Saturday, October 03, 2009

Bishop Cordileone Celebrates Solemn Pontifical High Mass at St. Margaret Mary


The Veritatem Facientes in Caritate posts also have clips of the Mass.

Photos at the website for the Institute of Christ the King.

I was going to upload some pictures from this event, which took place two Sundays ago, but I had been unable to do so for a few reasons, the most serious of which is that my computer was not working. I should try to upload some this weekend.

Now for some reactions:

Almost everyone has high expectations of the new bishop. I was pleased by his homily, though I remember very little of it. He talked about how we should be living in Christ. I wish I remembered more of it. To be honest, I thought the homily could have used a bit more theological precision, but maybe that isn't necessary for the average layperson. A lot of people walked up to him after the reception to greet him and have a photo taken with him. I thought about doing so, but decided not to... he's not my bishop after all, even though I have high expectations of him as well.

Some reflections about the liturgy--
As for the liturgy itself, it was what I expected from the ICRSS and an long-established "Latin Mass" community. Low mass rubricism was prevelant -- the laity were once again just doing what the clerics were doing, instead of their proper part. Does the Institute try to educate the faithful about what they should be doing during a Solemn High Mass? Is the obstacle to change on the part of the members of the Institute or of the faithful? All too often this is just how things are done here in America, but a real liturgical revival requires moving beyond preserving local customs that are incorrect, does it not? The liturgical movement of the 20th century aspired to help the laity re-appropriate the liturgy by becoming familiar with their parts.

There was the use of cover music to cover "dead time" -- when the clerics were doing something, but the laity were not really doing anything. What is liturgically appropriate music during the vesting and unvesting of a bishop, for example? A litany? A hymn to the Blessed Mother? What is the solution in the other rites?

Is it accurate to say that in the Missal of Paul VI, the former private prayers of the priest at the foot of the altar have been made the prayers of all, in the new introductory and penitential rites? (Sorry, I do not have the technical names for those parts of the Pauline liturgy of the eucharist.)

I do wonder about Gregorian chant as well... are there "too many notes," to quote a certain emperor in Amadeus? If one compares the propers with Greek Byzantine or Melkite sacred music, the singing might be more complicated (it may even use a scale with more notes!), but it doesn't linger as much on each word? This can make it difficult to focus on the meaning of the text? Perhaps I am just not proficient enough in Latin. But what is the average layman doing when the propers are being sung?

Should EF communities not provide some sort of training in music and Latin for its members?

Regarding polyphony -- I might change my mind after hearing works of polyphony, like what I have been posting this past week. Those pieces were quite beautiful... But when they are sung within the context of the eucharistic liturgy, it is easy to be distracted, especially when one does not have a copy of the text to follow along. Vocal prayer is much easier for me at a low Mass, or Mass with straightforward chants (like a Melkite liturgy). It doesn't necessarily have to be in English -- it could be in Latin, like Lauds or Vespers. Can one "actively" pray the text while it is being sung polyphonically? Is listening to the words the only possible option?

Should there be certain texts reserved specifically for the cantor/schola? Or should the singing and praying of the propers be given to the faithful as much as possible?

Are the words of the liturgy to be intelligible to the faithful? Is this the ultimate criterion by which the debate between the use of Latin and a hieratic version of the vernacular be resolved? I am not persuaded by the argument that having the liturgy in an ancient language one cannot understand adds to the sense of mystery. The mysteries expressed by the liturgy cannot be fully comprehensible, even if the texts are intelligible, but what is the purpose of the liturgy? And what sort of participation by the laity is to be brought about? It may be easy now to say that the faithful should have bilingual missals, but what happens when money becomes an issue for the average family?

On finding a wife--
There were a lot of chapel veils to be seen; some of the married women even wore black veils, but I suspect that not all of the women wearing white veils were single. The ones who are married should wear black veils, no? It would help single men know if they are available or not. (Haha.) It would seem that most of the unmarried women who are of age have boyfriends; would I go back to St. Margaret Mary again? I am not sure.

I don't know if a traditionalist would be a suitable match. While I am familiar with the EF, there is still a gap in culture and spirituality between me and most traditionalists. Minor differences, you might say, but maybe they are not so minor after all? My own "liturgical preference" is still rather fluid. I haven't really settled one a particular form of the Roman rite, and I still mull over switching to an Eastern rite (though that looks less and less likely as time passes). At times I prefer an OF low mass in English celebrated somewhat well -- while ad lib petitions bother me, and other abuses may be present, at least there is no bad music in an OF low mass.

Many traditionalists have a "rigorist" attitude towards matters liturgical and also culture. To say that they return the Church to the '50s may be a caricature of their understanding of liturgy and theology (though some may believe that the low mass is the norm). But they are comfortable with mid-2oth century cultural norms and forms. I can't say that I am attached to mid-20th century American fashion or mores.

Maybe a woman associated with Opus Dei would be a better fit. (As opposed to Regnum Christi, which is tainted and suspect -- do its members have a cultist mentality, or worse, a twisted spirituality?) I haven't really met too many women who are associated with Opus Dei, and the ones I have can be as Yankee as anyone else.


Begun on September 24, 2009.

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