Archbp. Sheen narrates Tridentine High Mass

A biretta tip o{]:¬) to Fr. Jim Tucker of Dappled Things who alerts us to a YouTube of the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen doing color commentary on the celebration of a Tridentine High Mass for Easter (Resurrexi) with Gregorian chant and choral/orchestral music. Check it out! I really like the irony of his statement during his description of the Vidi aquam about how the Church never drops its liturgical customs.

For some reason I couldn’t get the YouTube window to embed here, so I put it in a comment.

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14 Responses to Archbp. Sheen narrates Tridentine High Mass

  1. Paul Murnane says:

    Thank you for the link, Fr. Z!

    “I really like the irony of his statement during his description of the Vidi aquam about how the Church never drops its liturgical customs.”

    On that note, it seems pretty apropos to link to this article from the Diocese of Spokane. It shows not only how far we’ve fallen, but how far we have to go. http://www.dioceseofspokane.org/Communications/IR_2006/ir070606/larson070606.htm.

    I particularly loved this part: “Having lived through ‘speed-typing’ Masses guaranteed to last no more than twenty minutes, we can point to the greater seriousness, even greater solemnity, of parish worship today. Those who call contemporary worship insufficiently sacred literally do not know what they are talking about.”

    Oh, and of course these wonderful insights are offered in the official diocesan newspaper of the president of our bishop’s conference.

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    I really like the irony of his statement during his description of the Vidi aquam about how the Church never drops its liturgical customs.

    Yes, this was a real side-splitter. Almost as funny as some of the Seattle joker’s straw-man arguments. I suspect he’ll get a real kick out of the ETWN Mass after it goes ad orientem as a full-fledged “Mass of Vatican II” (a al Fessio) when/if a suitable new bishop is appointed for Birmingham.

    But I understand that in the last year The Latin Mass Magazine — having discovered by a poll that substantial numbers of young priests appear to be interested in the old Mass — has sent every young priest in the U.S. (ones ordained less than a certain number of years) a DVD containing both this “Immemorial (solemn high) Tridentine Mass” of 1940 with Bishop Sheen’s commentary, and “The Most Beautiful Thing This Side of Heaven”, an excellent and more recent low Mass video with instructional commentary for priests wanting to cross the … ah, not Tiber … hmm, what would be the word?

  3. On traditional mass videos: It would be great if we had more available via internet. Here in Mexico, where it is next to impossible to buy a mail order DVD out of the US, we have many young priests who want to be orthodox and traditional, but, with respect to liturgy, don’t know what that is. Videos on internet would sure help.

    Without objecting to commented videos, one might wish that we also had some without comments, that just let us hear the mass, that let the mass speak for itself.

    The Birmingham thing was a hoot. When the bishop first issued his order, the sisters were still using the Irondale chapel where they were on one side of the altar and visitors were on the other. The celebrant was facing half of those present no matter which side of the altar he was on.

  4. Tim Ferguson says:

    This video was the first exposure I ever had, as a young impressionable seminarian, to the Tridentine Mass. I think I watched it half a dozen times the first day I had the videotape (on loan from a friend).

    With the relative ease of producing a DVD, it would be wonderful if either the FSSP or the ICKSP would put together a DVD of a Mass as a training tool for young priests interested in learning (especially if the much-rumored but still tentative “universal indult” becomes a reality). That way, versions could be included with commentary, with no commentary, with vernacular translation subtitles, and so forth.

    Or perhaps a lone priest with an indult and some connections to the media – say, Fox News and/or the Wanderer – could produce something of the like and, I don’t know, market it so that the proceeds could fund his eventual retirement in some acadian paradise like the Sabine Farm…

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    With the relative ease of producing a DVD, it would be wonderful if either the FSSP or the ICKSP would put together a DVD of a Mass as a training tool for young priests interested in learning (especially if the much-rumored but still tentative “universal indult” becomes a reality). That way, versions could be included with commentary, with no commentary, with vernacular translation subtitles, and so forth.

    Before leaving for Rome a couple of years ago (where he’s now assigned), Fr. Robert Fromageot FSSP, probably the most precise TLM celebrant I’ve ever observed in person, made just such a DVD at St. Francis de Sales Church (www.francisdesales.com, the FSSP parish in the Archdiocese of Atlanta). Actually a two-DVD set, with a solemn high Mass on one disk, and two low Masses (on with and one without commentary for priests) on the other. A professionally polished production in all ways – multiple cameras and angles with retakes, excellent video and audio quality (about as far in this respect from the 1940 Chicago video as one might imagine, though not the wonderful ambience of that period and Bishop Sheen’s inimitable commentary). The finest thing of its evidently instructional sort I know of (though the low Mass is reminiscent of the “The Most Beautiful Thing This Side of Heaven” available from http://www.ecclesiadei.org), it unfortunately seems never to have been made widely available; I recall mentioning it to someone in the FSSP publications office who’d never even heard of it. Perhaps it was produced as a parish fund-raiser and not duplicated further when the initial supply was sold out.

  6. Paul Murnane says:

    Here is a link to a more recent recording. I have no idea of the origin. http://www.guba.com/watch/3000002475

  7. Séamas says:

    Here’s a DVD of the first mass of an FSSP priest:

    http://jeff.ostrowski.cc/productions/first_mass/index.htm

    Henry, what argument’s has the “Seattle joker” made? (I am in the Seattle Archdiocese, but for some reason I have trouble finding out much about my bishop)

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    Séamas, I was not referring to your ordinary in Seattle — about whom I know nothing — but rather to the article Paul Murnane linked in his post above, whose author identifies himself as a “liturgical consultant for the Archdiocese of Seattle”.

  9. Henry Edwards says:

    Observing now that Paul has two posts with links in this thread, I could mention that the “Seattle article” is linked in his initial post. The “First Mass of Fr. James Fryar, FSSP” (linked by Séamas) is in several ways unique among my rather large collection of TLM videos. It is, both musically and visually, one of the more opulent ones I’ve seen. You may suspect what I mean by “opulent” if you view all the photos at the linked site. It consists of two DVD disks, one without and one with his personal commentary on his first solemn high Mass. His reflections on the in persona Christi role of the celebrant and on his personal union therein with the Eternal High Priest are among the most moving and powerful I have ever heard in any context. Listening to these remarks, I could not help wondering how any priest just graduated and ordained from a typical diocesan seminary in recent decades could possibly discuss the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in such a deep and profound way.

  10. Henry: Sounds like a great DVD! We need more things like this.

  11. K D'Souza says:

    A question about the Vidi aquam: Archbishop Sheen speaks about it as a liturgical custom and emphasizes that it is not part of the Mass. Does this imply that the promulgation of the 1969 Mass does not prohibit the vidi aquam/asperges? I ask because, at St Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal, the main sung Mass every Sunday (English most Sundays, novus ordo Latin on the third Sunday of every month) is always preceded by the Asperges or Vidi aquam, depending on the season. I had a friend who used to have a bit of a hissy fit about this, but I always thought it was beautiful and the most effective way to bring recollection to the congregation in preparation for Holy Mass. Does anyone know of anywhere else where this is done in the context of the new Mass?

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    Does this imply that the promulgation of the 1969 Mass does not prohibit the vidi aquam/asperges?

    Since it’s been a while and Fr. Z has not answered yet, I’ll offer an answer, assuming that he blessedly lacks access to a Novus Ordo missal there at the Sabine Farm. (Just kidding, Father!) My Scepter Handbook of Prayers contains a Latin-English Order of Mass. The Latin is credited to the 1975 Missale Romanum.

    Reading on the English side, right after the Entrance Song and the (initial)Greeting, we see

    “A. RITE OF BLESSING AND SPRINKLING HOLY WATER
    When this rite is celebrated, it takes the place of the penitential rite at the beginning of Mass. The Kyrie is also omitted.”

    Thus, whereas in the traditional Roman rite, the Asperges precedes the Mass and is not part of the Mass, in the Novus Ordo, it is actually part of the Mass, being one of the unfortunate plethora of optionalia, those “areas of creativity” of which Cardinal Ratzinger in his Fontgombault remarks said the missal needs to be freed in the (hopefully still-coming) “reform of the reform” (as he referred to it then) in order to “get back to a faithful, ecclesial celebration of the Liturgy”. He remarks that he is “not in favour of uniformity; but we should of course be opposed to chaos” (his emphasis).