“Quantum potes, tantum aude” is what we sing in the Angelic Doctor’s wonderful Corpus Christi sequence. “Dare to do as much as you are able.”
Were this prudently applied to sacred worship in all our churches and chapels, and we might see a renaissance a Catholic identity that is effective both ad intra and ad extra, both within the Church herself and also in the public square.
Each community has different resources, of course. But in all places we can please God by doing our best! In some locales that will be humble and in others grand. But let God be worshipped with our best!
In the Latin, Roman Church that means a deep and brutally honest reassessment of our liturgical practices. It also means the use of the Roman Rite! Fully. Of course I mean the Extraordinary Form. This can serve first as a remedial influence and then as a deepening force, particularly on the priests who use it, who in turn create a knock-on effect in their congregations.
Sacred music is a huge element of our worship. Quantum potes, tantrum aude. It is hard to turn around the musical practices of a parish. This is one sphere of life which makes people freak out. We must have a lot more catechism and patient work to turn around our understanding of the role of music in worship and to pry open again the great treasury of sacred music, simple and complex, that was taken from us, slammed shut, locked up, and sunk in the depths of shallowness in the name of Vatican II.
A friend (here) in NYC who is involved at Holy Innocents in Manhattan happened to email me something from their upcoming musical items for the week.
Music for the Week of 4/24/16
4/25 Monday 6:00PM Mass
St. Mark II solemn tone
P: LU1431 (Protextísti me LU1146)
O: Mass IV LU25; Credo IV LU71
4/27 Wednesday 6:00PM Mass
St. Peter Canisius III solemn tone
P: LU1432 (In medio LU1190)
O: Mass XII LU48
4/29 Friday 6:00PM Mass
St. Peter of Verona III solemn tone
P: LU1436 (Protextísti me LU1146)
O: Mass XII LU48
4/30 Saturday 1:00PM Mass
St. Catherine of Siena III solemn tone
P: LU1437 (Dilexísti LU1225)
They are willing to arrange the musicians (who, in a city like this are available) and then spend the money. They also have volunteers. Some music is simple, some complex. Some chant is now so familiar that all can sing. Some is not and they listen… actively. Some works, some doesn’t! They keep moving forward and it is NOT DUMBED DOWN.
Over the years the congregation has grown amazingly, as has the congregation (250 yesterday, larger than any of the other Masses), thus creating a beneficial “circle of (liturgical) life”.
Some “creative destruction” is needed in our parishes to make room for new growth.
If you step out of your house and get into your car to drive some place, and you suddenly realize you are going in the wrong direction, do you still keep driving in the wrong direction? Or do you turn around, retrace your path, and go in the right direction? In many places the wrong direction has been the aim for so long that the right direction is hardly to be imagined any more.
Without a revival of our sacred liturgical worship no true renewal of the Church, any sphere or sector of the Church’s life, is possible.
Everything starts with and comes back to and flows from our sacred liturgical worship of God.