Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Propers Not Hymns! Response to Does This Cartoon Sound Rude? By Jeff Ostrowski

The following quote and poster were copied from published 14 January 2014 by Jeff Ostrowski at Corpus Christi Watershed blog, with a suggested revision by me and an essay on the issues raised by the poster (with comments by Prof. William Mahrt, President of the Church Music Association of America) that follow.

"DOES THIS CARTOON come across as rude? What do you think?
If our tone is rude, we won’t win anybody to our cause … It was supposed to be a “lighthearted” way to point out that volunteer musicians shouldn’t have to be Theologians, but somehow the “humor” sounds snarky to my ear."
6229 Graduale Romanum 
I don't think the cartoon is rude, but I don't think it makes the point. Here is my first suggested revision of the wording. Also see the final revision below:
Hi, I'm Mike, and I'm the volunteer Music Director at my parish.
I choose the music that is played at Mass from the hymns in the back of the worship aid. Parishioners  seem to like the fact that the same hymns are played most of the time, except for Christmas and Easter, when we use seasonal hymns. I'm doing what the pastor expects, and it's the same thing that's done at all Catholic churches I've even been to. Are you saying there's another way to pick the music for Mass?
Hi, I'm Jeff, and I work a Corpus Christi Watershed, where we provide worship aids that promote reverent celebrations of the Mass, as they were actually envisioned by Vatican II in documents on the liturgy.
You don't have to pick the music any more!
After the new Mass was introduced in 1969, it took a long time for guidance to come from the Vatican about what music should be used, so most parishes got in the habit of using hymns during Mass.
Most people who pick music for Mass are not aware that the Church actually recommends that the Propers, which in the Ordinary Form Mass are the Entrance (formerly the Introit), the Offertory, and the Communion for each day, should be sung at their proper place in the Mass, and that hymns are extras. The Propers are Biblical texts, and they are an intrinsic part of the liturgy.  You can find the Propers in the Roman Gradual, the Simple English Propers, and in the recently released St. Issac Jogues Missal and Hymnal. Check them out.

My Comeuppance

I posted this at Facebook, and I was happy that Jeffrey Morse, former music director at St. Stephens, Sacramento, wrote a comment. He wrote that it's not a case of either hymns or propers. I can't say the propers should always be sung at Mass, since they are only sung by the choir.

In reply to his comment, I asked him the following questions: What should be the norm in Ordinary Form Masses? What if they only have a cantor? Where is a hymn appropriate to use in a low Mass when there is no choir? I'm assuming that the congregation should sing the Ordinary at any Mass, right? At a Mass without a choir, what should be done? I am bewildered. No answer yet.

Answers from Chant Scholar William Mahrt

Professor William Mahrt was kind enough to reply to an email I sent him with the above questions. I still need to digest what he wrote a bit more.

To summarize, I believe he is  saying that at a High Mass the Propers should be sung by a choir and the Ordinary (Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Kyrie) should be sung by the congregation (and the choir).  For various reasons spelled out in detail in the quote from his email below, hymns are "not a good fit" for the Mass. Their places is in the Divine Office. He's also suggesting  that at a Low Mass, the congregation should sing the Ordinary of the Mass but not the Propers.

Recap of my questions:

What should be the norm  for the use of hymns in Ordinary Form Masses? What if they only have a cantor? Where is a hymn appropriate to use in a low Mass when there is no choir? How about in a high Mass? I'm assuming that the congregation should sing the Ordinary at any Mass, right? At a Mass without a choir, what should be done?

Answers from Prof. Mahrt:
For a high Mass, the propers should be sung, preferably by a choir, which then can sing the authentic Gregorian melodies. This leaves the Ordinary to be sung by the congregation, if it is in Gregorian chant. Sometimes at such Masses, a recessional hymn is sung, but I think this is gilding the lily; moreover, congregations often don’t want to sing after the Mass; the celebrant leave, they want to also. Simpler settings of the propers may allow the congregation to sing them, but that poses difficulties, since the whole point of the propers is to have texts that change from Sunday to Sunday.
I believe that the Ordinary is in principle the domain of the congregation. If they can sing Gregorian ordinaries well, this is a lot of singing; there is little need for hymns, particularly if the choir sings the proper. This should not, however, rule out the singing of a polyphonic Mass. In my experience, our congregation sings the ordinary in Gregorian chants the Sundays of the year. For Solemnities, we sing a polyphonic  ordinary. Members of the congregation relate that when they have been singing the ordinary regularly, they are well prepared to hear the polyphonic setting, and they do not perceive it as having usurped the congregation’s role. One person in the last fifty years has objected to the polyphonic ordinary.
A cantor can sing the propers, especially if it is clear that they accompany another action, which should be the focus of the congregation’s attention. 
Hymns can be used at a low Mass in the ordinary form, but it still would be better if the ordinary were sung. The common observance is to use hymns to replace the introit, offertory, and communion, sometimes adding a “recessional.” 
There are a number of objections to the singing of hymns; briefly:
1) The texts of the hymns vary greatly in quality, the poetry is often quite trite and somewhat subjective. This is a striking contrast with the texts of the psalms, which are generally the basis of the propers. 
2) The number of hymns generally used is limited, and so they are repeated frequently; this does not fulfill the role of the propers in which the propers vary every Sunday in the year, giving each Sunday a unique character. 
3) The genre of hymn belongs to the Divine Office, where it has a place of being sung for its own sake, rather than being a substitute for a proper, which has the function of accompanying another rite. 
4) Hymns usually have a number of verses, which form a coherent whole; when they are used as proper substitutes, they take quite a bit longer than the ceremony they are supposed to accompany. This almost always means that only the first two or three verses are sung. 
5) The music of hymns is “four-square,” with regular meter and strong beat, features which make it time-bound, in contrast with the Gregorian chants, whose free rhythm is evocative of eternity.
In short, the hymn is not a very good fit with the Catholic liturgy.
Professor Mahrt explains it all to you

After reading Prof. Mahrt's remarks above and adding his insights to what I know about the requirements of Catholic liturgical music, I would change part of what I wrote above to the following (although I admit it is much too wordy for a poster):

You don't have to pick the music any more!  The Church has done it for you. After the new Mass was introduced in 1969, guidance from the Vatican about what music should be used during Ordinary Form Masses was a long time in coming, so most parishes got in the habit of singing hymns.
The fact is that Mass music should almost always consist of  Gregorian chant settings of Biblical texts, which are usually portions of the Psalms. The texts themselves are sacred because they are part of Holy Scripture, inspired by the Holy Ghost. The sacred texts set to sacred music have developed as part of the Mass over the millennia.  And the music is sacred because it is used only for worship.
To know what needs to be sung, you need to know a Proper from an Ordinary and a High (sung) Mass from a Low Mass. The Propers are the texts that change every day in the liturgical year. In the Ordinary Form Mass, the Propers are the Entrance (formerly the Introit), the Offertory, and the Communion.  The Propers are recited by the priest and should also sung by a choir or cantor at high Masses. The Proper texts are an intrinsic part of each day's liturgy, and logically singing of the Propers should not be replaced with hymns.
The Ordinary of the Mass consists of the texts that do not change, the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Credo, and Agnus Dei.  The Ordinary is recited by the priest and should be sung at High Masses by the congregation (and the choir).
Sacred polyphony, which is based on chant,  is also allowed at certain parts of the Mass, such as after the Offertory. Hymns may perhaps be allowed at the recessional, but preferably not at all.

You can find the Propers in the Roman Gradual, the Simple English Propers, and you can find the Propers and settings for the Ordinary along with liturgically sound hymns in the recently released St. Issac Jogues Missal and Hymnal.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

SF Couple's Prayers Answered After 50 Years

Traditional Latin Mass Returns to Their Childhood Parishes

Photos by Roseanne T. Sullivan unless otherwise noted

Here's a little story from May 2014 about how the traditional Latin Mass had recently become more widely available in San Francisco and how that gladdened the hearts of one long-time San Francisco family.

A few months ago, while I was preparing for an interview with Archbishop Cordileone for an article for The Latin Mass magazine, I spoke to Mary Richard, a homeschooling mother of seven, who was born and raised in the city of San Francisco, after we got out of Mass in San Jose one day.*

I told Mary some of the encouraging things I have been learning about initiatives the archbishop has been taking during the year and a half he has been in office to make the traditional Latin Mass more available in the San Francisco archdiocese and to promote more-reverent celebration of all liturgies.

One big piece of the news I told Mary is that Archbishop Cordileone had asked the pastor of Star of the Sea parish in San Franciswco, Fr. Mark Mazza, to learn and celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. The result is that the traditional Latin Mass is no longer being relegated to being celebrated only at out of the way locations on odd days of the week at odd hours, but instead it is now being celebrated once again in a centrally-located regular parish in San Francisco by a regular parish priest during regular Sunday Mass hours** (before noon). Fr. Mazza also celebrates the traditional Latin Low Mass at 7:30 a.m. Monday to Friday and on First Fridays at 6:30 p.m.

Fr. Mark Mazza celebrating an Extraordinary Form Low Mass on First Friday, January 2014

Archbishop Cordileone often participates in traditional liturgies, as shown in this photo of him in chorus*** at the Solemn Pontifical Mass celebrated by Fr. Mark Mazza in honor of his 33rd Anniversary as a Priest--Photo by Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco

I also told Mary that I had recently interviewed Fr. William Young, who also celebrates a traditional Latin Mass every Monday to Saturday at 12 noon**** at St. Monica parish not too far away from Star of the Sea. Mary already knew about him. Fr. Young has a unique history in what Archbishop Cordileone jokingly referred to as "the liturgy wars," since Fr. Young couldn't make himself celebrate the new Mass as a young priest and got himself in trouble by preaching against it from the pulpit at his first parish.
Fr. Young in his residence at St. Monica's Rector
In 1968, the archdiocese's human resources director arranged for Fr. Young to get an out-of-the way assignment where he could continue saying the pre-Councilar Mass for a captive audience without causing any more trouble. In recent years, he has been allowed to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass in more-public chapels and churches, because restrictions on this form of the Mass have been loosened. Fr. Young's status as more of a floater is in contrast to Fr. Mazza's status as a pastor, so the unique thing about what's going on at Star of the Sea is that the traditional Latin Mass is being said regularly (but not exclusively) in that parish by its pastor.

At Immaculate Conception Chapel, also within city limits, Fr. Young also celebrates the traditional Latin Mass every Sunday at 5 p.m., after he celebrates another Mass in San Rafael, across the Golden Gate bridge in Marin county at 12:15 p.m.

Extraordinary Form Mass Locations in San Francisco City Limits

Archbishop Cordileone's Benedictine Approach

While researching several articles I've been writing on this topic, I also learned that Archbishop Cordileone's initiatives are intended to implement the liturgical directives of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict is the author of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum that was released on July 7, 2007, almost seven years ago, to the relief of many lovers of the traditional Latin Mass. After 27 years of ostracism, Summorum Pontificum defended the traditional Latin Mass as never having been abrogated, named it the “Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite,” affirmed it was just as validly a part of the Roman Rite as the Ordinary Form, and gave permission for the Extraordinary Form to be celebrated more freely with fewer restrictions.

Less well-known, but equally influential, is his book Spirit of the Liturgy, which was published by Ignatius Press while he was still Cardinal Ratzinger in 2000.

Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 2000, Ignatius Press. A great read!

I think it's a fair summary to say that Archbishop Cordileone is encouraging seminarians and priests to learn how to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass**** and is making it more available in parishes because he agrees with Pope Benedict XVI that the beauty and majesty of the traditional Mass is an tool in the new evangelization. Here is his answer to one related question in the interview that I recently submitted to The Latin Mass magazine:
Q: What place do you see the Extraordinary Form Mass having in the archdiocese now and in the future?

A: I am trying to promote Pope Benedict’s vision: To make this form of the Mass more easily available for the faithful. Educate them about it.

I think it’s one useful tool of evangelization among others that we have. Some people are just naturally drawn to it and appreciate the beauty and majesty of it. Maybe not everyone will be, but there are those who will be. So let’s make it available to people and see how it goes.

So I would see it as more of being an organic growth. It needs to directed by the leadership, but it should happen in a more kind of organic sense. If it’s easily available to people, and they understand and are educated in it, we’ll see what effect it will have on the renewal of the Church.

When I told Mary Richard  what I had learned, she reminded me that her family had lived in San Francisco for many years and said that this was indeed great news. Her parents, John and Jane Schaeffer,  had been appalled by the changes made to the Mass in 1970. The family obediently but reluctantly attended the approved new Mass while they worked and prayed from within the Church for the restoration of the traditional form of the Mass for almost 50 years. Her father used to sputter after Mass, "That's a Protestant service!" and her mother used to try to hush him, "Don't say that!"

Super Mass Man

The name of another mutual friend, Doug Zeitz, came up during my interview with the archbishop. I told Archbishop Cordileone that I and many others are very happy that he is open to the traditional Latin Mass. "That reminds me," I said, "Do you know Doug Zeitz?"

"I know Doug."

It would be hard for him to miss Doug. Doug is a zealous Catholic, husband, and father of three daughters and two sons, who spends most of his spare time helping facilitate the traditional Latin Mass wherever it is being said in the Bay Area. At least it seems to me that's what he's doing, because almost everywhere I go to Mass around the Bay, there he is, and he usually has his sons in tow. For example, while Cordileone was still bishop of Oakland, he told Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, to start offering the Extraordinary Form Mass at his parish, St. Edward the Confessor in Newark, CA, near where the Zeitz family lives in Fremont, and Doug and his sons went to St. Edward's weekly to serve and help train the other serves. Doug and his two boys served at Fr. Keyes' first public celebration and many others since then.  Doug did the same for a fledging clerical association, the Contemplatives of St. Joseph, after Bishop Cordileone left Oakland to become Archbishop of San Francisco and told the contemplatives to learn and start celebrating the traditional Mass at Mater Dolorosa in South San Francisco.

I said to the archbishop, "When I told Doug that I was going to interview you, he said to say 'Thank you for all the Latin Masses in San Francisco.'"

The archbishop seemed pleased. I went on, "You know, I think of Doug Zeitz kind of as Super Latin Mass Man. Whenever there's a traditional Latin Mass being started in the Bay Area, you're going to see him and his sons there helping make it happen." He chuckled at that, and then we moved on ….

Improvisation is for Comedy Clubs Not for Catholic Masses

Many fervent Catholics, like Mary Richard's parents, who might have otherwise accepted the new Mass, were turned off because many priests apparently thought the new Missal gave them permission--or even required them--to improvise*****. The impressive Catholic liturgy whose prayers and music had developed over the millennia into an advanced state of artistic and reverent worship had been changed into what I eventually began to think of as a weekly Catholic-lite version of Ted Mack Amateur hour.

On a related note, I often think of how Mother Angelica once quipped that the Catholic Church is now the Electric Church, because, as she said, every time you go you get a shock.

In his letter to the bishops that accompanied Summorum Pontificum in 2007, Pope Benedict frankly stated his own observation that many fervent Catholics wanted to hold onto the old form of the liturgy, not because they are sentimentally attached, but because many uncalled for innovations were introduced into celebrations of the new form of the liturgy, innovations that deformed the new Mass and hid its merits.

The desire of at least some of those who wanted to recover the old form of liturgy "occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorising or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear ... caus(ing) deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.” 

Pope Benedict recommended more faithful observance of the Missal of Paul VI as the only way to prove that the new Mass could be as spiritually rich and theologically deep as the form of the Mass it had replaced: "The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal."

Baffeld and Shocked

It is not only shocking but also baffling for me to look back at the past almost-fifty years and realize that those who loved the beauty and reverence of the pre-Councilar Mass were totally denied access to it and and were belittled for their preference for it. Priests were punished who wanted to keep on celebrating it. Father Young told me in an interview last month that even though he was happily assigned to an out of the way hospital ministry in which he was allowed to continue to say the pre-1969 Mass, other diocesan priests who continued to say it were removed by their bishops from their ministries.

I wasn't around for the change-over from the 1962 Mass according to the Missal of Pope St. John XXII to the 1970 Mass of Pope Paul VI, because I had left the Church in 1963 as a college freshman in an adolescent cloud of intellectual pridefulness. When I came back a humbled believer in the mid-1970s, after trying out just about every other competing set of beliefs along a spectrum from existentialist rejection of bourgeois mores to hippy LSD experimentation to Protestant fundamentalism, to my surprise I found that the Church I thought I was coming back to was practically unrecognizable.

Even though I accepted the changed Mass in English with the priest facing the people along with more participation by lay people, I grew over the years to be uncomfortable with what Pope Benedict called deformations of the liturgy that I saw week after week. I began singing in the St. Ann choir that sang Gregorian chant and polyphony in Latin at Ordinary Form Masses, and then was drawn to the traditional Latin Mass when I started to help out with a new choir being formed at a diocesan-approved Oratory where only Extraordinary Form Masses were celebrated.

Even though I don't have space to go into much more detail, I want to mention that Archbishop Cordileone has started several other initiatives that not only make the Extraordinary Form Mass more available but also will help to remove the deformations in how the Ordinary Form of the Mass is sometimes celebrated. To that end, for example, he created the aptly named Benedict XVI Institute of Sacred Music and Divine Liturgy at the St. Patrick's Archdiocesan Seminary to educate interested seminarians in the Extraordinary Form and to form both future priests and any laity who perform ministries during Ordinary Form Masses so they can celebrate and worship at the Mass reverently in a manner consistent with actual Church liturgical directives and authentic doctrine*****.

Tolerance Stopped Here

It must have been heartbreaking for those who lived through the changes that were made at one blow with no exceptions allowed. It makes me sad to hear about what happened to lovers of the traditional Mass, especially about the disdain that came their way. Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the following about how people who loved the traditional form of the Mass were treated as lepers and how intolerant his otherwise tolerant "episcopal brethren" were being.

"For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church’s whole past. How can one trust her present if things are that way? I must say, quite openly, that I don’t understand why so any of my episcopal brethren have to a great extent submitted to this rule of intolerance, which for no apparent reason is opposed to making the necessary inner reconciliations within the Church. … I must say, quite openly, that I don't understand why so many of my episcopal brethren have to a great extent submitted to this rule of intolerance… ."
J. Ratzinger, God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald</em>, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002, 416.
The Best Part for Last

To provide an alternative to the trend Mary's parents and their peers also perceived in Catholic education after the Second Vatican Council--away from the traditional doctrines of the Catholic Church--they supported the founders of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA in 1971 every way they could. Mary was a freshman during the first year the college was on the Santa Paula campus, she and her three sisters graduated from there, her oldest son graduated last year and is preparing to marry a lovely young home-schooled woman from Iowa who he met there as a fellow student, and Mary's two daughters are currently also students there. The following quote is from an article, John E. Schaeffer,  at the Thomas Aquinas website, which is a quite interesting account of the major contribution the Schaeffers made to the college, once they found outit was going to be "genuinely Catholic."

One afternoon in 1968, Mrs. Schaeffer went in search of the offices of the small Catholic college she and her husband had read about in National Review. It was due to open in a year or two within Dominican College, and the Schaeffers hoped it would be the answer to their prayers. She learned firsthand about the proposed school from founding President Ronald P. McArthur , who asked if she thought her husband might be willing to help them with the project. Having been convinced of the genuinely Catholic and academic nature of the proposed college, her response was immediate: “Of course he will!”

Mary's favorite part of the news she heard from me is that the traditional Latin Mass is now available again at both Star of the Sea and St. Monica's churches in San Francisco. She is delighted because they are her parents' old parishes where they attended Mass and received the sacraments as children. Mary told me that her parents will be very happy their prayers were answered and their hard work bore spiritual fruit after such a long time. Her father is deceased, so "He knows," she said, with an gentle, ironic smile. Mary has since then tried to communicate the good news to her mother, who is in her nineties and failing a bit mentally, and Mary is pretty sure that her mother understands too and is glad.

* * After Mary Richard married, she later moved with her family to San Jose. When we spoke, we had just attended a weekday traditional Latin Mass, which is celebrated at beautiful Five Wounds Portuguese National Church five minutes from my home in the San Jose diocese, at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory that was established by San Jose's Bishop Patrick McGrath this year.

**For how Fr. Mazza learned and began to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass, see my Regina Magazine article: After 50 Years, There’s a TLM in San Fran. Note: I tried to get the editor to change the headline she put on my article, since, as I told her, nobody around here calls the city “San Fran” (or “Frisco,” for that matter), and the traditional Mass had actually had almost continually been celebrated in said "San Fran" with archdiocesan permission by Fr. William Young ever since the new Mass was mandated, but I couldn't get her to change it.

*** in chorus. In traditional liturgies when a priest, bishop, or archbishop is present at a Mass celebrated by another priest, bishop, or archbishop, he usually assists in chorus (in choro) , except when he is a priest and is needed to fulfill the role of the deacon or subdeacon. The “choir” in this case is not the singers but the clergy who attend Mass seated in the sanctuary.

****Both Star of the Sea and St. Monica's are on Geary Boulevard, which explains the title of this related article from Catholic San Francisco "Geary Boulevard is new Latin Mass row."

***** Articles about some of the archbishop’s other related intiatives:
• “New Liturgical Institute in San Francisco” Regina Magazine. December 11, 2013.
• “The Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music,” New Liturgical Movement website, January 30, 2014.
• “New California Men’s Order Will Teach Roman Liturgy,” Regina Magazine, January 23, 2014.