Thursday, January 13, 2011

Five Changes to Expect with the New Missal

As with the Y2K hysteria of ten years ago, it is easy to find apocalyptic warnings about the dreadful fate that is going to befall the English-speaking Catholic world on November 27, 2011, which is the first Sunday of Advent, the day on which the new Missal with its new English translation will be implemented.

We hear of the “trauma” we will experience, how disastrous splits are going to surround us not only between parishes but within them, how people are going to be even more shocked and stunned by the new translation than they were in 1969 when the entire Missal moved from Latin to English.

But just as with Y2K, I expect no disaster at all. In fact, I believe the opposite. There will be no shock and awe. It will be different but it won’t be startling. It will change us as a people but only gradually over time. In the end, the changes will be dramatic but essentially organic. I’m happy to revisit this column one year from the implementation date to see if these five predictions about the new Missal hold up.

1. Restored Sensus Fidelium. The most disturbing aspect of the translation that has been in place for forty years is the way in which it stripped out subtlety and grandeur from the Latin original. It has the feeling of something gone over by a by-the-book magazine editor working at a popular weekly. The voicing is direct, the shadings are made stark, repetitions are taken out, metaphoric imagery is removed, and the complexity and richness of the text is made simple and necessarily thin.

If the translators didn’t see the point or didn’t understand why the phrase or sentence appeared in Latin - or it seemed to smack too much of the “old Church” - it was generally tossed out or replaced by something common, more familiar, or just new and fashionable. So long as the theme was generally the same, the new version stuck. It became nearly impossible to put the Latin and English side by side and expect anyone to figure out the parallels, and this was true even in the order of Mass itself!

This wouldn’t be a terrible problem if it happened only rarely but this approach became the method by which nearly everything in the Missal was evaluated and re-rendered. It affected the people’s parts profoundly but even more thoroughly in the celebrant’s parts. The net result has been a form of prayer and a perceived content of the faith that has lived a separate existence from the Catechism of the Catholic Church or our history of popular devotions and prayers.

The Mass seemed like a thing apart from the rest of our lives as Catholics. It had a different flavor and tone, a peculiar casualness about its approach and message.

The new translation changes this. It treats the Latin as the text of continuing normative relevance. The result is a text that has more solemnity, seriousness, and dignity, and feels more Catholic in the sense in which people expect.

Compare the first Sunday of Advent preface:

CURRENT: When he humbled himself to come among us as a man, he fulfilled the plan you formed long ago and opened for us the way to salvation. Now we watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours when Christ our Lord will come again in his glory.

FORTHCOMING: For he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh, and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago, and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, that, when he comes again in glory and majesty and all is at last made manifest, we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise in which now we dare to hope.

The second is incomparably more evocative of the idea of Advent, complete with information missing from the first: the lowliness of flesh; the eternity of salvation; the glory and majesty of the coming; the inheritance of the promise; the dare of our hope. It has so much more color and drama!

The point is further illustrated in this preface for the first Sunday of Lent on The Temptation of the Lord:

CURRENT: His fast of forty days makes this a holy season of self-denial. By rejecting the devil’s temptations he has taught us to rid ourselves of the hidden corruption of evil, and so to share his paschal meal in purity of heart, until we come to its fulfillment in the promised land of heaven. .

FORTHCOMING: By abstaining forty long days from earthly food, he consecrated through his fast the pattern of our Lenten observance, and by overturning all the snares of the ancient serpent, taught us to cast out the leaven of malice, so that, celebrating worthily the Paschal Mystery, we might pass over at last to the eternal paschal feast.

So from the forthcoming text, we see the relationship of Christ’s fast to our own, the parallel of the devil in the desert and the devil in the garden, the rejecting of sin and the need for our own repentance, and the final relationship between Christ’s resurrection and our own eternal life of which the season of Easter serves as a metaphor. The first first flattens out all this and renders it at all plainly and unimaginatively as possible. Thus can we see how the new translation might even help restore unfashionable ideas like fasting during Lent!

2. A Push for Sacred Music. Of course the music of the Mass is the elephant in the living room, but at last some people are starting to talk about it. ICEL is emphasizing the propers of the Mass over random hymns that now dominate the liturgy. This is a very important, practical step toward fulfilling the hope for Gregorian chant to have pride of place in the Roman Rite.

The Missal itself contains a tremendous number of chants that are beautifully written and easy to sing, even without any instruments. My impression is that there is far more music, and that this music is more integral to the liturgical text itself. It contains the music and the Latin for Vidi aquam, Crux Fidelis for Good Friday, Ubi Caritas for Holy Thursday, and Gloria laus for Palm Sunday.

The beauty and dignity of the Mass text alone is going to create a better environment for chant and the music of the Roman Rite. More than any other change, this is the one that will lead to a general settling down at Mass so that the liturgy will be more prayerful and reflective, a time when time itself ceases and we are better able to contemplate and see into eternity. It is a fact that music makes a much larger contribution to the orientation of our mind and heart than is generally supposed.

And let us never forget that the Missal alone is not enough to provide music for the Roman Rite, though the excellent offerings in here might tempt us to think so. The sprinkling rite chant outside Paschal time, the Latin ordinary chants, and all the propers of the Mass in Gregorian chant - which must have first place at Mass - are all found in the Graduale Romanum or its English-language offshoots. These are also liturgical books of the Roman Rite, and this new Missal will provide new impetus to revisit them or discover them for the first time. 

3. The End of the Liturgy Wars.
Everyone knows about the wrangling and argument and contention of the last decades, an environment in which all sides squared off in bitter dispute about the environment of worship. The new Missal settles many of these disputes, not by declaring one side victorious but by reminding everyone of the real point behind our gathering for Mass in the first place. It is not about us. Once we decrease, he can increase, and in that increase we will find a new peace in our communities through the grace of the sacrament.

Indeed, the decades of wrangling have an underlying cause, which has been the attempt to push the Mass into being something that it really cannot be, which is nothing more than an uplifting gathering of like-minded friends with a unified theme. A translation that highlights the majesty and presence of of God brings the liturgy closer to its true personality and purpose, and in this we will find a new way of understanding the faith and the reason for our gathering in the first place.

4. New Decorum. The casualness of the Missal text and its studied attempt at plain speaking had many spillover effects, one of which has been to encourage a sort of sloppiness in the way we all comport ourselves at and during the liturgy. The seriousness that has been missing can more easily reassert itself in the context of a liturgical text that itself is more elevated and oriented toward heavenly things.

A new sense of dignity and decorum will come more easily to us when we cut the plain-talking ways and speak and listen to words that are not like any words we use in conversation. I fully expect that the new Missal will give impetus to other related reforms such as an altar orientation toward the East, kneeling for communion, and better and more dignified vestments and furnishings.

5. A Hinge of History. I’ve had several people point out to me the similarities in language between the new Missal and the transitional Missal of 1965. Much of the music that came out immediately following the Council - English plainchant - is now making a comeback. More and more people are looking back to the Second Vatican Council to discover what is that the Council meant to do and compare that to what actually happened from the late sixties onward.

I’ve joked that sometimes it seems like the whole of Catholic liturgical history has done as giant leap from 1965 to 2011 and it remains somewhat foggy and unclear what happened in the intervening years. At last, and after much suffering and pain, we seem to be on the right track again. We might find that our parishes will fill up again, our seminaries will have new vocations, and popular devotions will return as part of Catholic life. All of this will get a huge push forward with the new Missal. This is the year, the year that in 100 years people will look back and say: this was the turning point.

None of this will be obvious on November 27, but it will become more and more clear as time goes on. And for that we must be supremely grateful to all those who prayers and hard work have brought us to this point where the light of the faith as expressed through the liturgy is appearing before us in our time.


RedCat said...

Beautifully stated, Jeffrey. This older musician looks forward with hope to the return of the sense of the sacred at Mass, which slipped away during the years after the reforms of the last forty or so years. Perhaps shorts and flip-flops will be replaced by Sunday dress and shoes at Mass. Maybe it will once again be quiet in the church before the start of Mass. And best of all, the sound of the people singing the Mass, rather than being entertained at it.

IanW said...

There have been last minute problems with translation, but we should not let the best be the enemy of the good. Much of the criticism comes from those with an agenda that has little to do with the accuracy of the translation, or its literary, liturgical or theological strengths. Unless, perhaps, those very strengths provoke the sometimes hysterical outbursts against it. I can think of one place that has encouraged such opposition, even to the point of blasphemy. Ye shall know them by their fruits.

Jeffrey Tucker said...

Just the two examples I provided above illustrate the point, I think. The author of the original critical memo was undoubtedly correct in every way but this was in draft stage, and it is very likely that many problems have been fixed. But yes, the big picture emerges now.

Adam Wood said...

I'd like to hope that all comes true, but I suspect your expectations of awesomeness are about as overblown as the doom and gloom from some of our friends on other websites.

My prediction:
-A handful of parishes will use the opportunity to start something new and wonderful, as you describe.
-A (smaller) handful of parishes will have revolt and chaos.
-A large handful (but still only a handful) of parishes will rewrite the translation to fit their ideology. They will eventually be corrected by the hierarchy, but that will take years.
-A whole lot of parishes will make the changes to spoken parts, but you'll still hear old-translations in favorite Mass settings. This will continue indefinitely and sporadically all over.
-A whole lot of parishes will do everything according to the new rules, but little else will change.
-Some people will be bothered and leave the Church, but they were likely going to do so anyway.
-Some people will be bothered and stay.
-Some people will think it's better (among the non-blogging pew-sitter, this will be the smallest group).
-Most people won't notice anything at all.

We can all hope and work for more, and we should. And to the extent that it is better, we should be glad that it is so. But I doubt this will be a noticeable watershed moment in the vast majority of parishes.

Jeffrey Tucker said...

Adam, I don't disagree that most people won't notice anything - the change will be organic - but the change will still have a lasting effect on people's lives.

Adam Wood said...

I hope you're right.

Carl Dierschow said...

I love the optimism, Jeffrey. But what sobers me is the realization that so much will depend on peoples' (particularly priests') state of mind. If you want to see any kind of direction from the Vatican as a way of "reverting" back to the old days, there's certainly lots to reinforce that. I've run into a lot of people with that frame of mind, unfortunately.

If you equate "Catholic Church" to "universal" and "doing the same Mass everywhere," then you'll see the change as a step in that direction.

What disturbs me is that it's been two months into the 2011 church year, and I've heard no catechesis at the parish level, other than what I've started in my schola. This discussion could well take the entire year - or more - so we have to get started!

Carl D

Todd said...

Jeffrey, I think you overstate or misstate the case of the loyal opposition.

Personally, I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to nudge a wholesale evaluation of parish music repertoire, starting with the Mass ordinary. So in a sense I'm channelling your number two, except that I've been doing sacred music all along. But if the music gets better in terms of quality, participation, and a deeper liturgical spirituality, then I'm all for it.

Number 3 is decidedly wishful thinking. Having the MR1 sure didn't stop Father Z, and having MR3 isn't going to halt those who will continue their criticism of the Roman Missal, either. And that's a good thing overall. We need people within the liturgy apostolate urging and nudging us to do better. The perfect need not be the enemy of the good, but a lot of us are going to continue to labor for the very good or the excellent to replace the not-so-good.

Anonymous said...

I think this is very wishful thinking.

A lot of parishes will overly liberal up music in order to encourage people that they're not "turning back the clocks."

There's going to be a lot less Traditional hymnody and a lot more Spirit and Song praise and worship, with a few parishes doing chant.

Anonymous said...

"Much of the criticism comes from those with an agenda that has little to do with the accuracy of the translation, or its literary, liturgical or theological strengths."

This comment is spot-on.

"I think you overstate or misstate the case of the loyal opposition."

This is a . . . truly remarkable statement. I don't think I will ever forget this comment. It is . . . well, "remarkable" is all I will say . . .

Anonymous said...

It is articles like this that got me hooked on the Chant Cafe. The comments as of late have made me a little disheartened, but this is the sort of thing I come here to read (perhaps a new years resolution to stop reading the comments is in order!)

I cannot overstate how posts like this, whether or not they are ever "truly" realized, are a great boost to morale and inspire us all to keep fighting the good fight.

Thanks for all that you do, Jeffrey.

Robert said...

"The End of the Liturgy Wars"
I highly doubt it. I for one will not be happy until the all priests of the Roman Rite are mandated "ad orientum". Eucharistic ministers are gone completely from the Mass, I have no problem with them giving communion to the sick at home, as well as altar girls rid from the altar as well. And the title of altar boy is once again used. And the opening comments given by lectors such as "Our Presider Fr ..." are a thing of the past.

Robert said...

As for music. In my 44 years as a Roman Catholic, I have only heard Gregorian Chant, either on a CD/DVD, or the EF Mass. That's the truth!. I hope and pray you are right. Because the Orthodox Church is looking very tempting now in my life.

berenike said...

It depends a bit where you are, Robert. In my tiny village parish (and those around it, and I had no car) the only chant was a wheezy Tantum Ergo at the (unadvertised) occasional Benediction, or "Adoro te devote" in English. But then I found myself in charge of music for Mass in another place, and the congregation knew several ordinaries off by heart.

There's a "How to start a garage schola" article on the internet somewhere - have a read, and have a shot. Something like a short Lamb of God setting or the Adoro te is easily done and shouldn't offend anyone. You can always use a schmalzy accompaniament to being with, to lull people into a genuine sense of security. The Neons in my parish use a sort of rippling guitar accompaniment to gregorian psalm tones in Lauds - Gregorian chant AND guitars :)

RedCat said...

Anonymous "3",
I have you beat by 20 years. And I want you to know that chant is being sung in parishes around the country by courageous music directors who are trying to slowly turn the minds and hearts of the faithful back to the traditional music of the Catholic church. I have been a music director in three parishes and an assistant organist and choir master for about 30 years. Chant has always been part of the music that we had at Mass, no matter how little the amount.
Keep praying and believing that the change will positively affect the people of the church. A movement this extensive is bound to have positive results.

Chironomo said...

I seriously doubt the predictions of insurrections .... True, there are some parishes that have a large progressive population as a result of their parish leadership (think "Minneapolis"). Such parishes will cave to their parishioners wishes as long as possible. In most parishes such folks are a minority. Vocal, but a minority.

The orinal post at PT that spurred this article was so transparently made from the point of view of a discouraged progressive who sees the time of the NewChurch coming to an end, wishing with all her strength that her unlikely predictions might come true. The reasoning goes like this:

If I think this translation is an abomination intended to solidify clerical power, surely EVERYONE must believe this.

Everyone will react strongly to the changes. Honest Catholics will fight them and object, those who go along with the changes only do so out of fear but actually object to them (because remember, EVERYONE objects like I do)

I got the feeling that the author was from one of those particularly progressive parishes, so the landscape may just seem that way. It's much like the reports from Jerry Galipeau (disclaimer: I have great admiration for Jerry and am not being critical here). The people who are likely to attend workshops given by WLP and NPM are, well let's say not exactly representative of the entire Catholic spectrum, so informal polling and "sense of the faithful" assessments made on these occasions are likely to be skewed in one direction.

Anonymous said...

chironomo: well said.

Chironomo said...

A lot of parishes will overly liberal up music in order to encourage people that they're not "turning back the clocks."

N.B -Parishes don't "liberal up" the music... liberal/ progressive music Directors overly "liberal up" the music, generally against the wishes of the parish.

My approach has always been that a Music Director in a Catholic parish should generally tend towards a more traditional/ conservative (or whatever term you wish to use) approach, and for a very good reason. The progressive/ liberal cconstituency in a parish are more likely to "speak up" if the music becomes overly "conservative", while the traditionalists (or even just plain indifferent-to-the-music Catholics) are less likely to speak up if the music becomes too progressive, but they instead just endure out of respect for the institution. The result is that it is much easier for a liturgical music program in a parish to be more progressive than it should than it is for a program to be more conservative than it should. And of course, I would contend that the Church, through her documents, calls for the traditional to begin with, so the "popular opinion" of the parishioners is really not the central concern. However, from a "parish politics" point of view, this approach has served me well the past 30 years...

Anonymous said...

A summary of your article should appear on the front page of every parish's Sunday bulletin across the English speaking world. If only all of this could be achieved, plus celebration "ad orientem" and minus "communion in the hand." I also suspect some genuine re-training will need to take place for the clergy, so they will be sufficiently prepared for their role. The current rite has become too dependent on the personality of the celebrant, rather than on the Missal. This attitude also has to change.

Adam Wood said...

CHIRO: My approach has always been that a Music Director in a Catholic parish should generally tend towards a more traditional/ conservative (or whatever term you wish to use) approach, and for a very good reason. The progressive/ liberal cconstituency in a parish are more likely to "speak up" if the music becomes overly "conservative", while the traditionalists (or even just plain indifferent-to-the-music Catholics) are less likely to speak up if the music becomes too progressive, but they instead just endure out of respect for the institution. The result is that it is much easier for a liturgical music program in a parish to be more progressive than it should than it is for a program to be more conservative than it should. And of course, I would contend that the Church, through her documents, calls for the traditional to begin with, so the "popular opinion" of the parishioners is really not the central concern. However, from a "parish politics" point of view, this approach has served me well the past 30 years...

I think this is prudent. In a normal US parish (whatever that is), I think it would be rude and unhelpful to banish all the contemporary music- it's unfeeling, and politically dangerous. Unfortunately, while it is even more unfeeling (and more inherently wrong) to banish all traditional music, there is much less political danger in doing so, because those who want that are less vocal.
My parish did a survey just before I got there, and the results showed an almost exactly even split between people who desired contemporary music and traditional. I do a pretty even mix (with probably a slight lean toward contemporary). But guess which half comes and makes "suggestions" more often? The traditional people hardly speak up. I have to be their advocate to myself, because they are too nice to speak up on their own.

Anonymous said...

It is a good thing for all forms of music to be respected. Traditional, contemporary, old, new and Gregorian Chants or praise n worship, olden hymns, modern hymns... if all such music can touch the hearts of the worshippers... why not? It is how the heart is lifted to God through the various types of music... and it is a shame to let 1 type of music cause church goers to be discouraged. Worse still, it is a terrible tragedy to let music be a reason for anyone to leave the Church, just because they no longer felt they belonged anymore or a sense of disillusionment.
Find a way to incorporate different styles of worship to cater to the different levels of people, while still preserving the dignity and respect for the Holy Mass.

Tim H. said...

\\"The End of the Liturgy Wars" I highly doubt it. I for one will not be happy until...\\

...anyone caught in possession of an acoustic guitar within one thousand feet of a tabernacle is excommunicated latae sententiae.

Charles Culbreth said...

I once (30 years ago?) gave a workshop at a Sacramento Liturgical conference titled: "Volkswagens and Volksmuzick." The principle I was advancing was that in lew of having the Rolls Royce resource of a grand pipe organ, the most modest of vehicles, ie. a Beetle, could still transport the singing of traditional hymnody and even chant.
At that time the only actual traditional hymnal with an edited, commercial guitar accompaniment book was Worship II, of which quite a few numbers had "compromised" chordal realizations. So, we demonstrated how to more accurately assign specific chordal symbols to hymns such as Hyfrydol, Finlandia, Old 100th, Nicea, etc. And then we provided the class criteria by which to determine what sort of accompanimental techniques served different hymn melodies, such as single, roll strum versus/or combined with arpeggiation, multiple guitarists transposing the chords up certain intervals and using the capo to broaden the audio spectrum, all those sorts of things.
I remember thinking during the session, "They barely understand what the SLJ's were clearly teaching about bass note figuration (basso continuo, really) and avoiding the faux-bossa nova liturgical 'strum-diddy dee-strum-dum-dum' isorhythm prevalent at the time. They're not gonna get why it's important to include trad. hymns in a 'contemporary ensemble' if they refuse to improve their own skills beyond root postion, six chord lexicon."
Dusted our sandals all the way back to the Bay Area. But I've enjoyed many amazing moments since then when accompanying hymns or even modest motets such as Mozart's "Ave verum..." on a classical guitar, and having a cleric or parishioner walk up with a huge smile and saying something like "I never imagined you could do something like that with a guitar."
What's old is made new again, see Mother?

Charles Culbreth said...

Wow, what a juxtaposition in post-timing!
Tom just ex-communicated me before I hit "post."
Would it help to know we chanted Ubi caritas with the school kids at this morning's Mass? ;-)

Peter James-Smith said...

In South Africa we have been using the new Mass texts but not the Collects etc for about two years as our bishops got the date wrong! Those who had made the change were allowed to continue. There was a lot of criticism at first, a lot of it quite virulent, but it has died down now.

99% accepted the change without any problems and it has certainly had an effect on the music at my own particular church and a resurgence of Latin being sung. This is particularly interesting as we have a majority black congregation and many young people as the church is alongside the Wits University Campus. We have a Schola Cantorum of young students who sing plainsong and polyphony in English and Latin as well as the vernacular. I find this fascinating as I would have thought that the congregation would have preferred the Student Mass but not so.

The church has always maintained good liturgy, has never dropped the use of incense at the main Mass and it is served by the Jesuits.

Another effect is that simple things have been much more participatory...striking the breast three times during the Confiteor....the full Biblical Domine non sum dignus. Nearly everyone is involved where as before they were not.

The word consubstantial seemed to be the biggest cause of ire in correspondence but nobody notices it! I suppose the Nicene Creed is a bit of a mantra really though some churches changed to the Apostles Creed possibly in protest.

Anonymous said...

Peter James Smith,

It is heartening to read your words. I believe most Catholics in the pew want to worship as the Church asks, if they are informed what that is exactly. It doesn't surprise me that young folks prefer chant, Latin or vernacular, over the "student Mass" genre music. That music is really more suitable to the older generation desperately trying to relive their youth in the 1960s and 1970s.

Anonymous said...

"The orinal post at PT that spurred this article was so transparently made from the point of view of a discouraged progressive who sees the time of the NewChurch coming to an end, wishing with all her strength that her unlikely predictions might come true."

Baloney, Chironomo.

You've been chanting the same neum here there and on every blog for months now, and it's just not true, though it would certainly make it easier for you to deal with the incompetence and politics that produced the final, far inferior final version if it were true. So keep chanting.

Speaking of which, I see that you've given up answering the inconvenient questions asked of you on that other blog and gone back to keeping up your own. Good for you!

All together now in Mode 1: "A-at le-ee-east we have a new-ew transla-a-tion now ..."

Adam Wood said...

I don't want Chant Cafe to turn into one of those places where people complain about the editorial policy of the com-box, but this is the second time in about a week that an anonymous commenter has rudely attacked a (non-anonymous) fellow commenter in a manner that goes beyond intellectual/ideological disagreement.
Could we think about some kind of stated editorial policy to discourage this sort of badness? Especially when it comes from people who either too cowardly or too incompetent to attach a name to a post.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm very sad that Jesus is being taking out of the mass all together. Women priest, no crusifix or corpris christie, changing of the Eucharist into the hands, not the tongue, girl alter servers. What's next taking the tablenacle out of the church.. The most holy Eucharist!! This is Heresy Period... When the world can distroy Christ church since the begining of Christ on the cross they are distroying themselfs.. Wake up Catholics.. The Lord will not tolerate this know more.. His mercy will left up upon us, if we don't wake up soon.

Jeffrey Tucker said...

True enough. Combox vitriol can be very upsetting for many readers.

Anonymous said...

The Liturgy Wars will likely end or virtually end when the doubleknit dinosaurs from the 1960s/70s are no longer running parishes or liturgy committees. "Progressivism" "liberalism" or whatever you want to call it, is a spent force in Catholicism. The real religious vitality in Catholicism is coming from tradition minded youngsters who have no recollection of the silly 60s/70s.

Chironomo, I support you. You are one of our more thoughtful and competent posters!!!

Adam Wood said...


1) I don't know of any Catholic parishes that have women priests.
2) It makes me very sad that you think a female priest qualifies as "Jesus being taken out of the mass all together."
3) Calm down. While I disagree with your stated standards for the relative goodness of Catholicism, I have to tell you: by your measure of things, it is getting better. Things are improving.

Anonymous (other one?):
There will always be a vital (and necessary) force of progressivism and liberalism in the Church. What is hopefully dying off (a spent force) is the goofy trendiness of the 1960s-70s. It's good to have some ideological variety among the membership- it was their taste in furniture and music that was so distressing and destructive.

Anonymous said...

adam wood, I'm the other one. The 60s/70s progressives were cultural phillistines, masquerading as liturgists

Adam Wood said...

I agree.
I just want to mention that not ALL progressives have such bad taste.

Anonymous said...

As an ex=catholic I commend the language of the new/traditional Missal. So much of the pop Mass used utterly boring, flat language leading to draggy, flat music. This new language is more vigorous and engaging. Now if you could only get rid of eulogies at Funeral Masses.

Perhaps I am prejudiced. But I have only been able to quote the Mass in Latin, followed by my own translation, not terribly off what you have presented of the new Missal. I was raised on properly done polyphony and chant. So that's no guarantee of sustaining the gift of faith. But at least it's culturally worthy of a worship service.

hartwood said...

Our parish had a preview of changes coming this Advent. Very helpful. I do like much of today's sacred music, especially based on the Psalms and other scripture. I don't think most people will recognize the changes. The nasty comments seem to come from folks who look for a fight,and an opportunity to lash out at anyone.

Anonymous said...

Guitars are not bad. Most music set before a guitarist for liturgy is of poor quality. Good arrangements for the guitar of good music are very hard to find. But I have found some for classical guitar. Too many guitarists are not trained in music and cannot read sheet music, they just strum chord symbols. The guitar is actually a fine instrument to accompany voice. In the Old Testament instruments are mentioned that had wooden bodies and strings and were used to praise God. I agree that most guitar music I have heard at mass was of poor quality, but I have also heard some wonderful music played on the guitar. The keyboard players get all the nice arrangements and the guitar players get the camp fire songs.

Cody said...

Guitars are not bad. However, guitars, from the time of their introduction into Europe from the Middle East, have featured predominately in secular music. Certainly, now that guitars have such an association with Rock and Roll and popular music, they have a solid place in the world. Church music traditionally strives for 'otherworldliness' and by using guitars we abandon this distinction between secular and clerical, between the world inside a sacred space and outside.

Anonymous said...

Silly rabbits! Tricks are for kids! Seriously, the only way to resolve the issue with irreverence, lack of Faith and belief in the Real Presence, is to attend the Mass of All Ages, the extraordinary form! The tradition Latin Mass has beautiful fruits! Why would you want to assist at a Mass that the saints never ever knew. Everyone keeps trying to reform the reform and it doesn't make sense. The only thing that would is to restore the Latin Mass!!! The Latin Mass is very masculine and produces priests. The Novus Ordo is very feminine and produces effeminate priests and women who long to be priests.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read all the comments so perhaps this was mentioned previously.

I respectfully disagree about this translation being the hinge of history. I hope this translation does much good, but there are still far too many problems with the Novus Ordo. If anything, July 7, 2007 and SP will be the hinge of history. Of course, only time will tell, but my experience tells me that the continued spread of the EF will have the most positive affect on the Church.

John M.

Charles Culbreth said...

It remains to me a mystery why fundamentalist ideology can burrow into some corner of an otherwise rational intellect and enable folks to pontificate with absolute surety.
Guitars aren't bad, they're just associated with the profane, aka the world, which (btw) has no sacred space save within the walls of a consecrated church sanctuary. Guitars aren't bad, but the people who use them do so at their own peril, because someone listening to the Lambilotte "Panis Angelicus" accompanied pristinely by an acoustic guitar might somehow associate the whole of that musical offering with "Ina Gada da Vida" or "Crossroads."
Despite decades of empirical evidence to the contrary, the supreme primacy of the human voice as the most worthy of instruments for praising God, is sullied, polluted and made unworthy if not accompanied by a pipe organ.
And the killer irony is that the esteemed pipe organ (of which I am convinced is the King of instruments most worthy to express and accompany worship) did not always enjoy that association in the history of catholic worship. But it doth enjoy the unique stature via Tra le sollecitudini; all else damned.
Want to be purist? Contradict the sanctions of MS/CSL/GIRM sanctioning sacred polyphony, because the purity of plainsong went out the window when a few monks thought singing in parallel perfect intervals sounded cool.
Honestly, that folks would hang their "Liber Usualis's" on philosophical gun racks is a consternation. "Other suitable instruments" must be allowed the possibility of inclusion licitly at liturgy" just as is "alius cantus aptus" is so optioned. If that responsibility is abused by rank ineptitude, or cavalier convenience, then you can be the first John Belushi to smash the offending instrument into smithereens after wresting it from the offending players cold hands. Or would that be, uh, akin to Jesus turning over vendor tables in the temple plaza? Or would it be more akin to claiming authority to stone a sinful woman to death by virtue of the law, and that makes your judgment righteous, despite any sinful spot on the first pitcher's heart?

John said...

I'd like to throw in my two or three cents for a moment:
1. I'll need to see the new translation in action before I'll agree that it'll help bring back Chant. Many may be unaware, but OCP missalettes have contained Latin chants since my childhood (I'm 36 now). Most churches simply never use(d) them.

2. Chant and polyphony likely will only return obliquely and awkwardly. Remember, music should reflect the idea of the readings. Most Chant in particular remains in Latin, not English, and was written for a one-year reading cycle, not three. Does the Church intend for musicians to develop new Chant for the other two years?

3. Personally, after tolerating gender neutral lyrics and ever more over-simplified music for about 15 years, I'd finally quit choir. Wasn't worth the bother. I only came back due to curiousity regarding Chant. I wonder: If Chant DOES make a comeback, will the typical man-woman ratio of 1-2,3, or 4 begin to balance more frequently?

4. Guitars CAN be good, but....
Too many cannot PLAY one. If it's merely strummed or the musician can't play complex cords, the music loses most of it's genuine musical qualities; rhythm, harmony, volume, etc. If it doesn't sound interesting, people try to ignore it.

5. I LOVE pipe organ music! In Mass or not, a pipe organ is one of THE most beautiful instruments out there! Now, if I had the time to learn to play one.....

John F
Omaha, NE

Anonymous said...

I applaud the new changes. When after Vatican II we went to the vernacular, I was left longing for Gregorian chant and all that went with it. I thought it was my personal pride of being able to say Latin that caused me such discomfort. And I really admired the Greek rite in preference to my own, but of course being loyal there was no question of leaving the one true faith. I rejoice and am hopeful of the new interpretation. God is gracious and merciful and above all in this case patient. Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for allowing us to have a voice here. I am one of those non-vocal parishioners in the pews whose mother was an organist and liturgy director for almost 40 years, pre- and post-Vatican II.
I, like her, truly miss the music I used to sing as a girls' choir member in grade school and high school in the late 50s and early 60s. Because I have music in my bones, I have always participated in congregational singing and know the words and melody to 99% of every song ever chosen. Some of it is breathtakingly beautiful, most of it is OK, and some of it is downright offensive.
The very first time I have EVER complained about the music (I regularly compliment) is when our music director chose an obnoxious and offensive M.Haugen song, "Plenty of Bread at the Feast of Life" for us to sing 3 Sundays in a row and jazzed it up so much that I felt we should all be doing a jig down the aisle to receive THE BODY AND BLOOD OF OUR LORD - not bread!! I had to complain. His excuse was that Haugen is very prolific and we always sing a lot of his songs. My response is that, even though he is prolific, all of his work is not equally good or conducive to meditation after receiving The Real Presence -and this song is one of his worst.
While our music director is talented and a very nice person, I don't think he is Catholic. One day, after making an announcement before Mass, he closed his remarks with."Enjoy the Liturgy" !!!! I think he is missing the main focus.

Tom M. said...

The Church is calling it the new liturgy? It is the correct translaion of the Latin. It is more spiritual, reverent to Our Lord. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts [not of power and might.] The Lord be with you,and with thy spirit. I have a Sunday Missal from the 50's and most of the changes the same as my missal. Except for the Confiteor. So get your grandmothers missal out of moth balls and see the difference.

Anonymous said...

Guitars will be leading music at Mass long after all of us are gone. Apple juice and a cookie for Tim H if I am in error.

Folk Musician's For

Anonymous said...

"The Latin Mass is very masculine and produces priests. The Novus Ordo is very feminine and produces effeminate priests and women who long to be priests."

...and the Novus Ordo offered in Latin is?

Seriously, these types of comments are as far "right" as PT Blog is "left." Both are absurd, and can only exist in an internet age...

Anonymous said...

Why do we need the Novus Ordo Mass? Having it in Latin doesn't automatically make it more reverent. Compare the actual text of the Novus Ordo Mass to the tradition Latin Mass, the extraordinary form! Then compare it to Cranmer's changes in the 16th century.... The NO Mass is more similar to Cranmer's attempt at changing the sacred liturgy, as he goal was to destroy the Catholic Church, than it is similar to the Catholic Mass, the Mass if All Ages. The Mass should be the way that our ancestors and saints assisted at. The traditional seminaries are filliing up and the NO ones are closing down. The NO Mass will end up extinguishing itself in America just like you are seeing in France. The TLM is flourishing in France! In fact, if you go to a TLM in Paris the Sunday Masses are packed while the NO Mass is maybe 1/4-1/3 full. In today's society, why must we try to create something new? Is it because we are now more attracted to novelty, newness? -the new shinny toy? The Catholic Church does not change with time but simply moves through it. It is timeless just like the Mass of All Ages is timeless!

Anonymous said...

The new translations are just "lipstick on a pig"... Restore the old Mass!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 4:52,

Although I frequently attend the EF, I would hardly call the OF's new translations "lipstick on a pig." Believe it or not, there were aspects of the EF that did require reform. There were useless repetitions of certain prayers (Prayers at the Foot of the Altar come to mind) and the Last Gospel was an odd accretion, particularly when the priest had proclaimed "Ite Missa Est" and then continued the liturgical action until the Last Gospel. Now before you scream about my comment on the Last Gospel, if it were so important to the Liturgy it could have been retained and placed within the Mass at a more logical place. I would have been fine with that. But the Council Fathers deemed otherwise. I believe that the OF could be reformed to a point that it is much more in keeping with the EF. I believe that is what Pope Benedict has in mind. To gradually reconcile the 2 forms of the same Rite and to undo the work of the Consilium which grossly exceeded its mandate.

Jeffrey Tucker said...

The deeply offensive "lipstick on a pig" attitude reveals a loathing of 90% of Catholics who attend ordinary form Masses. This point of view is why traditionalists are so frequently suspected of being schismatic. There are way to favor the old rite and ways not to.

Anonymous said...

I hesitate to reply, because it will probably be similar to trying to have an intelligent conversation on PT, but here goes:

"Compare the actual text of the Novus Ordo Mass to the tradition Latin Mass, the extraordinary form!"

Have you done so? You will be very surprised. Compare the first Eucharistic Prayer in Latin to the 1962 Canon. You will be very surprised. You will be amazed ... I won't spoil your surprise.

Holly said...

In no way would I consider myself a canon scholar or even remotely qualified to have a philosophical debate on the current decay of Catholicism (aside from my undergraduate degree's emphasis on Reformation England). As a 30 something female, I've seen first hand the effects of Vatican II: of my "Catholic" friends, all but myself use birth control (even the abortive mirena in 3 cases), only 1 regularly attends mass, and several openly mock the church. In my "Catholic" high school, 2 theology teachers were defrocked priests and 2 more were lesbian women who wore pictures of woman performing the Transubstantiation on clothing. And, you wonder why I am the only one that attends church weekly: it's because I was catechized at home via the Baltimore Catechism. More than any one thing, our priests need to throw out every homily and return to catechizing. The reason so many fall away is they have never been taught! How can you see the gifts of the sacraments when you don't even know what they are? I could list a diatribe of abuses - and I'm certain you'd understand, because you've seen them yourselves. Having attended a "progressive" let's feel good about our "community" parish that looked more Protestant than Catholic and having attended a parish where the altar rail and Latin Mass (with the Gregorian Chant) will never be replaced, I am THRILLED with the return to the beautiful language and reverence so desperately missing. I love the Latin Mass. It's beautiful, it's reverent, and it's something that makes me want to attend mass. I am counting down the days until November. See gentlemen, some women are just praying their sons (mine was dedicated to the Sacred Heart the day I found out he was coming) are chosen to lead this new return to tradition as faithful, heterosexual priests. Not all of them are hoping to become priests themselves.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Tucker, why did you remove my comment in response to the offensive "lipstick on a pig" comment? Just curious, since it was a non-bombastic response and simply pointed out that not everything was perfect with the EF.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey I think you're censoring the wrong comments. PLease note Anon at 11:49 AM

Jeffrey Tucker said...

I think we must have some internet novices around here, imagining that I have nothing better to do than sitting around monitoring comments, approving and disapproving. Guess what? Software does most of the work and software makes mistakes.

I'll dig through and see what's going on.

In the meantime, everyone please consider that perhaps - just perhaps - it might be software and not human volition that is bringing about certain combox results.

IanW said...

The advantage of a name or handle on comment boards is continuity of discussion, though it does imply a willingness to stand by (or ruefully retract) what you've said. Perhaps those who comment as "Anonymous" might care to consider the alternative.

BTW: the W stands for "Williams"!

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey, thanks for getting rid of Anon at 11:49 AM. Best, Tom

Charles Culbreth said...

"Guitars will be leading music at Mass long after all of us are gone. Apple juice and a cookie for Tim H if I am in error."

Dayton, what an extraordinarily ridiculous declaration with which to introduce yourself and your presumably legitimate organization here or elsewhere.
Guitars don't lead. They're inanimate objects. They are tools, which in the hands of cultured or native artisans can create wonderful music.
I hope you are just an innocent bystander who happened upon this forum, rather than a troll, because if you believe in the guitar as an efficacious instrument worthy of accompanimental use at worship, you will learn to be as humble in praising its virtues as you will be enthusiastic about increasing your skills employing it at worship.
I know whereof I speak, but you go 'head on.

Chironomo said...

In response to the "Anon" who called my comment "baloney"...

I haven't stopped commenting anywhere. Nobody has ever asked me any "inconvenient questions" over at Pray Tell. Nor have they really ever asked any serious questions.I have nothing to fear or shy away from from fellow commenters. I have my stack of degrees also, and 3 decades of parish experience behind me. And still, I find no need to ever attack someone with whom I disagree. The conversations at PT are typically more in the realm of intellectual, academic discourse than anything I find useful. There are a few good souls over there, but by and large it is academics trying to one-up other academics.

Don't get me wrong... the discussion topics set up by Fr. Ruff are quite good... they are then either restated and agreed to by like-minded individuals who then give their own reasons why they agree precisely with what is stated in the latest article, or they add some nuance that, while interesting is of little real value. If you like that kind of thing, and you seem to, then no problem. You don't have to try and belittle me (which you haven't) to make yourself bigger.

Chris in Maryland said...

To Jeffrey Tucker:

Thank you for your devotion to the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, in Chant Cafe, and in your 5 points here.

As a 55-year old former altar boy who watched the liturgical guerilla war of the 1960's morph into the liturgical coup of the 1970s, I am happy to see the restoration taking place. And I particularly appreciated your inspired response to a recent pompous "ad hominem" that you were "out of your depth."

You know how to stay on the high road...just keep running the long, good race.

Anonymous said...

Haven't you people figured out that moderators simply filter out comments that don't suit their personal goals? The moderator of a blog is the ultimate troll, because he can troll without having to troll himself.

Anonymous said...

What a lost opportunity! About 1549 Paul III gave permission for the Mass and Eucharist to be in english, and Henry VIII was to be Head of the Church in England, conditional on his paying fealty to Paul as Head of the Church Universal, which was refused. Nevertheless english Mass and Holy Scripture were introduced. Both initially derived from the latin by concientious translators. These translations were 'set' to the existing plainchant tunes by John Merbeck, a chorister at Henry's chapel at Windsor. These settings, in 'plainsong,' have been sung in anglican celebrations of Mass, Morning and Evening Prayer ever since.
Now an Anglican Ordinariate exists and is likely to be extended into Australia, why ever not share a very well established liturgy, with its music?

Anonymous said...

"Now an Anglican Ordinariate exists and is likely to be extended into Australia, why ever not share a very well established liturgy, with its music"?

Hear hear!!

Anonymous said...

I think the hardest part of reading any critique of the new missal is the idea that it's going to change the congregation fundamentally by making a more obvious link between what is said during the Mass and the actions of Our Lord.

Having a more obedient 'core' of the church, attempting to move the Catholic Church to the right and make it more Conservative and Traditional - as well as hark back to the 'Glory Day's of pre-Vatican II - when the Church had a solid reputation that has been stained by the publication of what was _actually_ going on - are all indicative of a more 'extreme' Church.

Jesus didn't come for the Jews, he came for everyone. The Catholic Church is not just for Catholics - but for everyone. The more that the teaching, writing and 'environment' of the Catholic Church requires a Catholic background - the more irrelevant and damaged it will become.

Anonymous said...

It is a mistake to think that the objections to the new missal come primarily from disgruntled "progressives". The comments on the What If We Just Said Wait? website of Msgr Ryan came from all ideological quarters and focused primarily on the quality of the language of the new translation.

Guitars are a very suitable instrument for church because of the soft quality of their sound. Chopin said, "Nothing is more beautiful than the sound of a guitar, except the sound of two guitars. The lute is silver, the guitar golden."

Juan Puente Jr. said...

This would be a beautiful change, (although my church is already doing some of these changes), but a longer mass...