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Wednesday, 28 March 2007

When Bad Liturgy Happens to Good Catholics

Interesting thread at Open Book


And some wrong-headed, and some witty comments.

Did she ever offer to help? Or did she just continue to shop, until she finally found a parish that did music the way she liked it?
The writer seems not to understand that many, many people, (in my experience the overwhelming majority of actual musicians,) went "shopping" as a last resort, when their contribution was rejected.
Many times, the gifts of the truly gifted are thrown back in the face of those who offer them. A coterie of the self-appointed, self-anointed often has more power than anyone with any genuine knowledge or skill in the area of music.

And yet, in the last few years, I have begun to appreciate more those folks who I call "just show up" Catholics.
A Martha moment!
We Marthas may finally learn that all those Marys have chosen the better part, and we will stop banging the pots and pans in the kitche.... I mean, stop having another committee meeting, stop forming another discussion group, stop writing a new rite to correct perceived wrongs in the right Rite the Church has given us, and "show up."Stay with Him, watch and pray," as the Taize song has it... and learn

If we emptied ourselves more, turned outward instead of inward, and stopped concerning ourselves with pleasing our own personal preferences in music, prayer, and liturgy..."
It's a both/and situation in many regards.
We do need to empty ourselves, and we must keep things in perspective. Keeping the divine half of the Church in mind will significantly help in that regard.
At the same time, resist the temptation to think that therefore questions about the liturgy, sacred music, etc. are just asides or ultimately "subjectives" that we should focus less upon.
This is a seamless garment sort of issue, and while one should maintain their Faith in the Church through all, at the same time we don't diminuish the importance of such matters. The Church doesn't, the Pope doesn't so why should we?
There is a balance to be struck, but its a balance which finds the importance of these issues, just like doctrinal issues (the two are fundamentally related incidentally) since we're ultimately discussing four things:
1) the worship of God2) the stirring our souls (and others) to sanctification3) the catechetical dimension of the liturgy4) the evangelical power of the liturgy

All very important things.
And as almost always, Shawn Tribe (the quoted poster,) nails it.
I don't know that I had ever read these facets of the discussion enumerated quite that way
I am one of those people who "read their way in" to the Church. The first time someone asked me seriously why I wanted to be Catholic, I repsonded that it was because I believed everything the Church taught and that it was the Church founded by the Apostles.
This was an unsatisfactory answer for the questioner, who said he couldn't understand something like that. For him, choosing to join a church depended on one's emotional response to the service and music and a feeling of belonging.

Exactly -- because we actively TEACH children that"

I'm one of those who "read myself" into the Church. My first experience of a Catholic parish since I was confirmed has been - well, banal is the word that fits best, with (a few) punctuating experiences of beauty and grace and (more) horrifying affronts to my spirit.
I relate to what Jennifer Ferrara was seeking; I am a person who is built for spiritual experiences through beauty and art, and I'm always hungry for it. Am I sinning if I attempt to place myself in a space where I can experience that?...The more Catholic theology I read, the more convinced I am that Beauty, like Truth, is objective and knowable, not a matter of taste. The fact that the beauty of Catholic art, music, liturgy, and architecture touched and called my soul to Christ was no accident of personality on my part.

Kathleen Lundquist is very wise (though I would quibble with her judgement that a "gospel-style" ordinary is inherently inappropriate for Lent. There's gospel and there's gospel.... I can imagine such a setting that would be wonderfully apt. Then again, who was there, me or her?)

And finally this bit of genius:"Mosh Pit of Peace" by Fr Stephanos, OSB


Doing a little research on line, I was of course distracted, (well, I wouldn't be ME if I managed to accomplish anything in a timely manner and in a linear progression...)

CNS is essentially an organ of what one of Their Excellencies referred to as a "hapless bench of bishops", isn't it?

In the wake of the council, it was not uncommon for wedding Masses to feature a reading from, say, Khalil Gibran's "The Prophet," or to be celebrated outdoors during the 1970s. Outdoor weddings may still be conducted with the permission of the diocesan bishop, according to Msgr. James Moroney, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Liturgy. But after what he called "a spirit of experimentation that was appropriate for the time," Scripture readings at weddings again became the norm.

So Moroney is saying (I know, I know, oooooooold article, WAS saying,) that that loopy practice of pushing aside the Word of God to replace it with whatever struck some Liturgy-Monger's fancy was actually LICIT? was allowed, was justifiable at some point?
Can that be right?
I wonder where I can find out.

Now Filteau doesn't attribute this:
Sunday Masses could be celebrated on Saturday evenings. The thinking was that families could fulfill their Sunday obligation and have Sunday free for family activities.
So I'm just wondering if HE can be right that that was the thinking?

And this is wrong:
The "paraliturgy," a kind of prayer service that in some ways resembled Mass but did not include the consecration of the Eucharist, and the "holy hour," another devotional practice that sometimes included eucharistic devotion, supplanted older pietistic practices such as rosary recitations, novenas and the Forty Hours devotion.

I clearly remember pre-VCII "Holy Hours," (I have snapshots of us in our tiny Dominican habits!) And while some of Satan's useful idiots may have done their best to stamp out 40 Hours, and discourage rosary recitation they were hardly successful.

And finally, this (emphasis mine) -
With liturgical changes came many more roles for lay people. Beyond the surge in the number of choirs, the laity could be lectors -- a role previously reserved for priesthood candidates -- as well as liturgists and eucharistic ministers, today called extraordinary ministers of holy Communion.

That's simply a whopper.

I have girdles...

.... ummm, I have cinctures. No, wait, shingles, I have SHINGLES, that's it.
Distracted and misled by the dermatitis (that probably was from the coarse fibers in the sweater, and probably was exacerbated by the glucose syrup in the gingerbread,) I failed to notice how different this was from anything I'd had before until it was too late for anything but palliative care.

When you're used to your skin looking hideous and feeling awful, it tends to mask things like shingles.

And I have no idea if the shingles, or the antihistamines, or the exhaustion are to blame for my heightened emotions.

But sobbing at the sight of a woman with a repaired cleft palate on Extreme Make-overs, or because the Sanctus from the Gounod St Cecilia came on the radio, or at the big ears and sad eyes of a little actor on Cold Case, or at dwarves on TLC.... well, these are not the reactions of someone playing with a full deck.

On the other hand, learning that the burning, stabbing pain under my shoulder blade, when I had done nothing, when there was no visible symptom, no bump, no bruise, no rash, was not due to bone cancer or something dire.... well, that was delightful, and called for a nice Bavarian beer, with which to appropriately toast the object of my affections (shhh... don't tell my husband.)

Monday, 26 March 2007

It could be worse....

Can you imagine a "church" with so little respect for themselves that they rent out their holy places for....
Well, no need to imagine!


Friday, 23 March 2007

Why it matters

The truest beauty is the love of God, who definitively revealed himself to us in the paschal mystery. The beauty of the liturgy is part of this mystery; it is a sublime expression of God's glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse of heaven on earth.
--- Papa Ratz, in Sacramentum Caritatis

Don't give up, G, DON'T GIVE UP.

What I accomplish, or neglect to accomplish, MATTERS.

I will not style the good the enemy of the perfect.
I will not allow the failures dealt me to dissuade me to from other potential successes.
I will try. I will be faithful.
I will.


I am having trouble discerning whether my current defeatism regarding the liturgy is real or just a manifestation of my physical problems (the hives, the possible side effects of the medications, the irritability and jumpiness, the lack of sleep...)

I am in such pain... well, is that too strong a word? But "chronic and too-distracting-to--allow-me-to-do-much-of-anything-useful-discomfort" is kind of unwieldy as a phrase, isn't it?

I'm not getting anything done and I can feel the heat coming off the angry patches right through my clothes. (Several layers of same, as it has turned cold and dmap again.)

Maybe it's not physical, and yet not pessimism -- perhaps just realism: after all, note the lower case "l."
I am less than sanguine about the future of the liturgy, yet I remain hopeful about the Liturgy.

But here in my little pocket of the Kingdom?
Let's see, Pascha Nostra sung by an experienced, rehearsed schola? Or the notorious Least And Last Option? (Which, I might add, in contrast to the Proper, will perforce be sung in a language "owned" by only one segment of a fragmented community.)

The excuse put forth that those on the altar have to wait for the EM to return from the loft is just that, an excuse.
The wait occurs, or not, as a result of the speed with which the EM reaches the loft; the number of incapacitated choir members at a given Mass requiring the EMs to travel to them, rather than vice versa; and the attendance at the Mass (on some Holy Days there IS no choir communion piece and yet the "runner" as they call that EM still does not make it back to the Sanctuary until all the other extraordinaries are cooling their heels at the credence table. )
(And I won't even go into what I think of the impatience over that...)
It is discouraging that when we actually have the wherewithal and the will to follow a norm, to accomplish a liturgical ideal, we are instead reverting to someone's personal preference.
And it is a weird amalgam of discouragement and hope that fills me when TPTI admits that TPTWB is wrong, but we are going to try to enforce the latter's personal preference nonetheless.
Well, the Apostolic Exhortation won't have any effect on people who won't read it, who won't be told what it says.
And that is discouraging.

On t'other hand -- choir is going well.
We are growing.
They are more accepting of concentrating on liturgical, rather than performance music.
They are learning some finer music.
They are sounding good, and they becoming accustomed to actually watching.
And most exciting, they are becoming accustomed to LISTENING; I mean to each other, more so than to me. The simple chanted Introits have been very well done.
And the Farrant, Langlais, Smith and Gluck we are adding, and the Croft, Proulx, Cherubini, V-W and Tallis we have already successfully added to our repertoire are both good and USEFUL.

Shall we learn Oremus Pro Pontifice to celebrate April 16?

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

What was that all about?

Didn't I go off on a rant?
I choose to blame it on whatever I've been taking for this raging allergic reaction -- I look like monster.
Processed food.... (I choose to downplay the effect of cashmere...)
Although of course I mean all of it. IRL dealing with the Propers shoved aside for ditties, the tirade against Missa de Angelis and being "deprived" of the "people's song," OL nonsense over how to force people to sing songs.

Ah, if only everyone were as perfect and wise as I, huh?

I may need to go to the doctor, my ears and hands really do look like gruesome special effects.... the poor choir and cast members forced to look at it!!!

Actually both rehearsals are going very well... my efforts are not totally unappreciated.

The Gluck is going particularly well, and the Introits were a big success.

(And we won't even brag about the tension in the long scene of the other -- but I am proud of both of us.)

The Sunday night rehearsal had some high points. Included among them, not , my venting regarding the Terminatrix.
I called the next morning to apologize and found that my auditor was so far out of it (her ire directed, wrongly, I think, toward the Sister,) that she didn't even know of the new hire.

They are going to have trouble replacing T2, in my opinion.
Reputations can go south very fast, as the Boss knows. When I promised him, (unasked I hasten to assure you, he would never have been so unreasonable) that I would never quit and that if he wished to fire me I would broadcast that it was amicable, regardless of the actual circumstances; he half joked that he was getting a "complex."
Perhaps he should consider whether he ought to have one, and if perhaps it isn't random bad luck....

He is in charge, I don't mind that.
What I mind is the elevating of personal preference to the dignity of rubrics, requirements, describe it how you will. (He, incidentally, is not, to my knowledge, guilty of this; Goneril and Regan, on the other hand.....)

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

What the people want

Giving the people what they want?
What is the point of a liturgical choir when liturgical music is pushed aside in favor of pleasant hymns?

How did the Church end up with the Liturgy so badly celebrated as it is today?

The Liturgy mongers earn a fair share of the blame, but not every country in the world is as obsessed with profit as ours; the ars celebrandi, if my observations are accurate, have deteriorated just as badly in places not as thoroughly in thrall to the forces of hype and commercialization as we.

In the main, it seems that the weak-willed or merely lazy chose the path of least resistance, and gave their loudest constituents what it seemed they wanted, even if only at that moment.

(It is the same mind-set that has produced a society of diabetics adults, from the raw material of twinkie-loving children.)

"Pastoral judgement" seems to me not so much over-used as mis-used.
As the snarky but erudite md at Our Lady of Fatima says, one owes one's employers, i.e. congregation, one's judgement.
Look at the crap, the utter crap that went on at the LA RelEd conference -- it is understandable (if pathetic,) that the members of the seminar-attending classes, most of whom drank the school of education kool-aid, are going to buy into it.
But when they return to their home-bases and try to foist their silliness especially on the children, but also on the parish as a whole, the grown-up in the family ought to say, I'm sorry that at Samantha's house Mr and Mrs. Call-Me-By-My-First-Name let you stay up all night and watch whatever you wanted and eat whatever you wanted, but I don't want your mind and your teeth to rot, so here's what's for dinner and no, you can't watch Showtime for Adults.
Giving people what they want, or what they find "comforting," or at least using that as the main (in some cases, SOLE,) criterion is bound to backfire eventually.
If you poll for "favorites" you are going to end up with junk that is inappropriate in the present and will prove embarrassing in the future.

I suppose if we put it to a vote majority rule would give up nice vanilla-scented Glade instead of incense.........

St Joseph

Yesterday after morning Mass, (were the intercessory prayers of the Patron of the Universal Church ever more needed?) I was struck that I had never before been struck by the coincidence of my devotion to his two most important (to me,) namesakes.

Dad and Papa.

How the former would have suffered had he lived just a little longer, how distressed he would have been by the wholesale degradation of the Sacred Liturgy (anti-VCII, I must add, but incorrectly credited to it, by both the perpetrators and the mourners.)
Of course, he would always have had the refuge of the Rosary Shrine (God bless the Dominicans!)
And how he must be gladdened now, at the glimpses on the far horizon (whenever the meteorological conditions are just right,) of the promised land, after forty years of wandering in the Manilow Mass desert....

St Joseph, pray for us.
St Joseph Vincent, pray for us... and for Joseph Ratzinger.

May the angels escort him


Requiescat in pace, Fr. Johnson.

Father Daniel Johnson, a champion of pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic traditions and the centuries-old Tridentine Mass, has died. He was 77.Johnson died Sunday at a Duarte hospital after a long illness."He was a pioneer in reforming liturgical reform," said Michael J. Sundstedt, a longtime parishioner at St. Mary's by the Sea in Huntington Beach, where Johnson served as pastor for 25 years before retiring in 2004.

A renaissance for the organ?

Paul Jacobs at Julliard certainly seems like the man to start one


The organ world, he said, is too insular and urges his colleagues and students to “get out of the loft.” Many organists “are academic musicians and simply lack a healthy flair and virtuosity,” he added. “One frequently gets the sense that they are emotionally detached from the music, which is ultimately the death of art.”...
“Ours is a culture that wants everything to be easily digestible, but to fully appreciate a Bach fugue, you have to be able to hear contrapuntally, and this takes work. I’m tired of a culture that devalues music and has no desire to understand it more intimately. And the void has been filled by parasites in the entertainment industry.” ...
Mr. Jacobs chats with his audiences during recitals, stressing that art music is for everyone and hoping to demystify a complex instrument often hidden from view during performances, although video screens are changing that — a development of which Mr. Jacobs heartily approves.

Although having come from the performing world, and more and more aware all the time of the necessity to subordinate the urges vital to it to the task at hand (in whihc those same urges are fatal,) what may be good for the organ, per se is not altogether a good thing for liturgical music.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Non-Vogon Poetry

I had forgotten how much I enjoy "a little light from the East"


Sheep scatter when they are not being fed.

We see this in the fields, and at the Mass.
Those who deny this know a lie is said.
Although most folk in vestments black and red
Do not believe that this has come to pass,
Sheep scatter when they are not being fed.
“It is because the Faith we held is dead,
that people now forsake the Church, alas.”
Those who proclaim this know a lie is said.
Bare ruined kirks where once sweet choirs led
In prayer and song, long gone, have caused this pass:
Sheep scatter when they are not being fed;
Shrewd parsons, who believed the faith they pled,
Replaced by yes-men to a mitered ass:
Those who deny faith know a lie is said.
Lord Christ, how long now will it yet be said
About Thy flock, and of the Holy Mass:
“Sheep scatter when they are not being fed:
Those who deny this know a lie is said”?

-Bernard Brandt

Michiganders lead more exciting lives...

Well, that settles it. Michiganders have it all over Region Rats. We only puzzle out whether frogs' legs are an acceptable meal of a Lenten Friday.


Wednesday, 14 March 2007

What did you go out to see?

I am dismayed by the reaction of some "orthodox" Catholics to the Sacrament of Love http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20070222_sacramentum-caritatis_en.html
(Charity is a bad translation, imo, considering how the meaning of that word has evolved in English, and it is no longer understood as Active Love. Amor Actuosa LOL)
What were they expecting?
A guillotine of words?
Do they think all Catholics who are not orthoprax and orthodox should be told to hit the
Is that what a father does to his wayward children? Should his aim have been to force them to obey? Rather than make them want to obey?
The ultra-conservatives don't seem to understand that the Mahonys, Hucks, Trautmans and Foleys are not our enemies.
They are our wrong-thinking brothers, whom we do not wish dead, we do not wish disowned, we do not wish out on the street, we do not wish disinherited -- we wish them converted and and in the loving bosom of their family.
I did not look for anything (with the possible exception of a mention of the propriety and efficacy of celebration ad orientem,) that is not there.
And as usual, dear Ratz has written words of great Beauty and Truth.

His way is that of persuasion, not threat.
Did they really want Pope Darth Vader? Not Pope Obi Wan Kenobi?
I do feel for them in their disappointment, but I firmly believe it is misplaced.

Monday, 12 March 2007

The long, dark, liturgy committee meeting of the soul...

Am I making too big a deal?

Himself's abrupt and shocking good luck/bad luck event occupies more of my thought just now anyway.
What I would like to happen, is for... well, what I would like is immaterial. What will be, will be.

The preference for a rousing congregational hymn over the proper communio? Well, that is more dire, and should (but doesn't,) upset me more.

All shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

(Oh, and Niko's a big Heroes fan... someone to talk to! I don't know that I can share my catch phrase with him, though.)

Save the Liturgy, save the world!

The Church -God's Gift, not Our Creature

In reference to St. Clements letter to the Corinthians, at last Wednesday's general audience, our beloved Ratz tells us, "Clement underlines that the Church has a sacramental structure, not a political structure. God's actions that come to us in the liturgy precede our decisions and our ideas. The Church is above all a gift of God and not a creature of ours and therefore this sacramental structure not only guarantees the common order but also the precedence of the gift of God that we all need."

You mean we CAN'T, we DON'T have the power to "sing a new church into being"?

My God, I will thank you, I will praise Your name, for this gift and for the gift of Ratz.

Ecclesiastes 1:18?

". . . he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."
I cannot argue with that.Why, it's practically Linderman-speak for "Heroes" (Is Linderman a patriarch?)"Life of happiness or life of meaning? Can't have both, they are different paths."
Open Book had a thread quite a while back inquiring of lay people how they found working for the Church affected their spiritual life.

I didn't participate, as I recall, as she requested no anonymity, and the providing details (so as to assure some bona fides, so that anyone presuming to answer had actual experience in an actual parish or chancery, so that it didn't devolve into a cleric bashing free-for-all by disaffected PIPs.)
Church politics are like all politics, -- hard to eat sausage when you see it being made.
And because Himself is a "creature of such extremes" I need to be circumspect in my conversation with him - he is already more disillusioned than his healthy for a convert of his tender years. (I'll blog later on Dr. Blosser's take on that very matter.)
So, his appetite remains healthy, but me?
"Answering" more Masses, and feeling less prayer all the time.
I find myself depressed more and more, and more given to despair.
I do think certain aspects, not of my Church, but of my church are nearly beyond hope, and for my own sanity and peace of mind, and yes, Ms. Welborn, spiritual welfare, I need to just withdraw myself from it emotionally, and admit it is not in my power to affect change.

Incidentally, the past year and a half , when my presence was not required at meetings I had forgotten how I hated them.
I wonder if M. spoke correctly, AM I "supposed" to be there? She seems unaware of the dynamics that wrought this blessed, blessed change.

I wish she could manage not to try to tell other people ... well, she and I have that in common.
My Mom is another such, for that matter.
But I hope I can differentiate between uninformed opinions and judgements. (Not to mention what is my business and what isn't but I care about anyway.)
But she is a good person, a devout and faithful person, and so in the long run I don't really mind dealing with her, infuriating though it can be some times.

On an entirely different matter in the same milieu, I inadvertently had a long and surprisingly frank talk with T2.

I don't know if I can bring myself to form all the thoughts that are the logical conclusions of the information I now have.It is very upsetting.

I do think that he is right, that nothing will change "as long as."
Hopefully, Father will come to see what everyone else already knows.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Sacramental Confession

Did I, somehow, invalidate it?
Like an incident in the script to Patent Leather Shoes...
It seems possible that one needs to seek the sacrament anew fro ones disposition during the receipt of the sacrament.
But there I was, on my knees, behind the screen, "in the box" (to quote the fictorix,).... judging the poor priest.
I thought, perhaps the first two times he administered, that he was an awfully good confessor.
Then I though he was okay. And today, I was just horrible, I was so judgemental.
Oh, well.
Maybe a trip to StJC is in the offing.

And then, oh swell, right after receiving, I was accosted by the P of Ns.

Well, at least I did good work EARLIER in the day.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007


Can I TELL you how upsetting it is for as intemperate, opinionated and snarky creature as myself to receive a phone call that begins, "Hello, I am the diocesan attorney..."

Love him, love him, love him...

At today's general audience, in examining Pope Clement's letter to the Corinthians, Ratz finds that the Church “is neither confusion nor anarchy, in which each person can do as they wish” and Clement clearly explains the doctrine of apostolic succession: the norms which rule this are on analyses derived from God himself. The Father sent Jesus, he the apostles and they in their turn their successors. “Everything proceeds from the will of God”. This explains why the Church’s structure is “sacramental and not political” and that the sacramental structure guarantees the precedence of the divine gift. The Church “is Gods gift not our creature”.

Thank you, Papa Ratz! Could there be a more succinct explication of WHY "sing a new church into being" are words that should not come out of a Catholic's mouth?

Please read, DOofW!!!

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

St Joseph's age

Cdl Mahony is quoted, "St. Joseph is my patron saint. In our new Cathedral, we have a tapestry which depicts him as the young man he really was."


How does he know?
Why would anyone make a point of this?
(Either way?)

The Sacrament of Love

I wonder if the date of March 13 is significant? [Update: WhoseBOB on Fr Z's blog reports that in the old calendar this was St Benedict's feast day.]
No matter, A week from today the Synodal Exhortation will be released.
One wonders in what languages it will be immediately available. Must I work on my Italian?
In any case, Deo gratias! Whatever it says, whatever the recommendations or decrees (and yes, I know it is neither the Roman way nor B16's way, but it is DECREES for which I hope,) it will surely prove a corrective, sorely needed.

Hat tip to the Whappers (Whapsters?), http://www.holywhapping.blogspot.com/ , and via them to Amy Welborn.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Who don't need one?

Well, contra Tina Tuner, we DO need another hero, we need new ones all the time,.

And up they step.

The thought of this actually brought tears to my eyes.


Among the comments made in the local newspapers and blogs regarding the events of the past two nights, there has been an interesting thread running through them, namely, comments about the singing of traditional chants and hymns.

At the Seminary, I teach the men that singing in the Scriptures is often associated with victory in battle. In particular, the "new song" of the Psalms and, especially, of the Exodus, is no willowy, but a triumphal song following the LORD's victory over the Egyptians and other opponents. Mary's Magnificat is a victory song, acclaiming God's triumph in raising the lowly, including His lowly handmaid, to glory, while casting down the proud and powerful of this world. In heaven the martyrs and saints will sing a new song, "the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb."
Are you in a fight? Cry out to the Lord. Are you victorious? Sing out to the Lord. This is how Catholics do it. And this may be an under-appreciated part of how Catholics are to do evangelization. People close their ears to our words, but they just can't ignore a good song.

Do we want Catholic men to sing? Give them a chance to fight for Christ, give them a chance to celebrate our victory in Christ, and then give them chants and anthems, ancient and new, whose words and melodies and spirit befit an unconquerable band of brothers in Christ.

Do that, and we will have thousands of everyday Catholic men around the Twin Cities, including men who have hated to sing the insipid songs foisted upon them previously, singing with ardor a new song to the Lord. I guarantee that observers and protesters who pay no attention to mean-spirited and tiresome shouts of protest will take notice. That's what a song of victory does. Always has, always will.

Now, male choruses have always affected me. I have a visceral reaction to massed tenors, baritones and basses that is quite beyond my power to explain -- good thing I didn't know Himself in the day-- that made certain musical theater jobs a pure joy. Fresno Beauties? Nothing Like a Dame? The boys' part of How Far is Too Far?

And various soldiers' and students' choruses from opera... well, I'm a goner.

And then, on top of that reaction that is purely about aesthetics and pleasure, to have something already so (selfishly, or at least self-interestedly,) enjoyable invested with such meaning.

And the thought of these men singing hymns in the face of this cultural evil - well, it made me certain that they could do likewise in the face of physical evil, in the face of danger and death and Satan himself.

And it made me feel safer.

(Foolishly, I want a play list from Fr. Baer so that I can imagine it all better.)


I can't seem to use different fonts and sizes to differentiate my words from those of others.

I'm not computer illiterate, just incompetent.

I was wondering who I was last night...

...so I roamed the 'net (I do not surf, it involves water...) and took some tests.
Well, I was exhausted, it was too late for anyone to call so I didn't need to worry about that constant whingeing ("I tried to call and your line was busy!" -- as if ones phone line exists more for the use and convenience of others than oneself...) Himself was out, there was nothing worth watching on TV, I was too wound up to go to bed and to silly to make sense of any of the serious reading I am doing.

Every time I take a knock-off of the Meyers-Briggs, I end up a different personality type.
What does this tell us?
Either 1) My personality is so unstable that I should probably be confined.
b) (yeah, I meant that, homage to Paul Reiser...) When I take tests.... I lie.

Your Type is
Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging
Strength of the preferences
% 11 62 25 17
Qualitative analysis of your type formula
You are:
slightly expressed introvert
distinctively expressed intuitive personality
moderately expressed feeling personality
slightly expressed judging personality

The only constant is the Introversion. (which is odd, because it is also consistent that it is only slight.) So am an anomaly, a contradiction, the loud-mouthed introvert?Not at all.Introverts may be shy, or, less commendably, they may live their lives with a GSYH* attitude towards those around them.
*[this is the G-rated version of Go __ Yourself] .

And I took the Advanced Global Personality Test , reproducing here only the results that venture out of that comfortable middle third.
Stability 66%
Orderliness 30%
Mystical 70%
Artistic 76%
Religious 90%
Adventurousness 16%
Work ethic 23%
Self absorbed 36%
Conflict seeking 70%
Anti-authority 70%
Wealth 23%
Physical security 90%
Vanity 63%
Female cliche 70%

(Oh, and my math isn't that bad, I included "self absorbed because I think it's wrong, and my "Vanity score" in the interest of self-abnegation, in the spirit of Lent...)

Stability results were moderately high which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.

Orderliness results were low which suggests you are overly flexible, improvised, and fun seeking at the expense too often of reliability, work ethic, and long term accomplishment.

messy, tough, disorganized, fearless, not rule conscious, likes the unknown, rarely worries, rash, attracted to the counter culture, rarely irritated, positive, resilient, abstract, not a perfectionist, risk taker, strange, weird, self reliant, leisurely, dangerous, anti-authority, trusting, optimistic, positive, thrill seeker, likes bizarre things, sarcastic

Some of it seems right-on, but "thrill seeker"? One can't be lazy and a thrill seeker.
And the anti-authority tag takes some explanation.
The test wasn't specific enough about WHAT authority, was it?And the 90% on my "religion results" should indicate some of the authority to which I bow.
(And anyone who has ever played with me knows that when I accept a role, I cede ultimate authority to the director. And then, of course, if that fealty proves misplaced, I won't work with him again. Nothing good was ever accomplished by a committee, and there's nothing worse than an orchestra member who thinks he's playing in a string quartet.)

Sunday, 4 March 2007

My New Hero...

I don't know who Fr Newman is, this thread:
being all I've ever read of his or him, (and I shall certainly explore his blog further,) but,



I have had such a ...... a moment!
If I'd been on a horse riding to Damascus, I'd be sitting in the mud, if I'd been in the bath I'd be running down the street naked and smiling, if... well, you get the point.
This is what struck the chord:I have often taken great comfort in being in a dark corner of a grand church, far away from the altar, as the sacred mysteries are celebrated. This is the place of the Publican, and it is a supreme consolation to be able to cry with him "Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!"
Yes, yes, yes, yes.

That crystallizes my uneasiness, my constant, vague, can't put into words what's wrong but I know it's wrong, nagging feeling about 99% of the Masses I have been to in my life.

Could the Mass in which you participated this morning make a space for the Publican? Or would he have had to flee in discomfort?
Too much of liturgy, and the overwhelming majority of the But-we-LIKE-it! category of currently popular sacred music denies us the chance to play a very important role we all must play at least some times.
Some of it is so self-congratulatory it practically forces us into the role of Pharisee, but even without going that far -- it fails to allow us to be the Publican!
That is what is wrong with it!
What is the chief complaint the less than perfectly devout have when the at-wit's-end priest asks why they don't come to Mass?



Well, no wonder so many people say that, they "get nothing out of it!"

Jesus could as well have ended His parable, "And which of the two went away thinking he'd gotten something out of it?"

Let us get something out of it! Please!
Let us be the Publican!
Stop bullying us to clap and shout and get into the whole festive pep rally atmosphere!

Thank you Fr Newman!

A Fetch of Futilities

Indeed, firstly, this very posting may be -- as the last three posts I've published don't seem to appear, although they do show up on my "edit" page, so I can re-arrange, spell correct and manipulate them.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Now, to the Larger Futility...
I am unsure of how to proceed.
I don't want to force anything on the parish or the padres.
But not only did someone more or less denigrate the solemnity of the entrance in his opening remarks ("That was kinda sombre, wasn't it?" with a wincing expression that telegraphed "sombre=bad,") but after announcing that the recess would be in silence, please remain in your pew for silent reflection, etc., he shot the idea in the foot - he smiled, greeted, acknowledged, and even, I think, spoke to, (I admit, he might have been mouthing the words,) people on his progress down the aisle.

It may be that I and my liturgical sensibilities are just a bad fit for this administration.
I don't think I am trying to enforce my taste (if I were, I would cut out the GLO&P cold turkey, I would do little but Baroque Masses and many, many Anglican anthems -- every verse! -- and Russian chant, I would move the cantor stand to the loft, I would hire a professional harpist ;-). And I sure as shooting would never program that communion piece -- who really thinks a 60 year old guy who works in the mills is ever going to be persuaded to croon, "Come back to me... with all you heart.... don't let fear.... keep us apart," at Mass?)

I think what I am trying to do is encourage closer adherence to what is required.

But what I think is "right," what I think the Church asks of us in Her rubrics, in Her documents dealing with liturgy seems so at odds with what others here want or think best.
And look, I'm the first one to proclaim:I don't own the liturgy, I don't own music ministry.
If they honestly think they are moving with the mind of the Church Universal, so be it.
I'll step down.
But I don't want to be party to something of which I do not approve.

I am willing to cede authority to someone whose judgement I trust. It is how my entire professional life has been led.

And that is what I thought I was doing when I came on board.
I didn't for a moment imagine that Fr and I would see eye to eye on everything, (with whom WOULD one?) but he is learned and wise and he does know what he is doing, so I was more than willing to present ideas and if he chose to go in another direction, fine, I knew he would never insist on anything execrable.

I trust his judgement.

It never occurred to me that so many other people (about whose judgement I ma ... less than sanguine,) would think they had authority to dictate on matters that concern my work. Or that still other people would, deliberately or inadvertently, sabotage what was being done.

I may have a hard choice here.

And on other, littler liturgical matters, I, Her Most Serene Highness Lady X the Pertinacious of Fishbourne Sneething (have I mentioned before the generator that gives one his "peculiar aristocratic title"? in case not, I hereby do:
http://www.masquerademaskarts.com/memes/peculiartitle.php . Or should that be "herby do"?) am officially somewhat.... bummed.

No, "bummed" is too strong, put out?
After checking about the scheduling of the Scrutinies well ahead of time (I can't seem to get them to understand that if their extra-liturgical Baptism rituals, or the Scrutinies change the music program -- as the latter must, because of the psalm and the Gospel acclamation, and the former does because of their affection for Becker's Litany of Some Saints and Some Other Folks -- I NEED TO KNOW IT BEFORE THE CANTOR REHEARSAL!), and going into a mini-rant (more comic than not,) to the choir that thanks to the Scrutinies requiring Year A readings, we would never hear certain Gospels again, but coming to peace with that, and finding and working on a terrific setting of the communio for one of the weeks of Year A -- I finally have to beg a copy of the calendar and what do I see?

Oh, no we changed that.
We're not having the scrutinies.

I mean, if I hadn't asked it would have been one thing...Ah, well.Of course, that does mean that Now the Silence is a good fit for Laetare (I know that it practically encompasses all of salvation history in that tiny text, but it is the idea of "the Father's arms in welcome" that rushes out at me so it almost makes me weep.)And we can still do the Croft.

Save the Liturgy, Save the World!

p.s. Closed Cafateria, (an interesting, usually right-thinking, but often a bit too mean for its subject matter... duh, GOD, and His PEOPLE!) has seized on Fr Z's use of my mantra and done some really fine graphics of it! They will also be selling merchandise, not sure how I feel about that, left leaning anti-capitalist sick-of-commerce-and-the-pursuit-of-the-almighty-shekel, bleeding heart that I am.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Mass This Evening

So, the Introit is sung, the antiphon with verses from the psalm, and the doxology.
(And then, of course, the antiphon again.)
And all this is sung... well, antiphonally.
And the diction and pace are excellent.
Unaccompanied, two very fine voices,* calling back and forth to each other across that immense church.
And the procession moved more solomenly than was its wont.
And everything went well, and prayerfully, and the congregation fell into the spirit of it and then...
"Well, that certainly was SOLEMN!!!! Which is okay, but how can we help but be a little livelier after the week we've had? Don't ya just wanna shout "Howdy?" Why don't you do that, turn to the person next to ya and tell'em 'howdy!'"

And that is how things go, in my part of the world.

How about you?

*Yeah, yeah, one was mine. But no sense in false modesty.

You say it's coming? So is Christmas...

This may be news or not.


Not a Trad myself, I would label myself a "fellow traveller."
And I firmly believe that the freeing of the old rite can bring nothing but good.
Even the confrontations it might provoke would be good.
Even the angst and anger and misunderstandings.

All would work together for good.
So I'm really not as cynically pessimistic as the subject might lead you to believe.

Reform 2

Save the Liturgy, save the world!