Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Rehabilitating Outsiders

Now ordinarily, I would be the last to object to a more flattering presentation of a character whose reputation has been besmirched, or has not been given his due (my teeth are set on edge at the mere mention of the parable of the "prodigal son." Prodigal son??? PRODIGAL SON?!?!?? the Parable of the DUTIFUL son, thank you very much, HE is the protagonist of the story.
Till We All Have Faces.
The poor maligned Giant family minding their own business at the top of the beanstalk, until a home invasion robbery... ButIDigress.)
As I say, Beckmesser's rehabilitation ought to be right up my ally.
But surely, this is just another example of what Gerald at Closed Cafeteria referred to as the euro-trashing of great art (or words to that effect,) as described in a NYTimes article:
And a million bad ideas clog the stage [of Meistersinger at Bayreuth] like wrecked cars in a pileup: statues of Wagner, Goethe, Bach and Beethoven dancing around in their underpants; the chorus emptying cans of Campbell’s soup; a half-naked woman lap-dancing; a naked man struggling with Beckmesser over a blow-up doll. Tired provocations obscure a potentially fresh one. And the last act, a glory of opera, turns into a travesty.
But me being me -- I'm wondering what 17th c. tighty-whities look like...

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Invented careers to supply invented needs

In the Times I read that casinos employ "mood directors."
I imagine you can tell from my last post that, given the blackness of my mood, I am in sore need of someone to rehearse, give notes on, and thereby improve my mood.
I despised Vegas for the entire hour and a half I once spent there.
I suppose there is a nice little town somewhere, and to its residents I apologize for my harsh judgement.


I'm in an odd place.
With certain family issues, the possibility of relocating earlier that Himself and I had envisioned has reared its head. We had already been divesting of possessions, (he, much more assiduously than I,) or at least considering and acknowledging the necessity, and discussing it.
Because of minor but necessary repairs whose needs had suddenly made themselves known we were taking bids on somewhat more major renovation, also something that would need to be done in advance of a sale to prepare for the move.
And now, for various reasons, I am finding the impetus to withdraw from entanglements and activities emotionally, which will make withdrawing from them in fact all more easy.
Should casting go as I expect, this will be a good show to go out on.
The summer music has been successful, (I suppose, on balance,) but deeply unsatisfying. The MM is unpleasant and inefficient to work with, unprepared, irresponsible and egocentric. He obviously finds our very existence a nuisance, does not really want to devote any time or effort to us and will not provide others with the tools they need to put the time and effort into it in a timely fashion.
I understand that he would prefer, perhaps even is used to a higher level of competence, but it is what it is. He knows it and knows that things need a longer lead time than might be convenient.
Last week, I sat out the number he had waited until the last minute to apprise me of the key changes and cuts of. Why should I make an ass of myself trying to transpose into G flat? His reply to my ( I thought perfectly bland, and certainly civil,) third request, received a reply telling me not to be "catty."
I was going to show the exchange to the producer, among others, but decided it was not worth the bother. It benefits no one to stir up trouble, and I don't need to justify myself.
I can truthfully say that I have not the the time nor the energy for further collaboration and will leave it at that.
I will not abandon the eponymous schola, but obviously I cannot work with them from fifteen hundred miles away, so this will be our swan song.
The church is a different matter.
I shall have to warn Father that I do not know the day nor the hour, but I am not sure I will be any sadder than they. Ms Peters, from the love of OCP to manner may be a better fit for them, anyway.
So I won't be leaving them comfortless...
And mirror, numbers, and Mike on the marble can all be forgotten.
All will make the transition easier.

The choir on the other hand....
That will not be easy.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The most important conversation of my vocation

I had, after cantor practice last night, a possibly pregnant discussion with one of my cantors, (whom I have taken to calling "Psalmist" on the programs I make up for the priest celebrant and other ministers.)
I was going to call it important in my "career" but it is not a career, is it? It is a vocation, being a liturgical musicians.
And God willing, it may have further reaching effect than most of what I do.
She is devout, intelligent, highly skilled, interested, careful to stay informed.... and she has been doing this longer than I have, (probably even if you count my youthful foray into music directorship.)
She comes from a family that has produced two priests, her parents are church musicians and liturgists, also devout and deeply, deeply involved in education and parish life.
People with a respect for knowledge, and a knowledge that God and our worship of Him are paramount in our little lives.
Further when I explained to the cantor corps several years ago WHY I unlike all my predecessors absolutely refused to substitute someone else's texts for the words of the Roman Missal, (to whit, "troping" the Agnus Dei,) she already knew and agreed with me having been privy to a disagreement between a liturgist and a priest in her own immediate family. (The former begrudgingly admitted that the latter was correct.)
So, table is set that's the sitch--
As rehearsal was breaking up, we discussed the fact that one of the cantors said he didn't like a particular "hymn" I had chosen. I told her I din't "like" it at all, but it was the best "match" and our parish sings it well.
She asked, "for the readings? yeah..." and I interrupted with, "no, for the proper."

Blank stare.
I explained how the hymns with which "we fill in the slots" are a substitute, really a last ditch option for the texts that are assigned, (other than the not-required-but-you-just-try-doing-away-with-it recessional,) for communities that don't have the capability to do it up right.
This is all news to her.
I show her even in our disposable missallettes the printed antiphon.
I explained about the common psalms, the offertory antiphons that our Conference hadn't even bothered to publish or even have officially translated, the communio, the ad libitum options thereof....
Eye-opening opportunity for me, and her.
(And for her niece, a 9th grader who I can see have far-reaching effect and powers some day. But that's another story)

St Gregory, pray for us.
Sr Cecilia, pray for us.
St Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
St Benedict, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Dealing with the Devil

If you make a deal with the devil, you should not be surprised at a hellish result.

An abortion in Milan that killed a healthy twin fetus instead of her sibling with Down syndrome is a case of eugenics "imposing its law," says L'Osservatore Romano.After it was discovered that the unborn baby with Down syndrome survived, a successive abortion later ended her life....
Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Commission for Life, spoke with Vatican Radio today about the case.He said: "All of us have to feel involved in this and many other cases that are repeated every day, to take on a new and different commitment for the respect of human life from its first moment, because these little ones share in the same dignity we have."And in the case that they have some sort of sickness, that simply means that they have more motive to be helped."

No, apparently not. Having "some sort of sickness" is a legal, and socially acceptable excuse for your parents to kill you, actually.
The not-sick? (or rather, not so sick, we're none of us perfect...)
Well, that's just collateral damage.
Acceptable losses.

Letters, we get letters, we stacks and stacks of...

I often wonder how my name gets on certain mailing lists.
My abysmal handwriting, the multiplicity of common spellings for my first name and the scads of options I have in writing my address (even to the city name,) means I can often track how my info have been sold or passed along.
The current offer from US Catholic, though, defies tracing so far.
Its Chicago locale points to Mundelein or Cantius.org, but for reasons I will get into, that is not likely.
GIA is a more likely suspect, but my name and address do not have the same configuration as my correspondence with them. Well, whatever, wherever...
The offer included a generous discount, and I reasoned that I could use a Catholic general interest (as opposed to musical/liturgical) periodical, this might be the ticket.
The titles of articles and editorials I initially found on line didn't give much of a clue to its bias, to use the frank term.
(And anything worth your attention has a POV, so you might just as well acknowledge that, and find out the biases upfront.)
There webpage was slow loading, I looked elsewhere in the meantime. Hmmm...
And then I found Phillip Blosser's thorough but fair fisking.
He used exactly the same methods, criterion and... well, POV I would have.
Thank you but no thank you.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

I am ashamed...

.... at how few I know (so small a number, that I will not name it.)

What is the universal music of Catholic people?
...a short list of music that Catholic people are likely to sing at Mass during the year, a core repertory that might be the foundation of a universal hymnal.

Adoro Te Alma redemptoris Anima Christi Asperges me Attende Domine Ave Maria Ave Maris stella Ave regina Caelorum Ave verum Christus vincit Confirma hoc Cor Jesu Creator Alme Siderum Crucem Tuam Adoramus Crux Fidelis Da pacem Ecce nomen Domini Gloria, laus et honor Hodie Christus Inviolate Iste Confessor Jesu dulcis Litany of Saints Magnificat Maria Mater gratiae O filii et filiae O lux beata Trinitas O Panis dulcissime O Salutaris Oremus pro Pontifice Pange lingua Panis angelicus Parce Domine Pater Noster Puer natus Regina caeli Rorate caeli Salve mater Salve Regina Stabat Mater Sub tuum praesidium Tantum Ergo Te Deum Te lucis Tota pulchra es Ubi Caritas Veni, veni, Emmanuel Veni Creator Vexilla Regis Vidi Aquam
On the other hand, I know a great number of the texts i do not know in their authentic chant form in some other decent (or at least, serviceable,) setting.
And there seem to be a few serious omissions.
Gotta love that New Liturgical Movement.
Now THEY are Saving the World.....

The Venerable John Henry Newman

I love libraries.
I love used books.
I love libraries selling used books.
At St Mary's on the Lake, among other treasures (alas, if my French were any good, I could have bought both volumes of the COMPLETE Jungmann, for two bucks!) was a wonderful Newman reader, short prayers.

I am a spiritual reading snacker.

21st Ordinary

Not too pleased, but not too chagrined.
One "why haven't we sung XXX in so long?," one I am trying to teach, NO good approximation of any proper -- oh, unless you count Gift of Finest Wheat... "Lord, the earth is full of Your gift from heaven; man grows bread from earth and wine to cheer his heart." Not a bad match-up.
Prelude: improv on MCKEE and Ave Verum (Gregorian)
Entrance: Praise to the Lord (Lobe Den Herren)
Kyrie, Gosp Acc, Sanctus, Anemnasis, Amen and Agnus Dei: Danish Amen Mass
Gloria: Lee "Congregational"
Offertory: Improv on THE CALL and MCKEE, then sung In Christ There is No East of West
Communion: G of FW, eked w/ SLANE
Closing: God Make of All Disciples (ST THEODULPH)
Postlude: Stanley, Voluntary in A minor.

For next week I am going to write out and add chanted invocations to the Kyrie for the cantors to use when it's one of the priests who doesn't like the Confiteor. I HATE doing the naked Lord, have ...2X, Christ, have...2X, Lord, have... 2X and calling that a complete penitential rite.

I wish I could start stealthing in a Gregorian ordinary, but it will not be countenanced.
Maybe I'll ask again about trying out the Community.
The Gathers are, I am guiltily pleased to report, on their last legs, and I think Fr and the committee agree with me that with the new translation so imminently pending, it would be foolish to buy now. If we could go to a xeroxed weekly "worship aid" I would have access to much better texts, many great tunes we don't currently use, more latitude in my choice of psalm settings and even the chance to veeeeeeery slowly work in some propers (but no Latin...)
Well, what happens, happens. I will do ... what I can.

The Blessing of a Priest

You know how those things happen... a side note in a newspaper column, a quick line barked by a character in a sitcom as you dial past, a chance comment from a friend in the midst of a conversation about something else, an overheard remark.... and then suddenly the thing itself in your face.
Is it coincidence or the unfathomable, inexorable way of the universe, of life, revealing its patterns to you only in tiny increments, if at all?
Jung, or is it Sting? :oP calls it synchronicity.
The Viking Princess counseling friends more lapsed than she as they go through pre-Cana, and gently chiding them for their Fear of Priests.
The notion that, while at the monastery, we should seek out a priest to bless us on the occasion of our 10th.
Startling myself with the frankness of my conversation with the ailing Boss, (I suspect part of my manner was because these are things I long to say to my distant ailing mother...) Solicitous and scolding, benevolent and bossy: that's me.
A review in the Times by DARCEY STEINKE yesterday, of Mary Gordon's new book, Circling My Mother, (shades of Voyages Round My Father?)
She begins the review with an incident from her own experience, (writer and raconteurs can't resist, can they? Surely there is a place for them in liturgical publishing world, composing hymn texts for the next edition of the "But Enough About Me, What Do You Think About Me, God?" Hymnal. ButIDigress) seeing a priest being asked to bless an iguana.
It was the request for a presbyteral benediction she found remarkable, it seems, not the iguana.
Is it unusual? are Catholic priest routinely not treated with "old fashioned reverence?"
She thinks so, and flatly places the blame on "sex scandals, ...the church’s outmoded stand on abortion and birth control, ...the Second Vatican Council, ...the fact that Catholicism has no writers today like Thomas Merton or Dorothy Day."
I might think that gaps in her personal experience had more to do with the circles in which she travels (was it Mary McCarthy who famously wondered how it was Nixon was elected even though no one SHE knew had voted for him?), and a general lessening of treating others with respect, and a loss of formality in the world.
Truth to tell, it was not something I had ever thought about until recently. Or done... the asking.
And it is , to put the most selfish construct on it, very rewarding.
Anyway, if you're reading this, ask a priest for his blessing.
In fact, ask your parents for their blessing.
Hey, and, you ! -- notice the blessing you have already been given.

Friday, 24 August 2007

R.I.P., Rose Bampton

She was a lovely and gracious woman. Quite elderly when I studied with her, and still able to spin out a lovely line.
The Times nailed it I think, her voice "attractive rather than thrilling."
It might seem damning with faint praise, but not to me.
That was the essence of her singing. It did attract, it drew one in.
God bless her and take her to Himself, where she can join in, as the words of E'en So, singing "holy, holy to our Lord."

Give us this day, our daily red....

Being the most parsimonious person to ever purchase potables, on one of our recent excursions to the Far North (read, "suburbs out of our price range",) during a stop at some slightly upscale grocers looking for good lower fat cheese, I loaded up on some drastically price-slashed Chateau Boit de Carton.
(What had caught my eye was some nice cream sherry which, along with basil and nutmeg, comprises the indispensable seasoning palette to me. I can do without everything else, though I admit the Cooking 101 lesson I gave Himself was,"if you don't like something , anything --add either sherry, parmesan or both to it.)
Anyway, it wasn't just inexpensive, it was cheap, drastically less than the lowest-priced box wine in the 5 lt. bags, so I figured if it were swill, it would do for the half glass I always have at night if I haven't had a drink (for medicinal purposes, thank you very much.... ;o))
Or sangria, or a marinade, or stew.
Well, let me just tell you, even Himself, who HAS a palate for the stuff (and can't even choke down some of the things I can drink with enjoyment,) was amazed.
I wish they'd had more.
I wish I had a cellar full of the little black boxes.
Yes, Chateau Boit de Carton has come of age.
I'd read the articles over the past two years, and given a try to some of the "newer, better," costlier wine coming out of smaller, more prestigious vineyards and wineries and found it no improvement at all over the cheap jugs and boxes, in some cases, despite a heftier price tag not as good, fit only for mixing with sodas for summer punch.

So I am here to tell you, Voyage by Origin cabernet is good.

(Incidentally the quest for good low fat cheese has borne no fruit. I don't understand, when I was growing up, we could find fresh skim [not part skim] mozzarella, and wonderful low fat goudas and havarti -- do they just not exist anymore, or is it the part of the country? Himself will just have to soldier on without the one item he is really missing on his new regimen.)

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Faith and despair

A piece in Time Mag about Mother Theresa and the despair she long felt, the silence she heard from her Beloved.
(Himself is really starting to think Catholic, he mentioned hearing about it and that it reminded him of Fr Corapi saying OF COURSE it is our spiritual leaders who too often fall, who would the devil go after first? In war, you try to take out the leaders.)
But it is a common, common story in the hagiographies of mystics and other saints, is it not?
So we'll have no more of that "you're supposed to be happy all the time," twaddle, thank you very much.
Everyone feels it from time to time, and the idea that Faith should function as spiritual zoloft is very damaging, in the way that unrealistic images of beauty are.
The unrealistic expectations it too often sets up can be mortal.
Far from disqualifying her for sainthood, to have lived the life she did always so close to the brink of despair shows the real heroism of her life, the heroism of her virtue, no?

"[R]adiating joy is real" because Christ is everywhere — "Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile that we receive." ...
"the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak "...

The two statements, 11 weeks apart, are extravagantly dissonant. The first is typical of the woman the world thought it knew. The second sounds as though it had wandered in from some 1950s existentialist drama. Together they suggest a startling portrait in self-contradiction — that one of the great human icons of the past 100 years, whose remarkable deeds seemed inextricably connected to her closeness to God and who was routinely observed in silent and seemingly peaceful prayer by her associates as well as the television camera, was living out a very different spiritual reality privately, an arid landscape from which the deity had disappeared.


Clever expression, bon mot, from Eric Wilson in the NYTimes: "eccentrics, the polite term for those who choose not to bind themselves with conformist underpants."
Me, I have at times in my life admired, aspired to eccentricity, but when it gets down to it, I always end up wearing underwear...

Francis and the Immaculata

Watching Maximillian, Saint of Auschwitz, out of the corner of my ear…
A line about how "we Franciscans" have supported the belief in the Immaculate Conception for "seven centuries."
Gotsta look it up (yeah, yeah, yeah, my knowledge of the HISTORY of doctrine, as opposed to knowledge of doctrine itself, comes almost exclusively from Hollywood... a dim-witted Jennifer Jones admitting she had no idea what was the meaning of the words spoken by the Lady in Blue.)
So, anyone who knows anything of the relationship of the Fransicans to the doctrine of the Immaculata, and cares to help fill my empty brain, please do (my connection is very slow and more than usually tenuous today, Googling will not be productive.)
By the way, despite the staginess (it has prompting my opening the conversation with Himself yet again, that rather than decrying the lack of scope/outlet/opportunity, he would be well advised to work on a one man show,) (ButIDigress,) it is much superior to de Fillipis' other movie that I have seen, it moves much faster than Therese (and, because it is only the one on-screen performer, the acting is uniformly better...)

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Reparation to the Jebs?

I suspect partly to make up for having noised abroad that very silly letter from a Jesuit, Fr Z has also linked to this piece on Summorum Pontificum
While there are not a few who look upon this decree as "conservative," or "back-going," I fail to see why giving me the permission to say Mass in another language is somehow a "narrowing" of my freedom. ... Though the Holy Father does not mention this issue, it seems clear that the self-separation into different language groups has in effect broken down community, not opened it up.
Fair, balanced, interesting --- Fr Schall, SJ sounds like the kind of teacher who could affect one for life... and beyond.
Go read the entire thing.

And note this from Fr Schall's A STUDENT'S GUIDE TO LIBERAL LEARNING: (and apply it to the Liturgy and our thinking on it and on Him for Whose worship the Liturgy is intended.) [emphasis mine]
The important things, Aristotle told us, are to be known "for their own sakes", not for some useful or pleasurable purpose, however useful or pleasurable they might also be. Scholars tell us that the ages have saved for us Plato's literary works and Aristotle's more pedestrian class-notes or lectures. The first sing; the second demand our careful, repeated attention. The fact that we have both sorts of heritage contains a lesson for us. We oftentimes need suddenly to be called out of ourselves by something that is simply charming or delightful. At other times, we recognize that if we are go grasp the essence of something, it will take our undivided attention over a long period of time, perhaps a lifetime. We will need to read and read again, to memorize, to recite, to explain what we know to others to see if we are clear and, if we are not, to be honest with ourselves about it.

We Sing of Ourselves

When I post these, should I beg the indulgence of those who like the originals?
When I read this I was reminded of having recently read that Fr Roc O'Conner is considering the charge that we may sing about ourselves a tad too much...

1.Let's lay down a nice rhythm
A samba would be swell.
For praying or for dancing?
It's kinda hard to tell.
A hook that's really catchy,
And bouncy would be nice
Some cheery syncopation 'Cause it's a celebration
And not a sacrifice

Refrain: We sing of ourselves
We sing about us
To give You Your due,

Sing too much of You
Would seem too big a fuss
So humble and meek,
We doubt that You'd seek
To make Your worth and glory the center of the story,
So we'll sing of ourselves

2. Well, yeah, the text could center
On Him on Whom we feed.
But it just seems more nat'ral
To focus on our need.
And our preoccupations,
And what we'd like to do.
Then if we have some time left, some energy to rhyme left,
We might just mention You.

3. We've heard about Your passion
We've heard it all before.
But music that befits that
Could really be a bore.
Reflecting on that bummer's
Not how we want to feel
'Cause dying's sorta dreary, Let's just sing something cheery
And get on with the meal.

4.It's too much of a bother
Rememb'ring what we do
Is worthy of solemn'ty
Or mostly about You
We're here for affirmation,
Okay-ness, sweet and pat
We'll get more satisfaction from de - scribing our own action,

Let's concentrate on that.

An emancipation proclamation...

Fr C, sJ, has taken exception to Fr Z's self-appointed (or more likely, Spirit-appointed,) mission.

You yourself put it so beautifully and powerfully well “Slavishly accurate Liturgical Translations”! What a pity it is to be a prisoner of accuracy and prisoner of the letter when we are called to be not “slavishly” but “LAVISHLY” and creatively free, open and awake enough to listen to the ever fresh daily rhythms of the Spirit who is beyond all boundaries and who as you know breathes where She wills!

I must do some study to find out where this call, discerned by Fr C, to do anything "lavishly" is given to us?

I never cease to be amazed that there is a certain sort of person who believes that anything that comes into his own head is the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but refuses to acknowledge that, for instance, one who seeks to know the mind of the Church, or to behave with reverence and solemnity, or to align oneself with Saints who have preceded us, might be "Spirit-filled" or "Spirit-led."

Whence the assumption that the Spirit is a hoyden and wishes us all so?
Does the Holy Spirit suffer from ADD?

What presumptuousness, that any prediliction of HIS must be prompted by Holy Spirit, but anyone who discerns differently must be failing to listen to the Spirit, (since we know on Pentecost the Holy Spirit told the Apostles to make it up as they go along...)
Let see, Christ took the form of a slave in consequence of Adam's desire to eat of the fruit that could make him like the Creator....Sure, I can see how we are called to "creativity" (lavish or otherwise,) rather than submission to the Truth, it makes all kinds of sense now.

An excellent and apt quote from St Louis de Montfort, via another poster on the thread:

There is nothing among men that makes us belong to another more than slavery; there is nothing also among Christians that makes us belong so completely to Jesus Christ and to His Holy Mother as voluntary slavery, according to the example of Jesus Christ Himself, who took the form of a slave for love of us: Formam servi accipiens, and of the Holy Virgin, who called herself the servant and the slave of the Lord. The Apostle was honored to call himself servus Christi. Christians are called several times in the Holy Scriptures servi Christi; the word servus, according to a truthful remark made by a great man, used to signify nothing other than slave, because there were not as yet servants as we have them today, masters being only served by slaves or freed slaves; that which the Catechism of the Holy Council of Trent, in order to leave absolutely no doubt that we are slaves of Jesus Christ, expresses by a term which is unequivocal, in calling us mancipia Christi: slaves of Jesus Christ.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Silence as Veil

Fr. Thomas Kocik quotes, on another blog, Martin Mosebach's The Heresy of Formlessness, pg. 40:
The liturgy has no gaps; it is one single great canticle; where it prescribes silence or the whisper, that is, where the mystery is covered with an acoustic veil, as it were, any hymn would be out of the question.

Mosebach is speaking somewhere out east, I think I just read. Wish I could go, but it would interfere with my job.
And, I can't really afford it. (Yes, yes, I am shamed, Bach walked 2oo miles to hear Buxtehude, etc, I am shamed by him. Nonetheless....)

And what have YOU done....?

We finished the Baptism Marathon yesterday, (eight or nine new little Christians! Welcome!) and through an unfortunate confluence, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was not only the setting for the family reunions of mostly unchurched persons that these sacraments always entail, but was also held, as Masses so often are, indoors, thus providing shelter from the threatening rain for those who were really only in the vicinity for the Back to (Catholic) School Picnic, and were just waiting for it to begin.
My impression at these events is that a surprising number of the (Catholic) students and their (Catholic) families, (Catholic) parents, are also essentially unchurched.
I don't know what can be done about it, I'm stymied.

And I just read that Dietrich von Hildebrand had over one hundred godchildren.

I am whole-heartedly in favor of this development (since VCII, I believe?) of the Sacrament of Baptism being held on a Sunday, as an affair of the entire community, not just the family (although even in the '90s, most of the Baptisms to which I've been invited were indeed essentially private affairs, on a Sunday afternoon.)
(And I admit, I think our practice of the Marathon is an unwarranted and unwise fabrication by the local community.)
But I am beginning to feel that what is good in principle has had unfortunate results in practice.

The larger, more public event does not contribute to "community" (especially since it is well know, and much complained about that the "connected" celebrate the sacrament as we did 40 years ago,) a feeling that each person, child and parent is an individual welcomed by and need by the community, but to more of a feeling that people are just pegs fitted into pre-existing slots.
The resentment does not go unspoken, people grouse to me (which is a whole 'nother topic -- I have lost count of how many times, on how many subjects I have been approached by a parishioner and have said, "I agree/disagree but it really isn't up to me, why don't you speak to M, D, or Fr K? come to a LitCom/Parish Council meeting?" and seen a look of horror on the face of the parishioner. What??!?#?!?#?$?? They seem afraid to talk to some of the Powers and Dominions in the Parish. Apparently I am approachable and they are not? I've never been though approachable before in my life, I'll have to do something about it.... ButIDigress.)
I have been told more than once, by young, involved people (that is important,) that "those people" appear, have their children baptized, and then disappear from parish life.
It may be counter-intuitive seems to me that "private" Baptisms impress more of importance and responsibility on the recipients (or rather, their proxies/parents,) than do the big community events.
I know that they are trying, through lay ministry, to have "peer mentors" as it were for Matrimony and other sacraments, hence the Baptism Ministry Team" and they may help, but meanwhile....
Baptisms, like Weddings are a commodity people shop around for , decide to purchase, and then have ownership of -- at least that is the mentality I am seeing from too, too many.

And Von Hildebrand had 1oo-some godchildren. Individuals and families he, himself, personally caused to be ,themselves, personally, closer to Christ.

I don't know what the answer to this is. Am I doing all I can? Patently not. What shall I do? Is the Legion the answer?

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Music for 20th Ordinary

I've never posted my music programs, (yeah, yeah, out of fear of having my choices trashed, especially since they aren't entirely mine,) but here goes. (Nothing of which I'm actually ashamed.)

Not a bad weekend, musically.
Well, not a horrific weekend.
Prelude: Improv on St THOMAS and NETTLETON
Entrance: Christ is Made the Sure Foundation (ST THOMAS)
except at Mass with what we call the "3rd Rite" of Baptism, Becker "Litany of Various Good People We Admire"
Penitential Rite: Kyrie from "Danish Amen" Mass
Gloria: Lee "Congregational Mass"
Psalm 40, O Lord, Come to my aid, Hunstiger (Basilica Psalter?)
Gospel Acclamation: Dnaish Amen w/ chanted verse from lectionary
Offertory: God We Praise You (NETTLETON)
Sanctus, Anemnasis and Amen: Danish Amen
Agnus Dei: Danish
Communion With the Lord There is Mercy, Haugen
the remaining time eked out variously with THE CALL, and Nimrod
Recessional: Lift High the Cross (CRUCIFER)
Postlude:Bach "Praeambulum," BWV 924

No parts of the Ordinary that failed to reflect the ACTUAL TEXT OF THE MISSAL.
A psalm that correlated with the Lectionary (no paraphrase, no instance of, "this is what I would have written, if I had been responsible for.... oh, I dunno, the Word of God?)
A communion song that was a good approximation of the Proper.
An add-on (closing song,) that reflected the readings as well as the parochial celebration of Baptisms.
Strong singing of solid texts in the other hymns.
Not a word of Latin, or Greek.
No authentic chant.
But baby-steps...

Eucharistic Adoration

We understand that we need to emphasize the Presence of Christ in the gathered community at least as much as, if not more than, we emphasize Him in the Eucharist. To this end, we are removing the choir section of our church, that section behind the current altar, and replacing it with a platform on which we will build a 20-foot tall, six-seater monstrance — a monstrance capable of sitting six parishioners in the glass chamber. We will then begin perpetual adoration. Six parishioners at a time will take turns climbing up and sitting in the monstrance while the rest of us will take turns worshiping Them.

--Fr Joseph Wilson


Ever ask yourself this question?
Sure ya have, even if only half-consciously, even if you don't wear the bracelet...
Well, ICEL (or is it the Bishops?) currently has us hearing this at Mass today: Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
Or if you prefer, Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division (KJV)
Or even Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation. (D-R)
Or yet again: Putatis quia pacem veni dare in terram ? non, dico vobis, sed separationem :
(Sorry, no Greek or Hebrew fonts, so that's where we stop.)
And this is the interpretation: Jesus 's plan was to bring joy, peace and happiness.
None of this "separation stuff." No hard sayings! Wait, wait, come back, when I said I was going to give you my own flesh to eat, it was just a metaphor! And even if it weren't, you don't have to agree with me, just com'on back! Really, it's more important that we all make nice than that we uphold the Truth, forget I said anything!

Persons of interest...

I know, I know, in police procedurals, (gee, I hope there are more "Foyles," BID,) that kinda sorta means suspects who we can't yet call suspects, but I just mean someone who has piqued my curiosity.
Just saw a short and silly piece on Atheism In America on CBS Sunday morning (I say "silly" because the reporter, NOT a partisan, asked in the Asking-This-Question-Means-I-Think-So-But-Haven't-The-Courage-Of-My-Convictions-To-Use-A-Declarative-Sentence-Or-The-Journalist's-Drive-To-Bother-To-Find-Out-For-Certain mode that Jon Stewart refers to as "a cavuto," if failure to practice means the putatively religious have no belief, just a habit. Well, hon', only if the universality of lying indicates that humanity doesn't really believe Truth is a value and an ideal, that lip service to honesty is... "just a habit.")

Anyway, a writer/academic named Protheroe (sp?) and Julia Sweeny's Irish-Catholic mom.

A correction: according to a transcript I just looked up, the on-air personality did NOT phrase it was a question: To some, that suggests religion is little more than a habit — a comfortable place to be.

("Some." Which "some" would that be? That is a bit like the Prime Ministers' coded, off-the-record verification of political rumors in that blistering BBC series, "Some might say so, I couldn't possibly.")

And as long as I'm amending, the name was "Stephen Prothero"

And in his book, Religious Literacy, he says, "Americans, though religious, actually know little about any faith, let alone their own. "
Which becomes a not-very-meaningful statement when we acknowledge that there's precious little Americans do know much about.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

The quality of ones enemies and the desperations of their lies

Sometimes one is brought 'round to an idea or persuaded to embrace a position not by its adherents but by its detractors.
Let me say, first, I don't "remember" the Tridentine Mass.
Of the maybe 7 or 8 thousand Masses I've attended in my life I remember participating in fewer than 3 dozen of the Extraordinary Rite.
My druthers would not have been the TLM. (Note the tense -- I don't know what my druthers are now. I am evolving.)
And I would, until 7 years ago or so, have counted myself among the liberals in the Church.
I think I blogged recently about my accursed, "honest", big mouth, giving people information they don't want to have, and how I told several people at the retreat that until recently I had thought "Conservatives" were wingnuts. I thought they exaggerated the problems, I thought they were extremists, I thought they were making universal mountain out of tiny, isolated molehills, I didn't know THEY WERE RIGHT.
And more and more I realized that it wasn't just the music (my area of training,) it was the whole shebang that had gone sour, about which they were lied to , they were betrayed, they were given stones when they needed eggs, they were given scorpions and snakes when they asked for fish.
And now, I am realizing that the Traditionalists received AND CONTINUE TO RECEIVE the same (mis)treatment.
The CNS, the official organ of our esteemed episcopacy printed an article by one Fr D.
I am reprinting it here, because I suspect it may disappear from the internet by weekend's end.

The parish just to the west of mine has been celebrating the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass for more than 15 years. The pastor has special permission granted years ago by the former Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal James Hickey. He is also one of the few priests around who remembers the pre-1962 ritual.
Almost nobody comes.
He gets about 30 people per Sunday, even though his is the only Latin Mass for at least 40 miles around in an area that encompasses more than 20 parishes.
Most of the people who come are elderly. They like this Mass because it is quiet and short. It reminds them of the olds days. A few young people come once in a while out of curiosity. They do not come back often.
My neighboring pastor is a bit exasperated with the whole thing. It means a lot of work for him. Under the old liturgy the priest did just about everything. The people who come to the Latin Mass like that part of the tradition just fine. They don't think they should have to do anything but show up. After all, it is the priest who says Mass. They are just spectators.
Before Vatican II's reforms, there were no lectors or eucharistic ministers. The servers said most of the responses. A lot of the prayers were said "sotto voce," i.e., inaudibly.
For my neighbor, the extra liturgy means that he has had to move the altar used for the Mass facing the people. (He has recently stopped doing this because nobody showed up to help him.) Then he has to set out different books and change into different vestments.
Most inconvenient of all, he has to prepare and preach a different homily.
Why a different homily? Because there are different readings. In the pre-1962 liturgy there was a one-year cycle of readings. We read only an Epistle and a Gospel. There were no readings from the Old Testament. We didn't hear much of the Bible and it was heard in Latin.
Since the reforms of Vatican II our book of readings for Sundays (Lectionary) has a three-year cycle, which includes readings from the Hebrew Scriptures. So my neighbor can't even preach the same homily for the Latin and English Masses on most Sundays.
A few folks from my parish go over to my neighbor's parish for the Latin Mass. Mostly they are quite elderly. They don't like all the singing at my parish. They don't like shaking hands. They don't like Communion in both forms. They don't like having three readings.
They tell me what they like most about the Latin Mass is that they can get in and get out in less than 45 minutes. They put a high premium on speed. A good liturgy is a short liturgy.
For them a good liturgy also is one where they don't have to speak to anyone or do anything. Their whole attitude says "I want no commitment and I want no communication." Hardly the "full and active participation" that Vatican II called for.
So now that Pope Benedict XVI has issued his "motu proprio" permitting the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, will there be big crowds at the Latin Mass? Will more parishes start to offer it? I doubt it.
Apart from the schismatic followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and a few young people who are nostalgic for a church they never knew, almost nobody is pressing for it. Nobody under the age of 55 even remembers the old Latin ritual.
I think my neighbor's experience will be the experience of the church. We can offer it. But almost nobody will come.

Now it seems the author is allowing as how he may have.... misspoken.


Someone has spoken with the pastor of the flock he maligned (he didn't malign the pastor, merely lied.... erm, misreported about him,) and members of the beleaguered flock are speaking up.
The question is begged, WHY
Why, if the Extraordinary Rite doesn't interest you, write about it at all?
If it does interest you and you are opposed to it, why present the FACTUAL grounds on which you oppose it, and why not report about it FACTUALLY?
And if you can't do either, why open your yap?
Actually, I think I know why.... I can see Orson Welles as Archbishop Charles Kane (pining for the toy sedia gestatoria he once had, and nicknamed "Rosebud,",) or Dan Ackroyd in clericals and a big pectoral cross, playing the ecclesial equivalent of the crass publishing magnate in Bright Young Thinks, barking our orders to "get me a story." (Note the indefinite article. Not interested in getting THE story.)
The whole Liturgical-Industrial Complex and the CYA Establishment.... well, there's no other way to say it, they protest too much.

It doesn't ring necessary, if true; so if they feel it necessary, than I believe it must be because IT IS NOT TRUE.
And that makes what they are trying to suppress much more attractive, frankly.
What are they afraid of?
Why is the suppression of the Extraordinary Rite so important to them?
What is its power?
And how can I get in touch with it? (I already know the answer to that, but the ride is seeming shorted and shorter...)

Why are they doing this?
Let us pray for Fr. Saverio Vitturino, the priest whose Mass the column attacked, and to God in thanksgiving for such priests.
And let us pray for Fr D., too, let us pray to to God for all those who are in thrall to, or are the Useful Idiots of, the Father of Lies.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Does it mean anything?

Does it mean something, is it some kind of aphasia that today I could not think of the right word so the plural of "man" came out "mans," and that I just old Himself that the bell on the timer "ringed"?

I mean, I make mistakes all the time, and I frequently use bad grammar deliberately, but that has me disturbed...

All Are Okay

The tune should be obvious.

1. Let us build a church, that's fuzzy, warm,
And cozy as a cocoon,
Decor and lighting, seating too....
Just like your living room!
Where the Soothing Song of Gather
Will supplant the Word of God

And complying with the Roman Missal,
Roman Missal, Roman Missal
Would be seen as quaint or odd.

2. Let us have a place, where we can sit,
In peace and just relax,
Where sermons never challenge us,
Or get down to brass tacks.
Where all behavior's welcome!
There's no call to change your life,
Because telling folks we need conversion,
Need conversion, need conversion,
Hurts our feelings, and leads to strife.

3. Let us have sweet talk, where "sayings hard"
Won't rankle or intrude.
Where sin is never spoken of,
Mere mention would be rude!
Where the only valued Virtue
Is the tolerance of Vice
If we're good or bad, it doesn't matter,
Doesn't matter, doesn't matter,
God won't care, long as we're "nice."

4.Let's remind ourselves, we're already saints,

So we never need to change.
Self control's just scrupulosity.
Continence? retro and strange.
Should you dare to preach repentance,
Or censoriously suggest
We amend our lives -- now THAT'S the only,
That's the only, that's the only
Urge that ever should be suppressed.

(amended 12:35 am, 8/18/07)

Sir Monocle

Wonderful new blog. (Much thanks to the Hymnographer for pointing it out.)
Were Himself not a simple fact of life... oh, dear, I don't means he's simple or anything.
Better start over.
Were I not married, and did Sir Monocle not from his posts make it quite cleared that he is likewise encumbered, I would seek him out , inveigle organ lessons and sit too close on the bench asking about mixtures. (He's quite near by....)

A very humane wit .

I think the enjoyment he and his lady take from the Life of Jams and Jellies may have summ't in common with Himself's and my Theory of Luxury, and the Diminishing Returns of Pleasures (I will not go into the Pillow>Porsche equation; and my favorite jam IS one of Life's Great Luxuries, and at 2.95 at Trader Joe's, also one of Life's Great Bargains.)

Singing Of Ourselves

Fascinating discussion, (tangential to a thread on the RPI blog about getting the PIPs to sing during the Communion procession,) about the the "proper" (meaning most appropriate,) subject of our liturgical song and how it might relate to the Propers, how the latter might be our (best, in my opinion,) guide to judging the suitability of ones choice in the matter of the ubiquitous alius cantus, the DreadFourthOption (I think I may start referring to hymns in any non-Lof the Hs liturgical setting as the DFO, or D4thO,) (maybe leave out the D, no need to hammer any pejorative intent, especially because I do love hymns...)

(but I digress.)

One of the StLJ, of all people, has done a statistical analysis of how often the propers are Us Celebrating the Wonder That Is Ourselves... well, that's not quite how it was phrased.

The answer?

Not very often.

It reminds me of a project someone on The New Liturgical Movement toyed with (or perhaps accomplished?) determining how often, Properly, the congregation or choir presumes to sing with the Voice of God, actually phrased so, with no, "says the Lord," or similar clause.

I think any but the most partisan, (or prone to exaggeration, like Thomas Day?) Liturgical Musician On the Side of All That Is Good And Right, (as opposed to those who disagree with me...) would acknowledge, in fact has always believed, that many, if not most of their standards objections are to matters of emphasis, of pushing our practices too far in one direction, of neglecting more important ritual, better suited music in favor of what should at very most, at VERY best be an occasional detour from the norm, (though yes, in many cases, should never be heard from or seen.)

For instance, to always sing of, speak of secondary aspects of our Faith is to either passively ignore or sometimes actively suppress equally valid and sometimes more important aspects.
(Of course we are the Body of Christ, you and I.... but to persistently stress this while discouraging adoration of His Real Presence in the Eucharistic species has been immensely damaging to the spirituality of the Church today, and to arrogantly and almost blasphemously therefore claim other attributes of God is beyond appalling.)

To harp on about "celebration" in a way that suggests our Liturgy is intended to always and everywhere be about Good Times and Good Feelings, is to ignore the needs of all of us who are the publican in the back of the temple, and to reduce Source and Summit of our Faith to spiritual Zoloft.
(Yes, there is much to be happy about, but there are other necessary aspects to prayer that have been banished from our churches.)

To always program the nursery rhyme... the sentimental Edwardian ballad... the flashy late romantic Victorian aria.... the catchy jingle.... the snappy ethnic favorite; and to force the students of Solesmes to beg for a place at the table, (when the seat at the head is rightfully theirs,) is to ignore the prescription of every authoritative document on music and liturgy the Church has ever produced, and to further personalize and parochialize and trivialize the worship of the Universal Church.
(Yes, room can be made for Eagles Wings and On This Day and the Schubert Ave, but they should be exceptions to the music programming rule.)

Anyway, here endeth the rant, if such a discussion has finally opened up in NPM-land, I say, "Bully!"

Help Wanted: must be willing to time travel

An interesting article in the NYTimes on the Monteverdi Moment the musical world seems to be experiencing, (for which I unabashedly admit I feel envy toward all those who have access, leisure and cash flow to enjoy it...) (was that clause within spitting distance of being grammatical?)

I have always loved Monteverdi; I have been haphazardly working on a super-duper-simplification of the famous Vespers that my choir might be able to attempt; when as a kid I first heard that achingly beautiful duet from Poppea I actually described it to myself with the word "ravishing" even though I had only just learned it after doing my own etymological and sociological research after an elementary school teacher had rebuffed my question concerning the meaning of one of the words in the title of "The Rape of the Lock," (I liked the engravings, they were funny...) and I dimly came to understand the relationship between love, sex and the way beauty can hit you like a ton of bricks and didn't yet know "ravishing" was the performing arts critic's cliche of approbation...

But I Digress

Anyway, catch this excerpt:
The music directorship of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, one of the premier posts in the music world at the time, had fallen into decline after a series of ineffective maestros mismanaged the place and lost its sense of mission. In 1613 Monteverdi was beseeched to take charge. He did, with conditions.
He reorganized the operation from top to bottom, recruited excellent new players and singers, restocked the library and announced that all services in the future would offer the best of the old repertory with adventurous new works of the day, including many, of course, of his own.
[emphasis mine] [Sounds like something you'd read, a want ad on an NPM or CMAA board or blog, no?] His conception of the job is still relevant. Monteverdi could name his salary at any orchestra or opera company today.

His "conception of the job?" Alas, the trouble is that it was not a "job" , Mr. Tommasini, it was a 'Ministry."

And though his conception of how to go about church music directorship is indeed very valid, in any age (though at a basilica, or cathedral, as opposed to orchestra or opera company, regardless of his skills and qualifications, naming his own salary? -- It's the Church, you should be proud to live and let your children live in vow-less poverty to serve her!) there are a few aspects of the "job" we've left out of the equation , and those requirements and aims are often, sadly, diametrically opposed to the ones you've stated, the appropriate ones....

(In deference to.... well, good fellowship and self-preservation, I shan't enumerate them.)

Thursday, 16 August 2007

The cosmic custard pie

You’re Origen!

You do nothing by half-measures. If you’re going to read the Bible, you want to read it in the original languages. If you’re going to teach, you’re going to reach as many souls as possible, through a proliferation of lectures and books. If you’re a guy and you’re going to fight for purity … well, you’d better hide the kitchen shears.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

I post a parody that gets in a gentle dig at one of the Church Fathers, (the one who had ... peculiar ideas of the best way to promote and ensure chastity,) and one of those internet quizzes reveals that if I were a Church Father, I would be... you guessed it!

Song Parody from Christus Vincit blog

Faith of Our Father, one of my sentimental favourites, as well as some segments of the Catholic population comes in for some gentle ribbing at the snarkily musical blog Christus Vincit. http://christusvincit.blogspot.com/

(I've never sung, played, or even heard SAWSTON , outside of brit-coms, assuming it's the tune I'm thinking of.)

Faith of the grannies, priest-wannabes,
Faux ordinations on the high seas,
In the procession, three gifts are seen:
Bread and wine, and, thank God!... Dramamine.
Their day's long gone, they grasp at straws
Strive to make sense of menopause

Other targets:

Faith of the Dinosaurs, double-knit clad,
Dreaming of whate'er "edge" they once had...


Faith of the NPM, (not really "faith")
Quoting for gospel what V. Funk saith...

the author and my personal fave, dear old Origen:

Faith of Castrati, don't leave them out!
Some holy men live "with," some "without."
Becker says Origen should be giv'n heed,
When we ask "saints" to intercede.
(Who knew that Becker had the juice,
To decide what's bound and what's loose?)

Check it out!


The sheep whisperer has a post about the funeral of Cardinal Lustiger with the most brilliant, pregnant bit of unidiomatic English...

A friend of his, (for whom English is a second language, presumably,) has translated a French report on the ceremony, and instead of the expected phrase, "converted to Catholicism," the kind translator tells us Aaron became Jean-Marie when he "converted with Catholicism."

Converted with Catholicism.

Isn't this felicitous, isn't this exactly right? Doesn't it speak perfectly to the conversion to which all men are all called? the ongoing conversion to which Catholics are most particularly called by virtue of the head-start we have been given?

We must all turn toward God.
And turning may not be the best description, as one can turn and remain we place.
We must turn toward and MOVE toward God.
And the path on which we move, the road on which we travel, the WAY is Christ Jesus.
Catholicism, the Church, His Bride is the means WITH which we may most easily, most completely, most surely do this.

Does everyone have to accept this or be condemned, must everyone believe as the Church teaches or be denied Salvation?

Not at all!

God is all-merciful.
In His mercy, He knows and allows for the fact that it is perfectly possible for us poor human beings to arrive at a destination without having an clear vision of what that destination is, without even knowing the name of the highway on which one has traveled.
Without knowing the Way.
Without knowing the Truth.
Without knowing the Life.

Ignorant though we be, we may yet arrive home safe and sound.

How often running around in the chevy has one thought oneself hopelessly lost, wasting time, perhaps even headed in the wrong direction, only to round a bend in the road and gratefully see, ah! there it is, just what I was looking for!

But when the Home-Owner has sent directions, has provided a map -- why leave the house without it?

And there's the "with."

We find our Way "with" the Church.
We convert, ever constantly, "with" Catholicism.

Thank You, Lord, for the Church with which to convert!

Interestingly, this post of Rocco's was right below a post that focusses on other little words: et...et. We Catholics are a people of Both/And

(Yeah, yeah, I know I'm blathering WAAAAAY outside any field of competence.... even shallow people are entitled to Deep Thoughts)

Monday, 13 August 2007

Apparently, he had at least one more marble....

.... to lose. (This may become a weekly feature here.)

The author of GIA's "Table Talk" continues his descent into dotage.

Now he is waxing wrothful at those Catholics who have the unmitigated gall to proclaim and promote "Catholic Identity."

Among his proofs of the wrong-headedness of clinging to said identity is the use of the word "Catholic" in what he himself calls "an extensive article" a seemingly excessive 31 times.

Oddly, in a very short essay, (surely much shorter than even half of the offending article, since the article was long enough to be called "extensive" ?) the Table Talker feels compelled to use the word "Catholic" 16 times, but the irony of this probably escapes him.

Anyway, he is dead set against the idea that to call oneself a Catholic should mean anything, or at least anything much.

And there's pearl of wisdom, generated by a young person attending a Dog & Pony show of 1/2 of the H & H IceCreamTeam (the man who doesn't know that God should be the focus of Liturgy and is foolish enough to say so in print, but clever enough to find a publisher foolish enough to provide him with a platform for his ignorance,) that almost brings tears to the old man's eyes because it so perfectly captures for him "what it means to be Catholic. "

It is.... wait for it, wait for it.... to have good music and to live for others.

Heavens to Murgatroyd! We're the Salvation Army!

Not that there's anything wrong with the Salvation Army...

I'm glad actually, because they have the second best uniforms, after Catholics. (Or rather, after the people I in my lack of wisdom thought were Catholics. I heart a biretta worn at a rakish angle. )

Apparently, to be Catholic means not much more, not even much different than being Jewish (great cantors, ever hear of Jan Peerce?strong network of social services,) Wiccan (they are some of the nicest people, and gotta love that soulful Celtic harp,) or Quakers (devoted to being good to other people, and there aren't many tunes better than Simple Gifts.)

Anyway, if that poor, old man thinks expecting someone not to try to trade on his religious identity to get votes while he protects and even promotes an activity that that religiou names for what it is, the objectively mortal sin of murder; or allowing legitimate liturgical diversity while insisting on the need for reverence and solemnity in all liturgies; or watching a television station that espouses positions that happen to be in tune with the Holy Father; or demanding that when one supports a school financially, or entrusts ones children to it, that it be honest about its educational aims*; makes ones Catholic cred questionable, while singing happy tunes and being nice makes one a paragon of the Faith, maybe he "should look real hard at what being Catholic is. "

And he might try looking somewhere besides his own navel.

* For instance, if I dropped Mimsy off at the Broderick Crawford School of Ballet, I would be more than perturbed when I picked my darling up to find that her fees had actually paid for an afternoon of paintball.
Nothing wrong with paintball, you understand, but truth in advertizing, and all that, and I'd have had my expectation, what with the 20 ft. high flashing neon sign with the letters B-A-L-L-E-T and all...

n.b. In an essay slightly longer than Mr Moleck's piece, I have used the word "Catholic" several times, (that one doesn't count!) I must admit, but fewer than did he.

I was just blessed by hearing quite a funeral sermon.
Himself called to let me know that the funeral at the Byzantine Rite parish was going to be a large one, much clergy, multiple cantors, etc., so (mea culpa,) as a liturgical tourist I went.

(Fully expecting to participate fully, and receive the Body and Precious Blood, mind you, but since the Divine Liturgy was longer than expected and I had an appointment, despite my paltry if sincere prayers for the deceased, I was, as I said, a sight-seer.)
Indeed, splendid solemnity, full-throated chanting, glorious vestments, serious incensage, all that...


I am perhaps too familiar to give our guys their due, having heard the same funeral sermons uncounted times, (and having not heard them even more often, what with the sound system, and the fans and our priests penchant, of which I highly approve, for speaking acoustically and intimately with the family when it is a small funeral,) but other than Msgr. S's temerity in preaching on purgatory, and the necessity of praying for the dead, (which is the homily I wish to have preached at my funeral,) this was my favorite ever, and very probably the finest.

He began by pointing out what a blessing God had given us all in causing the departed's funeral to fall when it did, as we were wrapping up the octave of the Transfiguration -- he used to Iconostasis to illustrate -- the first sighting vouchsafed to mortals of a glorified body, that glorified body that is our future, that it is promised we shall one day possess.Then he spoke of the Holy Day we were fast approaching, the Assumption/Dormition, (again, a beautiful icon,) and how Mary, we believe, already, from that day, enjoyed what we shall one day enjoy, when our souls are re-united with a now glorified body.
And how that was the Truth.
And how that (the body in the open coffin,) was a lie.
That of course it was sad, because it was a lie, it was obscene, that our bodies were never meant to be separated from our souls, that death only happened, only had happened because of sin, because of the fall.
But that we have the sure and certain hope of immortality, of our souls and bodies, our glorified bodies being finally and indissolubly joined.

And of course he talked of the deceased, whom I do not know, but much else, too many riches to recall them all

Well, it gave me the kind of joy that the sight of a large group of good young men at St John Cantius did, that the wonderful old men at Cathagena did, that my pastor's hearing my confession does (he's an excellent confessor,) that listening to Fr Weber did.... it is reassuring, it is as the rainbow to the flood, the sign of a promise, that the Church is built upon a Rock, and however dire the problems may seem, the gates of hell shall not prevail, there will be holy men to do the work that only they can do, God will send us good priests.

Enough's a feast, as they say in Himself's favourite movie....

Sunday, 12 August 2007

My liturgy planning would not please

I often read very heated threads about hymn and other musical choices around St Blog's parish, it is a topic that elicits very strong opinions.
I imagine much of my programming would bring out the long knives of people with whom I am most in sympathy, strangely enough.
For starters, hymns as the norm are something I do not have the power to change at my parish.
I was allowed to do the Proper Introit and psalm verses, in English, to a simple psalm tone for Advent, and a similar arrangement, for the choir Masses only, for Lent.
But this is very much the exception, TPTB want hymns and contemporary sacro-pop songs, and the people have been led to expect them, such that next week when there is a Celebration series "psalm" that is a good fit for the communion proper, some people will be confused, and some will balk at singing it.
There are a few exceptions to this, (the Becker Litany of the Nice People which takes the place of the selected entrance hymn at the last 1/3 of the Rite of Baptism, Baptisms taking precedence even over Christ the King, not just Ordinary Sundays.)

But beyond that, beyond the mere fact of hymns, there is the choice.
For instance, the Recessional is not a part of Mass, and so I feel greater a liturgical freedom in programming it.
I know the "Patriotic-Songs-At-Mass" controversy rages every time a national holiday approaches.
Yeah, Eternal Father Strong to Save,(MELITA,) or God of Our Fathers (NATIONAL HYMN) would be a good choice, but NEITHER IS IN OUR HYMNAL, NEITHER IS IN OUR REPERTOIRE.
And America the Beautiful is hardly a jingoistic, ain't we grand love song to ourselves, it is a prayer that the Almighty make our country better, make US better, make our inner beauty as a people match the physical beauty with which He has graced our land.
I have no problem using it on holiday weekends, if they occur in Ordinary time.

And in keeping with the idea that the Recessional is not part of the Mass, and therefore the song text may just as suitably look forward to the coming week, the next Holy day, whatever, I closed this weekend's Masses with Hail Holy Queen. (Which the PIPs sang, as I noted on another blog, as if it were their school fight song.)

Friday, 10 August 2007

The surprising power of graceful silence

Our diocesan paper has a piece by a Fr Peter Daly about hosting a Catholic teen "work camp," and the grace-filled experience of Eucharistic Adoration.

"After a couple of hours of high energy praise and worship music, the musicians quieted the youth down with a chant. Then in the dark we walked t... to the church along a ...path lit only by candles.

By the time we got the the church there was silence. We started adoration: two hours of.... silence in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

... Teens crave a moment of reflection, silence and prayer.... They were blown away by the power of silent prayer...."Father, man, that was totally awesome."

Umm.... yeah.

Beautfiul Person, Lovely Person

A Mass of Christian Burial yesterday morning for one of the Companions.One of the loveliest persons I have ever known.

Literally "lovely," the way Samuel Crossman used it, "love to the loveless shown that they might lovely be."Someone so filled with love, out of whom love poured, in such a font, such a flood that those of us who were fortunate enough to know her or meet her felt also filled with love.The love she showed us made us lovable.

Interesting family, wonderful people, I had never met any of them before.

(It is the WhWhay, incidentally, that one can be colleagues, comrades, seemingly close, for a long time -- and never even hear a spouse mentioned. It led me, when I first moved here to think people were widowed or estranged.... to the contrary! These are devoted, demonstrative people often! but their hobbies or church activities or arts involvements and their spousal activities never intersect..... weird. BID, nothing of this applies to her, this just reminded me.)

I wonder if it pained her that members of her family were fallen away?
I am finding surprising numbers of devout Catholics who feel no particular regret over children who are no longer Catholic or even Christian.

I'm not really a Luddite...

I actually admire technology, I just can't deal with it, I believe hamsters live inside my computer and very fast hamsters live inside everyone else's.

But, trying once more....

Nope, just can't link buttons and jpegs and gifs and funny pictures and gorgeous images and.... nope, just can't manage.