For those of you who missed it, I direct your attention to an important post at The Chant Cafe (whose motto is “Double Shots of Plainsong – No Foam”). I am sure the cafe serves Mystic Monk Coffee, too!
Jeffrey Tucker did everyone a great service by posting video/audio tutorials demonstrating how the new, corrected translation can be sung.
What is interesting about this, is that no one has done this before. This means that people can get, for the first time, an idea of how the Novus Ordo can be sung in English.
This will obviously annoy liberals, enemies of the new, corrected translation. They are busily vilifying the new Roman Missal. The last thing they want is for people to hear the translation and like it. Why would they be incessantly running down the new, corrected translation? Probably pride and fear. They can’t stand not having their way and they know that a new clarity of Catholic teaching that will resound in the prayers will require that they too be consistent with the teaching, in living or in the case of clerics also in preaching. For some who are older, this huge step demonstrates that their old ideas from the 60’s-80’s are being swept away.
“But Father! But Father!”, some of you hard-core trads are saying. “I don’t care about the new missal or new translation or new Mass. We want only the old Mass! Why are you propping up something we don’t like?”
First, I want Holy Church to be successful in her mission.
Second, if you think this blog is only about the TLM, you haven’t been paying attention. Take off the blinders and pull the earplugs. There is a big picture to consider.
The Novus Ordo is a major tool of Holy Church’s mission right now. Who knows what may happen in 50 years. Could the tool be better? Sure. Would I prefer a different tool? Of course!
What I prefer doesn’t matter.
We work with the tools we have and we do what we can. I will remind some of you who may have forgotten that my conversion to Catholicism was sparked by an experience of the Novus Ordo celebrated in exactly the sort of continuity described by Benedict XVI. I respect what it can accomplish when it is celebrated with fidelity and with continuity.
This is the real world, folks, not traddie fantasy camp. Every Mass, Novus Ordo, TLM, should be offered with the best we have. The corrected translation is a huge improvement for the Novus Ordo. The majority of Catholics who go to Mass are going to hear something vastly improved. I believe that, in this new translation, Christ’s voice will ring more truly. People will respond. What’s bad about that? It may lead many of them to want more (read: the TLM).
The Novus Ordo is the experience of the vast majority of Catholics right now. I may prefer the older, traditional form of Mass, but I know that when there are improvements to any liturgical worship we all benefit. Rising tides raise all boats.
To use another metaphor, I prefer a nice steak and cabernet to baby-food goo in a jar. Just because I don’t like goo, that doesn’t mean that the goo isn’t exactly what babies need to grow up and start preferring steak and cabernet. No parent forces little Bundle-Of-Joy to have a porterhouse when what she really needs is milk and goo.
To extend this a bit, you can’t set a T-bone in front of a guy who has a broken jaw that is wired shut, or who doesn’t have the strength to raise his hands. The faithful have been catholicly crippled for decades now, systematically starved. They are undernourished and atrophied. We are going to have to stick the steak in a blender for them so they can take it through a straw, or else cut it up for them and feed with with a spoon until they recover. But they need better stuff through a straw than what they have been getting. The new stuff out of the blender hasn’t had all the nutrients removed. That’s what the lame-duck ICEL translation did: it extracted the nutrients.
Some of you who prefer the Novus Ordo may be about to have a sputtering nutty and start flinging comments about how insulting I am about the Novus Ordo, how condescending I am about the average people in the pew, blah blah blah. No. First, I’m not talking to you. That should be obvious. Second, it is the liberals who are condescending and offensive. They are the ones who have kept people down. In fighting the new translation they are doing a grave disservice. I believe people are hungry for more. I trust that they will get it so long as they are not poisoned against it in advance. The Novus Ordo can do a great deal for them.
Sure, I think the TLM could eventually do more, but… I live in the real world.
We have to get people into church with worship that is improved, with a more meaningful translation, with better music, with greater dignity, with solid preaching. Once they are in… or back… there is a greater likelihood that they will ask for more.
Some people will be attracted into Church through the traditional forms. That is why we need more and more and more of the traditional forms!
Others will be attracted by the Novus Ordo. GREAT! Get them in the doors.
Thus endeth my rant.
Again, for those of you who missed it, I direct your attention to an important post at The Chant Cafe.
Jeffrey Tucker did everyone a great service by posting video/audio tutorials demonstrating how the new, corrected translation can be sung.
‘No parent forces little Bundle-Of-Joy to have a porterhouse when what she really needs is milk and goo.’
Along with my goo, I need smiles and hugs too!!!
I won’t eat properly if I don’t feel loved, despite my liturgical inadequacies!!
“This is the real world, folks, not traddie fantasy camp.”
I agree with you, Father Z. This corrected translation is one victory for the Church. A big one! I hope that something could be done to keep people from messing up the other liturgical things in the near future like the sacred music, prayerful silence, and worship atmosphere in general.
Father Z- thank you for this post. I appreciate your explanations on these important events.
This is very important – the OF absolutely needs this sort of thing to turn it towards the EF and all the traditions and wisdom of the past.
We have progressed from English chant steadily on into Latin in our very OF parish. We (and the congregation, which holds up its end quite well) will chant the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin this coming Sunday (as we do on all first Sundays), and this Sunday we also are featuring Latin motets by Mr. William Byrd and Mr. Thomas Tallis, the leading Unreconstructed Recusant Catholics of England. We have moved people into their Latin compositions by acquainting them with their splendid settings of the English texts.
Our choirmaster has begun weekly instruction in the mysteries of chant notation and solfeige, and we are going to be featuring an “all-Latin-all-the-time” prayer service for the local Greek Orthodox cathedral in November, with all the propers for the day, along with motets by Palestrina and Victoria.
After we deal with the Greek Extravaganza, we are putting together a program for our Young Professionals Club on the Glories of Catholic Music, with lecture-demonstration and sing-alongs, obviously with the idea of getting some young blood into the choir. ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR PROGRAM WILL BE GRATEFULLY RECEIVED!!!!
THAT is how you make progress in an OF parish!
As you always say “brick by brick”. A better NO is a step towards acceptance of the TLM. Expecting the majority of Catholics who have never been exposed to the TLM to embrace it without some pablum steps in that direction is unrealistic especially given the lack of promotion/teaching which has characterized the Church in the USA for the past 40 years.
I love the chant. Our new pastor has a lovely voice – I think I’ll steer him over to the site.
A good Novus Ordo Mass can be very reverent. I go to them all the time (thank you Fathers of Mercy).
Do yourself a favor. Click the link and then play the video. The chants are beautiful. Imagine if 25% of the Novus Ordo Masses sounded like that! We could turn this culture around very quickly if we implemented this instead of in centuries we could be talking decades.
‘This is the real world, folks, not traddie fantasy camp.’
Great rant Fr and great tag line.
Great post! This needed to be said! Amen! Thank you!!!
This is definately a step in the right direction. Singing of the Mass (Ordinary and Propers) is where the power and beauty of the Latin Rite is best expressed. The 4 hymn sandwhich is no substitute. Jeffrey Tucker should be commended for establishing the Chant Cafe. Some of our best thinkers and doers in the Catholic Church today are converts, like Mr. Tucker.
If God is glorified, if Jesus is worshipped, if souls are saved, if the truth is taught, do it in English, do it in Hindi, do it in pidgin. It took 48 years for me to get to the Catholic Church; ONE EF mass and I really knew I was home. I think like the bumper sticker I saw in Texas: “I wasn’t born here, but I got here as fast as I could.” Latin is our native language, our “heart” language, the language of home. But so very many of us have been homeless so very long, we’ve forgotten how Mother talked. NOTHING that glorifies God and teaches the Truth should be resisted. NOTHING that glorifies men and teaches drivel should be permitted. HOORAY for the new translation!
GREAT rant, Fr. Z. 100% with you on this!
That’s not really a rant, Father. You seem to be saying don’t let the best be the enemy of the good. It makes perfect sense to me – and I’ve been a hardcore Trad for 2/3 of my less than 40 years. Any reasonable Catholic should hav no problem agreeing with you.
Actually, this HAS been done before. Dr. Edward Schaefer of Priory Press released a notated Sacramentary some time ago. The Gonzaga University Gregorian Schola used it at their Masses, and it is in use in several parishes. The chants are, from a musical standpoint, slightly more eloquent (accurate? I am not a chant scholar, but I married one) than Mr. Tucker’s offering. Also of note is Evangelia Cantata, the notated book of the Gospels for years A,B, and C, set to the solemn tone found in the Liber Usualis.
Am enjoying the Chant Cafe very much too.
BRAVO and AMEN!
You wrote: “I will remind some of you who may have forgotten that my conversion to Catholicism was sparked by an experience of the Novus Ordo celebrated in exactly the sort of continuity described by Benedict XVI.” I have never seem anything on this blog about your conversion before (maybe I missed it). I am sure a few of us would like to read about (or hear via podcast) how you came to the faith, as well as your vocation.
Correction “never seem” = “never seen”…
I was raised in the TLM. The Novus Ordo was foisted on me and I hated it. Mind you, this was a very abusive form of the Novus Ordo. I left the church. I came back decades later because of Msgr. Schuler’s reverent and beautiful Novus Ordo Latin masses, so I find Fr. Z’s “rant” perfectly reasonable. I now attend the TLM exclusively. I am inclined to the SSPX’s argument that typical celebrations of the N.O. are inferior to what we owe God. But for the vast majority of parishes, the N.O. is all they have! I agree with what I believe to be Fr. Z’s point: the real world situation means we need to make allowances for human inadequacies while working to improve them. Quid retribuam, Domino, pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi?
Mr. Tucker did an exceptional job! I can’t read music worth a darn, so hearing it engraves it into my poor brain (sheet music might as well be Old Elvish runes for me). When it becomes opportune, I will be trying them out.
Fr. Z, thanks for your, as per usual, common sense perspective. We deal in a lot of hoped for ideals here on this site, which is quite acceptable, unless those same yearnings get in the way of moving the whole church forward toward a more fitting liturgical path. The entrenchment of some who would hope for an instant return to the pre Vatican II Church, into a “holier than thou” way of seeing everything liturgical, apart from not being very realistic, also creates a sort of “pin head” impression of the defenders of tradition, helping the truly liturgically ignorant to bolster their claims that those clamoring for a more robustly traditional church are just a bunch of nuts. So there very much needs to be a “middle ground” approach that moves us all forward. Thanks Fr. Z for articulating just such a path. ‘Let not the perfect become the enemy of the good’ should be our mantra.
Schaefer’s work was hugely important. What is striking here is not just that it is sung but that it is the actual Roman Rite that is sung. Compare the existing “lame-duck” translation versus the corrected and you will see.
Very simple, very beautiful settings. Nicely done.
I absolutely agree with 95% of what you say, Fr. Z. We have to work with what we’ve got in order to get where we need to be in the future. However, we can’t be fooled into settling for only marginal improvements. Even though what some traditionalists advocate (regarding liturgy, organization of society, etc.) may not be possible now or even in the next few decades, it doesn’t mean it should cease to be the goal.
I agree with most of what Fr Z says. But, “getting them in the doors” is not a sufficient justification for a liturgical practice…this goes for puppet masses, clown masses, Novus Ordo masses in general., even Traditional Latin masses in general. Girls in bikinis may get the adult males back “in the doors” but it should not be done.
The liturgy should be based on what is good, true and right…not simply on what gets people in the doors. [I suggest you reread what I wrote and think about what I meant.]
The Chant Cafe is one of my favorite sites, and I, too, was greatly influenced by a single Novus Ordo Mass reverently celebrated. Chanting the ordinaries and the propers would go a long way to changing the entire culture of the Church.
This was a wonderful post, Father.
Thank you, Fr. You teach us well.
Some of the sentences that struck me, whilst reading the comments:
‘I am inclined to the SSPX’s argument that typical celebrations of the N.O. are inferior to what we owe God.’
And that differentiates them from which other earthly celebrations?? Please describe an acceptable ferior form of celebration, suitable for God .
“With what shall I come before the LORD,
and bow before God most high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with myriad streams of oil?
Shall I give my first-born for my crime,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
You have been told, O man, what is good,
and what the LORD requires of you:
Only to do the right and to love goodness,
and to walk humbly with your God.”
(Micah 6. 6-8)
‘We deal in a lot of hoped for ideals here on this site, which is quite acceptable, unless those same yearnings get in the way of moving the whole church forward toward a more fitting liturgical path’
unless those same yearnings get in the way of souls crying in the wilderness………
‘Let not the perfect become the enemy of the good’ should be our mantra.’
Let not knowledge become the enemy of love, might be a better mantra?
‘However, we can’t be fooled into settling for only marginal improvements. Even though what some traditionalists advocate (regarding liturgy, organization of society, etc.) may not be possible now or even in the next few decades, it doesn’t mean it should cease to be the goal.’
The goal is saving souls from hell, don’t forget.
‘I agree with most of what Fr Z says. But, “getting them in the doors” is not a sufficient justification for a liturgical practice…’
I think here, he also meant, it’s ultimately about saving souls at the end of the day.
I thought scripture taught that ALL knowledge on earth was imperfect? We can attempt to be perfected in love, but not knowledge, which puffs us up, and without love, is useless. Imagine that, one can know all there is to know about liturgical correctness, as a mortal, and the whole lot might still be deemed worthless, and only fit for burning, if not accompanied first, by love for uneducated( and educated) sinners (which is also an outward confirmation of our love for God) and an ability to suffer and endure, and go without, in one’s own life-time, for the ultimate sake of truth. This is what I heard Father saying in his words, maybe not though? I do tend to read into things to suit myself sometimes. Sorry, I’m liturgically incompetent brain-wise, but trying to bring my changing heart to the people I encounter.I sometimes think God directed me here, for the fast track to humility. I always feel like a bit of a fool around this place. I’m getting to like some of you, though, as Father Z encouraged me to.
I’m also getting on OK, with ‘The Mass in Slow Motion’, by the way, just incase any of you were worrying about me and didn’t want to ask….I received Holy Communion kneeling down at the B/Ham Oratory last week. It reminded me of being a small child again. I don’t feel anywhere near confident enough for the Latin Mass yet, but I might go anyway, just to see. Feal the fear etc…and Our Lady will be with me.
I am sorry to talk so er…openly, but most of the Catholics I know, know less than my small amount of religious knowledge. How will you reach them, with Christ’s Love, if you can’t reach/teach/love me?
Look on me as a terrifying template of souls to come. Ha-ha-ha!!
Sorry for the rad Trad rant, Father, but I’d have to say that this statement is the very opposite of what the Novus Ordo really is: a major tool of the destruction of the Faith, deliberately drained of Catholic theology. Granted, it is the Church’s default liturgy, but because of the attitude that it can be “fixed,” it will only become a battleground and sow further discord. It can’t be fixed, in my opinion, unless 86-ing it can be considered fixing it. Here endeth the rant. [You missed the point. It doesn’t matter if you like the NO or not. It is what we have to work with right now. This is the real world. We must do our best with it. If you want to work for the demise of the NO, fine. In the meantime, let every celebration of Mass with the NO be as dignified and reverent as possible.]
Thanks for all those I know who need “goo.”
A good post Fr. Z!
Mr. Tucker provides a vital service. I have said so on his site, and I would invite others to become regular visitors to the Cafe. I would also invite folk to search out the music of Chicago composer Kevin Allen. Mr. Allen’s music is at once thoroughly grounded in tradition and able to speak to contemporary ears. He possesses excellent skill, an ability to wed together the ancient and new in a way that produces a fitting vehicle for prayer. Mr. Allen’s music is not mere “ear candy”; more like “ear cuisine”. Give him a listen: http://www.ccwatershed.org/projects/motecta-trium-vocum/
The Ordinary Form is THE major tool of Holy Mother Church’s current mission. Being that it is the “ordinary” form of worship, i.e., the most widespread among other things, the definite article would appear to be more appropriate than the indefinite. Thanks be to God that the Mass is gradually shedding the abuses imposed by aged hippies with their clown regalia. I was blessed to be able to worship for 14 years at a parish throughout the 1980s and early 90s which hosted a reverent, Latin saturated OF liturgy every sunday (Latin hymns, chant propers and chanted ordinary). Benediction was entirely in Latin. Was that parish behind the times or way ahead? To the bishop then in charge the parish was a dinosaur bucking his trend. Thankfully, that scandal ridden bishop retired and with him the feminazis who routinely defaced the liturgy.
There’s my rant.
That said, thank you Fr. Z for helping us overcome false dichotomies which unnecessarily pit one form of the liturgy against another.
Love the rant, Fr. Z. I think it’s important sometimes to remember that God can work through anything, and most of what/who he works through is very imperfect. Very long story short, my husband has now been Catholic for the last 6 years (we’ve been married 20, blessedly the last 6 in the Church!). I’m a “cradle” Catholic who grew up in Southern CA – need I say more? We have lived in Georgia for the past 15 years. It was the teen mass that brought my husband into the Church. Confessionally speaking here, I used to love the teen mass. I went from listening to rock music (some of it pretty heavy and inappropriate) to contemporary Christian music and was able to relate to the teen mass, because they used some of that Christian music during mass. Now I’d give anything to have all of our masses in Latin with Gregorian chant. Just a reminder to the “hard core TLMs” that we’re all on a journey toward Jesus, and some of us are slower than others. Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. The new translation is head and shoulders above the old – at least what I’ve seen of it. I for one am grateful to the charismatic teen mass that had the kids all waving their hands in the air in affirmation to the great Amen and the Creed. It’s what made my husband take notice. Now, 6 years later, even he is saying he thinks he would like to try a traditional Latin mass, though he’s not ready to drive the 45 minutes that I sometimes do to hear it…not yet anyway! Bless you Fr. Z – you’re in my daily prayers…
“This is the real world, folks, not traddie fantasy camp.” LOL. I cannot picture tradddies at camp, because I think of tents, campfires, and sing-alongs with kumbaya, and there is this dissonance in my mind.
I know I am not the only priest who struggles with the fact that everyone in the congregation has a great idea about how best to attract new members to the Church and to the liturgy, but after all is said and done it is the parish priest who has to deal with the consequences of those ideas. In the case of those who love the OF and those who love the EF, we priests are often told “this is what is best for the people.”
Whether “the people” buy it or not, whether they agree that the prescribed medicine is what they are going to take to get spiritually better, is a whole different matter. That is the real world for us priests who have the care of souls and deal with people of different education and income levels. And when you throw into the mix the varied cultures, not just European but Asian and Hispanic, that makes for an even more interesting reaction from “the people” as we provide for them at the liturgy what is “best for them.”
I will repeat what I have said before: the reality is that most Catholics who faithfully attend Mass on Sunday do not wish to return to the EF Mass, and so it is absolutely imperative that we deal with the fact that the OF Mass is not going anywhere, and secondly, that it must be repaired in order to faithfully transmit the treasure of the sacred liturgy.
Thanks Fr. Z!!!
You are right– there are so many people who are poorly catechized. I think that’s part of the reason you have people who say they are Catholic but don’t agree with the Church on (fill in the blank).
What is truly amazing to me is that the chants (which, BTW are the work of ICEL and not Jeffrey Tucker… I mention that as one comment above referred to them as “Jeffrey Tucker’s offerings…”!) are not difficult AT ALL and can be easily learned by just about any Priest with a little work. They are not “Gregorian Chant”… they are plainsong cantillations. If they are not sung regularly by Priests, it is a matter of resistance to the idea of a sung liturgy and not because of “the new text” or “more difficult melodies” or because they “take too much time during Mass” (they don’t… in many instances they are faster to sing than they are to speak!). This is not rocket surgery… there just need to be the tools and the models out there and now, thanks to internet distribution, these EXCELLENT videos are out there. I have posted them on my parish music site and encouraged my parish priests to make use of them between now and next November. I have also offered to work individually with any priest or group of priests who would like to learn the chants. This is a very “do-able” project that could make a huge difference.
Thank you for your sensitivity and common sense, Father Z. A good rant!
Well, it’s hard to say, vox clara made many changes without proper vetting by the USCCB, so we won’t really know the upshot of this until later. It seems that the unapproved changes are quite random and of an idiological nature rather than a scholarly nature; so only time will tell how it will all shake out. It’s not anything I would necessarily approve of, but the worse the new translation becomes the more “on-the-fly” correction that presiders will make; and those are usually not very propitious.
correction = correction
Father et. al.,
the stir the ‘corrected’ translation is making with one pro-homosexuality cleric over on Praytell blog is something else! The leadership over there is also beside themselves! One recent attempt at poking fun at the new translation, (I would hesitate to say corrected because ICEL most certainly started from scratch) was showing how if you translate ‘Gather us in’ into Latin and then back again, it sounds ridiculously dumb….what is that old saying about garbage and computer input/output?
Horse hockey, frjim4321. Vox Clara is authorized through the proper channels at the Congregation of Worship & the Sacraments to make the changes they’ve made. Vox Clara and the REFORMULATED (read gutted and restaffed) ICEL finally managed to clean up the 1975 version and it’s about time.
The USCCB needs a pack of babysitters because they can’t get any of this right, and haven’t been able to for their whole miserable existence. They haven’t gotten much else right either. They do cost money and take up space though.
Rome authorized the changes, which seem to me to be quite sensible.
The USCCB is not the final word on “vetting” anything — thank goodness, because they couldn’t organize a one-car funeral.
It seems that the unapproved changes are quite random and of an ideological nature rather than a scholarly nature; so only time will tell how it will all shake out. It’s not anything I would necessarily approve of, but the worse the new translation becomes the more “on-the-fly” correction that presiders will make; and those are usually not very propitious.
If you think the previous translations weren’t of an ideological nature, then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.
Thanks for this “rear defense” of the NO. I’m willing to grant—all day, every day—that the EF is liturgically and catechetically superior … at least for the sake of argument, because I have no direct experience of it myself. But we have a long way to go before our (Church) culture is rebuilt enough to support the EF as the primary mode of worship.
I’m one of the hundreds of thousands for whom the OF is, for all practical intents, the only form available. Moreover, I’m one of (arguably) millions of Catholics who were badly catechized in the wake of the social implosion of the 1960s. For us, the new English translation is one of many tools needed to effect the repairs. It may be the only tool for a while that isn’t “grass roots” in its efficient cause. So it does us no good for fans of the EF to curse our little Hyundai because it isn’t a Cadillac: the Hyundai is the best we can get right now.
So that’s an agreement?
(Also, my point was the further the proposed translation is from common English the more out-of-control on-the-fly adaptations will occur; my point was that such extemporaneous attemps are amost never good. Those committed to gender-inclusive language will undoubtely do violence to the text. Almost nobody has the skill to make such repairs on the fly, or even with time in the study. So, something that I DON’T recommended is more likely to happen the more the translation departs from normal English.)
To some of us, an elevated liturgical English IS the norm for the Mass. I was raised on Cranmer’s BCP, and whatever his personal or theological faults, his magnificent translation is not only an accurate and perceptive rendering of the Latin (if we ignore his occasional excursions into political correctness), it raises everyone’s minds and hearts to the holy. We should not use the same language for worship that we use in the grocery store or in the schoolyard – all that does is convince people that there’s really no difference between the Church and the World, which is not really where we want to go, is it?
One of the obstacles to my conversion was the flat, opaque, ugly-sounding language of the translation. Although the Episcopalians had already jettisoned Cranmer for something suspiciously like the old ICEL version . . . I’m convinced that Certain Parties were in cahoots on that, to everybody’s detriment.
I’ve heard people claim that John and Mary Catholic are too stupid and ignorant to understand more than 12th grade level English (which these days is more like 8th grade English used to be). But this is the first time anybody has suggested that priests can’t handle even moderately elevated language.
And mentioning “gender inclusive language” in the same breath with ‘normal English’ is pretty silly. Talk about doing violence to the mother tongue! Those committed to that nonsense need to get a grip and Say the Black.
Our out-of-control types will do violence to the text no matter what text it is, if we let them. This is no reason to settle for an inferior text. It never has been.
The specter of Catholic “experts” making fun of the Catholic laity in most dioceses in the USA is a flat out joke. It’s one of the funniest and weirdest things about being Catholic.