part) that there is no such vice as 'liturgical fussiness'. The issue is not that Aristotle could have known nothing of what you (or I) might have meant by 'liturgical fussiness' (I certainly agree that there is such a thing), but that virtues and vices are, for him, characterized in terms of human goods, not in terms of a judgment about 'fussiness' (or the like).

    This point is absolutely crucial and is at the heart of the matter. For Aristotle, virtues are grounded in objective and non-moral facts about human nature, and more specifically, facts about what does (or does not) constitute human flourishing. These facts are not themselves moral or ethical in character, but constitute the ground of moral and ethical facts. (Christian Aristotelians will, of course, further ground these facts about human nature in God's creative act, so that moral and ethical facts are themselves ultimately grounded in God's will.)

    So virtues (and vices) must ultimately be characterizable in, or if you prefer, grounded in, a manner that does not make direct appeal to any 'value judgment' made by you or me. (Aristotle would never have agreed to the Humean dictum that no 'ought' follows from an 'is', and Hume understood this point very well, which is why he insisted on his dictum.) But 'fussiness' (as I presume it was intended) is indeed a value judgment. Hence no human vice would (for Aristotle) be correctly characterized as 'liturgical fussiness'.

    To try to bring the matter to a potentially fruitful discussion, the observations above (which, at least in broad outline, are uncontroversial among Christian Aristotelians) might prompt this question: what precisely are the liturgical activities or attitudes that you take to be 'fussy' and which aspect(s) of human flourishing is (or are) thwarted by engaging in those activities, or adopting and acting on those attitudes?

    I ask this question in full seriousness -- I have no prior knowledge of and make no presumptions about your views. (Indeed, as has been established, originally I didn't even know who you were! Please don't take that remark as an insult -- I presume you also have no idea who I am.)
    Thanked by 2chonak irishtenor
  • So is the point that there is no such thing as liturgical "fussiness"? That this is a phantom vice? That, like charity, liturgical elaboration and complexity and a concern that nothing ever deviate from saying the black and doing the red do not observe a mean? That, liturgically speaking, more is always better? It seems to be that for this to be true it would have to be the case that ritual is, like charity, an end in itself. Last I checked, this was not the case.


    I find it difficult to believe that the decision for a body of men who are universally (or very near-universally) Anglophone to sing the Eucharistic Acclamations in Spanish was a decision reached only from a sheer desire to be as "normal" as possible.

    In matters of ritual, as I see it, every decision, from vestment to orientation to the number of candles on the altar (or off it), has to be made. My assumption is that these are made deliberately, for a reason. Fussiness would seem to be caring about things that do not otherwise require attention, or are indifferent. But I'm not sure that the existence of options in the rubrics is intended to render these matters of indifference, but rather to give greater scope to more responsible and thoughtful choice.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 336
    @Chonak: I think I can see how you might have thought that the things I listed as typical of the "reform of the reform" were meant to identify what I meant by "neurotic fussiness," particularly when one is reading with certain presumptions about the blog that was the original source for my remarks. But let me assure you that this is not the case. I am all in favor of chanted propers and bells. I have no strong feelings one way or another on ad orientem, though I do think it is silly to set up improvised altars is places like the Sistine Chapel in order to celebrate facing the people. I'm not too much in favor of the "Benedictine arrangement as one typically see it (with six very tall candles and crucifix), but that is more an aesthetic preference than anything else. I think birettas look silly in a liturgical context, but that, again, is an aesthetic judgment, not a strictly liturgical one. "Fussiness" is less about what you do in the liturgy as about how you do it.

    Which brings me to Michael Dickson's comment. I realize that this is a music blog, not one on Aristotelian philosophy, so I'll try to be brief. First, I don't agree that virtues are "non-moral facts about human nature" since facts about humans qua human are by definition moral (thus Aquinas uses "moral act" and "human act" interchangeably). All human acts, by the very nature of their structure, involve judgments of value--we desire something because we apprehend it as good--which is what distinguishes us from other animals, which act by instinct.

    As to whether Aristotle or Aquinas would recognize a vice of "liturgical fussiness" I'd be willing to float the idea that this is simply another name for superstition, which Aquinas identifies as one of the vices opposed to the virtue of religion. In this specific instance it would be the vice of thinking that which way the celebrant faces, whether texts are chanted or sung to metered melodies, what sort of headgear the priest does or does not wear, etc. matters to God. It is not a vice to think that these things matter; they may matter very much in effectively leading people to worship God. But it is a vice to think that God will reject an act of worship because it doesn't conform to some external ritual norm. It's a vice because Jesus rejected such ritual legalism. It's a vice because it puts us and our actions at the center of the liturgy and forgets that "liturgy" means not "the work of the people," but the great work which Christ the high priest does on our behalf. It's a vice because it leads to celebrations that manage to be both joyless and sadly comical, and thereby inhibit the worship of God. Liturgy requires that we walk a fine line of caring and not caring about the details. It requires that we, in Merton's phrase, "forget ourselves on purpose."

    So I don't think that fussiness is a phantom vice, but neither do I identify it tout court with the reform of the reform.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 336
    @NihilNominis: At least in this particular case, for the celebrant (the Archbishop of Miami) the use of Spanish would have been completely normal (this became apparent to me when he recited the prayer before the sign of peace in Spanish from memory).

    And, if it makes anybody feel better about the use of Spanish, the bishops also had a Ukrainian Divine Liturgy for one of their morning Masses, as well as celebrating the Chaledean ninth hour (somewhat adapted) one day for mid-afternoon prayer. So I think part of the point is also to represent the breadth of the Church in the US.
  • 1. You quoted me out of context in a pretty significant way. I didn't say that virtues are "non-moral facts about human nature". I said that virtues are grounded in non-moral facts about human nature. The difference is very important.

    2. I still don't know what you mean by liturgical fussiness. If 'liturgical fussiness' means 'taking a concern for details of liturgical activity that ultimately are not required for God to judge the act legitimate (whatever that means)' then I suppose that many of us are fussy. To conflate such concern with superstition is a stretch. Aquinas defines superstition thus: "it offers divine worship either to whom it ought not, or in a manner it ought not". Superstition is not a matter of 'extra' candles or an insistence on chanted propers or, I suspect, any of the things that you might have in mind as being the concern of liturgical fusspots. Aquinas is worried about people who worship by sacrificing chickens, not people who insist on chanted propers.

    3. I, at least, would never have claimed that "God will reject an act of worship because it doesn't conform to some external ritual norm." I suppose that some people whom you'd characterize as 'fussy' might take that view, but it is of course presumptuous in the extreme, and I certainly agree that we should not engage in such judgments.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • I think including all the traditional elements, such as incense, bells, chanted propers, etc., JUST FOR THE SAKE OF INCLUDING THEM is definitely fussiness. Worrying about which hand to give the thurible to the Deacon just for the sake of conformity to rubrics can be fussiness. However, doing these things and recognizing the symbolism in them and letting that symbolism draw you closer to God, I would say, does not qualify as fussiness.
    (Yes, I know much of the mystical symbolism and interpretation was applied after the development of such things, however we've kept them around for centuries now that they've been ingrained, at least partially in my opinion, in the liturgical mind of the Church.)
  • In a hotel lobby, I wonder if there were extenuating concerns like fire codes and the like.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Very reasonable assumption.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 336
    @MichaelDickson: I would still maintain that there are no non-moral facts about human nature qua human (through there might be about human beings qua animal or living being or material object). But perhaps we will just have to disagree on this, or leave our settling of this disagreement to a more appropriate form so we don't bore everybody else to tears.

    I thought I was pretty clear about "fussiness"--it is carrying out rituals as if, in themselves, they were done for God's sake and not for ours. I will admit that it is often unclear whether what appears to me as fussiness actually is such, which is why injunctions against fussiness are more appropriately directed at oneself than at others. At the same time, I certainly think that it is possible to make a judgment that particular liturgical acts communicate a sense of fussiness in a particular context.

    I would also add that what I would call fussiness is as often found among progressives as among traditionalists. It might be a matter of worrying about which hand to give the thurible to the Deacon, or it might be a matter of dogmatically insisting that the responsorial psalm be sung from the ambo or that the priest only "show" the consecrated species and not "elevate" it.

    Finally, I did not intend to accuse you of fussiness. As you noted, we don't know each other and I think it is difficult (though perhaps not impossible) to judge such things from internet posts.
    Thanked by 2NihilNominis Gavin
  • @fcb. Thanks for the reply. Although perhaps doing so is now bordering on the absurd, I'll just say that I wasn't accusing you of accusing me of being fussy (!). But maybe my saying so is...fussy.

    As for the substance, I agree that anything that is a fact about humans qua human has moral consequences. I think having moral consequences is different from being a moral fact, and I think that this distinction plays a not insignificant role in what we might term the Aristotelian 'campaign' against Humeanism. (It is important for both Aristotle and Aquinas that "oughts" do indeed follow from "is's".) But perhaps that's a concern that only a professional philosopher (which I am) could bear to consider.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 336
    @MichaelDickson: funny, but my pig-headed insistence that facts about humans qua human are moral facts is born of the same desire to overcome Hume (by insisting that all facts about humans qua human are already value-laden, making the passage from is to ought illusory, not unlike Lessing broad ugly ditch between necessary truths of reason and contingent facts of history). But maybe this is something we could thrash out in person some day. I see from a quick Google search that you live in my hometown; perhaps if I'm passing through we could have a beer together and figure this out. I'm not a professional philosopher (though I occasionally play one on TV), but I certainly am willing to learn from them.
  • A beer and philosophy sounds good.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I would also add that what I would call fussiness is as often found among progressives as among traditionalists

    Before my main point, I don't believe that the philosophical constituency of PTB has had any bearing on commentary here. That said...
    As one of the resident CMAA pragmatics I think deacon is onto something here. We likely have all seen "progressive" liturgies, generally event Papal Masses, WYD, convention liturgies and the like where elaborate processions with costumed dancers choreographed to bear symbolic items and such likely qualify as progressive fussiness, a trait that many would defend and argue for. OTOH, as each year of the colloquiums I've attended have passed, my understanding of the choreography has deepened my appreciation for the wonder, mystery and marvel of the EF. I could cite specifically the "fussy" act of removing the biretta, bowing and doffing it again as (again, to me) a very visceral reminder of the mandate "At the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow...". I don't at all regard that as silly, to me (pragmatist) it represents a profound manifestation from scripture to ritual to real life. But I could allow as how the repetitive gesture could seem "silly" to progressives like AWR, if they would allow as how swirling dancers with glass pitchers of unconsecrated wine about and around the altar seem fussy and silly to trads.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 336
    I'm pretty sure AWR would agree with you about the swirling dancers.
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    There are extremes on all sides, from Father Leftwing to Father Stickinthemud. I attended a liturgy that was in simple surroundings with limited resources. It was done with great dignity and seriousness and was quite beautiful in its own simple way. I also attended a "high" liturgy with pomp, lace, and finery where two effeminate priests swished and swirled with glee. Obviously, they were enjoying themselves greatly, but it all looked like a drag show put on by a college frat. So which was "fussy?" You decide, but I have reached my own conclusions.
  • ...pomp, lace, and finery...

    Amen to Charles' conclusion.
    Not necessarily pomp and finery, but lace is inherently fussy - also degenerate, effeminate, un-(and anti-) manly, offensive, tasteless, and disgusting. (Etc.)
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Interesting that a "Preimer See" can't find a church, a place of worship, to accommodate worship of God.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • johnmann
    Posts: 175
    So it is adopted: Lace is fussy.
    I move to recognize the cappa magna as extreeeeeemly fussy.

    I'm personally fussy about liturgical matters, not because I think God would disapprove of a double swing of the thurible when a triple swing is called for, but because it's a hobby like Japanese flower arrangement. I get an itch when a leaf is out of place and my mind can't be calmed until it's where I think it should be. God may not care but he may appreciate my attention to detail, which in my own way, can be a form of worship.
  • Well, johnmann, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in that which is greater."
    That helps me.
  • ...double swing....triple swing...


    For everyone who is 'fussy' about incense (or chant, or ceremonial) there are dozens more who are boorishly fussy about not having these things at all. As johnmann says, God may or may not care - the all important thing is that WE care, and God definitely, I think, cares whether or not we do care. The beauty and carefulness of our liturgy (as much as our love and care for the sick, challenged, and unfortunate) is an accurate measure of how much we actually love God. It is how we 'make a fuss over' him over whom a fuss should be made.
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    Not necessarily pomp and finery, but lace is inherently fussy - also degenerate, effeminate, un-(and anti-) manly, offensive, tasteless, and disgusting. (Etc.)


    Jackson, I am not opposed to lace so much. It was the antics of those prissy priests that got to me.
  • johnmann
    Posts: 175
    At the same time, fussiness can be harmful if it causes division or scandal or harmless but ultimately meaningless if done for our own enjoyment alone. I'm also a fussy cook and I can't pretend it's for the glory of God.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,072
    Not this stupid discussion again...

    To quote noted Catholic psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, "Sometimes lace is just lace."
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 336
    @David Deavy: as to why Mass was held in the hotel, I'll quote myself from a comment on PrayTell:
    As to location, I suspect almost everyone present would prefer to have Mass celebrated in a church, but the nearest parish is a 15+ minute walk from the hotel where the bishops meet, and time is tight enough with various meetings that it simply isn’t practical. They do have their opening Mass at the Basilica of the Assumption.
    Thanked by 2ronkrisman Gavin
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    For Aristotle, the "mean" for courage is closer to courage than to timidity. The "mean" is not a midpoint. It's the place where virtue lies.

    Similarly for justice.

    In the case of worship, justice demands all praise, all honor, all glory.

    The Father doesn't ration the Spirit. Neither should we ration our praise.

    As Thomas says and we sing in the Corpus Christi sequence, "Quantum potes, tantum aude:Quia major omni laude,Nec laudáre súfficis." (Loose translation: don't be afraid to give your very best praise, because it's always going to fall short. Give your best.)

    For Thomas, the virtue here is justice. We fall short no matter what. The mean is our very very best.
  • Thanks, but I guess my point was is the primary focus of these men should be setting the example. Liturgy in the life of Church is more important than meetings. The Mass should not be offered quickly or conviently to get the box checked on a list of things to do. I know it is old school but how about each of the Bishop offer a private Mass, or at one of the local churches to allow a greater flow of Gods grace to enter the world through the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Meeting can wait.
  • People who toss that word 'fussy' about so insouciantly are themselves rather entertaining. Entertaining as in weird, hilarious, and bizarre. Is there a greater (and more foolish [as in 'stupid']) fussiness than that made by those self-presumed 'liturgists' who teach their charges how to pirouette and lift on high (not just one, mind you, but both of) their arms 'invitingly' when pretending to be cantors, or, worse yet, 'song leaders'? I shall presume to answer my own question: NO, THERE ISN'T! It is no secret to my colleagues here that I absolutely abhor the effeminate (if not outright femen-ist) lace and the sometimes seemingly prissy behaviour of some of those in the EF camp. But! I would rather endure this than the cretinesque approach of those chic 'liturgists' who seem to have a strangle-hold on the NO in too many places. 'Fussiness' indeed, thank you.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,391
    IIRC, it was the cantor, James Hansen, who was the preeminent promoter of the referred-to practice at NPM Cantor seminars some 30 years ago or so. I'm not sure he originated the practice. And I'm fairly certain that he never presented himself as a liturgist.
  • These sorts of things come from these chic 'liturgists', or they originate with some cantor or cantrix, or this moderne person or that. It matters little which. None of them, tasteless to a man and woman, are grounded in our liturgical patrimony. (Oops! did I say patrimony??? Well, I shant at all say mea culpa - I did it and I'm glad.)
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I rarely act as a Psalmist. Yesterday at our schola Mass I did. It seemed right and I was in good voice. Because there's a quaver annacrucis to Alstott's setting I felt compelled to direct the congregation's entrance in this manner- I conducted the prep beat, right hand at chest level (I would use the belt-level for the choir) for the quaver and then arm down. Worked just fine, I heard the congregation's full response.
  • melo, yes, I agree, there are appropriate times and manners for the cantor to indicate the entrance.

    Then, there's this:
    image
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,305
    Oh, my...in what unfortunate basilica was that photo taken?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Didn't know Sammy Davis Jr. played guitar. Don't be hatin'.
    Of course, that may be an Ovation, which barely qualifies as a guitar. MaryMezzo can corroborate.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,707
    Tis amazing that I often see the 'polished, two hand raising gestures' mostly in cathedrals and basilicas as if they were strictly trained to do so.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,305
    @francis -- Those cathedrals and basilicas probably had the money to send their musicians to workshops in the '80s and '90s when that silliness was being peddled as Gospel truth.

    I actually had someone tell me once that it was "more correct" to raise both arms when beckoning the congregation to sing because, "The shape you make with your body is a 'W.' Since this is the 'Liturgy of the Word,' it is most appropriate to show it with our bodily gestures." I was a teenager at the time, and I think I almost laughed out loud.