"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ"

"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ"
"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ" according to Bishop Athanasius Schneider: 1. Mass versus populum. 2. Communion in the hand. 3. The Novus Ordo Offertory prayers. 4. Disappearance of Latin in the Ordinary Form. 5. Liturgical services of lector and acolyte by women and ministers in lay clothing.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


The believer is sitting - maybe a little 'sleepy - in his pew, waiting for the beginning of the Mass. Trying  to recite some short aspiration to prepare his soul for the celebration. Then, behold, the bell rings. He sees the altar, the cross, the censer, the deacon and then the celebrant. Meanwhile, the choir begins to sing ... How many times have we seen this scene? Lots. Here we would like to focus very briefly on a somewhat 'neglected, in those moments, namely: the choir, the choir, the congregation, what is being sungMany answers can be found: we should say, some beautiful Gregorian chant,  ... but we fear such cases are a bit 'rare. More often it is a part, more or less known, perhaps a bit 'pertaining to the liturgical season that you are experiencing. And how many songs are available! The booklets and composers for decades have indulged in providing so much material to the faithful, in good faith (no doubt). But certainly you can challenge two aspects. 

The first, that the products supplied to the faithful songbirds are of true quality. Of course, not all congregations can reach the levels of certain choirs. But let us remember that simplicity does not rhyme with sloppiness or vulgarization or vapid modernization. The true simplicity is something else,  to succeed with little intelligence to penetrate the mystery that is being celebrated. 

Second - and this is the primary topic of this post - we must note that it is now ingrained in our country, the habit to sing during the Mass and not to sing the Mass . 
To illustrate, we report a text which appeared in Notitiae n. 5 (1969), p. 406. The bulletin which  is the organ of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The words that we report do not belong to a real decree, but are still important.  Here they are:
Many submissions have been asked if it is still valid regarding the formula of the Instruction on Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy of 3 weeks. 1958 n. 33: "In Missis lectis cantus populares religious fidelibus cantari possunt, servata tamen ut hac lege singulis Missae partibus congruant plane."
The formula is exceeded.
It is the Mass Ordinary and simply that, which must be sung, and not just "something else", however appropriate , which overlaps with the mass. Because the liturgical ' action is unique, has only one face, one accent, one voice: the voice of the Church. Continuing  singing motets, even devout and pious ones (like the Lauda Sion offertory on the feast of a saint), but unrelated to the Mass, in place of the texts of the Mass itself , means continuing unacceptable ambiguity: to give bran instead of common wheat, light wine watered down instead of generous wine.
Because we are interested in not only the melody in the chant, but the words, text, thought, feelings coated Poesi and melody. Now, these texts must be those of the Mass, not others. Singing the Mass, then, and not only sing during the mass.
These words are very clear, but must be investigated and considered a moment. 
During the Holy Mass, we have some predefined texts for singing, some of which are fixed in the text every Sunday (the Ordinary: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei), while others vary (the songs of Just like the hint of entry or that of communion.) 
In the extra-ordinary form of the Roman rite, the issue was resolved from the beginning with all the Masses by dividing into two major categories: Masses read and those sung . In the beginning of all the liturgical texts (including the Ordinary and precisely) were read by the priest, without singing them (however, the opportunity existed to add -  but be careful, not replace: by adding - some popular songs at fixed times). In the latter, most of the Mass was sung by the celebrant, the choir and the congregation. It was sung always and only with the texts established by the Church, which could not be replaced.
In Masses in the ordinary form, however, the majority of Masses took a hybrid form: some of it 'read, and some of it sung'. This is not in itself wrong. But it is beyond dispute that, while the songs of the ordinary on the whole remained  (though unfortunately traditional melodies are rarely used), these have virtually disappeared. Take for example yesterday, XIII Sunday in Ordinary Time (or,better said XIII per annum ). The antiphon was, all you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of joy. And that of Communion, however, was, O my soul, bless the Lord, 
all my being, bless his holy name.
 or "Father, pray for them, because they may be one, and the world may believe that thou hast sent me," says the Lord. still or moves decisively toward Jerusalem to meet Jesus in his Passion. So , we would urge all those who have heard these texts SUNG to raise his hand: no fear most probably have not. The composers, usually so prolific, in this regard they gave very few examples here and very few have dedicated music for the texts of the Proper of the Mass. Yet sing in the words of Scripture - because these antiphons are taken from Scripture - is the most traditional and ancient there is in the Sacred Liturgy. Use the Word of God itself - a guarantee of truth, unlike some ambiguous texts (not to mention erroneous) that are served up today - it's something that seems obvious and beautiful, but too rarely practiced and experienced. Still, it might seem that it would take so much effort: just simple melodies, there is no need whatever. We will come to accept that you also use the recto tone, just to hear those words in our churches! 

Some might argue that the IEC, in its Clarification annexed to the typical edition of the Roman Missal in Italian, stated that " In lieu of songs inserted in the liturgical books you can use other appropriate songs in the sacred action at the time and the character of the day or season, provided they are approved by the national Episcopal Conference or by the local or regional level . ", but there is no place that such songs on their own are certainly to be preferred  over the Ordinary of the Mass and to be promoted, as it is recognized immediately afterwards: " We urge the musicians and singers to make use of antiphonal texts of the day with some possible adaptation. "And do not forget that the same Cei , establishing the law concerning the liturgical language, writes that " It will be included in the repertoire of the Mass celebrated in the ordinary Italian songs of their own and possibly in Latin. "And 'This is a solution to resort to traditional melodies in Latin , which will probably come up with our readers better prepared. It would certainly be an excellent opportunity, which would not need even to create new melodies, since they exist already. In this way, moreover, they would be fulfilling the precepts of Vatican II and of the whole tradition of the Church, which has certainly favored the Gregorian chant and the rest of the church's musical heritage, including polyphony. With a little ' realism, however, we realize that this solution is not easily realized everywhere, and because not all the choirs support Gregorian chant, and because - especially! - There is a great aversion to this extraordinary and happy musical expression proper to the Roman liturgy.  So, with a view to the progressive improvement of the conditions prevailing in the musical liturgy, it seems that, at least as a transitional measure, the use of liturgical chants to music can finally be of no small advantage to the faithful, as well as for beauty, the dignity and decorum of the sacred rites. 

For the Ordinary just then sing the liturgical texts themselves, not modern pop songs that, after the fashion, pass also - and I do not want to detract from the beautiful works that were composed: only, it seems that in the face of Scripture and a practice that traditional songs tailored to the Ordinary should Just have to take second place. 
Hopefully the Lord will deign to raise in His Holy Church of the good and willing men and women of music , which is dedicated to this task with skill and competence!

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