Wednesday, 3 December 2014

More Info on that Sung Low Mass Stuff

Hello Everyone,

When I did my report for St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir's recent Christ the King Low Mass with proper liturgical music within the Liturgy, I had mentioned the amount of servers used in our Mass. I had put a note in about a certain phrase here, knowing that some Pharisees would have the equivalent of a liturgical brain hemmorhage at the sight of this:

 I have done this before, at St. Lawrence the Martyr for either a Requiem Mass or Christmas 2012. While excessive amounts of servers are not appropriate, I do not know of any rubric or outdated liturgical law that says 3 servers at a Low Mass is unacceptable, or violates the licitness or validity of the Holy Mass. Do your research before you contest this fact and have a Fr. Z speckled-filled nutty and the combox filter is on with my blog rules intact.

This note was intentional, because, there are sick and sour people, a sizable minority (NOT the majority) who are part of the Roman Rite attending these Latin Masses, worldwide, including in my Archdiocese. This sizable minority, having obsessive-compulsive tendencies about the liturgical rules and regulations of the Latin Mass and their Faith and general, get angry and go about complaining and slandering people when something isn't done exactly as it is on page CXXIII of ' the Latin Mass Ultimate Rubrical Guide for All Time by Fr. Fancy Pants Lace-Lover in 1955. This is not a real book, but I hope you got a chuckle out of it, and my point.

On a positive note, this tends less to be those of my generation (Gen Y-ers and Millenials) and younger. The youth do not bear these grudges as much, or not at all.

While yes, some Pharisees did have a liturgical brain hemorrhage on that, the main factor of the hemorrhage was NOT necessarily having 3 servers at a Low Mass. The main cause was that the SPGC Mass was a "Sung Low Mass".

Last week, a blogger who is a self-appointed (read, non-official in terms of Church/Archdiocesan authority and/or NOT a part of the Magisterium,) leader of a Latin Mass community in the Archdiocese of Toronto, decided to chime up on the question of whether a Low Mass can be "sung." In loathing on his personal blog he claims in his years of experience, there is NO existence of a sung low Mass, and chose on the blog of his Latin Mass community to "educate" (read: gloat about to) wayward readers and members of his society, a more detailed explanation using part of what was a post not archived anywhere (read: publicly viewable under the blog archives with the date of December 1, 2013). Not to mention an insult was directed to myself and my serving allies about "educating" us on things dealing with the EF. Thanks, O exalted one. (and no, I am NOT referring to YOU as a Christ figure in a positive manner.)

However, in communication with other trusted allies in the Latin Mass circles I run with over this turn of events, one of them yielded to me an interesting piece of electronically-recorded literature in the form of a pdf. file. Upon searching where this came from, I found out this is actually a part of an old issue of a journal that was once kept by the Church Music Association of America. One may view their site, as well as archived issues of their journals here:

I think that the Chant Cafe forums online AND Fr. Zuhlsdorf have mentioned this association. Regardless, when it comes to liturgical music, this site is no promoter of John Michael Talbot and other Praise and Worship artists! This is a good, balanced, orthodox musicians' association who strives to promote liturgical music in TRUE accordance with Vatican II, while respecting that of our liturgical tradition in the Roman Rite.

The PDF file is a Question and Answer section of an issue of the "Caecilia" from September 1937, which is WAY before any changes in the 20th century for the Latin Mass. One may read the article here:
on pages 363-364. The page was headed by a "Very Reverend Gregory Hugle, O.S.B" (The Order of St. Benedict). I invite you to read it in full for yourself, but I will summarize the notes of the article in point form:

  • At a Low Mass, parts mentioned in Latin CAN BE SUNG, though the Gloria intonation should be sung by the choir. 
  • In the Latin Mass/EF, the parts in Latin (e.g. prayers, Priest parts, not necessarily the hymns/chants in the traditional "4 part sandwich" areas) are NOT to be sung in the vernacular. 
  • Any parts of the Propers (e.g. Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion) CAN be sung in Latin 
  • In General, at the Low Mass in the EF, 
    • The people or Choir CAN sing (w/the Bishop's permission) prayers (general hymns of adoration, Faith, Love, etc.) or hymns composed in the vernacular in honor of the Saint or Mystery celebrated on that day. 
    • Hymns that are in the Latin (e.g. the Te Deum, Tantum Ergo) are NOT to be sung in the vernacular
  • A solemn entrance procession can be done during the Introit, by means of Vatican Graduale provision, With that procession, one CAN sing the antiphonal part of the Introit (part with repeats), after the Psalm verse, after the Gloria Patri, and after the Sicut erat. 
  • For sacred hymns (not "pilgrim songs'), multiple stanzas can be sung to completion of the hymn, with a basis in reasoning being docrtinal, that a hymn sets forth the Catholic doctrine, appeals to the human heart and colcludes with appropriate petitions. It's a prayer that should be sung in it's entirety.  
So needless to say, just one person's viewpoint, particularly without consultation of any other documents outside of major rubric books, nor that of any current priest with sound knowledge of the liturgy (of which, we are just beginning to rediscover its rules, its practice, and even back then, appears to have guideline rules with acceptable, legal deviations or allowance for local customs, from the written text on the page,) fully answers the questions posed. Taking such an attitude in writing and in person, makes assumptions of the answer when it possibly, might only be partial, or wrong. 

People can have false notions of how things should (not absolutely HAVE TO) be done regarding the Extraordinary Form liturgy. If anything, reading this article has taught me that contrary to one blogger's take on the liturgical question, the Low Mass DOES NOT have to be "quiet." 

Might I also add it a shame that some laity, leaders, organizers, etc. who take part in the EF have a rigid understanding or preference of the EF liturgy, including what should happen at each level of the Mass. Such an attitude detracts from the mystical experience of the Mass of All Time, and does not enhance the spiritual richness of such an experience. If anything, such attitudes betray the Mind of the Church, leads one to a cold perspective of their own religion (and projects it to others in contact with them), and might be just the tip of the iceberg, a slippery slope that leads to further hardening of their "hearts," maybe even further damaging things to their soul. This of course, is if attitudes also cross over to their doctrinal/theological stance on items in the Church. 

As my final note, while this posting mainly pertains to the choir aspects of the EF liturgy, this can also stretch in a similar approach as it can relate to serving the Latin Mass. Not everything is "set in stone" on the page as it were, that each server does only X, Y, and Z at each Mass level, and cannot deviate from the rubrics, lest it be a spiritual crime to our Lord. 

In the end, will Jesus judge us at the time our deaths in an unfavourable light, because some rubric on a page wasn`t followed to exact proportions? Or because one extra server was added to a Latin Low Mass, or the server had to so something outside their role in necessity or to assist another server (e.g. the MC?) Does this make the Mass INVALID and thus Christ is not Consecrated in the Sacred Species??? I am sure you can answer these questions, fair readers. Hope this was a bit of food for thought for you. 

Pax, Julian. 

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