Saturday, June 30, 2012

The bestselling book at the Colloquium




"The Son of Man"

Some folks have asked to use the hymn we sang at the end of Mass on Friday, The Son of Man. It's under copyright, but that is a fairly easy fix for anyone who might be interested. CanticaNOVA makes a collection of nearly 30 of my texts available for a small charge, and full rights to copy and set the hymns for any given school or congregation are included.

Here is another text that might give a sense of the general tone of my hymn writing.

I was delighted that The Son of Man was set to Newman, the tune associated with Cardinal Newman's Praise to the Holiest in the Height, particularly during this year's Colloquium, when the CMAA formed such a strong bond with the Blessed Cardinal's own Birmingham Oratory. I was so pleased that we sang it on the most ecclesial of feasts, at a Mass celebrated with particular dignity and beauty by Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, who has responsibilities in the Universal Church. It was very beautifully sung, and so thoughtfully played by the Colloquium's organist Jonathan Ryan.

The feedback I've heard about last night's hymn suggests that Catholics are ready for hymns with a good sense of poetry but perhaps an even better sense of Catholic theology. I'd like to help fill that need and would be grateful for suggestions.

Images from Sts. Peter and Paul

Charles Cole again posts some amazing images from the Mass at the Sacred Music Colloquium.


Photographs from today’s Mass of the Solemnity of SS Peter & Paul celebrated by Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth (Director of ICEL) at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City, Utah for the CMAA Colloquium 2012:



Friday, June 29, 2012

The Ambrosian Hymn of the Day

Apostolorum passio

Blest day by suff’ring sanctified:
Christ’s chosen high apostles died.
Today St. Peter wins renown.
Today St. Paul accepts the crown.

Together, equally, they bled:
Together: the victorious dead.
They followed God and sacrificed
And now their faith is crowned by Christ.

St. Peter holds the highest place,
Yet Paul is not the less by grace.
An equal faith was giv’n to Paul:
The chosen vessel of God’s call.

St. Peter, downward crucified—
To honor God in how he died—
Securely tied, he sees unfold
The death his Shepherd once foretold.

On such foundations Rome may claim
The highest service of God’s name.
His noble blood has dignified
The city where this prophet died.

Let all the world, then, run to Rome.
Let families of nations come!
The head of nations teaches there
Beside the nations’ teacher's chair.

O Lord, we ask that we may be
In their exalted company,
And with our princes sing Your praise
Forever, to unending days.

Notes from Msgr. Wadsworth Seminr


Aspects of English Translation
 
Outline of a Seminar by Msgr Andrew Wadsworth
Executive Director of ICEL
Church Music Association of America Colloquium XXI
Salt Lake City, June 28th 2012
 
1.      The work of ICEL takes shape
 
In October 1963, during one of the sessions of the Second Vatican Council, the bishops of 10 English-speaking countries (including the United States) agreed to collaborate in the production of English translations of liturgical texts and so formed the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Other language groups, including French and German, formed similar commissions.
 
2.    Dom Placide Bruylants OSB outlines the challenge
 
How should we approach these texts, which could be called the classics of Christian prayer? Do they deserve this title in the sense in which Cicero is called the classic of Latin eloquence? Or are they classics in the manner of a Corneille or a Racine, for the depth with which they have succeeded in depicting the constants of the human soul and heart?
 
We would be tempted to say that they have both of these characteristics, though in different ways.
 
Without doubt, the orations that we call ‘ancient’, those of the liturgy of the seasons and principal feasts of the Roman calendar, which we find definitively fixed at the time of Charlemagne, exhibit a literary perfection that has hardly been successfully imitated later, or outside the purely Roman tradition. In this sense, one could speak of a classic period, stretching roughly from Leo I (440-461) to Gregory I (590-604). . . .
 
But there is another respect in which the orations are ‘classics’, and have remained so in the full sense of the word. They express in a classic manner what is most fundamental in our attitude towards God. They teach us how to enter by prayer into the mystery of God, and more especially into the mystery of God’s redemptive love.
 
Beyond their literary form, which reflects the Christian culture and civilisation of a quite specific period, they express the permanent religious reality of the Christian mystery, which transcends the contingencies of time and space…
 
If we are to transmit into the texts that we shall be praying tomorrow in our own language all the religious density of their Latin originals, our language, like theirs, will need to have a clearly sacred character, which translators will probably take a long time to discover’.
Dom Placide Bruylants OSB ‘In search of a new style of prayer in translating the orations of the Missal’.
 
3.    Vernacular developments using the 1962 Missale Romanum
 
In 1964/5 and 1967 some changes were officially introduced into the Roman-Rite liturgy of the Mass in the wake of decisions of the Second Vatican Council, but no new edition of the Roman Missal was produced to incorporate them. They were reflected in the provisional vernacular translations produced in various countries when the language of the people began to be used in addition to Latin. References sometimes met in an English-language context to "the 1964 Missal" concern these temporary vernacular productions, not the Roman Missal itself. Even countries that had the same language used different translations and varied in the amount of vernacular admitted.
 
4.    An initial  approach based on translating the Roman Canon
 

We have reached the stage of first revision, but have said nothing to the bishops of the ten countries involved. . . . We have rigorously eliminated from the text any traces of the Latin rhetorical flourishes, excessive use of adjectives, etc. which might in any way detract from the nature of our own language and the contemporary tone we wish to give to the translation.

 
Fr Frederick McManus, then Director of ICEL, a letter to Mgr Wagner of the Trier Liturgical Institute, March 13, 1967.
 
         5. Comme le prévoit – January 25, 1969
 
The Consilium, began to prepare for the promulgation of the new Roman Missal, and issued this text which contained guidelines for translators. The guiding principle of the document was “dynamic equivalency,” which translates basic thoughts rather than words. The original words and form are seen as important only as a vehicle for the meaning; therefore, it is the meaning alone that is considered truly important in the translation.
 
6.Formal v Dynamic Equivalence
 
Comme le prévoit was much influenced by the writings of Eugene Nida of the American Bible Society. He had developed these notions in relations to translation of the Scriptures. He contrasted ‘formal equivalence’, where the translator renders the sense of the original word for word, with ‘dynamic equivalence’, which allows a freer approach, seeking to reproduce the effect, rather than the structure, of the original. In Nida’s own view, dynamic and formal equivalence are not opposites, but rather two principles to be held continually in balance by a sensitive translator.
 
         7. Particular Challenges in translating Latin into English
 
·        Register – the elevated register of the original texts is difficult to reproduce in English which will be easily understood when heard.  Thou/You debate.
·        Consideration of the classic structure of orations
·        Relative pronoun qui difficult to render = you who/you/ who…
·        Lack of semantic equivalence in Latin cognates found in English
sacramentum/sacrament; pius/pious etc.
·        Demands of current English translations of the Scriptures in rendering internal quotations or allusions.

What Will the Monza Manuscript Reveal?

Some pretty exciting research on another 9th century chant manuscript. Dom Mocquereau would be thrilled to know of yet another source on the early chant.

Known for his popular hip-hop, rap and blues classes among Holy Cross students, and for organizing hip-hop festivals for Worcester area high school students, Daniel DiCenso ’98, assistant professor of music, is chasing after his other passion this summer—rare, early music sources.

Right before DiCenso returned to the College to teach in 2008, he traveled to Monza, Italy, to research a manuscript that was cataloged as a 10th- or 11th-century source of Gregorian chant (liturgical music used in the Roman Catholic Church). “Very little was known about the manuscript, but the catalog description didn’t seem to jibe with the date,” DiCenso observes. “When I arrived in Monza I was shocked to discover that the manuscript actually might date back to as early as 850 A.D.”

These findings are significant because early sources of Gregorian chant survived in France and Switzerland, but scholars thought that no early Italian sources were in existence. “This Monza manuscript is a kind of ‘missing link’ between a body of music that was allegedly exported from Rome to all Christian churches during the eighth and ninth centuries,” he explains.

How could this happen? Because a complicated cataloging error had dated the manuscript incorrectly, therefore, no one paid much attention to the chant it contained. Until DiCenso began his work on the Monza manuscript, which he describes as “one of the three earliest sources of Gregorian chant in existence, the only source of its unique type, and the earliest source to contain a complete chant formulary for the famous ‘Requiem’ Mass, which was the inspiration for famous works by later composers such as Mozart and Verdi.”

DiCenso has recently been invited to present this research at the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music in Rome on July 8, 2012 as part of conference session sponsored by the Cantus Planus study group of the International Musicological Society. “All of the chant scholars participating in the special session are excited by the rare opportunity to present our research at the Pontifical Institute, but for me there is a special significance given that my research deals directly with questions about the history of the liturgy in Rome.”

The Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music was founded by Pope Pius X in 1910 to teach the disciplines of liturgical music in terms of practical, theoretical and historical knowledge, to promote the dissemination of the traditional sacred music, and to encourage artistic expressions appropriate to today’s culture.

“This source is new and important evidence that both complicates and challenges the dominant view of chant transmission,” explains DiCenso’s colleague Jessica Waldoff, associate professor of music. “Dan’s research is groundbreaking.”

DiCenso’s project is titled: “More Roman than ‘Gregorian,’ More Frankish than ‘Old Roman:’ What a Newly Rediscovered Italian Source Reveals about the Roman and Frankish Character of Chant Transmission in the Mid-Ninth Century.”

His work on this Monza manuscript is part of a larger study to edit all of the existing sources of Gregorian chant for the Mass up to the end of the ninth century. “All of the earliest sources have not been edited,” Daniel explains, “and so producing a volume that collects all of these sources together in one place would be a significant scholarly advancement in the field.”

Recently awarded the Robert L. Ardizzone (’63) Junior Faculty Research Award by Holy Cross, he is using this to work on the Monza manuscript this summer, and also meet with the few experts in the world who have the expertise to verify his findings—as well as view and research other manuscripts in Monza, Bergamo and Milan.

The chant doesn’t stop there. At Holy Cross, DiCenso recently taught a course titled “Chant as Popular Music,” which featured a class trip to the Benedictine Abbey Regina Laudis, in Conn., to hear live chant being sung in the context of a Vespers service. This upcoming spring semester he hopes to offer a course called “Gregorian Chant,” and this fall he will teach chant in a class titled “History of Western Music.”

DiCenso earned his B.A. in music from Holy Cross, an M.A. in music from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in classical studies from Villanova University, an M.S. in education from the University of Pennsylvania, a Ph.D. in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Cambridge in 2012, where he was the first Holy Cross student to earn a Gates Scholarship. Last academic year he served as coordinator of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program. DiCenso resides in Boston, Mass.


Institutions, Not Just Events

Institutions, Not Events
by Jeffrey Tucker

Gregory Glenn, the amazing director of the Choir School of the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City, Utah, made a point in a lecture that really struck a nerve. He was discussing the merits of having not just a choir in the parish but of establishing a full school with daily liturgical performances and constant year-round teaching.

Speaking at the Sacred Music Colloquium, He said that the Catholic world is too much caught up in an event-based culture. We need to be focused more on building excellence within an institutional structure, one that reflects constant commitment and dedication over the long term.

And he speaks with some serious authority here. Everyone who attended the concert of the Choir School kids agreed that this is surely the greatest Catholic choir in the country. This is a judgement made by people who would know. I heard that phrase again and again all week at the Sacred Music Colloquium.

His comments were balanced and beautiful and inspiring. What follows is really my takeaway and not his words. He is right. We hold a conference on catechesis and expect everyone to learn how to teach Catholic doctrine in a one-day seminar. We hold seminars on particular topics and expect the attendees to absorb all truth in a few sessions and then teach the world.

In the world of music, we slap together so-called “children’s choirs” and put them on stage for Christmas. Everyone cheers no matter how bad it sounds, and no matter that the kids know nothing of singing or music. Parish musicians show up a few minutes before Mass and just try to get through the next hour without obvious embarrassment. They call it a music program.

The Church Music Association of American holds several events. We do our best to provide a full immersion in the world of Gregorian chant for a full week. Three hundred attended this year. It was an experience beyond description. Such a thing on this scale hasn’t existed in more than half a century. It is glorious.

And yet, there is a difference between an event and institution. There is a serious shortage of institutions that can train musicians on the level they should be trained. You cannot accomplish what is needed in one week. We are also lacking in parishes and cathedrals that are willing to back with full commitment a sacred music programs.

Even the CMAA itself is not yet an institution as such but more like a backer of events and publications and blogs -- and that’s great for now but it is not enough. The CMAA stepped up and did the right thing when no one else was willing and now it attracts intense interest and remains the only reliable training ground for average Catholic musicians. But it is not the end point, not the ideal.

What makes a real difference in people’s lives and in the culture are programs that are ongoing, stable, relentless, and embedded in the daily schedules and lives of both the students and teachers. This is what gives rise to full fluency in the language of whatever is being taught.

To observe the working of the choir school at the Salt Lake Cathedral is to make the point. I’ve never heard such a confidence and power in children’s voices. Really it amounts to what might be called mastery, the sound of which we rarely encounter in today’s world. It is a reflection of countless hours of work and unfathomable amounts of dedication.

As Gregory would say, 99% of the real work of the choir school is off the radar screen. It makes no headlines, gets no applause, flatters no egos, and praises no performers or directors. It is the deep rehearsal every day, starting with music instruction at the earliest ages and continuing on through maturity. It means sacrifice, discipline, and non-stop commitment -- without pep rallies, banners, and adulation.

His point especially struck home in light of what we see here in Salt Lake. Every parish and Cathedral would absolutely love to have such a choir. Imagine a daily sung Mass and weekly sung Vespers using the best music ever written sung with seemingly impossible precision and power. Who wouldn’t want that?

It doesn’t come easy. It requires someone like Gregory Glenn who is willing to work at low pay for many years, constantly on call and never taking a vacation and doing so with absolutely no assurance that anything would ever come of it. It really serious donors willing to commit serious financial resources with no assurance that the thing would work out in the end. It requires parents who are completely on board with the idea and willing to back all their kids’ efforts.

In short, excellence on this level requires true heroism, which has nothing to do with flags and parades and everything to do with quiet determination in the face of every obstacle. It means pursuing a dream because it is right and true, not because it offers power and prestige. Heroism consists of a million small commitments kept that no one notices, not a few big actions that everyone praises.

Glenn is right about this. The Cathedral of the Madeleine Choir School is leaving its mark on history in a quiet but lasting way.

Let me close with a final plea. I’m forever trying to raise money for the Church Music Association of America, but I would like to suggest another if additional path. If you are looking for an institution to add to your Will, please consider this amazing school. They are pushing a capital campaign for improved facilities right now. They need funds now and in the future. I can’t imagine a better investment in the future of Catholic music than this institution now and in the future.


The Graduale Parvum: "Gradual Progress"

Last evening, before his exquisitely sung Mass, Fr. Guy Nicholls of the Birmingham Oratory introduced the Colloquium to the forthcoming Graduale Parvum, a most promising form of Proper chants, based on the pioneering work of László Dobszay.

Instead of relying upon newly composed simple chants, the work is based on the very thoughtful realization that the Church already has a vast store of simpler Gregorian melodies, the antiphons of the Divine Office. These may be paired with the Proper text to form a new unity, with the authenticity of a true, ancient, Gregorian melody.

Notable as well is the intended format of the Divine Office melody as an antiphonal chant, wonderfully appropriate for those Proper Mass texts with an antiphonal form.

At some point in the future I would like to write out some thoughts about the publishing decision, not exclusive to the Graduale Parvum but also Simple English Propers and By Flowing Waters, of pointing the Psalm texts rather than lining the text of the song out beneath a printed melody. Despite many good reasons for pointing, the latter format is enormously more initially accessible to the average parish musician and would greatly increase the possibilty of these collections being used regularly in more situations--and thus, of the Proper texts of the Mass being sung. But for now, let me say that this is a brilliantly thought-out project, and easy and lovely to sing.

One insight I gained from Fr. Nicholls' talk is the pattern of Introits through Ordinary Time, which acts not as a reflection on the readings, but as a Psalter. This is a thought that might well resonate in and help form the minds of parish musicians who make decisions about music to be sung at Mass.

Wonderful Performance: Tu es Petrus, St. Peters



And this absolutely wonderful treat! Westminster in the Vatican!



Thursday, June 28, 2012

From the Colloquium composer seminars

I really have enjoyed the three days thus far of the new format of composers offering their new (and sometimes vintage) pieces for audition, support and, yes, critique. Of course, under the truly pastoral eye of David Hughes' facilitation, the exchange of support and suggestions, reasoning and recollection has created a truly collegial and positive environment. Everyday has seen a few new faces walk through the door, and everyone leaves smiling for any number of reasons. One obvious reason is that this generation of composers knows the principles of Musicam Sacram and recognizes that in these time-honed disciplines, there is yet tremendous freedom for expression.

53. New works of sacred music should conform faithfully to the principles and norms set out above. In this way they will have "the qualities proper to genuine sacred music, being within the capacities not merely of large choirs but of smaller choirs, facilitating the participation of all the faithful."38 As regards the heritage that has been handed down those parts which correspond to the needs of the renewed Liturgy should first be brought to light. Competent experts in this field must then carefully consider whether other parts can be adapted to the same needs. As for those pieces which do not correspond to the nature of the Liturgy or cannot be harmonized with the pastoral celebration of the Liturgy -- they may be profitably transferred to popular devotions, especially to celebrations of the word of God.
In the interest of keeping the confidence of those composers, unlike myself, who risked and Saturday will further risk, the scrutiny of their fellows not to identify them by name. But we have a totally new panel thus far, some of whom we know from forums, but none that I've known from previous colloquium reading sessions. That is a VERY good indicator or progress. I've subscribed to the "Mike Tyson" Principle, which is that though there are clearly true champions known to the public wide and far, there are likely a host of "comers" out in the hinterlands punching the little and big bags waiting for their moment. So, yes, there are more Kevin Allen's out there, and some are here.
One of them has had two pieces read and considered-a Reproaches for Good Friday, and a Vidi aquam that are what my old art professor would have dubbed "Vermeers." They are jewel-like, small grandeur pieces that are practically flawless, full of light and contrast from within and from a divine source (like the side windows the Flemish master was so fond to use to focus attention to the subject's detail.)
Speaking of the Flemish flavor, we have two seminarians who've participated every day this week, one of them from the northern European coastal region. His life story is extraordinary, which includes an early career as a working jazz musician. We've sung one of his works, an entrance hymn that is somewhat like what I think Professor Mahrt called a Missale Properium, a Mass with certain Propers that must must attend the Ordinary. But this two part entrance, accompanied, functions in many varieties. As we all tinkered with it, much to the composer's enthusiasm, the great Hughes suggested we sing it unaccompanied, which wasn't one of the  variables the author noted. What a revelation that took all our breaths away! Two parts, and not Lasso! But of aching beauty that would bring out a whole new dimension to the piece when the antiphon is repeated.
Our bravest soul thus far is a compositional novice whose piece is canon based. S/he is a teacher of younger children (3rd grade and up) and admits to practically no formal theory studies. But this new soul's instincts are very good, and I believe will bring to bear with both his/her compositional evolution and his/her teaching methods a great love and also a reverence for the adherence to the notion that the melody et al is always to serve the liturgical text. And properties common to chant were clearly evident in the "Kyrie" s/he submitted. What was though of as perhaps a pedagogical tool for children also became evidently valuable for adult performance as well.
Our other seminarian (who could pass for Matt Maher!) has submitted a Kyrie and Gloria. Though in five voices, our merry six voices managed to sing it quite smoothly, save for the  fat old quy pretending to be a countertenor alto! This composer stated that the Kyrie was inspired by hours of listening to Eric Whitacre pieces, but his "vocabulary" is quite distinct and even apart from that California surfer! His knowledge of both theory and musicality reminded me more of 20th century giants like Rorem or Barber. And though there do occur a few modern clusters we've come to appreciate from Whitacre, Lauridsen, Stroope and others, there is not the ponderous density that sometimes overwhelms the ear and the mind to keep up with the purpose of the composition, the exposition of the text. This Kyrie setting has voice leading with the ease of Palestrina, and the textures and varying spread of harmonic density, tension and release seems the work of a seasoned veteran!
We've also sung and processed the work of a couple of local DM's expressly composed for their own parish choral "forces" which were described as not quite all that "armed!" But a Mass setting in a mannered Byzantine style proved quite exquisite. And another composer's setting of the Medieval carol, "There is no rose of such virtue" uses quite modern chordal textures and voice leading (If you know the work of Clausen, Gawthrop, Paulus, Mulhulland etc.) that still doesn't obscure the beautiful text which originally alternated Chaucerian English with Latin responses. As I look through my stack I've noticed the work of another composer who day job isn't music or teaching oriented is among the lot. So, I will amend and augment this post tomorrow, Friday, after I find it and we read and help each other towards reaching for that "paradigm" we treasure, that music which is sacred, universal and beautiful. I hope to continue to benefit by the generosity and genius of these folk. Come to the Saturday reading session, you'll feel the same way.

What has Westminster Abbey to do with the Sistine Chapel?

We interrupt our wall-to-wall Colloquium coverage to point out that an extraordinary ecumenical musical moment is happening tomorrow, on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul..

At the express wish of the Holy Father, the Choir of Westminster Choir of Westminster AbbeyAbbey will form one choir for the Mass with the Papal Choir, the Cappella Musicale Pontificia “Sistina”, under the direction of the Maestro Direttore, Mons. Massimo Palombella. In addition the Choir of Westminster Abbey, under the direction of the Abbey’s Organist and Master of the Choristers, James O’Donnell, will sing music from the tradition of the Church of England.


The outpouring at CharlesCole.com

This is wonderful. Here is Charles Cole's talk on chant at Solesmes. It's all the stuff you wanted to know but didn't think you could properly phrase the question.

Here are photos from Mass. He uses a serious camera, the kind that you have to hang around your neck.

And here is his talk on basic conducting.

Msgr. Wadsworth's Speech to the CMAA, Colloquium XXII


The Reform of the Roman Rite

       When I am in Rome, I hear very little these days about the ‘reform of the reform’ – it just isn’t within the arena of most people’s awareness. In matters liturgical, if anything, we see something of a polarization and many people seem to have a vested interest in promoting this. Happily, not everyone is of this view and I would like this evening to concentrate on one such person whose view, fortunately for us, will be decisive. I refer to the Holy Father. Just ten days ago, he addressed these thoughts to those gathered in Dublin for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress:
The Congress also occurs at a time when the Church throughout the world is preparing to celebrate the Year of Faith to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, an event which launched the most extensive renewal of the Roman Rite ever known. Based upon a deepening appreciation of the sources of the liturgy, the Council promoted the full and active participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic sacrifice. At our distance today from the Council Fathers’ expressed desires regarding liturgical renewal, and in the light of the universal Church’s experience in the intervening period, it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities. The renewal of external forms, desired by the Council Fathers, was intended to make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery. Its true purpose was to lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist, and thus with the living God, so that through this contact with Christ’s love, the love of his brothers and sisters for one another might also grow. Yet not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and "active participation" has been confused with external activity. Hence much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal.
[Pope Benedict XVI – Video Message at the Closing Mass of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin June 17th, 2012]
During our brief time together, I propose to reflect with you on a few themes taken from this single recent utterance of the Holy Father, as I believe it is highly representative of his thought in relation to this all-important consideration. The Holy Father said that:
1.     “the Second Vatican Council, an event which launched the most extensive renewal of the Roman Rite ever known

Very few people could  have foreseen the wholesale revision of the liturgy which would come in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and certainly few could  foresee that the unifiying experience of a Latin liturgy would become entirely alien to most Catholics born in the last third of the twentieth century. The unchangeable nature of this characteristic of the Liturgy was a view largely shared by Blessed John Henry Newman,  Mgr Robert Hugh Benson, Mgr Ronald Knox and, until the liturgical reform happened, also by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Commentators such as Fr Joseph Gelineau SJ, composer of the famous psalm tones, went as far as to say “the Roman Rite, as we knew it, has been destroyed”!

The factors which fed into the liturgical reform after the Council were complex and in some ways, not entirely contemporary. I think we must admit that until relatively recently there has been very little scholarship that is able to accurately identify the sources of the liturgical reform. In some cases, the scholarly opinions upon which some decisions were based does not stand the test of time. We must hope that scholarly commentary which unravels some of the mystery surrounding the making of the new liturgy becomes more readily available in the near future.
Whether or not we have any scholarly insight, many of us have lived in the Church through this period and have thereby accumulated a vast reservoir of experiences which for good or ill shape our perceptions in relation to the liturgy and guide our expectations when we consider what we would hope to find when we come to worship God in the liturgy. While there is a sort of commonality to these observations across a wide spectrum of liturgical preference, it goes without saying that whether something is considered desirable or not will largely depend on your view of what the liturgy is meant to achieve. I have come to the view that there is little agreement in this important matter and many people proceed on what is essentially a privatized view of something which is by definition common property.
In his address to the Eucharistic Congress, the Holy Father said:

2.     “a great deal has been achieved”

Obviously, there have been some very positive developments in the wake of the liturgical reforms that followed Vatican II. Among them, I would cite:
-         The liturgies of the Sacred Triduum, largely unknown to a previous generation, have now become the liturgical heart of the year for most Catholics.
-         The Liturgy of the Hours, previously largely limited to the clergy, has become more genuinely the Prayer of the Church in the experience of both religious and lay people.
-         A wider selection of lections in the Mass and all the Sacramental Rites has strengthened the idea that Scripture is part of the primitive liturgical κήρυγμα.
-         In those places where the principles of the liturgical movement have been applied to music, there is a greater appreciation of the various functions of music in different elements of the liturgy.
-         The revision of the rites of Christian Initiation has led to a greater understanding of Baptism as the foundational fact of our ecclesial identity.
-         Where provision has been made for individual Confession, there has been a return to the centrality of the Sacrament of Penance in the personal journey of conversion.
-         The renewal of the Rite of the Worship of the Blessed Eucharist outside Mass has facilitated (if not quite inspired) the widespread adoption of Eucharistic Adoration as a standard element of parish life and as an important means of engendering private prayer.
On this recent occasion, the Holy Father

3.     it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities”

-         A sense of the communion of the Church has become limited to local communities that are in many ways self-selecting – many Catholics have a poor understanding of what it means to belong to the Universal Church but a highly developed understanding of what it means to belong to a self-selecting parish community of people like themselves.
-         Any notion of the shape of the Liturgical year has been greatly lessened by an ironing-out of those features which characterized the distinctive seasons of the year.
-         The universal tendency to ignore sung propers and to substitute non-liturgical alternatives.
-         The transference of Solemnities which are holydays of obligation to Sundays destroys the internal dynamics of the liturgical cycle e.g. The Epiphany and The Ascension.
-         The frequent tendency to gloss or paraphrase the liturgical texts, supplying continuous commentary, has contributed to an improvised or spontaneous character in much liturgical celebration.
-         The multiplication of liturgical ‘ministries’ has led to considerable confusion and error concerning the relationship between the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the baptized.
-         The liturgy often seems to have the quality of a performance with the priest and liturgical ministers cast in the roles of performers and behaving accordingly. Consequently, congregations are often expecting to be ‘entertained’ rather as spectators might be at a theatre.
-         The manner of the distribution and reception of Holy Communion (including the appropriateness of one’s reception of Communion at a particular Mass) has led to a casual disregard for this great Sacrament.
-         A proliferation of Communion Services presided over by lay people has resulted in a lessening of the sense of the importance of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
-         The appalling banality of much liturgical music and the lack of any true liturgical spirit in the use of music in the liturgy has been a primary generating force in anti-liturgical culture.
The Holy Father then went on to say that:

4.     not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and "active participation" has been confused with external activity”

In my view, this is the  very crux of the matter and I would like to illustrate it with reference to the Mass at which Pope Benedict’s remarks were heard – the closing Mass of the recent Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. The improvements in liturgical culture and particularly the improvements in liturgical music, that have become increasingly evident throughout this papacy, particularly in large-scale celebrations were sadly almost entirely absent from this occasion, giving the event a sort of ‘eighties’ feel to it. More specifically:

-         the entire liturgy had a ‘performance’ quality to it, with the assembly as the principal focus. This was borne out by the fact that musicial items were frequently greeted with applause.

-         There was a frequent disregard for the provisions of the GIRM. This was particularly evident with reference to music:

+ None of the antiphons of the proper were sung for the entrance, offertory and communion processions (cf GIRM #40)

+  Gregorian Chant was conspicuous by its absence (cf GIRM #41). None of the Missal chants was used for the people’s parts of the Order of Mass (with the single exceptions of the gospel and preface dialogues), even though the liturgy was predominantly in English and these chants would have been known by most people present.

+ In the Profession of Faith, after the Cardinal celebrant had intoned Credo III, lectors read the Apostles’ Creed (which has a different intonation to the Nicene Creed) in a variety of languages, spoken paragraphs were punctuated by the sung response ‘Credo, Amen!” This is not  recognizably one of the modes for the Creed described in the GIRM (cf GIRM #48).

+ Much music did not ‘correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action’ [GIRM #41] such as the celebrity spot during the distribution of Holy Communion of 3  clerical tenors, ‘The Priests’, singing the impossibly sentimental song “May the road rise up to meet you”. I feel like asking, just what is wrong with the Communion antiphon and psalm?

+ Despite the international character of the occasion, the use of Latin in the people’s sung parts was almost non-existant (cf GIRM #41).

The depressing cumulative effect of the disregard for all these principles in a major liturgy, celebrated by a papal legate, and broadcast throughout the world, is hard to underestimate. If I were given to conspiracy theories, I would almost feel persuaded that this was a deliberately calculated attempt to broadcast a different message and to oppose the better liturgical spirit of recent times. But surely it cannot be so?

I think we have to ask such questions and indeed to surmise that the influence of former barons of the liturgical establishment has found a new and conspicuous arena of activity in which to model their example of poor liturgy.  There can be no talk of the reform of the Roman Rite until the GIRM is enforced as the minimum requirement. If it remains a largely fantasy text at the beginning of our altar missals then ‘the rebuilding of the broken down city’ will take a very long time.

The Holy Father then concluded by stating that:

5. “much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal”
We must conclude by agreeing with the Holy Father – there is much to be done and happily a week like this one is a prophetic sign of the new liturgical road map – where we are going and how we are going to do it! In an attempt to engender on-going improvement in the quality of our liturgy, and in the hope that Catholics will be able to encounter a liturgy that is self-evidently expressive of our liturgical tradition and conveys a sense of something larger than the purely local, in a highly personal view, I would identify the following as desirable characteristics of the liturgy of the future:
-         A sense of reverence for the text: the unity of the Roman Rite is now essentially a textual unity. The Church permits a certain latitude in the interpretation of the norms that govern the celebration of the liturgy and hence our unity is essentially textual: we use the same prayers and meditate on the same Scriptures. This is more clearly evident now with a single English text for universal use.
-         A greater willingness to heed Sacrosanctum concilium rather than continual recourse to the rather nebulous concept of the ‘spirit of the Council’ which generally attempts to legitimize liturgical abuses rather than correct them. Currently, these teachings are more likely to be evidenced in a well prepared presentation of the Extraordinary Form than in most Ordinary Form celebrations. It need not be so.
-         In relation to both forms of the Roman Rite, a careful attention to the demands of the calendar and the norms which govern the celebration of the liturgy, not assuming that it is possible or acceptable to depart from these norms.
-         A re-reading of the encyclical Mediator Dei of Pope Pius XII in conjunction with more recent Magisterial documents. In this way, the light of tradition might be perceived to shine on all our liturgical celebrations.
-         The widespread cultivation of a dignified and reverent liturgy that evidences careful preparation and respect for its constituent elements in accordance with the liturgical norms.
-         A recovery of the Latin tradition of the Roman Rite that enables us to continue to present elements of our liturgical patrimony from the earliest centuries with understanding. This necessarily requires a far more enthusiastic and widespread commitment to the teaching and learning of Latin in order that the linguistic culture required for interpreting our texts and chants may be more widely experienced and our patrimony enjoy a wider constituency.
-         We should seek to see the exclusion of all music from the Liturgy which does not a ‘liturgical voice’, regardless of style.
-         The exclusion from the liturgy of music which only expresses secular culture and which is ill-suited to the demands of the liturgy. A renaissance of interest in and use of chant in both Latin and English as a recognition that this form of music should enjoy ‘first place’ in our liturgy and all other musical forms are suitable for liturgical use to the extent that they share in the characteristics of chant.
-         An avoidance of the idea that music is the sole consideration in the liturgy, the music is a vehicle for the liturgy not the other way around!
-         A commitment to the celebration and teaching of the ars celebrandi of both forms of the Roman Rite, so that all priests can perceive more readily how the light of tradition shines on our liturgical life and how this might be communicated more effectively to our people.
-         A clearer distinction between devotions, non-liturgical forms of prayer and the Sacred Liturgy. A lack of any proper liturgical sense has led to a proliferation of devotions as an alternative vehicle for popular fervour. This was a widespread criticism of the liturgy before the Council and we now have to ask ourselves why the same lacuna has been identified in the newer liturgical forms.
-         A far greater commitment to silence before, during and after the Liturgy is needed.
Having travelled the English-speaking world very widely in preparation for the implementation of the English translation of the third typical edition of the Missale Romanum, and having experienced the liturgy in a wide variety of circumstances and styles, I would conclude that I have generally encountered a great desire for change, although not always among those who are directly responsible for the liturgy. I think we are currently well placed to respond to this desire and this is evidenced by the fact that many things which were indicated fifty years ago, such as the singing of the Mass, and more particularly the singing of the proper texts rather than the endless substitution of songs and hymns, are only now being seriously considered and implemented. It is earnestly to be desired that such developments continue to flourish and that an improved liturgical culture is accessible to everyone in the Church.
Crucial to this peaceful revolution has been the leadership and example of the present Holy Father who has consistently studied and written about the liturgy in a long life of scholarship which now informs his governance of the Church’s liturgical life. Much that he commends was already evident in aspects of liturgical scholarship from the early twentieth century onwards. In our own time, however, it is finally being received with the joy and enthusiasm that it merits. A new generation of Catholics eagerly awaits a greater experience of the basic truth that the liturgy is always a gift which we receive from the Church rather than make for ourselves. The Church Music Association of America and all those who identify with its initiatives and benefit from its prophetic lead have a very serious and a highly significant contribution to make to this process. May God bless us all as we share in his work.