Tag Archives: novus ordo

Archbishop Sample’s Bold Remarks on Classical Roman Liturgy

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Pope Francis facing ad orientem

Whenever speaking of priests and bishops I don’t really want to say, “He’s one of the good ones,” but I feel that way about my archbishop, Alexander K. Sample. I find him level-headed and wise.

Here’s a talk he recently gave on discovering the Traditional Latin Mass, or Tridentine Mass or, as it’s officially known, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

I too have a desire for the Traditional Latin Mass, somewhat out of curiosity, somewhat because I’m sorta studying Latin, but mostly because I want to be holy and I am weak.

That might sound strange, but my thoughts are simple. We are called to be holy. God has given us many gifts and various means to help us become holy. These include prayer and scripture, fellowship and peaching, etc. The Mass is a gift to us. God does not need it, but we do. The Mass was made for us and we are made for Mass. It seems to me, in terms appropriate to reverence before our Lord and Savior, that the more traditional Mass is a better fit with our natures and fundamental human needs than the Novus Ordo Mass, or Ordinary Form. In other words, the more traditional Mass encourages holiness more than the more modern Mass, and I need all the help I can get.

Many will beg to differ.

Those who say they are Christians but not religious are gravely wrong. All humans are religious. Religion, and religious activities, are given to us as gifts. And the religious impulse is part of our DNA, out there by God. Our nature calls out for religion, and for rites, and for reverence. These things really matter. In fact, I think in today’s crazy world reverence is more important than ever. The Traditional Latin Mass seems to have a great deal more inherent reverence than the alternative.

For more of the Archbishop’s thoughts on liturgical reform, here is a two-part discussion he recently did on Mater Dei Radio:
Liturgical Reform Part 1 July 20, 2016
Liturgical Reform Part 2 August 16, 2016

However, the Traditional Latin Mass is not a requirement for the Christian life. It is not a requirement for holiness. And many find the Novus Ordo Mass very encouraging. In fact I do too — I am still in the presence of the Lord, still kneeling, still praying, still receiving His body and blood. But I believe the traditional Mass is a gift that coincides and fits human nature best. I would like to have the regular opportunity to receive such a gift in my area.

I hope the Archbishop’s views continue to get propagated and accepted throughout the archdiocese. But I know he is wise and will not force anything. It is really up to us to discover it and ask for it. Fortunately for me and my family, our parish, which does not do the Tridentine Mass (yet), is generally very reverent and solemn, frequently includes Latin, and the music is often quite beautiful, and the homilies are good. Still, I would love the option.

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Joy at Mass

Lately I’ve blogged about tradition in the Church and the Mass specifically. I find the question of music particularly interesting. I have been longing for a traditional Latin Mass to be readily available in my town. But I have to say that I’ve truly been loving the Mass at our local church lately. The church is packed, the music is beautiful, the homilies are generally good, and the mood is solemn and lively — plus lots of kids. It’s a Novus Ordo Mass (I can’t say I really know exactly what that means), with occasional Latin at times, and the Prayer to Saint Michael at the end of each Mass.

I leave with feelings of joy. I love when my family is with me too.

I can live with this. Truly I can live with any valid Mass. I love the Real Presence. I love the Eucharist. I don’t get caught up in the debates some traditionalists do — seems pointless to me. Anyway, I am loving Mass lately (in fact, I always have since entering the Church).

It’s not about me. I know.

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I’ve also become fascinated with Saint Michael. What an amazing saint.

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A wrong turn with the music for the Gloria

“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy.” Sacrosanctum Concilium, 112

“I am convinced that music really is the universal language of beauty which can bring together all people of good will on earth.” Pope Benedict XVI, 16 April 2007

When I started attending the parish church we now go to, I did not like the music used for the Mass very much. There were parts that I loved, like the Lamb of God and the call and response chant of the Psalm reading. But the Gloria (Glory to God) was not great. And yet I grew to like it. Then we changed. What we use now is the Mass of Christ the Savior by Dan Schutte, and the tune for the Gloria is awful. Overall this Mass by Schutte is musically poor, but specifically the Gloria is far to sing-songy for what the Gloria actually is. Schutte’s version is also too long, and has this strange word/phrase-repeat thing it does that disrupts the flow of this amazing poem prayer of reverence. As far as my tastes go, Schutte’s Gloria destroys what could and should be beautiful. It would be better for us to merely recite the Gloria than sing Schutte’s version.

Read the Gloria, consider its words carefully, and then consider this: How we sing the Gloria sets the tone for the rest of the Mass. It is the true beginning of worship in the Mass, that moment when we direct our minds to God, and recognize our place before Him. It draws us into a mode of reverence and prepares us for what is to come. It separates us from the humdrum of the quotidian and puts us in the presence of God. It’s not there merely because of tradition, though it has a long tradition. It is a critical piece of why a Catholic Mass is what it is; it is when we come together as Catholics.

Recently I came across a musical comparison that I think may explain what I mean by Schutte’s Gloria being too sing-songy:

It’s not an exact copy, and maybe a bit unfair, but if we can get that close with such a comparison, it says a lot. However, only listen to Schutte’s version and that should easily be enough to show how inappropriate it is for the Gloria. Sadly, we live in an age where it is becoming more and more common for people to not really know the difference between beautiful and ugly, reverential and pedestrian, God facing and man facing. Perhaps that is the issue here. I can’t say. I don’t yet know what anyone else in my parish thinks.

What we used to sing was the Heritage Mass version. This is also not great, but the music is better and more reverential than Schutte’s.

I am convinced the Novus Ordo Mass can be very beautiful and reverential. I do not think a church has to “go back” to a traditional Latin Mass to find beauty. But I also realize it is hard work, and many parishioners, who are immersed in our rather ugly culture all week long, might struggle at first if their Mass was changed to be truly beautiful – strange as that may sound. It might take some adjustment. But we are made for Beauty. Seek the beautiful in the Mass and the parish will be rewarded. I believe this firmly.

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Filed under Beauty, Catholic Church, Liturgy, Music