Something remarkable occurred during the Holy Father’s Midnight Mass.
I had a note from a long time reader about this. I didn’t see the broadcast of the Mass this year, but it is archived and it can be viewed on demand.
In the on demand video, at about 36:28, the men of the Sistine choir sing the Gradual for the 1st Mass of Christmas.
They don’t sing it particularly well, for it drags, but they sing it Then a cantor, at the microphone sings the solo parts. He doesn’t seem to understand where and how to breathe, or what the text means, and he has a little more vibrato than he ought, but it was the Gradual, not a responsorial psalm.
There was no “reponsorial psalm with congregational singing.
[Just a warning: turn it off when the solo is over so you don’t have to experience the voice of the woman who reads the second reading. It’ll etch your computer screen.]
In any event, my correspondent wrote: ” thought amusing the Vatican Radio announcer’s labored effort to explain that it is actually ok under the new rubrics to substitute an “ancient gradual” (as he called it, the same one as the EF gradual for Christmas midnight Mass) for the responsorial psalm.”
Indeed it is okay to sing a Gradual in place of the “responsorial psalm”. You can find the graduals, along with the other proper chants for Mass, in the Ordinary Form Graduale Romanum published by Solesmes. And check out also the Gregorian Missal for Sundays.
We have seen His Holiness celebrate Mass ad orientem, and wear Roman vestments, and use older trappings of office. He has now done something else along the same line. He has signaled to the whole world that it is not necessary that congregations be singing or talking all the time, even at the times when they have been accustomed to sing or talk. They can listen to a text, and that text can be in Gregorian chant, which the Council says has pride of place in sacred liturgical music.
Gravitational pull? This would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
Here is a link to the pdf of the booklet for the Mass.
Imagine being surprised to hear a Roman Gradual at a Mass in the Roman Rite celebrated by the Roman Pontiff.