It seems that the whole article requires a small $1.95 fee. Sorry.
Perhaps the good Deacon would supply our readers here with a pdf of the balance of his article.
|Rev. Mr. Cunningham|
It seems that the whole article requires a small $1.95 fee. Sorry.
Perhaps the good Deacon would supply our readers here with a pdf of the balance of his article.
|Rev. Mr. Cunningham|
After getting and perusing the July/Aug. issue of the New Oxford Review, I read a lovely little piece of parabolic fiction by Deacon W. Patrick Cunningham of San Antonio. Deacon apparently attended the Indy Colloquium in 2014 and was moved to imagine what a conversation the characters OF and EF would have (with moderator.) It’s clever, not at all excessively scholarly or protracted. The central focus of the article regards how each rite “informs” the other, as Cunningham was invoking PEmeritus B16’s motu of ’07. I hope to have the Review’s permission to link this forum and the Café to the entire article within a couple of days. The good deacon assiduously avoids the snark that often attends such compare/contrast discussions, and actually the article could serve as a bridge not only for RotR, but perhaps actualizing the pastoral choice to celebrate the Vetus Ordo.
I would like to credit Mr. Pieter Vree and the staff of the “New Oxford Review” for their kind courtesy in allowing early release of the article.
Here is the article
My dear CMAA sisters and brothers at the 25th Colloquium,
Eight years ago I sat in some auditorium at Catholic University in D.C. and listened to Professor William Mahrt lay forth the the blueprint for what we now call by a number of names: the Reform of the Reform, Progressive Solemnity, Brick by Brick, et cetera. I am unable to be with you all this year, particularly as I love Pittsburgh and Duquesne with special affection and despite having separated my shoulder on her city streets after the second colloquium.
But with a special, almost burning joy, I want to let you all know that the prophetic remedies for the liturgical and musical sorrows and desert that Dr. Mahrt has provided all within ear and eye shot through his whole life, these are and will continue to bear great fruit. It’s dinner time back in Pennsylvania as I type this. I just came home from the latest in a series of tutorials for one of our associate pastors. Essentially, when he came to the parish not even a year ago as a fairly new priest ordained only one year, he had no essential chanting skills that would enable him to negotiate all the celebrant’s orations in the Missal. By rote memory he would intone a “Per ipsum” that he’d acquired in seminary. After a few months, he asked if I would be willing to help him learn to sing the Mass. Sing the Mass. Well, now as I type, he can chant the whole Third Edition from the “In Nomine…to the Ite Missa est.” Indeed, Deo gratias! I come from every one of these sessions fully of holy joy, for the Lord has sent this priest to us, a sign of His care for His people and their worship of Him in holy and fit manner.
This associate pastor is also now competent and has celebrated the Missa Lecta in the Usus Antiquior, and we are now talking about moving towards both the celebration of a fully sung Novus Ordo in Latin, and a Missa Cantata in the Traditional Latin Mass. So, it can be done. Anywhere, by anyone (like our new priest) who will devote themselves to the simple disciplines laid out for us in our documents, and in study volumes such as Professor Mahrt’s MUSICAL SHAPE OF THE LITURGY will experience my joy. If this is your first colloquium, and you’re going to return this weekend to a parish stultified by mediocrity, do NOT despair. In time, with learning, experience and repeated practice, the things you are doing this week become a real possibility at your home parish.
Fare thee well, my colleagues.
Initially I intended to frame this article from the perspective of “being in the twilight” of my career as a church musician. Typically myopic, I’d forgotten about mentors such as Professor Mahrt, Maestros Salamunovich and Wagner, and Msgr. Schuler. Careers span multiple generations. And I wonder if our mentors had a slight sociological advantage in the formation of fundamental values necessary to their calling as church musicians? Mahrt’s famed anecdote about a pastor asking him to start singing English settings of the Mass , hymns and such, to which he replied “I will, when someone writes something worthy of the Mass in English” illustrates that liturgical confidence instilled in him so early in life.
Right now in our situation in Central California, I think we’ve managed the “brick by brick” strategies fairly well and without resistance from any quarter. That said, many might say if they visited all of our 15 Masses over the weekend, that my assessment requires an asterisk. Sure, our 22 year schola/choir has always sung Latin motets, some Latin Ordinaries since day one, and we now have infused SEP/Simple Choral Propers/Choral Communios (Rice)/Weber and Kelly Propers, Kevin Allen’s collection, Noel Jone’s Anthologies, Heath Morber’s English Communion motets into weekly rotation while singing Masses by Mueller, Jernberg, Nickel, Ostrowski and others since MR3. What’s the asterisk for? We offer this RotR at one of those 15 Masses only.
We underwent a complete pastoral change of clerical staff a year ago, and it’s taken a year for things to settle into “smooth functioning.” Our newest associate, a late vocation, is taking weekly tutoring in chanting all the collects from MR3, and he’s already capable of offering the Missa Lecta in the EF, with the goal of moving up to Cantata, Solemn and Requiem. He’s a voracious student which astounds me. Our other associate chants collects, prefaces and the prayers of consecration fairly regularly, and now prefers the “Circumambulation” method of entrance. Even our pastor, who is possessed of fine voice but rarely chants, offered his gratitude to the schola for maintaining the use of Latin at English Masses, reminding the congregation that “Latin is still the mother language of the Church,” direct quote. He then proceed to offer the final blessing in Latin (spoken) flawlessly.
At this point I’m happy to have assisted getting the “sacred, universal and beautiful” maxim ensconced (or at least a foot in the door) in a very diverse parish of four churches. But, what I have not tried to do is shift my managerial style for subordinate leadership from “example, suggestion, catechesis etc.” to mandatory and unilateral change.
The newer voices among us now, Pluth, Ostrowski, Leung, Yanke, Motyka, Woods and many others are now afforded a much larger audience eager to hear and put into practice their advice and strategies to revive liturgically/musically malnourished and impoverished parishes. However, I wonder if their motus operandi’s occasionally have a sort of Marie Antoinette attitude when practicality occasionally conflicts with philosophy. “I want to eat my cake, and have it too” when it comes to programming styles and forms of music that clearly do have pride of place at liturgy, namely chant and polyphony (in the Roman sense) and newer works that are clearly generated in those models?
Over at CCWatershed, Andrew Leung’s methodology involves negotiating three “battles.” The first of these is Theocentric Vs. Anthropocentric textual/lyrical content as regards the theological consonance with RCC tenets/ethos. That is an easy sell here, MSF, NLM and other RotR sites. And this consideration ought to be the first priority of pastors and musicians if they’ve gotten lazy or convenient. But I’d wager that musicians who program “Gather Us In” aren’t much concerned with either of those battle stances. They choose it because they aren’t at all interested in quality of worship, or upsetting a status quo, or they simply don’t want to “learn new stuff.” And if the pastor and congregation provides no evidence of rejecting “Standard Operating Procedure” no battles at all will ensue unless some brave muckraker wants to upset a lot of apple carts. You could solve the poetic hymn versus assigned Proper processional problem with a hymn setting by Pluth, Tietze, Woods and many others, but a reactionary opposition may insist that strophic hymnody belongs to Leung’s second battle: Liturgical Vs. Devotional.
“Hymnody” per se is relegated by liturgical purists to the Liturgy Hours and Devotions. That would likely include Latin metric hymns that are set in chant form. Well, are we prepared to revise the culture of the last half century (and longer actually) by insisting on chanted Propers only? Are we going to then bend to the numerous resources of vernacular chanted Propers rather than going all in with the Liber, Graduale, Gregorian Missal, Graduale Simplex Latin Propers in the OF?
One could then slide over to the Ordinary and ask the same questions. If your congregation has successfully acquired Bob Hurd’s Missa Ubi Caritas in Latin, are the only other settings you can move to are the Gregorian settings? Or if your choir and congregation can sing the Proulx Missa Oecumenica or the Jernberg Neri, should you next shoot for the Schubert in G, or Lord help us, the Vierne? If you sing a Kevin Allen polyphonic Sanctus in Latin, should you regularly program the Hassler Missa Dixit Maria? I want all these cakes! They’re all sacred, universal and beautiful!
I’m not inclined to deliberate Leung’s third battle, “Revolution Vs. Reform.” I think perhaps his premise is that the Church’s post-conciliar “song” devolved (or gravitated to what Tom Day called the “sweet song” option) into misappropriation of secular, idiomatic musical styles and forms. I don’t believe that’s wholly incorrect. But I think that contemporaneous genres often defy simple categorization, and that it is not a fait complite that some “classical” Latin Masses heard in the last fifty years belted out by Cappella Sixtini are of a higher nature, or more simply put, more worthy in terms of beauty than some Masses by Joncas, Schiavone or Janco.
These observations won’t sit well with many of my friends like Dr. Kwasniewski who argue well for the narrower, clear cut with less “options” method, that, prioritized or not, still make room for the “My Little Pony” sort of setting as licit under the GIRM. But I think a lot of our contentiousness is because we simply want to have access to all our cakes, and to eat them too. What do you think?
Hat tip to Brian Michael Page of Providence, though I suppose I could have averted my eyes and ears.
The clip appears to have been posted around June 3rd, so it’s not unreasonable this is a recent occasion. There’s speculation among FB commentary whether this is an RCC or Anglican Nuptial Mass. My blog buddy G (Scelata) borrowed an old double entendre of mine for a post: “Be not a-phrayed.” But between Fr. Chuck’s guitar homily and now this, one has to wonder if for every new tapestry that eventuates at events like the Sacra Litugia conference last week, there are hundreds more “real life” experiences that indicate a great unraveling. The ragged sleeves of Il Papa’s alb are one thing, but the “oob la di, oob la da” DaDa of this “liturgy” simply leaves me stunned and speechless.
“3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and no more.”
I have reservations about expressing the following thoughts just I as have reservations about jumping down a subway platform and grabbing the third rail. But I think what has developed and occurred between Dr. Romeri and Abp. Chaput needs some consideration beyond what is clearly a matter of, among other things, justice. As clearly articulated by the tenets of our faith and religion, Abp. Chaput is ordained and imbued with the Holy Spirit to literally be “in persona Christi” and “Alter Christus” to his flock. But one has to consider whether his actions and words in response to Dr. Romeri’s performance place the archbishop both as one of “the teachers of the law” at once with his duty to represent Christ in all matters.
Corresponding that to the scripture, what was our Lord “saying” by twice writing something in the dust? We cannot know. Was it akin to a line in the sand that he challenged the accusers to cross and exact their justice? Couldn’t have been, as “He wrote in the dust.” For myself, the message was contained in the act of communicating in the most temporary of mediums, dust, sand, dirt, whatever. Perhaps, and we’re not privy nor should we be, Abp. Chaput may well have drawn lines in the sand directly for Dr. Romeri, and then advised him to “go and…….change.” Unfortunately, the public testimonies don’t point to that type of just intervention at this stage.
But my thoughts are not about the Philadelphia story. I believe that there’s a much larger lesson for all of us to consider with the remainder of our tenures as DMM’s, choir/schola masters and such- if we musicians reverse roles from “the accused” to the “teachers of the law” we may very well end up morally wanting and bankrupt, and walk away because “our principles” and, more importantly, our concerns and charges that we drew in the sand- “Reform the Reform…..Abandon the Novus Ordo…..burn the guitars, drums and pianos……pour boiling lead onto all the microphones….let the people sing the Ordinary, WE’LL handle the Propers, thank you very much……and you better believe it’s the Chant and Polyphony Channel in the gallery, 24/7, deal with it!– this sort of stricture-driven mentality may not prevail going into the next centuries, particularly with little influence being exerted by the American prelates, the disturbing inclinations of the European prelates, some of whom preside over vacant Sees, and the emergent, burgeoning Church in Africa and Asia. I know that orthodoxy in those regions is valued much more than in the western Church right now. But we will not be the arbiters of their emerging liturgical traditions.
My advice to young, dedicated musicians who want to serve the Church in any capacity: Be knowledgeable first and flexible second. I know that is precisely how Dr. Romeri was perceived in both St. Louis and Philadelphia. I heard his name more associated with NPM than practically anybody else’s including Virgil Funk. Dr. Romeri was neither strict nor intransient. It seems that his concept of “sacred, universal and beautiful” was at a level that his archbishop, for whatever reason, couldn’t appreciate and then somehow decided Romeri was the immovable object.
The wind’s gonna blow the figures drawn in the dust, and it will break the trunks of the oldest and strongest of trees if it wills. Can we bend and not break? Can we accept a call to diversity and turn that into a beautiful asset and not an onerous chore? I think these and many more questions will face the next sequence of generations of church musicians as a grave concern.
A few folks here and at the blogsite 1Peter5 might have noticed a couple of articles focusing upon the homiletic style of a particular celebrant at a particular parish in a particular diocese as captured on personal video and posted to YouTube. The article I wrote I chose to delete as the YT poster/owner removed said video from YT, which of course is their prerogative. I have no clue, guess, or intuition as to why the video was washed from this site and 1P5, and I’m not going to riff at all on its removal. I “feel” sorry for using the video as an exemplar of “Liturgy Gone Wild,” as I did not intend to condemn or bury the pastor and parish in toto based upon three minutes of an unusual homily.
As of June 4th, it seems that the video was recovered by the Blog 1Peter5. Here is the URL link-
That said, I did choose to do a minimal amount of research about the parish, diocese and priest. Imagine my surprise when opening the “Liturgy” window of the diocese that virtually everything there was pro forma GIRM/CMAA/MS/CSL, even down to extolling polyphony, an official ministerial role reserved to choirs and scholas, throughout various other category buttons/windows. The button indicating the definition of “Sacred Music” was linked to Corpus Christi Watershed’s famed video featuring JMO’s wife (and sister in law?) narrating the orthodoxy of the discipline.
What’s wrong with this picture?
I tend to wonder how much lip service is paid to the informed lobby of CMAA and those who subscribe to the “Reform of the Reform” referendum bubbling up all over global Catholicism, versus the anecdotal evidence that is strikingly contrary and seemingly, purposefully subverted at the parish level? The diocesan website actually represented an ethos that is somewhat to the right of the USCCB letter, “Sing to the Lord.” So, despite the lack of perspective that a three minute video excerpt prohibits, it’s clear that there’s some sort of benign neglect in this diocese as to what constitutes pastoral leadership and surety. That’s not news to me. I’ve lived with this duplicity for decades.
I, as I indicated in my removed article, am no where’s a liturgical purist or Puritan. But, again, for the sake of future generations of baptized Roman Catholic children, we’d better get our story straight or this schizophrenic duplicity will truly bring on the “Remnant Church.” And at this moment, I am not going to be silent about propriety in a political manner of what constitutes “source and summit” of my soul’s existence. I’m not ready for the Benedict Option (google it) to further erode our Faithful’s comprehension and desire for the Divine Liturgy.
I’m done now.