Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Sunday, 28 October 2007

No, no, you're too kind...

Yes, sometimes when my efforts are applauded at Mass (this happens with some frequency, and i detest it,) I feel as if I should do the falsely modest feint at self-deprecation a theatrical diva of my acquaintance used to do -- she had an almost operatic way of bowing, putting her hand to her heart and looking at the audience through doe eyes with an expression of almost pained surprise at their reaction that was calculated to, (and often did,) bring them to their feet.
Nice piece by Lee Podles, several years ago, on the phenomenon http://www.touchstonemag.com/blogarchive/2003_09_28_editors.html

Some old grumps at the Vatican (with whom I am in deepest sympathy) are trying to end what they consider abuses in the liturgy, including the minor one of applause,St. John Chrysostom was the recipient of applause at his sermons; he told his congregation they would better putting their energy into following his teachings rather than applauding them. I dislike applause at mass, and it is not sour grapes because I have been the recipient of it at mass on one or two occasions.The problem with applauding people at mass (especially the musicians) is that:it makes the mass look like entertainment provided for the congregation;the musicians etc. should not be trying to impress the congregation but should be praying to God.The last thing I would want to be is applauded for prayer. It is spiritually disastrous.When I was in Santa Fe for Indian Market, I attended the Indian Mass. The Indians explained that they would be doing the beginning of the Buffalo Dance of Thanksgiving to the Great Spirit after communion, that this was a prayer, not entertainment, and that the congregation should not applaud. At the end of the mass the clueless Archbishop Sheehan got up and asked everyone to give the dancers a big round of applause. The Indians were miffed, but Sheehan, like many Catholics, sees the new liturgy as being at least in part entertainment, to which the proper response in our culture is applause.

The only misstep is referencing an article in the reliably bone-headed Ministry & Liturgy, which offers this gem:
"Any decision to ask the assembly to change its behavior should be made by the liturgy planning committee. There must be a consensus that this change is desirable and that the timing is right. It might send the wrong message to ask people not to clap during the Easter season; some might interpret this as a desire to “quiet” the celebration. "

No one likes armed missionaries....

Compelling Op-ed piece in the times
by François Furstenberg, a professor of history at the University of Montreal, and the author of new bio of Geo. Washington, "In the Name of the Father."

Soon after the storming of the Bastille, pro-Revolutionary elements came together to form an association that would become known as the Jacobin Club, an umbrella group of politicians, journalists and citizens dedicated to advancing the principles of the Revolution.
The Jacobins shared a defining ideological feature. They divided the world between pro- and anti-Revolutionaries — the defenders of liberty versus its enemies. The French Revolution, as they understood it, was the great event that would determine whether liberty was to prevail on the planet or whether the world would fall back into tyranny and despotism.
The stakes could not be higher, and on these matters there could be no nuance or hesitation. One was either for the Revolution or for tyranny.
By 1792, France was confronting the hostility of neighboring countries, debating how to react. The Jacobins were divided. On one side stood the journalist and political leader Jacques-Pierre Brissot de Warville, who argued for war.
Brissot understood the war as preventive — “une guerre offensive,” he called it — to defeat the despotic powers of Europe before they could organize their counter-Revolutionary strike. It would not be a war of conquest, as Brissot saw it, but a war “between liberty and tyranny.”
Pro-war Jacobins believed theirs was a mission not for a single nation or even for a single continent. It was, in Brissot’s words, “a crusade for universal liberty.”
Brissot’s opponents were skeptical. “No one likes armed missionaries,” declared Robespierre, with words as apt then as they remain today. Not long after the invasion of Austria, the military tide turned quickly against France.
The United States, France’s “sister republic,” refused to enter the war on France’s side. It was an infuriating show of ingratitude, as the French saw it, coming from a fledgling nation they had magnanimously saved from foreign occupation in a previous war.
Confronted by a monarchical Europe united in opposition to revolutionary France — old Europe, they might have called it — the Jacobins rooted out domestic political dissent. It was the beginning of the period that would become infamous as the Terror.
Among the Jacobins’ greatest triumphs was their ability to appropriate the rhetoric of patriotism — Le Patriote Français was the title of Brissot’s newspaper — and to promote their political program through a tightly coordinated network of newspapers, political hacks, pamphleteers and political clubs.
Even the Jacobins’ dress distinguished “true patriots”: those who wore badges of patriotism like the liberty cap on their heads, or the cocarde tricolore (a red, white and blue rosette) on their hats or even on their lapels.
Insisting that their partisan views were identical to the national will, believing that only they could save France from apocalyptic destruction, Jacobins could not conceive of legitimate dissent. Political opponents were treasonous, stabbing France and the Revolution in the back.
To defend the nation from its enemies, Jacobins expanded the government’s police powers at the expense of civil liberties, endowing the state with the power to detain, interrogate and imprison suspects without due process. Policies like the mass warrantless searches undertaken in 1792 — “domicilary visits,” they were called — were justified, according to Georges Danton, the Jacobin leader, “when the homeland is in danger.”
Robespierre — now firmly committed to the most militant brand of Jacobinism — condemned the “treacherous insinuations” cast by those who questioned “the excessive severity of measures prescribed by the public interest.” He warned his political opponents, “This severity is alarming only for the conspirators, only for the enemies of liberty.” Such measures, then as now, were undertaken to protect the nation — indeed, to protect liberty itself.
If the French Terror had a slogan, it was that attributed to the great orator Louis de Saint-Just: “No liberty for the enemies of liberty.” Saint-Just’s pithy phrase (like President Bush’s variant, “We must not let foreign enemies use the forums of liberty to destroy liberty itself”) could serve as the very antithesis of the Western liberal tradition.
On this principle, the Terror demonized its political opponents, imprisoned suspected enemies without trial and eventually sent thousands to the guillotine. All of these actions emerged from the Jacobin worldview that the enemies of liberty deserved no rights.
Though it has been a topic of much attention in recent years, the origin of the term “terrorist” has gone largely unnoticed by politicians and pundits alike. The word was an invention of the French Revolution, and it referred not to those who hate freedom, nor to non-state actors, nor of course to “Islamofascism.”
A terroriste was, in its original meaning, a Jacobin leader who ruled France during la Terreur.

Friday, 26 October 2007

From the diocesan paper I learned....

... that there is a law of karma, that a priest and celibate has a shorter life expectancy than a married man, that it is rare for cremation to be chosen for reasons that are contrary to the Catholic faith, such as to "express disbelief in the resurrection" (note that the writer does not cite disbelief in "the resurrection of the body,") that it is important in our prayer to be "clear, understandable and straightforward," (what, God is impatient if we ramble? He can't figure out what we mean if we can't down to the who what and where of reporterese?)

But I also learned, to my surprise and joy, that the CDW will call "experts" on it, when their advice and Q & A columns say things that are contrary to the Faith or the facts.

If I recall the offending column correctly, it followed a pattern I've seen elsewhere, (notably, the BCL's answer a few years ago regarding using women's feet at the mandatum on Holy Thursday.)
Q: This doesn't seem right to me. I've seen such and such. Is that kosher?
A: Oh, it's very common.

Acknowledging somethings existence when what was questioned was its propriety. It's part of a larger problem.
Implying lies with the facts, I call it.
It is certain used to great effect by politicians, and others seeking to obfuscate at press conferences.
It's a very useful device for those who wish to create liturgical texts for the Catholic Church, although they don't actually hold what the Church teaches.
One can imagine a conversation...
Q: Is that really the Body and Blood of Christ we receive?
A: Oh, we are all members of the Body of Christ.

All are welcome! (but some are less welcome than others)

This Sunday's gospel resonates very strongly for me.
My general objection to much of modern sacred architecture is the same as to much of modern "worship":
(as a writer whose name I have sadly forgotten said,) we have made no place in our places of worship for the Publican.
It is all very well to say, sure we have, he's welcome! let him come right up here with us and shout out with joy! but if he doesn't want to come up there and shout out with joy, that isn't welcoming.
Whether as a result of his mood or emotion or even perhaps tragedy of the moment, or as a result of his lifelong personality or proclivities there are people who are quiet, or diffident, or sedate, or analytical or detached or shy, or cerebral or low-key -- or otherwise not loud or touchy/feely or energetic.
The person who insists on hugging the stranger isn't welcoming if the stranger is the sort who withdraws, shuddering from having someone he doesn't know wrap his arms around him and pat and squeeze.
The song leader who berates or cajoles people who aren't singing the hymns or saying the responses loudly enough, doesn't make anyone think, gee, I think that's just what I wanted all along without knowing it, to sing out louder, it makes him think, how can I get out of here? or worse, drat, I could have gone to brunch.
Sometimes, some people want dark corners, where they can kneel, in supplication, in awe, in penitence..... heck, in exhaustion!.
Big, white-walled, round spaces, lit up like police interrogation rooms make lousy churches.
My second objection to far too many churches is sheer ugliness, and I've seen plenty of that.
But I do not have the knowledge or expertise in aesthetics or the visual arts to address that properly, so coming from me, that is merely disputing about taste .
And my third objection is the barren simplicity of much of it. Nothing "noble" about the simplicity, the blank uniformity of many modern churches.
I think the overly decorated, fussy, tchotchked-up church interiors are, ultimately, more useful to the faith, more conducive to fostering devotion, more compelling, more likely to lead the soul into new ways of thinking about God, than the minimalist, see-everything-there-is-to-see-at-first-glance, nookless, crannyless, detail-less spaces that one encounters so frequently nowadays.
It is reminiscent of the flat, get-everything-out-of-it-that-can-be-gotten-on-first-hearing prose to which we are subjected.
Yes, yes, more of my inchoate, incoherent rambling....

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Reflecting up....

I was worried about having time to do a show this fall, any show, between church, the Scelati, kitchenage, the adult Festival Chorus and the trip for Chriso' b'day.
But my time has turned out not to be the issue.
Other peoples' time, well....
I admit to a certain level of disappointment in the theatrical production so far.
I hope this is not a result of unreasonable expectations, from the depth of attachment that Himself and I feel for the show itself. (How could it not be dear to us? we met doing it, some enchanted morning, across a crowded dance studio slash rehearsal hall, and somehow we knew, we knew even then.... That's enough, shut up!)
It's not that I expect anyone to be better, I'm fairly certain I have not brought professional expectations to an amateur situation (and Himself is over that, he used to be amazed at attendance at rehrasals, "Wahddya MEAN ya hadda work!??!?#?$??) it's that I would hope they would put more obvious effort into what they are doing.
And no, no one need appear to be "trying," I'm not one of those philistines who sees difficulty as a gauge of quality, (my question to fanboys who take umbrage at my lack of admiration with the cliche, "well, could YOU do it?" has always been, "Have you ever heard of either M Mangetout, or M LePetomaine?) who thinks you need to see people sweat to know that they are working (Himself worked with a singer once who deliberately liked to be wet, would spritz himself with water, because he believed "the audience likes to know you're working hard." I am not making this up.)
And no, I am not the producer, my perceptions aren't really material, no one needs to show me anything.
But it just seems to me politic, if you're not doing something well, to at least pretend to be trying to improve.
(Br. Gabriel, after telling me the story that Pope Paul the VI, upon being asked how many people worked at the Vatican, is said to have replied, ... about half; said he learned at the vatican to always carry a sheaf of papers around, so that even if you were just jazzing about where to try for a good plate of putanesca that afternoon, you would look busy.)
I've never felt this way about one of their shows, and we have had some major crises, (burst appendix the day before opening, changing which musical halfway into the rehearsal process, incapable-of-learning-lines leads....)
And I don't think I've ever felt this unprepared since my slap-this-puppy-up-on-stage-with-a-week's-rehearsal professional dinner theater days. (And strangely, despite my own shameful work ethic, and tendency to wait till the last minute to get off book, it's not my personal fault, I cannot learn a dance that hasn't been choreographed yet....)
And the awful thing is -- it could be so good, crew and cast has the potential to be terrific, and terrifically crowd-pleasing.
Well, who knows, a week and a half from now we may all be preening....
I'm also not thrilled about what is happening with publicity. I only suggested contacting the the "Visitor" because I thought the quirk of our "meeting cute" (as screenwriters used to say,) would, because it was of interest to their readers, be attendance-boosting advertising.
Non-Catholic actor and Catholic actress meet playing priest and nun, he begins joining her at mass to do field research, the more he learns about the Faith, the more he is drawn to it,they fall in love and marry, and he converts.... and now, years later, they are playing the same roles.
It's moderately interesting, no?
To put it off until spring as part of a larger conversion defeats my purpose. I emphatically do NOT like to talk about my personal life, have always hated that aspect of publicity (I felt the same way about articles about the surgery, only did it because of the greater good of publicizing the procedure.... I guess I can think of the conversion story the same way.)

The Psalms

Fr Neuhaus, over at First Things (I could be a regular reader, perhaps even a subscriber if it weren't for the relentless and almost relentlessly wrong, political apologia of FT,) on the Psalms, a blurb about what sounds like some excellent exegesis, seems, improbably to have told a whopper.
Or perhaps, it's just a bit of wishful thinking.
Or perhaps it's his good fortune to be a convert, and to have had interaction with a smaller proportion of people suffering under a far too common misapprehension in contemporary Catholic circles.
To whit:
[The Psalms] are to be prayed in the light of the fullness of God’s revelation in Christ. Most Christians know that that is the way we are supposed to pray the psalms,
Hopefully it is becoming less common, but there are far too many Biblical "scholars" and Catholic "theologians" who think it is wrong-headed and possibly anti-Semitic to think of the Psalms as holding any meaning beyond that imputed to them by the Jews, and that the mere suggestion of Christological significance in the Psalms is to be stamped out, often by the banning of the word "man," or of masculine pronouns from translations.
Ooooh.... or was their concern for the integrity of the Jewish meaning of the Psalms feigned to advance another agenda, the excising of "sexist" language from the Bible?
Nah, that would be dishonest.

There is a fountaint filled with blood...


Vandalism? a protest against an over-hyped red carpet event? performance art in its own right?
'Zat all?

How disappointing -- when I saw the photographs over the weekend, I harboured the hope that some pious prankster had done it in honor of the approaching feast day of the founder of the Society of the Most Precious Blood...



Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Dr. Death's heir, Rev. Ms. Death

(I was going to ruminate on why female ministers so often have names like "Kristi," but this is too important to get bogged down in issues such as my own sacerdotal envy.)
A United Church of Christ minister has formed an "End of Life Consultation Service," i.e. a group who feel it is their pastoral duty to do an end run around reactionary state legislatures that won't pass laws allowing people to off themselves with the assistance of their priests.
Dennis Di Mauro, in First Things:
The new organization plans to man a 1-800 hotline that would provide potential callers with “volunteers [who would] visit patients and families in the home, and together they [could] identify a path to peaceful dying, well-suited to an individual’s illness and circumstances.” After the consultation, the clients would then be free to “obtain and self-administer the means” of killing themselves.
I admit, to my shame, that I did not know how large a part "religious" leaders, or do I mean religious "leaders" played in the rise of the god Abortion.
Indeed, one cannot fail to see the parallel between the creation of the ELCS and the effort forty years ago by activist clergymen and women to legalize abortion.
The pro-choice movement in the 1960s and 1970s was greatly assisted by many Christian denominations’ support for the liberalization of existing abortion laws. The American Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church, the two denominations that became the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) all spoke out in support of legal abortion. Even the Southern Baptist Convention, which is today seen as one of the most pro-life denominations, originally approved of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, calling it an advance in the efforts for “religious liberty.”
We are losing our souls as a society.
When I receive a solicitation for an organization to whose goals I say, not just "no," but "HELL, no!" I send back the pre-paid envelope, to cost them.
Is taking advantage of the 800 number of a consultation service with such an evil aim illegal or unethical?, I wonder.

Community Mass?

I had a weird dream.
My pastor, the rest of the LitCom and I were experiencing a major fracas over the Proulx Community Mass.
I'm not sure why - by which I mean I'm neither sure why we were fighting in the dream, no sure why such a dream intruded on my otherwise lovely REM sleep.
The Community Mass is not one I have ever done in this parish, other than once at the request of a bride, when it was, to be sure, smacked down.
And Father has not been obstructionist about my introduction of new ordinaries, (as long as they weren't in Latin :-P)
And although I was considering slowly insinuating the Mass into the parish repertoire (since the new translation seem to be receding into the horizon rather than coming closer.... Cdl pell may be kin to the good people of Doolin. The day that Himself and I walked to the Cliffs of Moher, no matter how long, no matter how far we walked, everyone we encountered assured us, "Ah, it's just another mile an' a half down the road!" The translation is always 18 months down the rad..... ButIDigress) as I said before i was so rudely interrupted by my train of thought.... my mind stand in as dire need of overpasses as the Calumet Crescent, commerce is always being interrupted by long, slow, and sometimes stopped trains,) as I was saying, although I was giving some slight consideration to introducing the mass, it is not, to paraphrase every Catholic musicians favorite whipping boy, Bishop Trautman, the "liturgical ditch in which i choose to die."
Sometimes a dream is just a dream....
(I also dreamt I had shingles again.)

Monday, 22 October 2007

Christmas Planning

It is a little late not to have more of the musical planning in place than I have, but there it is.
I am a sluggard.
I think I will do a simpler Mass, making it more possible for young instrumentalists to take part (also giving me an excuse for blowing off the Massive Cremation... which in all honesty is the most "known" setting to the once a year Catholics, and thus most likely to have decent congregational singing.)
In Splendoribus, the choir sings, but it's not in their hearts yet, so I am hesitating, I still haven't decided if I should try to also introduce another proper.
I think the piece of "art" music we will attempt for the first time this year is the "Shepherd's Farewell" from L'Enfance du Christ. Looking it over, the Berlioz seems easier than I remember.
And a few new carols -- Bring a Torch, Wexford Carol, Lullay My Liking.... not sure exactly.
And again, with the not-too-advanced instrumentalists in mind, What Star is This? and one other, can't find the right one. You know the drill, stepwise motion, limited range, few accidentals....
And preferably one the congregation wouldn't know too well and expect to sing on, since tempo might be iffy
Suggestions? Maybe the Huron Carol, but I'd rather something I haven't done in some other form ('Twas in the Moon of Wintertime was a big favorite with the Scelati last year. Their concert program is just about set. NB is going to rock on Tu Scendi.... what a great kid he is!)

A few tones short of an octave

Sometimes this columnist is so dim he's funny.
"We actually sang a little, some received Communion, and we all heard readings from the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures.
It was just like church."
Huh? But somehow, not quite, somehow insufficient to receive his imprimatur?
"Personally, I suspended my usual ire that happens when I consider the high capitalistic background of the patronal family who caused the Gothic structure to rise.
It also boggles my mind to think how many pickles were shoved into jars and how many tomatoes were pureed and poured into millions of bottles to amass a fortune capable of such noblesse oblige."
I don't know much about the Heinz family -- not from the area, I'm assuming this oblique reference is to them? or is it someone named Del Monte? or Hunt?But in any case, what is the point of that?To somehow, despite his shilling for that exercise in unbridled capitalism that is the modern-day Liturgical-Industrial complex in the US, establish his bona fides as an anti-capitalist prole?Ordinarily does he reflect on the corporate and personal sins of those who built every edifice used for good and noble purposes?Does he have trouble keeping his mind on reading when in Carnegie libraries?
"One half of the groom’s pedigree is Mediterranean, which set into motion certain requirements for public rituals like gluttonous intake."
Does he go out of his way to be offensive or is he really that dim? How do ethnic slurs impact on his liberal creds?
Imagine if he were writing about Hindi wedding rituals, or Latin American wedding rituals or Arabic weddings rituals, many of which revolve around -- oh, horror, food consumption in as generous, dare I say? sumptuous amounts as the founders of the feast can muster. Would he talk about the gluttonous intake of Indians, or Guatemalans, or Palestinians?
But finally, how delighted his friends or family must be to have invited him to their weddings or their children's weddings, and to have thereby provided him with fodder for his smug reflections. And how proud in the case of the first, that they meant enough to him to put aside his principles and join them without sitting in judgement on the people who paid for the building in which they were married (Let's hope he changed the time frame, or smudged the details so that they can't be certain it was they whom he chose to insult.)

Serratelli on Respect for Liturgical Norms: An Expression of Love for the Church

It comes as no surprise that my InterNeptitude* is such that when I come upon a piece that I think all right-thinking Catholic men and women must surely read and endorse, and link to it -- I do no such thing.
The links don't seem to "take."
So at some point, when I can tie up the phone lines a bit, I'll have to go through and at least find the posts I have made about the great Bishop Serratelli's columns, and provide active links.
But meanwhile, here are some more pearls from this wise, wise man.
Incidentally, I notice another paradox.
I have noted the contradiction of any connection between political "conservatism" (which is about the least government intervention possible, the fewest rules,) and religious conservatism (which, at least as regards worship or liturgy, is about the closest possible adherence to "the rules.")
Similarly why is it that some people in the Church who style themselves "progressives" (they are in reality, no such thing,) are the most dogmatic about a congregation needing to act in lock-step, ("this is not 'me and Jesus' time!" is a talking-point I hear often enough to know that all got the memo...., "you vill not KNEEL, you vill ZING, und you vill LIKE IT!) yet feel no urge at all to bring their little planned extravagnazae into line with what the Church sometimes explicitly requires in Her Liturgies?
Individualism must be stamped out at all cost, but Parochialism is an idol. ("Well, just tell them that this is the way we do it here!")
Respect for Liturgical Norms: An Expression of Love for the Church

The Ka'bah is less than forty feet high. Certainly not a rival to the one thousand four hundred and fifty-three feet tall Empire State Building. Yet its impact on our world history has been greater. This small, cubed building is located near the center of the Great Mosque in
Mecca. Muslims considered it the most sacred spot on earth. Five times every day, Muslims face this shrine for their prayers. In mosques around the world, a niche (Mehrab), is built where an imam can stand facing the direction of the Ka'bah. The people join him from behind and follow him in prayer. So important is the direction of the Ka’bah at Mecca that Muslims bury their dead facing its meridian. Prayer and body language go together.

So, too, for the Jews. Orientation of the body at prayer has meaning. The most important prayer of the synagogue is the Shemoneh Esrei (the Eighteen Blessings). Observant Jews recite this central
prayer of the Jewish liturgy each morning, afternoon and evening. They pray it standing and facing the ark that houses the Torah. The Torah niche shows the direction of prayer. It orients those praying toward the Land of Israel. Those praying in Israel face Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:29, 30, 44; 2 Chronicles 6:21; Daniel 6:10). Those in Jerusalem face the Temple Mount. This tradition of orientation to the Temple has persevered even in recent Reform American synagogues.

Praying toward the place where the Temple once stood keeps alive the expectation that one day the Messiah will come, the Temple will be rebuilt and the dead will rise from their graves. The position of the body itself during this prayer is clearly an act of eschatological hope and Messianic expectation.

In the same way, when the first Christians built their churches, they built them facing the East. As the sun rises in the East and brightens the day, Christ himself will come again at the end of time to bathe us in the eternal light of God’s glory. He is the Rising Son that will never set. This is why the Christians adopted the ad orientem position for prayer. They were expressing their expectation of the Second Coming.

Even in liturgy today, we use the position of our body to signal a spiritual attitude. We sit during the readings. It is the position of attentive listening. We stand during the Gospel. It is a sign of respect and welcome. When the priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer, we kneel. During this prayer, we express our profound reverence and adoration as we are caught up in the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

To insure good order and a proper use of our body in liturgy, the Church lays down liturgical norms. “…Every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others” (
Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). It is for this reason that the Church pays particular attentions to the gestures and postures we use at Mass.

Liturgical norms are a concrete expression of the authentically ecclesial nature of the Eucharist. The General Instruction on the Roman Missal and Redemptionis Sacramentum are documents that guide us in our common worship. These instructions are needed so that the Liturgy may be seen for what it truly is—the worship of the Church. It is God’s people uniting themselves to Christ.

As the public worship of the Church, the Liturgy belongs to all of us. It is neither the property of the priest nor the private devotion of the individual. It is never merely an expression of a particular parish or community.

Frank Sinatra’s popular rendition of “I Did It My Way” is as much about music as it is about the strong sense of individualism in our American spirit. Some will always be tempted not to follow the words and the gestures that the Church asks us to use. Some may long for more ancient ways; others, for more modern ways. But for the sake of good order, the Church calls us to unity. Following liturgical norms makes our local parishes and communities enlivened by a more tangible expression of our belonging to something greater than ourselves.

It may take a childlike humility to do as the Church asks in the celebration of the Liturgy. True love is never proud. “Priests who faithfully celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms, and communities which conform to these norms, quietly but eloquently demonstrate their love for the Church” (
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 52).
* Okay, I'm kinda proud of that.... did I make it up or remember it from elsewhere?

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Not Ordinary

Because we are a parish nurtured by the CPPS, we commemorate St Gaspar del Buffalo this week.
Prelude: O Deus Ego Amo Te, trad.
It is a Good Thing to Give Thanks to the Lord, Kent
Entrance: Glory Be to Jesus, text Fr Faber, music Justin Henkel
Gloria, Lee
Psalm 98, Go into the whole world... Ostrowski, St Noel Chabanel Psalter
Offertory: For All the Saints, SINE NOMINE
Sanctus, Acc. Amen: Land of Rest
Agnus Dei: Isele, Holy Cross Mass
Communion: O Bone Jesu, Palestrina
w/ congregation Eat This Bread, Taize
Closing: Go Make of All Disciples ST THEODULPH
Choral Postlude: Jezisu Bud Ucteny (a Slovak hymn to the Precious Blood)

Saturday, 20 October 2007

OT 28

Did I ever post this? Can't recall
Prelude :
Ave Maria (Arcadelt)
Divine Praises (Grey?)

Processional- The Master Came to Bring Good News
Penitential Rite - spoken
Gloria: Lee, # 254, Men sing all, women sing phrases marked "II"
Psalm 98, Hunstiger
Gospel acclamation, Land of Rest, choir intones, and sings verse
Offertory: Keep in Mind
Please do NOT make up harmonies to this
Sanctus, Acclamation & Amen: Land of Rest
Agnus Dei: Isele
Gift of Finest Wheat
Closing: Sing a New Song (;oP)
Postlude: How Can I keep From Singing? (Lowry)


Speaking of those who will "save the liturgy," and in so doing, save the world:

I don't believe I remembered to mention:
I met one of my heroes yesterday, briefly.
I heard the noon Mass at St John Cantius, (as I had informed Himself of my intentions the previous evening after choir practice* ,and asked about the availability of the car, he asked, "Ya need a 'fix,' don't you?)
I don't know why, but I had thought the Missa in Cantu was over. But the Mass was concelebrated, presumably by all the attendee priests still in town, it was well and reverently chanted (the Epistle, particularly, I thought, fine voice and especially diction,) and a glorious and encouraging sight and sound it was -- it bodes well for the future of the Catholic Church in America. (I wonder how many priests were there over the course of the workshop, and if a "formal" report of the proceedings will be available, rather than the reports of JT which I have read grateful over at TNLM.)
I was tempted to scurry downstairs after mass and scavenge through the trash and dustbins and empty room and see if there were any left-over hand-outs to be had...
Anyway, during Mass I noticed an extremely elegant gentleman sitting a few pews away who looked familiar, very sound on the chant (which I sight-read, not too shamefully badly if I do say so myself, though I'm having the usual Fall vocal difficulties and sometimes had to drop into the mane's octave to sing softly. I have to make the time to learn more of the Gregorian Ordinaries, even though I can have no recourse to them at all right now...)
I wondered if I had ever sung with him, taken a class from him?
I asked him afterwards if we knew each other, and he got out "I'm Bill M---, before I realized it was Dr Mahrt, can't think where I'd seen a picture of him, but I must have, and I was very proud to have the opportunity to shake his hand, tell him how much his work means to me and others like me, and tell him how grateful I am for the brilliant point-by-point deconstruction of MCW he had made (and presented to the music sub-committee of the BCL of the USCCB, IIRC [yes, you have fallen down the rabbit hole of unending acronymia!]).
Now this was disconcerting -- he smiled hopefully and crossed his fingers.
You mean someone as well placed as he doesn’t know what the Bishops are going to come out with next month? You mean all of the obviously necessary changes he suggested may not be incorporated? You mean Bishop Trautman, who I'm sure is a good man but is inadvertently responsible for much nonsense and bad liturgy, after 10 drafts (so we read,) may have come out with another useless piece of Catholish, instead of the straight forward remedy we need, and which Dr Mahrt was so kind as to place in the hands of the Bishops??!?@??%??!^?
To quote Scrooge, I'll retire to Bedlam.

*and an amazingly lavish brithday party for one of the long-time members, all planned and paid for my another memeber, so not technically a "choir function," so while I was startled that the rectory had not been informed and invited, I guess no harm done.

That all may be one!

Our soon to be unseparated brethren and sistren? (And my joy is not merely for them, but selfishly for the sensibility they will bring to our liturgy and the possibility of handy Anglican Use parishes)
16th October 2007
Statement authorised by the TAC Primate
" The College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) met in Plenary Session in Portsmouth, England, in the first week of October 2007. The Bishops and Vicars-General unanimously agreed to the text of a letter to the See of Rome seeking full, corporate, sacramental union. The letter was signed solemnly by all the College and entrusted to the Primate and two bishops chosen by the College to be presented to the Holy See.The letter was cordially received at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Primate of the TAC has agreed that no member of the College will give interviews until the Holy See has considered the letter and responded."

More on the music document

Some places on the internet (note the publications date to the article linked from the Knoxville diocese is TOMORROW,) have a new article from CNS, the official organ of the USCCB, I believe? that puts an entirely different coloration on the forthcoming document on music from our American shepherd's.
But the CNS website does not have it.
At the Liturgy Committee meeting (where i had the feeling they didn't really want to know what little I had to report about the agenda of upcoming assembly, which no one else seemed to know much about, although the promulgation of a simplified new rite for a Eucharistic celebration in the absence of a priest for weekdays is especially pertinent, say this week, when all our priests will be away at a diocesan retreat,) I had said, sort of reassuringly, that the actual directory doesn't seem to be on the table, so we don't need to "worry" about that yet. (although actually, of course, I am less worried than hopeful, since it seems possible that it will put the kabosh on such Selebrating Our Selves Songs as "let us build a house," or "let us be bread" or "we are called we are chosen, ....we are creed..." or "we are the light of the world" -- that's my passive-aggressive meeting demeanor at its worst.)
Of course it still doesn't seem imminent
But it also promises to have within three years a directory of liturgical songs for use in U.S. parishes.
But 3 years is really a very short time -- maybe now would be a good time to start weaning the people off such thin gruel and starting them on the road to true liturgical song.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Tornielli, a name that keeps popping up

You know how it is, when you've never heard of someone, or something before, and you suddenly notice it, then you're confronted by it several times, and a pattern begins to emerge.
In my haphazard reading of matter vaticano, I several times read something thoughtful and spinless and insightful, and noted Andrea Tornielli as the source. (There is another name that I've forgotten, also an Italian journalist, and in an equal but opposite way, after reading something bone-headed, sloppy or unjust, I started just expecting an attribution to him as a matter of course.)
Andrea Tornielli writes for Il Giornale, so generally I have to wait for some blogger more erudite than myself to translate his pieces. (Which reminds me, the Schola Scelati, at rehearsal yesterday, were waaaaaaaay impressed that I "know" Italian. "I don't, I figure out some words and I look up others." "Well, you SAY it like you know it." Thank you, Mr Granito! In Italian diction coaching at MSM, I read some assignment aloud one day, and he quoted some TV commercial, "now THAT'S Italian!" and I puffed and preened for about a week on that praise. ButIDigress)
Now Elizabeth Lev is writing over at Zenit about Tornielli's interest in and defense of the memory of, Pius XII.

Generally interesting, but this caught my eye:

[I]n 1998 the chief rabbi of Israel, asked ...."Pius XII, where were you? Why were you silent during the Kristallnacht?"
Two Italian newspapers the next day ran that as their headline, with the subhead "The Shameful Silence of Pius XII."
Tornielli pointed out...Pius XII was not elected until March 1939, four months after the Kristallnacht.
[emphasis mine]

To borrow Nick Granito's phrase of praise, now THAT'S journalism.
Why is it so hard? Why does no one fact check? Why does no one understand the difference between primary sources and "well, my cousin says..."
All right, all right, I exaggerate, but in the case of those two Italian papers, "well, some guy making a speech says..."
You know, now that I think about it, it is the same attitude generally displayed by the MSM (not the conservatory, this time,) about Ratzinger the Rottweiler.
And according to Judith Warner in the Times (http://warner.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/18/the-clinton-surprise/index.html) about Hillary Clinton's "electability."
(“I think the one thing we know about Hillary, the one thing we absolutely know, bottom line, [is] she can`t win, right?” is how MSNBC host Tucker Carlson once put it to New Republic editor-at-large Peter Beinart. “She is unelectable.”)
The “we” world of Tucker Carlson knew what they knew about Hillary Clinton — right up until about this week, I think — because they spend an awful lot of time talking to, socializing with and interviewing one another.

It's not like you're journalists, or somethin' it's not like it's yer JOB to find out the facts...
Part of it is laziness; part of it is lack of imagination and a kind of cultural amnesia should they have ever accidentally encountered those who are Other, (there is no one more parochial, more insular, more "small town" than people who after much striving, make it to the Big City,); and more and more now, it is is the sheer necessity of self-referentialism for marketing reasons.
It is only natural that "journalists," particularly in broadcast media "spend an awful lot of time talking to ....and interviewing one another. "
After all, that is most of what they are going to be "reporting" on, themselves.
Sometimes it seems half of what passes for news is actually advertisement for other "news" produced by the same conglomerate.
It becomes "news" to report that someone else snagged an interview, to be shown later "on this same station", or it is "news" that something might or might not have happened to someone who is in a movie that just happens to have been produced by this station's parent company and is premiering this weekend, or it is "news" that this doctor wants to tell us about interesting psychological phenomenon which just happens to be afflicting the star of this talk show on our network to which the doctor in question just happens to be a consultant.

And those are only examples of the incestuous instances of reporting on reporting.
There's another trend, maybe worse, where we're too high-minded to report on this rumor, trash, innuendo, non-news, no, no, we'd never stoop so low.... but thank GOD we can report about the fact that someone else is reporting about it! (so as to still attract the viewers who say too much attention is paid to the negative and the sensationalized and the trivial -- but who can't get enough of the stuff.)

I mean, it's funny if Mary McCarthy or whoever (I'm not gonna fact check, I'm not a journalist, I'm just a logorrhoeac civilian,) said "How could Nixon have won? No one I know voted for him!" and has the attitude perfectly encapsulated in that gem.
It's not funny if a would-be journalist exhibits that depth of knowledge.
(Hmmmmm, now that I think of it, there's of little of that in poor Fr Reese, as noted below, isn't there?)

Would I find this less creepy if I were an Elvis fan?

I don't know.
I can see drawing inspiration from many sources, and i don't want to blame the priest for the headline writers blasphemy (I see no indication in the article that the priest "worships Elvis.")
On the other hand, the guy quotes the great theologian Celine Dion in his sermons....
Perhaps things are just different in Italy.
(H/T to Whispers...)

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Read it 'n' rejoice

The redoubtable Sandro Magister has news and views.
I do believe this great and holy man (no, not S.M.,) will Save the World by Saving the Liturgy.

ROMA, October 18, 2007 – In the span of just a few days, a series of events have unfolded at the Vatican which, taken all together, foretell new provisions – at the pope's behest – to foster the rebirth of great sacred music.
The first of these events took place on Monday, October 8. On that morning, Benedict XVI held an audience with the "chapter" of Saint Peter's basilica – meaning the bishops and priests who, together with the archpriest of the basilica, Angelo Comastri, celebrate Mass and solemn Vespers each Sunday in the most famous church in the Christian world.
The pope reminded them that "it is necessary that, beside the tomb of Peter, there be a stable community of prayer to guarantee continuity with tradition."
This tradition goes back "to the time of Saint Gregory the Great," the pope whose name was given to the liturgical chant characteristic of the Latin Church, Gregorian chant.
One example the pope gave to the chapter of St. Peter's was the celebration of the liturgy at the abbey of Heiligenkreutz, the flourishing monastery he had visited just a few weeks earlier in Austria.
In effect, since just over a year ago, Gregorian chant has been restored as the primary form of singing for Mass and solemn Vespers in Saint Peter's basilica. T
he rebirth of Gregorian chant at St. Peter's coincided with the appointment of a new choir director, who was chosen by the basilica chapter in February of 2006.
The new director, Pierre Paul, a Canadian and an Oblate of the Virgin Mary, has made a clean break with the practice established during the pontificate of John Paul II – and reaffirmed by the previous director, Pablo Colino – of bringing to sing at the Masses in St. Peter's the most disparate choirs, drawn from all over the world, very uneven in quality and often inadequate.
Fr. Paul put the gradual and the antiphonal back into the hands of his singers, and taught them to sing Mass and Vespers in pure Gregorian chant. The faithful are also provided with booklets with the Gregorian notation for Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and the translation of the texts in Italian, English, and Spanish. The results are liturgically exemplary celebrations, with increasing participation from a growing number of faithful from many nations.
There's still much to do to bring back to life in St. Peter's what was, in ancient times, the Cappella Giulia – the choir specifically founded for the basilica – and to revive the splendors of the Roman musical style, a style in which the sacred polyphony pioneered by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Gregorian chant, also sung in the Roman manner (virile and strong, not like the monastic models inspired by Solesmes), alternate and enrich each other.
But there has been a new beginning. And Benedict XVI wanted to tell the chapter that this is the right path.
* * *

The second event took place on Wednesday, October 10, again in Saint Peter's Basilica. The orchestra and choir of Humboldt Universität in Berlin, conducted by Constantin Alex, performed the Mass "Tu es Petrus," composed in honor of Joseph Ratzinger's eightieth birthday by the German musician Wolfgang Seifein, who was present at the organ.
Make no mistake: this was not a concert, but a real Mass. Exactly like on November 19 of last year, when in St. Peter's (see photo) the Wiener Philarmoniker provided the musical accompaniment for the Eucharistic liturgy celebrated by cardinal Christoph Schönborn, with the Krönungsmesse K 317 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
In both cases, the two Masses ennobled by such music were celebrated in the context of the International Festival of Sacred Music and Art, which each autumn makes resound within the crowded papal basilicas in Rome – and thus in their natural environment, instead of in the concert halls – the masterpieces of Christian sacred music, with orchestras, conductors, and singers of worldwide fame.
This year, there were two key performances: the Requiem Mass by Giuseppe Verdi, with the Wiener Philarmoniker conducted by Daniele Gatti; and the Mass in B minor BWV 232 by Johann Sebastian Bach, with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir conducted by Ton Koopman.
But from the liturgical point of view, the high point of the festival was the Mass celebrated in St. Peter's on October 10.
It is no mystery that the reciprocal enrichment between the Catholic liturgy and great sacred music is especially close to Benedict XVI's heart.
The pope made this clear with particular force during his recent trip to Austria, with the Mass he celebrated on Sunday, September 9, in the cathedral of Vienna, accompanied by the stupendous Mariazeller Messe by Franz Joseph Haydn, and by a communion antiphon and Psalm in pure Gregorian chant.
* * *

The third event is Benedict XVI's visit to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, on the morning of Saturday, October 13.
To the professors and students of this institute – which is the liturgical-musical "conservatory" of the Holy See, the one that trains Church musicians from all over the world – the pope cited Vatican Council II, where it says that "as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy" (Sancrosanctum Concilium, 112).
He also confirmed that "three characteristics distinguish sacred liturgical music: sanctity, true art, and universality, meaning its ability to be used regardless of the nature or nationality of the assembly."
And he continued:
"Precisely in view of this, ecclesiastical authorities must devote themselves to guiding wisely the development of such a demanding genre of music, not by sealing off its repository, but by seeking to insert into the heritage of the past the legitimate additions of the present, in order to arrive at a synthesis worthy of the high mission reserved to it in the divine service. I am certain that the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, in harmonious agreement with the congregation for divine worship, will not fail to offer its contribution for an 'updating', adapted to our time, of the abundant and valuable traditions found in sacred music."
This expectation could soon be followed by the institution, in the Roman curia, of an office endowed with authority in the area of sacred music. It is already known that, as a cardinal, Ratzinger maintained that the institution of such an office was necessary.
But Benedict XVI has also made clear his preferences in regard to the type of sacred music that should be promoted.
In his speech to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, the pope mentioned the name of only one living "maestro" of great sacred music: Domenico Bartolucci, 91, who was seated in the front row and whom the pope later greeted with great warmth.
Bartolucci was removed from his position as director of the papal choir of the Sistine Chapel in 1997. And his expulsion – supported by the pontifical master of ceremonies at the time, Piero Marini – marked the general abandonment in the papal liturgies of the Roman style, characterized by great polyphonic music and Gregorian chant, of which Bartolucci is an outstanding interpreter.
The only group that remained to keep this style alive in the papal basilicas of Rome was the Cappella Liberiana of the basilica of Saint Mary Major, directed since 1970 by Valentino Miserachs Grau, who succeeded Bartolucci in this role.
Miserachs is also the head of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, to which the pope has entrusted the task of "guiding wisely the development of such a demanding genre of music."
Bartolucci and Miserachs: this is Benedict XVI's dual point of reference, in Rome, in the field of liturgical music.
* * *

The fourth event, which came shortly before the first three, was the replacement, on October 1, of the director of pontifical liturgical celebrations.
To replace Piero Marini – who will go to preside over the pontifical committee for international Eucharistic congresses – the call went out to Genoa, to Guido Marini, who's close to his predecessor in name, but to pope Ratzinger in substance.
The removal of Piero Marini leaves unprotected the man he had brought in, in 1997, to direct the Cappella Sistina after Bartolucci's dismissal: Giuseppe Liberto.
As director of the choir that accompanies the papal liturgies, Liberto is not the right man for the current pope. It's enough to read what was written about him in the authoritative "International Church Music Review" by an expert in this field, Dobszay László of Hungary, in commenting on the inaugural Mass of Benedict XVI's pontificate:
"The election of pope Benedict XVI gave hope and joy for all who love true liturgy and liturgical music. Following the inaugural Mass on the tv-screen we were deeply moved by Holy Father's celebration and sermon.
"As the Mass went ahead, however, we became more and more unhappy with its musical feature. Most of what was sung is a very poor music; Gregorian chant was not more than pretext for a home-composer to display himself. The choir cannot be proud [of] anything except the [glow of their old reputation]. The singers wanted to overshout each other, they were frequently out of tune, the sound uneven, the conducting without any artistic power, the organ and organplaying like in a second-rank country parish-church.
"The poor quality of music was the consequence of another fault: the awkward and arbitrary fabrication (by Marini?) of the liturgical texts (proprium), that practically excluded the 'precious treasury of Church music' (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium). A formula missae selected from the proper of the Roman Liturgy could have good influence on the music, too. Somebody, however, got again onto the path of vane glory and conceded to the temptation of voluntarism. Our happiness has been spoilt."
The director of the "International Church Music Review," a publication in four languages, is Giacomo Baroffio, a towering scholar of Gregorian chant and the head of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music before Miserachs.
* * *

One final event must be added to the events already mentioned, one that provides background for all the others. It is the promulgation of the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum," by which Benedict XVI liberalized the ancient rite of the Mass.
It is increasingly evident that with this decision, pope Ratzinger wanted to make it possible for the modern liturgies to regain the richness of the ancient rite that they are in danger of losing: a richness of theology, textual form, and music.
It is no accident that maestro Bartolucci's first words to the pope, during their brief conversation on Saturday, October 13, were a "thank you!" for the promulgation of the motu proprio.
The institution in the Vatican of an office endowed with authority in the field of sacred music, and the appointment of a director of the Cappella Sistina in keeping with its great tradition, are perfectly consistent with this fundamental priority of the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

The Emperor Has No Dinner

Yes, it's ultimately a paean to the designer she is prepared to skewer, but lawdie! this is a sentence encapsulating what is wrong with so much of modern life, the sheer, useless pretentiousness of it:
The clothes looked unwearable in the way that the food of ingenious chefs becomes perversely inedible: fiendish experiments wrought in strawberry-dill fish foam and raw poultry.
I don't recognize the byline: Cintra Wilson
(But she's made me want to see the clothes, she's intrigued me.)
Now, if someone would just do the same for Art.
Shaw, IIRC, did it a century ago for music, although I don't know that Wagner was the appropriate target: His music is better than it sounds.
I had a friend in high school who, though he agreed with me that some currently popular singer had no talent, insisted that he was a genius.
Instead of being amused by his paradoxical bon mot, his eyes opened as if he were having a vision, and had discovered a Profound Truth. He's a musical genius with no talent.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

LitCom Meeting (8-o)

What Mass WILL we be celebrating on the evening of December 8th??!?#?$??^%?&?&???
And wasn't that a reaction to the question, will we be doing anything to accommodate any requests for funerals or weddings according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII per the articles of Summorum Pontificum? Very pastoral...
And when did we go back to calling the arrangement of prayers that we do on the evening of All Souls' Day "Vespers"?
I have no objection to singing Shepherd Me O God at a prayer service, but I have a real problem with programming music for a LITURGY, (which, I'm afraid, despite the beliefs of some DRE slash Liturgists, any part of.... um, well, Liturgy of the Hours is,) that does not respect the integrity of the text of either scripture or other liturgical texts.
Well, you can't do anything about things you can't do anything about.
By which I mean I can't do anything about things I can't do anything about.
It was interesting hearing the prayer group down the hall.
The idea about participation of the various music ministries in one of the Stations was pretty well received, as was chanting the proper Introits again for Advent, (albeit in English, and to psalm tones.)
Truth to tell, even if I though the LitCom and Father would go for it, the choir would rebel at the Gregorian chant... the few real communion antiphons that we do on major, major holy days are pushing it right now.... but some day...

Scelata proposes, Modern Life disposes....

I thought it would be wonderful, to go to the seminar http://www.musicasacra.com/celebrant
in the sung Mass these 3 days at St John Cantius, maybe volunteer my service as a gopher, pass out paper, run errands, bask in the glow of the holy and learned, participate in what I have no doubt are superbly conducted liturgies...
But funerals, Schola Scelati rehearsals, LitCom meeting, Patent Leather Shoes, choir rehearsals, insane amounts of time spent on the phone....
Ah well, it is wonderful just to know that it happened.

What people believe....

The president of the Barna Group, who is flogging a book he has written thinks it is significant that only 16% of young non-Christians think Christianity has anything good going for it.
80 %of Americans think the government is hiding knowledge of the existence of extraterrestrial life forms
More than a third of Americans believe the U.S. government was likely to have been involved in 9/11.
45% of Americans think Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.
87% of Americans believe wishes do come true, but 55% believe wishes won't come true if they tell somebody about it
And we all know people whose mothers believed they couldn't conceive "the first time."
But there is some good news.
Fortunately, the percentage of those who believe in vampires in in the single digits.

A good sign

The August newsletter from Office of Worship of the see of our new cardinal advertises open fora for music directors at which Abp. DiNardo is a keynote speaker.
The purpose of these presentations by the Music Subcommittee of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission?
Teaching, and helping priests to chant the Mass.
How 'bout that?!??
A very good sign, indeed, of the liturgical priorities of the diocese, and hence, of its Shepherd, I should think. Well, hope, anyway.

Also on Lion & Cardinal..

...( why does the name of his blog make me long for a nice ale or cidre?) check out the photo of Fr Kolinski.

Vincent Uhrer, if you google your name...

...and read this, could you put me on your list, so that I may read your blog?
I've linked to it for some time now, and was surprised not to be able to access it today.
If you'd prefer I didn't link, let me know.

Exquisite Art by Daniel Mitsui

You really must follow the link and gaze on his new drawing commemorating the Annunciation.
If I won the lottery, I would eschew box wine, (yes, I'm selfish,) commission Richard Einhorn to write a Mass, buy my parish glorious sets of rose and black vestments, and give Daniel Mitsui a grant so that he was free to do nothing but draw and design all the livelong day.
And if I were nice to him, perhaps he would draw something for me (I would love an illustrated complete Psalter, one of such drawings for each psalm.... oh, and since I've won the lottery, WTH, why shouldn't Mr Einhorn compose, oh I don't know, maybe a suite of the penitential psalms?)

It's not just little old ladies who look darling in red hats

Our beloved Holy Father named a whole passel of new Princes of the Church.
Not among them, the Donald, nor the out-going papal MC.
I don't know as much as I ought about Abp. Foley or Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, but I shall remedy that.
Much being made of the fact that DiNardo is the first Archbishop from a southern see in the US, but he's a son of Steubenville, Oh-hee-oh.

Update: via Beliefnethttp://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2007/10/pope-names-23-new-cardinals.php
"There's been talk for years about a cardinal from the Sun Belt, but
everyone expected San Antonio or New Orleans, because those are
much older (archdioceses)," said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese of the
Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. "I guess
the Vatican chose to go with population size."

Is it just me, or is that man a prat? You can practically hear him sniffing, "Hmmmph, instead of doing what I expected them to, the Vatican went with letting those people think they were important just because there were more of them...."
And obviously not EVERYONE expected what you expected, Fr R, Rocco, for one, is doing his best not to strut that he foresaw the possibility back in early '06.
And while San Antonio has been an Archdiocese longer, I believe (I am open to correction on this,) that Galveston was the very first diocese in Texas, considerably before San Antonio.
And the Abp of N.O isn't Latino, nor is the city, and you may be reluctant to mention it, (perhaps like Stephen Colbert, you don't see things like that,) but surely that was a factor?

Monday, 15 October 2007

I'm a 5?

I've never quite understood that anti-Enneagram .... fervor, that one encounters.
Does anyone hold is up as more than a "personality" test, or give it mystic powers?
I've taken such test/quizzes before, they always seem very on the mark. Oh well...

Image Icon results:
Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism14%
Type 2Helpfulness50%
Type 3Image Focus62%
Type 4Hypersensitivity30%
Type 5Detachment70%
Type 6Anxiety54%
Type 7Adventurousness34%
Type 8Aggressiveness70%
Type 9Calmness50%
Your main type is 5
Your variant is sexual
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Clapping Glorias and Other Nasties

Nearly woke Himself snorting with laughter at a few lines in both in Damian Thompson's Holy Smoke and the comments thread to this particular blog.
The topic straightforward enough: Will the Pope say old Mass in St Peter’s?
but then:
it will infuriate the trendy Tablet magazine, whose Rome correspondent Robert Mickens is in a terrible flap at the prospect.
Mickens is famous as the Catholic commentator who dissolved into tears of disappointment when Joseph Ratzinger’s name came booming over the loudspeakers after the conclave. These days he wanders around Rome with the pursed lips of a maiden aunt, pinching his nostrils to keep out the clouds of traditionalist incense that come billowing out of the Vatican.
“People who are interested in such things continue to speculate that Pope Benedict will soon celebrate the Tridentine Mass in St Peter’s Basilica,” he announces in his Tablet notebook this week. What a deliciously snooty turn of phrase. I hate to remind you, Robert, but the “people” in question include the Pope. Here, borrow my hanky.

And actually, Damien, the people in question seem to include the one doing the sniffing, Mr. Mickens.
Oh, he doesn't like it, but he obviously cares deeply.
And one of his readers has this to say:
I suspect 'liturgist' refers to someone who faffs about with rubrics.
Presumably 'real' liturgists have certificates confirming as much as several days attendance at a workshop
(I omit the politically incorrect remainder of that line....)

B16 on Sacred Music

Nothing new, (and I can't quite figure out the headline,) but as I am preparing notes ("talking points"? for the dread "LitCom" meeting,) I came across this.
Papa Ratz is surely one of the finest musicians to occupy the Chair of Peter? (Though not the only fine musicians, of course...)
I'll look elsewhere on line for a complete text of his remarks.
Sacred music safeguards tradition of the Church and is of greater value than any other art, Pope says
Vatican City, Oct 15, 2007 / 09:36 am (
CNA).- During a visit on Saturday to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, Pope Benedict XVI called on the Church’s leaders to ensure that the “aggiornamiento [updating] of religious music is done in continuity with the living tradition of the Church.”
After greeting and thanking the benefactors of the Institute, including its Grand Chancellor, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the Holy Father praised the Institute as a place where “numerous students, who come here from all parts of the world to receive formation in the disciplines of sacred music, return from to provide formation in their respective local churches.”
The Pope underscored the importance that Vatican II gave to sacred music, calling it “a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy."
"Precisely for this reason," he added, "the ecclesial authorities must undertake to guide ... the development of such an important form of music, not by 'freezing' its heritage but by seeking to combine the legacy of the past with the worthwhile novelties of the present, so as to achieve a synthesis worthy of the exalted mission [sacred music] has in the service of God.
"I am certain, "Benedict XVI concluded, "that the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, in harmony with Congregation for Divine Worship, will not fail to contribute to an 'aggiornamento' ... of the precious traditions of which sacred music is so rich."

Corn, The Evil Empire

While my sister, in corporate/financial America stuck in offices all day used to refer to Microsoft as the "Evil Empire," and Ol' Orange Hair used the term to describe the Soviet Union, and while my first thought on hearing the words was always due to the Star Wars mythos, hot on the first in recent years has been my second -- "Archer Daniels Midland!" for nigh on 16 years I have hisssssssssed whenever the name is announced as a sponsor on NPR, or PBS, no matter how I have enjoyed, been intrigued by, or even loved the program.
They, and all things Corn were the Enemy!
As a young, (and perpetually struggling,) actor always leaning toward "plain," barely one click off "homely", the eczema didn't just move me that last dreaded click, it had the power to topple me into "grotesque," even, once or twice, "monstrous."
Heck, even if my looks hadn't been a professional liability, I would have hated the corny aspects of big agribusiness.
I had discovered purely by accident that the culprit in the allergies to blame for my painful and sometimes debilitating skin condition, having first spent literally months trying to eliminate first one, then another item from my diet, to no avail -- wheat? no. milk? no. nuts? no. cured meats? no .
Finally at a social gathering someone was extolling the tastiness of Miller beers, and declared it was because they were made from corn, and a light bulb went off: perhaps I had NOT eliminated corn during the several week period when I was giving that a try, when I though I HAD removed corn and its syrup, its starch, its oil and high fructose solids, its gelatinized protein from my diet and pharmacy and cosmetics.
Not only was corn ubiquitous, it was often hidden.
But for the past few years I'm realizing that my itching, cracking, oozing, peeling, weeping, bleeding skin is a minor annoyance compared to some of that for which Corn is presumably responsible -- the diabetes and obesity "epidemic" for starts.
One might even say that my eczema has potentially saved me from diabetes (like sickle cell saved people, or at least their ancestors, from cholera? now there's a choice....)

"Must See" Op-Ed

(Did I ever tell you about the knock-down drag-out DeathMatch2007 argument I had with a tipsy journalism major over the origin of the phrase "op-ed page?" I was at an advantage being mostly sober, and having grown up in the area where the newspaper that minted the phrase operated, and having actually read it the day of... Let's look it up, SHALLLLLL we? But I digress.)
Stephreen Coldowd's column is must see.... not must-read, because as a fan of SC's, I cannot advocate reading, whether of books or anything like them.
I shouldn't have read it -- I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what an Appalachian Catfish Wrestler is.
Anyway, Stephreen Coldowd had this to say:

I was in my office, writing a column on the injustice of relative marginal tax rates for hedge fund managers, when I saw Stephen Colbert on TV.
He was sneering that Times columns make good “kindling.” He was ranting that after you throw away the paper, “it takes over a hundred years for the lies to biodegrade.” He was observing, approvingly, that “Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream is driving a bulldozer into The New York Times while drinking crude oil out of Keith Olbermann’s skull.”
I called Colbert with a dare: if he thought it was so easy to be a Times Op-Ed pundit, he should try it. He came right over. In a moment of weakness, I had staged a coup d’moi. I just hope he leaves at some point. He’s typing and drinking and threatening to “shave Paul Krugman with a broken bottle.”
I Am an Op-Ed Columnist (And So Can You!)
Surprised to see my byline here, aren’t you? I would be too, if I read The New York Times. But I don’t. So I’ll just have to take your word that this was published. Frankly, I prefer emoticons to the written word, and if you disagree :(
I’d like to thank Maureen Dowd for permitting/begging me to write her column today. As I type this, she’s watching from an overstuffed divan, petting her prize Abyssinian and sipping a Dirty Cosmotinijito. Which reminds me: Before I get started, I have to take care of one other bit of business:
Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay.
There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.
So why I am writing Miss Dowd’s column today? Simple. Because I believe the 2008 election, unlike all previous elections, is important. And a lot of Americans feel confused about the current crop of presidential candidates.
For instance, Hillary Clinton. I can’t remember if I’m supposed to be scared of her so Democrats will think they should nominate her when she’s actually easy to beat, or if I’m supposed to be scared of her because she’s legitimately scary.
Or Rudy Giuliani. I can’t remember if I’m supposed to support him because he’s the one who can beat Hillary if she gets nominated, or if I’m supposed to support him because he’s legitimately scary.
And Fred Thompson. In my opinion “Law & Order” never sufficiently explained why the Manhattan D.A. had an accent like an Appalachian catfish wrestler.
Well, suddenly an option is looming on the horizon. And I don’t mean Al Gore (though he’s a world-class loomer). First of all, I don’t think Nobel Prizes should go to people I was seated next to at the Emmys. Second, winning the Nobel Prize does not automatically qualify you to be commander in chief. I think George Bush has proved definitively that to be president, you don’t need to care about science, literature or peace.
While my hat is not presently in the ring, I should also point out that it is not on my head. So where’s that hat? (Hint: John McCain was seen passing one at a gas station to fuel up the Straight Talk Express.)
Others point to my new bestseller, “I Am America (And So Can You!)” noting that many candidates test the waters with a book first. Just look at Barack Obama, John Edwards or O. J. Simpson.
Look at the moral guidance I offer. On faith: “After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up.” On gender: “The sooner we accept the basic differences between men and women, the sooner we can stop arguing about it and start having sex.” On race: “While skin and race are often synonymous, skin cleansing is good, race cleansing is bad.” On the elderly: “They look like lizards.”
Our nation is at a Fork in the Road. Some say we should go Left; some say go Right. I say, “Doesn’t this thing have a reverse gear?” Let’s back this country up to a time before there were forks in the road — or even roads. Or forks, for that matter. I want to return to a simpler America where we ate our meat off the end of a sharpened stick.
Let me regurgitate: I know why you want me to run, and I hear your clamor. I share Americans’ nostalgia for an era when you not only could tell a man by the cut of his jib, but the jib industry hadn’t yet fled to Guangdong. And I don’t intend to tease you for weeks the way Newt Gingrich did, saying that if his supporters raised $30 million, he would run for president. I would run for 15 million. Cash.
Nevertheless, I am not ready to announce yet — even though it’s clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative.
What do I offer? Hope for the common man. Because I am not the Anointed or the Inevitable. I am just an Average Joe like you — if you have a TV show.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Happy Accidents

Because we were rehearsing across the street rather than in the loft this week, I didn't want to lug folders and books, not just the distance but up and down 4 flights of stairs, and planned accordingly. (We were also intending to be noshing, and I wished to avoid greasy thumbprints. or rings from glasses of red wine on permanent music.)
So, the Palestrina on the back of the Slovak Precious Blood hymn, the psalm arrangement I'd done of the Hunstiger on the back of an old (but new to them,) Ecce Panis Angelorum.... but I made a mistake.
Somehow I made copies of something called "O Jesu, Ege Te Amo."
Oh, well, no matter, might as well make use of them to hone our sight-reading skills.
Well, wonder of wonder, it practically reads itself, and it's really quite lovely, AND -- they all love it. (Yes, I KNOW... shocking, no, being furrin, and in Latin, and all.)
I'm kind of sorry, because we're not really in need of a new devotional anthem for choir, but WTH....
But in getting ready to do final copies, w/ a translation for them, what do I find out?
There's really an error, it ought to be O Deus, Ego Te Amo, there are some excellent English renderings of the poem/prayer (with very respectable histories,) which is originally probably the work of St Francis Xavier, the principal patron of the CPPS!
Which we are celebrating next week! (Well, all things Precious Blood, as it is Gaspar's Feast Day!)
And which we are now MORE than aptly prepared for.
That is Grace.
Unlooked-for, undeserved gifts...

Sins and sinners

You'd think that the Paper of Record, even when relying on a news service, would get it right....
In a piece about an unnamed Monsignor who went on television and said that he didn't think his having sex with other men was a sin:
"Vatican teaching holds that homosexuality is a sin."
"Vatican teaching"? CHURCH teaching, Catholic teaching, not "Vatican" teaching, as if a bunch of old guys sitting around in modern day Italy made this up on their won.
And one more time, slowly, small words:
The Church says sex outside (that words two syllables, but you understand it, right?) marriage (another double whammy,) is wrong.
The ACTIVITY is a sin, NOT the orientation.
Get it?

Saturday, 13 October 2007

That's a first...

We are currently using the Agnus Dei from the "Holy Cross Mass" by Isele.
A complete copy of it, with the words, "Lamb of God, You take...." is in the cantor's book, as is a short slip of paper, the "program," which lists what all the music for the Mass is, with the number in the hymnal or page in the missallette.
Between "Amen" and "Communion " it says "Agnus Dei: Isele, Holy Cross, #314.
(I should add that I never, but NEVER program "Mass" parts with words other than those of the Mass, no Bread of Life, no Tree of Life, no Basket of Goodies... nor have done for the four plus years I have been here.)
So at at Mass this evening, I play the intro and the cantor begins to croon, "Ho -o-o-ly Cross, you take away the sins...."
I mean, whuddyagonna do?

Friday, 12 October 2007

OT 27

(Yes, I'm very late with this, I forgot...)
Choral Prelude:
Zdravas bud Maria
Veni Creator
Organ improv on Keep in Mind and ST COLUMBA
Entrance: The Works of the Lord (KREMSER)
Pen rite: spoken
Gloria: Lee
Psalm 95, If today you hear His, voice..., chanted to tone
Gospel Acc, Sanctus, Mem. Acc. and Amen: Land of Rest
Offertory: O Lord the Giver of All Life (ST COLUMBA)
Agnus Dei: Isele, Holy Cross Mass
Communion: Taste and See, Moore
Recessional : Come Holy Ghost (LAMBILOTTE)
Choral Postlude: Cantate Domino, Pitoni
At non-choir Masses, some very sweet little Guilmant thing, all I can remember is that is was in F :-P

Incidentally, I seem to be the only one I know of who found the second reading ("I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. ....Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit") a rationale for hymns and canticles directed toward the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.

Sir Monocle's White List

It occurred to me that I didn't actually blog Sir Monocle's list, merely blogged of its existence.
The pieces I didn't already know that intrigue me the most are the Gardner (I conducted his "When Christ Was Born" with the Schola Scelati two years ago, and the children were FANTASTIC.... that and the Gregorian Puer natus garnered more praise than anything else they have ever sung -- they outdid themselves,) and the Bryars, which sounds gorgeous.
I have been a big fan of his since Sinking of the Titanic, but didn't know he had composed anything one might use liturgically.
Alas, the cost of his music is prohibitive, even on Sheet Music Plus (his publisher is Schott,) and to be honest, our repertoire is lacking in so many areas, I'm not sure I could justify the time and effort on another Marian piece ( there aren't enough Sundays in May and October for what we have now...:-P)
Anyway, her, the list:

Set me as a seal - K Lee Scott
Be with me, Lord - William Ferris
Szeroka Woda ( Broad Waters) H. Gorecki
For The Beauty Of The Earth - John Rutter
Ave Regina Gloriosa - Gavin Bryars
Mother and Child - John Tavener
Messe des Pauvres - Erik Satie
Agnus Dei - Urmas Sisak
I Lift My Eyes to the Hills - Paul Bouman
Ave Verum - Edward Elgar
Five Mystical Songs - Ralph Vaughan Williams
E'en So Lord Jesus, Quickly Come - Paul Manz
Fight the Good Fight - John Gardner

A Kinda Sorta White List

This is courtesy of BMP at Christus Vincit, and it is actually "stuff" he actually programs or "wouldn't mind" programming.
Not exactly fulsome praise.
Also, not having a copy of his resource, Today's Missal, at hand, I am only taken an (un-)educated guess as to what is contemporary, and leaving off selections on his list that I know or believe to be of older origin.
And, need I add that this editorial content is presented as a public service and in no way reflects the opinion of management? (Not a criticism of anything on Brian's list, merely a reminder that I simply want to produce evidence that serious musicians are not dead-set against anything but "old stuff," neither endorse nor critique their choices -- I imagine there's plenty on his list I would not care for, and plenty on mine he doesn't feel would make the grade, be "Worthy of the Temple.")
(In fact I need to admit right now that, not being my own mistress, I CURRENTLY program "stuff" that I WOULD mind introducing in the future.)

35 Christ, Circle 'Round Us (The "O" Antiphons, set by Schutte to a metrical adaptation of Salve Regina - not bad at all)
106 Remember Your Love (Kreutz) /
29 Patience, People (a rare Foley gem)
74 O Christ, the Sun of Light and Grace?
103 Led by the Spirit of Our God
107 Behold, before Our Wondering Eyes (I'm normally not a big fan of Berberick, though she's a fellow RI'er, but this is by far her best piece - actually really good!)1
08 From the Depths We Cry to Thee
145 Bright as the Sun, Fair As the Moon
150 Dona Nobis Pacem [Scelata's question: is that the grade school round, or something else?

Praying Twice's Congregational White List

Praying Twice over at Cantate Deo "was accused this summer in a personal correspondence of having a 'disdain' for contemporary music."
So here is a list of pieces that answer the question: "what piece or pieces currently in existence exemplify a 'model' for this music? Is there any piece out there (let's think congregational at this point) that has a quality melody, quality text, and just happens to be in the 'folk' style?

(Disclaimer: By no means do I believe all of the following to be beyond reproach; also, I left out anything I didn't feel was in the "folk" style):
[I am grateful, but I hope we can eventually compile lists that set the bar a little higher.]
*53 Ps. 25 (To You, O Lord--Haugen)
66 Ps. 33 (Let your mercy be on us--Haugen)
*69 Ps. 34 (The Cry of the Poor--Foley)
*70 Ps. 34 (Taste and See--Haugen)
*127 Ps 95 (If Today--Haas)
135 Ps. 98 (All the Ends of the Earth--Haas/Haugen)
152 Ps. 116 (The Name of God--Haas)
158 Ps. 118 (This is the Day--Haugen)
322, 323, 324 Sanctus/Mem. Accl./Amen (Mass of Creation--Haugen)
330, 331 Kyrie/Gloria (Mass of Light--Haas)
*341, 352 Kyrie/Lamb of God (Mass of Remembrance--Haugen)
*495 My Soul in Stillness Waits (Haugen)
516 Carol at the Manger (Haugen)
541 Tree of Life (Haugen)
555 Return to God (Haugen)
612 Send Us Your Spirit (Haas)
638 Canticle of the Sun (Haugen)
*697 Glory and Praise to Our God (Schutte)
*723 We Walk By Faith (Haugen)758 Eye Has Not Seen (Haugen)
All the Earth (Deiss)

Point of grammar...

Is it true that their are dissident dioceses and heretical religious communities where all masculine pronouns have been banned, and that saying "he," "him" "himself" or "his" is the only sin left?

Bishop Trautman, gallantly swimming upstream, has apparently spawned THE definitive How-Can-I-Seem-To-Be-Obedient-But-Still-Get-My-Own-Way reactions to Summorum Pontificum, a document that will be well and thoroughly fisked throughout St Blogs, and defended by the delusional all's-for-the-best-in-this-best-of-all-possible-post-conciliar-Churches, who-cares-what-the-documents-really-said "Spirit of VCII" types, also to be found in dispiriting numbers.

What concerns me, in a Decree of Promulgation (yeah, I have to agree, that's pretty pretentious for a middle management memo,) which deals with, of all things, fluency in language is this sentence:
4.3 Any layperson assisting as an altar server at Masses and celebrations of the sacraments using the extraordinary form must be properly trained to recite the proper responses and to carry out their function according to the rubrics of the 1962 Missal (canon 230 §2). [emphases mine]
First, I don't care what sloppy current usage deems acceptable, the use of the plural pronoun to agree with a singular noun, in order to never, ever, ever, give offense to a person of the feminine gender who might have her feelings hurt by seeing masculine pronouns, and feeling herself excluded by same.
I don't care what linguistic contortions some might feel themselves constrained to in order to keep transgendered or ambigendered persons from feeling excluded.
Such ugly, infelicitous locutions are nonsense up with which I shall not put. (And I admit myself guilty of them from time to time, I hope I never am in any of my more formal utterances, on which I have spent some time, say.... my decrees of promulgation.)
All that is beside the point!
Because surely, in this one instance, of all such instances of legalese or Catholish, we can all agree that anyone, absolutely anyone to whom the pronoun in question might apply will, to be indelicate about it, have a penis? And that the "any layperson" in question can be said to have "HIS" function?
Not "their, but "HIS."
Any layperson assisting at the altar will be either a man or boy.
I stand open to correction on this, feel free ....

Starving to Death in the First World

Death Reveals Harsh Side of a ‘Model’ [welfare program] in Japan

KITAKYUSHU, Japan— In a thin notebook discovered along with a man’s partly mummified corpse this summer was a detailed account of his last days, recording his hunger pangs, his drop in weight and, above all, his dream of eating a rice ball, a snack sold for about $1 in convenience stores across the country.

“3 a.m. This human being hasn’t eaten in 10 days but is still alive,” he wrote. “I want to eat rice. I want to eat a rice ball.”
These were not the last words of a hiker lost in the wilderness, but those of a 52-year-old urban welfare recipient whose benefits had been cut off. And his case was not the first here.
One man has died in each of the last three years in this city in western Japan, apparently of starvation, after his welfare application was refused or his benefits cut off. Unable to buy food, all three men wasted away for months inside their homes, where their bodies were eventually found.
Only the most recent death drew nationwide attention, however, because of the diary, which has embarrassed city officials who initially defended their handling of the case and even described it as “model.”
In a way that the words of no living person could, the diary has shown the human costs of the economic transformation in Japan. As a widening income gap has pushed up welfare rolls in recent years, struggling cities like Kitakyushu have been under intense pressure to tighten eligibility.
The fallout from the most recent death has shown just how far the authorities in Kitakyushu went to achieve a flat welfare rate

Why, they could call the program, No Hungry Person Left Behind....
This caught my eye
With no religious tradition of charity, Japan has few soup kitchens or other places for the indigent. Those that exist — run frequently by Christian missionaries from South Korea or Japan’s tiny Christian population — cater mostly to the homeless.

Surely Christopher Hitchens can refute that... surely it's not organized religion, much less Christianity that has managed to do the most to lighten the load of humanity in all corners of the world, in all ages?
There must be some mistake...