USCCB Newsletter from Committee on Divine Worship

The new issue of the Newsletter of the USCCB’s Committee for Divine Worship is out.

Two articles are of greater interest to WDTPRSers.

First, there is "Now is the Time for Catechesis on the Roman Missal".  We must prepare for a good reception of the new translation which is coming!

Let us not forget that while the orations for Masses are not yet finished, the Ordinary of Mass is. 

Change is coming.  Priests and people should prepare for the day when the new Ordinary kicks in.  We need to know and understand what is going on, especially so we can respond to those who will choose to get "stuck on stupid" – those who will stomp their feet and hold their breath not because they don’t understand the texts, but because they do and choose to dislike them.

If we are smart, we will be able to avoid some avoidable problems.  It is important that, when the new translation comes into force, people in the pews are not blind-sided by the changes.

Let’s be smart about what is inevitable and necessary.

Second, there is an article on the training of pastor musicians "Five Questions on the Formation of Music Ministers".

I was amazed to find all sorts of citations of this and that document, some of great authority such as Sacrosanctum Concilium, all talking about wonderful and rich concepts.

There was not a single reference to Latin.

"But Father! But Father!" you are surely exclaiming.  "If this issue is focused on the new translation, why would it talk about Latin?"

Because, dear readers, Latin might be important to the Latin Church’s Latin Rite Catholics participating in the Latin Rite. 

If you are going to cite your favorite bits of Sacrosanctum Concilium once in a while you ought to cite Sacrosanctum Concilium 54 (Cf. Musicam sacram 47), namely, that pastors of souls make sure their flocks know how to sing and speak in both Latin and their mother tongue.

Do you think that maybe Latin might have something to do with the Church’s treasury of liturgical music?

So, what are the questions in the newletter?

1. What does the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy have to say specifically about the proper training of liturgical ministers?

2. Is there any mention of formation in the General Instruction on the Roman Missal that refers to proper formation for ministry? 

3. How does Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord encourage the formation of music ministers?

4. What does Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship have to say specifically about the formation of music ministers?

5. Has the USCCB Commission on Certification and Accreditation (USCCB/CCA) contributed to encouraging the ongoing formation of music ministers?

I am all for lots of good catechesis!

We must have a good preparation for the new translation.

But do we have to be so obtuse?  So narrow?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ohio Annie says:

    Speaking as a former Protestant, I think the questions reflect the new “liturgy as entertainment” mindset that I was/am trying to escape.

  2. Ron says:

    Why don’t the “champions of Vatican II” who love to base everything on what “the Council” did quote and use everything from “the Council”? If they loved it so much you’d think they’d want to implement and be faithful to ALL of it, including Latin and Gregorian Chant.

    God strengthen Pope Benedict XVI to deal with such difficult issues facing the Church.

    Pax Christi tecum

  3. Boko says:

    I, too, am all for good catechesis. But we’re kidding ourselves if we think that hissy fits over “And with thy spirit” or “Lord, I am not worthy that Thou should come under my roof” evidence a failure of catechesis. They know what it means. They know all too well. Hence the hissy fits. Catechesis is well and good, but some demons only come out with prayer and fasting.

    When are we going to stop pretending that we’re all friends here, all co-religionists?

  4. Laura Lowder says:

    “But do we have to be so obtuse? So narrow?”

    … so artificially hindered from the depth and breadth of our Faith, as if we weren’t competent? or worse, as if IT were not important to pass on with integrity?

  5. Fr. Vidrine says:

    Funny…we received in the mail today a packet from our Diocesan Office of Worship giving us info. about the need for Catechesis regarding the new translation and telling us that more info will be coming from their office soon. What was interesting is that they said it is hoped that the Holy See will give its recognitio in January 2010 and that Advent 2010 will be the beginning of the use of the newly translated Roman Missal (3rd edition). If this is the case, it’s much sooner than many were saying.

  6. ED says:

    I wish Pope Benedict would just drop the Novus Ordo completely and instead let them have the Gregorian Rite in the vernacular. This endless talk about reforms, optons etc etc etc is just a waste of time while millions of souls are on the road to HELL. Get back to the important reason for the faith.

  7. “But do we have to be so obtuse? So narrow?” Of course we do, we are liturgists.

  8. Regarding liturgical catechesis, has anyone hear when the promised Eucharistic Compendium will be released? From Sacramentum Caritatis:

    The usefulness of a Eucharistic Compendium

    93. At the conclusion of these reflections, in which I have taken up a number of themes raised at the Synod, I also wish to accept the proposal which the Synod Fathers advanced as a means of helping the Christian people to believe, celebrate and live ever more fully the mystery of the Eucharist. The competent offices of the Roman Curia will publish a Compendium which will assemble texts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, prayers, explanations of the Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Missal and other useful aids for a correct understanding, celebration and adoration of the Sacrament of the Altar (251). It is my hope that this book will help make the memorial of the Passover of the Lord increasingly the source and summit of the Church’s life and mission. This will encourage each member of the faithful to make his or her life a true act of spiritual worship.

  9. FWC says:

    In the brick by brick category, I attended Mass at the Cathedral in Dallas last weekend – the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei were sung in Latin – during Lent (Greek as to the Kyrie? would that be more correct?)

    The same holds true in the Cathedral in Kansas City, Missouri – all these are in the original tongue during Lent – one of the monsignors in particualr leads the chant of the Sanctus (at a very proper tempo – at the moment perhaps too quick for the congregation and some of the cantors – but give us time).

  10. Joan Ellen says:

    “Because, dear readers, Latin might be important to the Latin Church’s Latin Rite Catholics participating in the Latin Rite.”

    Thank you Fr. for that line. Nothing more than that is needed as an argument. Doesn’t that line clearly say that Latin is the ‘source and summit’ of the Latin Rite Mass, the need/reason for Latin in the Mass? And isn’t Latin the reality of the Latin Rite? Some fathers of the Church might say something like, “from that reality all else follows.”

  11. Joan Ellen says:

    Sorry, ‘source and summit’ in regards to the language. Of course the Eucharist is the ‘source and summit’ of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  12. Chironomo says:

    Would it not make more sense for the USCCB newsletter to ANSWER these questions rather than ASK them?? I am, and have been, totally in favor of some form of “certification” or standards at least for being a musician in the Catholic Church. There are higher standards for hiring the janitor in most parishes.

  13. I’m all for catechesis, but Latin belongs in the Latin rite :)

  14. Maureen says:

    Actually, I’m fairly sure that _Jesus_ is the source and summit of the Latin Rite mass. :)

    But yes, it’s fairly clear that the USCCB would never say that Maronite Catholics should abandon Arabic or Ukrainian Catholics should forget chanting in Old Church Slavic (or whatever they use).

    Re: the scorched earth approach

    The difficulty is that there are a couple of generations out there who don’t have this heritage or the catechesis that went with it. Ignorance, or faithfulness to what one has been taught by people in positions of trust, is not rebellion. And even the sixties bunch was usually tricked into having a false understanding, or never taught well in the first place.

  15. Thank you Fr. Z! Couldn’t agree more. We have to train them before there is an opportunity for others to discourage and convince them that the changes are bad. As for music directors being trained properly, we must do that also.

    In my parish, we have sung the Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Mortem Tuum every Sunday and Holy Day for the last two years. During Advent, Christmas & Easter Seasons and Special Feasts, we also do the Gloria and Kyrie (in Greek of course).

    Education comes from the pastor. We priests cannot wait for someone out there to do it, we must have an effect on our people. Some will respond poorly, yet if we teach and persevere, we will win their hearts!

  16. David Andrew says:

    As soon as I saw a reference to “Co-Workers in the Vineyard” a loud siren began to blow in my head.

    This document, I don’t believe, carries the recognitio of the Holy See. In fact, I’d be curious how many of the documents promulgated by the USCCB actually do carry it.

    And, accreditation? Really. I know more people “teaching the Faith” who hold up their “accreditation” as a defense of their failed catechetical philosophies. The minute the USCCB begins encouraging or requiring accreditation of sacred musicians, you know jolly well that the NPM will race to the fore and demand that they be the sole arbiters of the process and the content.

  17. Fr. BJ says:

    We really need a new movement started opposing any references (and the accompanying mentality) to “lay ministry”. Laymen are not ministers. Laymen have apostolates. It is an equivocal use of the word “minister” to call both a priest and a layman “minister”.

  18. Dear Fr. Z. (Father, bless!):

    You present the problem well, and pose good questions:

    “Why is Latin not being considered to be taught to “the People of God”, aka the Faithful of the Roman Catholic Church?”

    Your summary question is most suscinct:

    “But do we have to be so obtuse? So narrow?”

    I propose an answer to these questions. It does not appear to be a very popular one.

    These so-called liturgists are offering the sacrifice of Cain

    I suggest that you and your commenters may want to read my essay:

  19. Henry Edwards says:

    In our parish we’re having a Lenten weekly series on the history of the Roman rite. Last week we got to the Council of Trent, and the priest then fast forwarded to flash on the screen the forthcoming new English translation of the Roman Canon – it being the canon approved by the Council of Trent for the Latin Church, though (according to a Solesmes pamphlet) used in Rome as far back as Pope Damascus I (4th century) two centuries before Pope Gregory the Great.

    All the reactions I heard were positive. Of course, this was a self-selected crowd of less than 5% of a typical large suburban parish where some still may not be entirely happy about our having started the Kyrie (Gr), Sanctus, and Agnus Dei in Latin a year or so ago.

    Incidentally, this initiation of some Latin in the liturgy was introduced by our then pastor — now Bishop J. Vann Johnston of Springfield (MO) — with a 1-page bulletin insert entitled “Latin and Lima Beans”. After the pertinent quotations from Sacrosanctum Concilium he boiled it down to the statement that Latin, like lima beans, make take some getting used to, and in the end, you may still not like it very much, but it’s good for you.

    Actually, I’ve observed that for a large class of people, the more they like Latin, the better it is for them, and vica versa.

  20. Matt Q says:

    Are we really expecting the parishes will just jump on this? Delusions abound. Anyone remember that pious little ditty the Conference released regarding Summorum Pontificum? Where has that gone? There was a lot of moaning and groaning when idea of the new translations was announced. Now that they are actually on the horizon, I think we’ll be hearing a lot of thumping of parish trash cans with these new mailers just as we have seen with Summorum Pontificum.

    Secondly, no mention of Latin means the anti-Tradition agenda is still in place.

  21. Kaneohe says:

    Does anyone have a copy of the two newsletter articles that could be posted on line?

    It appears the newsletter is available by paid subscription only – anyone care to share the articles with us non-subcribers?


  22. taad says:

    I think we are going to see a big revolt properly implementing these
    changes. They didn’t follow the last missal, they surely will not
    follow the new one. It’s going to get ugly. Until the authority of the bishops
    is restored to where it is used, nothing will change.

  23. Warren says:

    The introduction of the new translation constitutes a teachable moment. If every parish priest now begins, as the rector of our cathedral has begun to do, to provide bulletin inserts detailing the changes (two columns comparing previous and revised translations), the transition will be embraced more smoothly down the road when the changes are implemented. In effect, the good rector has started a conversation and given authoritative reasons for the changes. Of course there will be stubborn folk who insist on sticking to something simply because they are accustomed to the previous language of worship – I’m speaking here of the earlier vernacular translation currently in use. The introduction of the new translation will expose the misguided agenda of disobedient people who masquerade as faithful catholics. To those low-bar thinkers who insist that people won’t understand some of the words in the new translation, one can only say – what else is the task of educators but to inform and elevate the minds of those who seek truth and understanding (in order to do the will of God)? In a bulletin or from the pulpit, the preacher need only offer a “word of the day”, and the whole matter of criticism against the use of certain words will quickly fade from memory and we’ll get on with worshipping God in His way. Sentire cum ecclesia.

  24. It seems that many of us have forgotten why Latin is the official language of the Catholic church. Latin is an extant language which simply means what the word meant 1000 years ago, still holds the same meaning. Linguists will argue that interpreting meaning from Latin to any other vernacular form introduces error.
    Why is that such a difficult concept to understand. Enlighten me, please

  25. Daniel says:

    “I attended Mass at the Cathedral in Dallas last weekend – the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei were sung in Latin – during Lent (Greek as to the Kyrie? would that be more correct?”

    During the past couple of years, two Dallas parishes with which I’m familiar have sung the Kyrie (Greek) and Agnus Dei during the Lenten Seasons. When each Lent Season had concluded, the parishes in question returned to all-vernacular Masses.

    I am not certain as to whether Dallas Cathedral Masses feature a bit of Latin (and Greek) regularly or just during Lent as I haven’t assisted atthe Dallas Cathedral Mass.)

  26. irishgirl says:

    Fr. BJ-Hear hear! I’m with you totally! I can’t stand the title ‘lay minister’, either!

    We laypeople are NOT ‘ministers’! That term should belong only to the clergy!

  27. Larry says:

    Good grief! You people [? “you people”?] seem always and everywhere to feel left out. The Bishops’ conference is promoting authentic catechisis on the new translation so that things don’t get messed up like they did in the 70’s. Instead of jumping on the band wagon and making your voice heard by teaching and participating you carp about the lack of Latin. [Did you even read my comments? I don’t see any evidence that you did. I think I was pretty assertive about the need for catechesis… or was there something else I neglected to say?] For Pete’s sake and pun intended obey your bishops and learn what the NO really says and why it is THE MASS that is the ORDINARY FORM. [for Pete’s sake is right…] Help to make it what Pope Benedict XVI wants it to be. [ummm…. that’s why we need Latin and the Extraordinary Form…] There is no question that Latin has a place and the Council said so. So bring that into the Catechesis this time and make a difference instead of sitting on the side lines [?!?] and carping like a bunch of crybabies. The only sour grapes are in your own mouths.

    [There are so many things wrong with this comment, …. Sigh. But, since he invoked the image of sour grapes…]

    Another winner of the WDTPRS Sour Grapes Award!

  28. Nick says:

    I have to show my support for Fr. BJ and Irishgirl.

    I have been involved for many years in the field of Sacred Music, and have always despised the term “music minister.” It’s hokey at best. Maestro di Cappella is a much more historic and dignified title, and implies a certain level of scholarship and virtouosity.

    If only our bishops would be more concerned with the formation of choir schools rather than “music ministers!”

  29. Fr. BJ says:

    A friend of mine once did some research and found that none of the 16 documents of Vatican II referred to lay people as “ministers”. Then there is this important clarification document from the Pontifical Council on the Laity: “INSTRUCTION ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS REGARDING THE COLLABORATION OF THE NON-ORDAINED FAITHFUL IN THE SACRED MINISTRY OF PRIEST”.

  30. Kimberly says:

    You are SO right FR. BJ! We have Eucharistic Ministers, Youth Ministers, Music Minis… you get the point. Again, I think it is a way for new-agers to put everyone on the same level as the priest.

  31. Zangk says:

    The fact that the new missal is coming will be great. I know some things may be interpreted just as well as trying to pass a message in the game “telephone”. The fog will eventually clear.

    Some thoughts on some posts above

    “wish Pope Benedict would just drop the Novus Ordo completely and instead let them have the Gregorian Rite in the vernacular. This endless talk about reforms, optons etc etc etc is just a waste of time while millions of souls are on the road to HELL. Get back to the important reason for the faith.”- Comment by ED

    First of all Benedict is very careful and gentle with everything he does (not to mention he puts more thought and planning into his actions than I could ever hope to imagine). Secondly he is walking on a thin line. He doesn’t want to step to harshly one way or the other way for it might tip the scale unfavourably for the Church. This is just my guess but I think he wants “servants, not slaves”. As he gently calls for change, he wants the clergy and lay to heed the call and make it reality without a dramatic shift. He may also have to be careful not to cause any schism. So to say millions are on the road to hell because of some procrastination on our Holy Fathers part is a bit crass. We should worry about their salvation, which is why we are asked to not only pray for our Holy Father but also for the rest of the clergy and lay people. One thing to note is that ever since Pope Benedict started his “endless talk about reforms”, many sudden changes have sprung up that haven’t ever happened in the last 40 years; the stagnation is over, our walk in the desert is done, if anything it is a time to rejoice and pray more fervently.

    I read the “Sacrifice of Cain”. The essay suggests that the story of Cain and Able has three things to tell about Cains’ sacrifice, “The first is that God will not bless it…. The second thing that we know from the Book of Genesis is that the error of the sacrifice of Cain is correctable…. But the third thing that…for those who persist in the sacrifice of Cain, sin lies in wait along the way, and that sin is twofold: the denial of God, and wrath for those who try to do His will.” The writer describes in a little more detail that “Both the Rabbinic and the Patristic commentary on this scripture are agreed that the Lord had taught the family of Adam that the proper sacrifice before the Lord was the sacrifice of the lamb, and that Cain had offered what he wanted to offer, rather than that which the Lord demanded”. Therefore the priests of our day, like Cain, have not heeded the word of God so therefore “God will not bless it”, and if they don’t change they will be laid waste to sin.

    I hope my logic is not flawed here and please correct me if it is, but from the little I know, wasn’t the sacrificing of the lamb the prefigurement of the Holy Eucharist (even foreshadowed in the Passover meal and some other Jewish sacrifices at their alters)? Sacrificing the lamb foreshadowed the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus. If I may add, Jesus, the Lamb of God, is the Eucharist that the priest sacrifices and blesses at the mass. I have an idea what the author of the essay may be saying, but to me its undertone sounds like this: Cains’ sacrifice was not accepted because he didn’t sacrifice a lamb. To me the lamb is the prefigurement of the Eucharist; Jesus the Lamb of God. Therefore if priests are not sacrificing the Eucharist properly they are not having it blessed and accepted by God. Consequently the Eucharist could be invalid. As I said I might be jumping to conclusions , or just being narrow minded, and hopefully this is not what the writer is suggesting. It is my hope that he is talking specifically on how the clergy is misinterpreting doctrine or teaching, if not blatantly ignoring it. It is just that comparing Cain and his unworthy sacrifice to our priests can paint an entirely different picture than what he wants to set up. Maybe the “Sacrifice of Cain” is not the best way to sum up the misinterpretation of the Vatican II Council by some clergymen.

  32. I thank Zangk for his reading, and his interpretation, of my essay, “The Sacrifice of Cain”.

    So as to help Zangk, I will provide a precis of the argument in that essay, as follows:

    There seems to be a disconnect between the promise of the Second Vatican Council, and what actually happened after it. Some seem to feel that we have not had the full spiritual reforms because we have not modernized the Mass enough. Others feel that Vatican II introduced errors in its teaching into the Roman Catholic Church. The writer finds both views presented above are in error, the first because it seems to posit that in order to be cured, we need more of the same disease; the second seems to have committed the error of post hoc ergo propter hoc, in holding that because grave errors entered the Church after Vatican II, that Vatican II was therefore the cause of those errors.

    A third view, which better explains what happened after Vatican II, is that those who interpreted the Council documents did not do so in a way that conformed with the Church’s constant teaching. This view has been called the “hermeneutic of discontinuity”.

    The writer posits, however, that this explanation is both less biblical and more complicated than than it needs to be. There is a simpler explanation: Those whose job it was to teach the doctrines of Vatican II taught what they wanted, rather than what the spirit of God has expressed through scripture, tradition, and church authority, particularly, the church authority of Vatican II. This could be summed up as the sacrifice of Cain

    The sacrifice of Cain consisted of Cain’s offering what he wanted to offer to God, rather than what God had asked of him or of his family.

    Seen in this light, the things that happened after Vatican II appear to have been people “doing their own thing”, rather than what the Council Fathers had asked for.

    As regards matters of liturgy, the Council Fathers asked for the preservation of Latin in the liturgy, for greater use of the vernacular, a noble simplicity in the serving of the liturgy, for art, music, and architecture to reflect the beauty and the order of heaven, and that in the liturgical music, for Gregorian Chant to be given pride of place, with the treasury of polyphony to be preserved and developed, and for new liturgical works to be made which had chant and polyphony as a foundation. With the exception of greater use of the vernacular, none of these requests of the Council Fathers have been honored in the last 40 years.

    In the same way, the Council Fathers had asked for a reform of the education and spiritual development of priests, including being well grounded in Latin, the languages of scripture, tradition, and modern scholarship, the general literary, humanistic and scientific education given to those who wished to enter higher studies (i.e., law, medicine, science, philosophy, etc.), and a six year program in philosophy and theology. With the exception of such good priests as the able Fr. Z., few priests in the last forty years have obtained for themselves such an education.

    The writer posits that both these failures, in liturgy and in the education of priests, are as a result of the sacrifice of Cain, that is, doing what the priests and liturgists wanted rather than the clear teachings of God through the Council, and that the three signs of the sacrifice of Cain are present here: 1) that such sacrifice can and will not be blessed by God; 2) that such a futile sacrifice can be made good by doing as God wishes; and 3) that the failure to repent will result in sin, which includes the continued failure to change, and the expression of wrath against those who actually want to do what God asks of them.

  33. Matt Q says:

    ED wrote:

    “I wish Pope Benedict would just drop the Novus Ordo completely and instead let them have the Gregorian Rite in the vernacular. This endless talk about reforms, optons etc etc etc is just a waste of time while millions of souls are on the road to HELL. Get back to the important reason for the faith.”


    No, ED, a Tridentine Mass in the vernacular is a conundrum right back to the Novus Ordo. There would still be poor translations, ad-lib’ing, and still give rise to innovation simply because the vernacular is being used, e.g., gesture and content are improvised as one goes simply because one naturally tends to do as one speaks.

  34. Zangk says:

    Thanks you Bernard Brandt for expounding further. I enjoy reading different pieces of information, with some discretion of course, and I am very pleased that you have replied so that I might have a clearer understanding of what you were saying.

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