Madison, WI: Gregorian Chant Workshop

I am attending a diocesan sponsored workshop on Gregorian Chant held at the diocesan center in Madison.

A diocesan sponsored event MUST be supported!

Brick by brick!

His Excellency Bp. Morlino is also attending and showing support!

There was a celebration of vespers, a meal and break.

We are back at it now. Fr Skeris is warming up. He is talking about signs, and active participation.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I am not jealous at all, trapped out here in the hinterlands of the Seattle archdiocese. Nope not jealous at all (ok, I lie). I used to live out in Wisconsin, in the Weakland days. It sounds as though the archdiocese has enjoyed the warm wind of the Spirit since then.

  2. xgenerationcatholic says:

    I hope you are still there tomorrow, Fr. Z, because that’s when I’m coming! It would be so cool to meet you. templariidvm, Madison is actually not part of Milwaukee archdiocese, it has its own. But Milwaukee has improved some.

  3. MJ says:

    A Gregorian Chant workshop! That’s awesome! A couple years ago I attended a weekend-long Gregorian Chant / Polyphony workshop directed by Dr. William Mahrt (from Stanford, also CMAA President). The workshop was excellent; the weekend one of the most musically-enlightening 3-day periods I’d ever had. I’m hoping to attend his workshop again next spring.

  4. catholicuspater says:

    Dear Father,

    We’ve seen this play before so we know what’s coming, namely, the re-definition of active participation with the sole focus being on its interior dimension to the virtual exclusion of Article 54 of Sacrosanctum Concilium which says that the people should sing or say in Latin those parts of the Mass that pertain to them. [You start going wrong here. The concept of “active participation” was around before the Council. What the Council says about “active participation” must be read in continuity with what went before.]

    Now I’m sure the traditionalist-types on this site will contine to be happy with this re-definition of active participation because there are alot of people who go to the Latin Mass who really believe that there is something quasi-modernistic about the faithful “saying or singing in Latin those parts of the Mass that pertain to them.” (Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 54)

    So here’s a question for you, Father:
    After we hear the inevitable reminder from you that the term ‘active participation’ should be understood with an almost exclusive emphasis on its interior aspect, [That is your characterization of what I write and say. I do not say or write those things. I have never written or said anything about “exclusive emphasis”. So, this is another place where you have gone wrong.] are we also going to hear a cautionary reminder to the EF devotees who demand silent low Masses that the term ‘active participation’ also means that the people in the pews should not “be merely detached and silent spectators” (non tamquam extranei vel muti spectatores) to quote Pope Pius XI in Divini cultus? [I don’t think we should just ignore that. Maybe you do.]

    I respect your attempt to balance our understanding of the term ‘participatio actuosa’ by stressing its interior dimension, [We must especially stress it to those who have never considered it in their liturgical choices.] especially given the current praxis of the OF. However, what I don’t understand is why you’re not equally willing to take on the traditionalist liturgical police who give reproving looks and/or actually scold in public those Catholics who exercise their prerogative to say or sing in Latin those parts of the Mass that pertain to them. [You haven’t been paying attention, apparently.]

    These traditionalist censors, for your information, [I perhaps have already forgotten more about this than you now know, btw… but go on.] would have us believe that the term ‘active participation’ excludes the external dimension entirely because of their conviction that the faithful ought to be 100% silent at every Mass and that only the server or the schola—but never the people—-are qualified to respond to the prayers of the priest. [That is not what I say. Nor have I ever said that.]

    We never seem to hear anything about this very real problem at the EF Latin Mass. Perhaps you don’t realize the widespread of this problem, [Surely you jest.] but it has caused a great deal of distress among people and has actually caused ten families I know to cease attending the Latin Mass at those locations where a policy of zero congregational participation exists. [Then, since you seem to have well-formed opinions about this, do something to change your situation.]

    [You mischaracterized my position and then neglected to account for my actually position. Sorry. Perhaps a better approach on your part may help a discussion.]

  5. catholicuspater: As you already seem to know exactly what Father’s opinion is, what more is there to possibly say on the subject?

  6. moon1234 says:


    Why do you seem so angry? Is internal participation so foreign that you must lash out at those who would rather leave those responses to the servers? Maybe I have never been to a Mass where the congregation police silence any little blip. During low Mass most people choose to let the servers say the responses. During High Mass many people sing with the choir, if they so choose.

    What is NOT necessary is the prompting of the people to respond, as in the Novus Ordo. The people are now the defacto acolytes. The EF leaves open the opportunity for the people to respond, if they so choose. What you will mostly find is negativity towards the dialoge Mass, which was a modern invention in the Bugnini era. THAT is why you will see pushback at low Masses to people saying the acolytes responses. Instead of fostering more vocations to allow high Masses to the norm, it was decided to dilute the Low Mass so as to obviate any real desire on the clergy to have routine high Masses.

  7. Elizabeth D says:

    I am not at all knowledgeable about music, but really enjoyed and was impressed by this workshop. I had a particular goal or hope to learn something about how to chant the Liturgy of the Hours and I feel like I at least have a starting place, have experienced chanting Vespers and Compline in a refreshingly simple and lovely way and know now where to look for resources for that (I had not seen the Mundelein Psalter before, cool… there was a Liber Cantualis with chant for the Novus Ordo that I think I am going to buy tomorrow, for sheer liking it, even if they don’t use it all at church I want to sing it at home). The talks were excellent about the the ways chant enriches the liturgy exceptionally well and inspires appropriate emotions for worship that are differentiated for the various liturgical seasons, theology of liturgical music, “liturgical music is a result of the demands of the dynamism of the Incarnate Word” (paraphrase of quote from Ratzinger), the textual word alone as killing the spirit but appropriate music vivifying the word in the spirit, taking worship beyond where mere words could, etc and he made at least a partial case for why chant has pride of place in liturgy. Our music director (of our UW Madison Catholic Center/Newman Center) was there, he is a wonderful well loved and well regarded music director who has diverse musical interests and one of our choirs (“Evangelicum”) specializes in a cappella sacred polyphony and some chant, BUT he is a little skeptical about the statements about Gregorian chant as uniquely “the” ideal music for the liturgy, as well as skeptical of using too much Latin in liturgy because people don’t understand it therefore are less engaged (we do have one Latin Novus Ordo per week, on Friday evenings, but with no special music, personally I love praying the Mass in Latin). I find the arguments in favor of chant pretty readily convincing personally. We all went for frozen custard afterward and discussed these things. There were a number of choir members present and I would be happy if we started doing more with Gregorian chant. I’m also considering joining the Schola Gregoriana for the weekly Tridentine Mass at another nearby parish, several members of which were present. Their practice is at the same time as one of my scheduled hours at the Perpetual Adoration chapel in the same church and I often hear them practicing and have been longing for a while to join in. I asked if it would be difficult for me as a rank beginner to become involved with that and they strongly assured me not, well we’ll see.

    Bishop Morlino and Fr Z sat next to each other during the workshop talks. The Bishop said in his Vespers homily he was often distracted by the music he experiences in visiting parishes for Confirmations and asked participants to learn from the workshop and “go and do likewise” in our parishes, Bishop Morlino also mentioned the presence of Fr Z, “he is real” or something to that effect. :-) The back of my head appears in the third picture.

    Fr Zuhlsdorf, I was really happily surprised to get to meet you, I’m glad you came to this event!

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    And to the person who asked is Fr Z going to be there tomorrow, he told me he will be.

  9. Not having been able to attend the Friday afternoon workshops due to a previous commitment at one of my parishes, I was still asked (and was able) to help out as a cantor for the singing of Night Prayer from The Mundelein Psalter.

    Without any pre-hour tutorials, and armed only with The Mundelein Psalter and a handout of the hymn Te lucis ante términum (in translation; the Psalter lacks this hymn), the attendees were able to chant pretty much everything asked of them. They were able to get the hang of antiphonal choral recitation, the Psalter’s distinct text-pointing, and even the postures according to the praxis at Solesmes Abbey. It certainly helped that the Bishop O’Connor Center’s chapel is a reasonably forgiving acoustic space.

    I hope it was an edifying and fitting conclusion to Day One.

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    Also one of the Schola members told me Fr Skaris the presenter is going to be celebrating the Tridentine Mass here this week (7am at Holy Redeemer Church downtown Madison which is a block fro my house). Most of the time the celebrant for that Mass is the younger of our two pastors at St Paul’s (the Newman Center), Fr Eric Sternberg, very good young priest.

  11. Soler says:

    @ moon1234

    Actually, the dialogue Mass was (as far as I know) given explicit approval in 1935: Annibale Bugnini was not ordained priest until 1936. I suppose it still is a “modern invention”, but it is one from a relatively early date.

  12. AnAmericanMother says:

    Soler, moon1234,

    I was about to say, I have a missal from 1938 with the dialogue Mass.

    It’s new, but it’s not THAT new, and we certainly can’t blame the Usual Suspects.

  13. AnAmericanMother says:

    Elizabeth D,

    Don’t be shy about singing with the schola — you will have experienced voices around you, and that’s the best help in the world. Just follow when you can, drop back and listen hard when you’re unsure, and you’ll make progress by leaps and bounds. I came from the Episcopalians knowing nothing about Gregorian chant, picked it up very quickly.

    Also — I’m curious about the attendees at the seminar. How many would you say are clergy, religious, music directors, choir members, laymen? At the liturgy seminar in our diocese a couple of weeks ago, they took a show of hands – I was surprised at how many priests and religious were there.

  14. TJerome says:

    This is an extremely positive development, particularly because from the pictures, it looks like an overwhelmingly young group of Catholics. Great news for the future.

    Catholicuspater, you’re grossly mistaken about participationat EF’s. I attend them at 3 different locations and the people do participate by making or singing the responses, so I haven’t seen what you claim to have seen. Also, I grew up PRIOR to the Council and by the time I was 10 I could chant, in Latin, by heart, 5 different settings of the Ordinary. The Missa Cantata was the standard in my parish. Sacrosanctum Concilium was holding out my kind of parish as the standard for all parishes in Sacrosanctum Concilium. Unfortunately liturgists/modernists perverted Sacrosanctum Concilium in its implementation and the rest, as they say, is history.

  15. darcy-wi says:

    Elizabeth D, I was wondering if you could explain more what was meant by “the textual word alone as killing the spirit but appropriate music vivifying the word in the spirit, taking worship beyond where mere words could.” What is meant by spirit? Just curious. Thanks for sharing your workshop experience. I would love to have come (Fr. Skeris is great!) but I already played hooky from family life in September at the chant workshop in La Crosse, WI at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (diocesan sponsored too!). I wrote up a summary about it and included some recordings of the music if you are interested.

  16. irishgirl says:

    Gosh-I wish there was something like this up here in the liberal Northeast. I’ve never gone to a ‘chant conference’.

  17. Henry Edwards says:

    TJerome: Catholicuspater, you’re grossly mistaken about participation at EF’s.

    Perhaps not. Looks more like disingenuousness to me. On the basis of attendance at TLM’s in numerous locations, I suspect that what bothers tired and frustrated liberals like him is that TLM’s are typically dense with young folks looking to the future rather than the past, and participating more actively than typically seen in the older congregations at OF Masses. Irregardless of what was true before the Council — and my experience then was similar to yours — it is him who is stuck in the past.

  18. TJerome says:

    Henry Edwards, agreed! Best, Tom

  19. moon1234 says:

    I have it on good authority that Fr. Z. will be praying the EF Mass tomorrow, Sunday, at St. Norbert’s in Roxbury, WI. If you are in the area, please stop by and attend Mass with us.

  20. moon1234 says:

    forgot to say that Mass is at 11:00am.

  21. catholicuspater says:

    Dear Father,

    I wonder if the lack of any red editorializing to any of the other commenters who attack the idea of Catholics being able to say the responses (as the Church has long allowed and encouraged) might reveal your preferences in this matter after all, regardless of your protestations to the contrary. [It has to do with managing my time. Your comment didn’t reflect the truth in several respects. I didn’t want readers to get a false impression of my views based on your mischaracterization.]

    At the very least it is interesting to note how you continue to give a free pass [You are becoming tedious. I don’t give them a “free pass”.] and look the other way when others blithely and incorrectly assert that Catholics answering the prayers at the Low Mass are modernists in disguise, following the suspect notions of Annibale Bugnini.

    Here are a few examples from the commenters who made incorrect assertions that are allowed to stand while I somehow receive all the red ink:

    1) “What is not necessary is the prompting of the people to respond.” ( Not sure where this came from as I never suggested that this was necessary or in any way part of the liturgical rubrics for the EF.)
    2) “the Dialogue Mass was a modern invention of Bugnini.” (This was a glaring error that was thankfully corrected later by other commenters.)
    3) There is a natural “pushback” at people who are saying the “acolytes’ responses.” (Another glaring error that ought to be corrected so I’ll take the liberty of doing that myself below.)

    De Musica Sacra (1958) mandates that the people are to be taught to say “aloud the parts of the Mass that BELONG TO THEM.” (31) [I’m sorry, but that document was not written in English. Check for the Latin. Is there a different shade of meaning? This needs to be verified.] What follows in sections 31 a, b, c and d is a list of all the parts of the Low Mass which the people are strongly encouraged to learn in stages. To prevent more confusion, let’s list them right here and now as they are presented in De Musica Sacra:

    In stage 1, the people are taught the easier responses: Amen, Et cum spiritu tuo, Deo gratias, Gloria tibi, Domine, Laus tibi, Christe, Habemus ad Dominum, Dignum et iustum est, and Sed libera nos a malo.

    In stage 2, the people are to—and PAY ATTENTION here—“also say the parts which according to the rubrics are to be said by the server”, also the Confiteor and the triple Domine, non sum dignus.

    In stage 3, the people are to be taught to “say aloud with the celebrant the parts that belong to the Proper of the Mass: Introit, Gradual, Offertory, Communion. In addition, the faithful may also say the “entire” Pater noster with the priest “since it is a fitting and ancient prayer of preparation for Communion.”

    Now to address the other more personal remarks.

    No, moon1234, I am not angry about anything—just troubled that this matter of active participation seems to be deliberately under-presented. Somehow even the most qualified orthodox liturgical experts are strangely reluctant to address the issue and present the relevant and abundantly clear Church teachings on the topic.

    No, TJerome, I am not grossly mistaken about my own personal experiences at the Latin Mass in my diocese. With all due respect, it’s not unreasonable to assume that I’m more of an authority on my own observations than you are.

    No, Henry Edwards, I’m not a tired and frustrated liberal. Perhaps you should go back and re-read my comment. I am very much in favor of active participation and that is why I am insistently but politely challenging those who, for reasons of their own, refuse to give a complete explanation of the concept of “participatio actuosa” as it is clearly articulated in pre-Conciliar and Conciliar liturgical documents.

    It is precisely for the sake of my children that I have taken up the banner in this cause. I’m firmly convinced that if the faithful are not taught that they are free to make responses to the prayers of the priest that the present re-emergence of the EF Latin Mass will not take hold as it should and will be rejected (as I’ve seen it rejected by many) who feel alienated, unwelcome and confused by the strange praxis of 100% silent congregations at the Latin Mass.

    Lastly, Fr. Z, if you have any ideas or suggestions on how I might help to effect changes in the way silence is imposed [?] on the Latin Mass congregations in my corner of the American church, I’d be most grateful to hear them. [Is it being imposed or do people simply not want to respond aloud? I have had the experience of working with a TLM in this regard and they just didn’t want to do it. This was perhaps because they had had it hammered into them before I got there that they were not to respond and that was simply their normal. At any event, I suspect most of the people who are going, key members of the congregation at least, understand the argument you want to make. They are, for one reason or another, rejecting it. We have to respect people’s sensibilities in this regard as well.] So far I have respectfully addressed the matter on my blog, [I don’t know what your blog is.] written polite letters to my priest, (who did not agree) my bishop (who referred me back to the local priest) and the priest in charge of the diocesan Latin Mass (who replied with a very informative and helpful answer), the Ecclesia Dei commission (who referred me to my bishop) and to the Diocesan Worship Office (who referred me to my music minister)

    What to do now? [You can’t force people to respond. This is Mass, not boot camp. Persuade them, if you can, that yours is the better approach. I advise you not to mischaracterize their positions, however. That’s won’t get you very far. Good luck.]

  22. Henry Edwards says:


    Upon reading your last three paragraphs above, I see that I may have misread your earlier post, and if so I apologize for calling it disingenuous.

    Although I am still puzzled by your statement that “silence is imposed on the Latin Mass congregations (plural) in [your] corner of the American church.” I know of individual EF congregations with a silent daily low Mass—which in itself is not always or necessarily bad (in my view); for instance, it may be fine for a 6:30 am daily “printer’s Mass”, but perhaps not for a Sunday morning family Mass. However, I have never been aware of any whole “corner of the American church” where all EF Masses (daily and Sunday, low and high) are as non-participative as you imply.

    The Latin Mass communities of my own recent personal experience are so visibly and audibly participative as to suggest that a typical bishop may need to visit an EF community in his diocese to find a parish that really practices the participatio actuosa that Vatican II preached (echoing the earlier 20th century recommendations of Popes Pius X, XI, and XII). My only local experience of a Sunday EF Mass is with a Missa Cantata of the more solemn type (as per Fortescue) in which much or most of the congregation sings the ordinary and/or dialogue responses along with the choir, and also the Pater Noster along with the priest (a post-conciliar influence, no doubt).

    “What to do now?” Don’t know. But in the past 40 years I’ve more often than not found myself in parishes where the policies of the pastor or music director or liturgy committee were not ones I could endorse. However, I have never found it effective to mount a one-man crusade to force my will on others. Your lack of success in such a campaign is probably par for the course. After all, the liturgical recommendations of Vatican II have almost universally been honored more in their breach than in their observance.

    So, like millions of other Catholics, of course you are frustrated, and you may even qualify as more liberal than most in this context. If so, what’s the alternative to moving on in search of a more acceptable situation? Perhaps someone else can tell us both.

  23. asperges says:

    The workshop appears to be studying Mass XII, the Sanctus of which, I was told as a child chorister at the Cathedral, if sung well would “make all the bells in heaven ring!” It is of all the commons, perhaps the most aetherial and transcendent. I think I have heard those bells ring at least distantly once or twice in my life.

  24. Eric says:

    Meanwhile in my neighborhood we get this.

    Haas & Haugen Tribute

  25. Eric says:

    I know my link was correct. Try again.

    Haas & Haugen Tribute

  26. dad29 says:

    Fr. Z’s encapsulation of the event is dead-on, and Elizabeth did a very fine job of summarizing Fr. Skeris’ talk. I’ll add a couple of words.

    Fr. S. and Bp. Morlino tag-teamed the folks present (many of which were music directors) with a distinct and clear munus: it is THEIR responsibility to use musica sacra (as defined at the conference) or risk mal-forming the congregations entrusted to them. This is not limited to Chant or polyphony by any means–but as one goes further from those styles, one is more distant from the ideal.

    For as Fr. Skeris pointed out, what is sung by the choir or congretation remains ‘in the mind.’ If what is sung does not comport with Pius X’s formulation (beautiful, universal), or even worse, uses text which is not in conformity with Catholic teaching, then the music director has a serious problem and should be held to account.

    For uspater: I, too, am aware of EF church(es) which do not approve of congregational responses, even of the 1st degree you listed above. It’s fair to say that there is a lot of ignorance out there, on both sides of the fence. Pray. What more can you do?

    Fur Elise: you will enjoy singing with the schola at Holy Redeemer.

  27. Ben Yanke says:

    I have to say, this event was put on very well. I really enjoyed it, and learned a lot!
    And… I got to meet Fr. Z in “real life”!

  28. dad29 says:

    BUT he is a little skeptical about the statements about Gregorian chant as uniquely “the” ideal music for the liturgy, as well as skeptical of using too much Latin in liturgy because people don’t understand it therefore are less engaged

    As to his argument ‘skeptical…..the ideal’, that’s too bad. The more one uses Chant, the more one appreciates its unique qualities. Familiarity breeds more and more respect for Chant. By the way, it is “ideal” because it allows for both: 1) experience and practiced singers (Gradual, Offertory, Alleluia) AND 2) less-well-trained congregations (Ordinary chants.) Nothing else does that, period.

    As to the Latin complaint, it’s clear that he lacks confidence in UW students–that he thinks they are incapable of self-translating the texts. He COULD put up a ‘worship-aid’ translating the Proper chants, but for crying out loud, they certainly can figure out the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus (etc) all by themselves; they’ve said the English equivalent for their entire lives, right?

  29. AnAmericanMother says:


    I am so sorry. But look on the bright side — usually you get one of these “retrospective” concerts when the band, so to speak, is a bit passe’.

    I was flabbergasted at the SE Liturgical Music Symposium. David Haas actually showed up in person and led a breakout session — which was the most heavily attended of the individual sessions, some 90 starry-eyed groupies sat around and hung on his every word (I had a mole in the kitchen, a very traditional mole who was furious that she had to listen to the presentation TWICE while doing meal prep!)

    What I don’t understand is how he can get away with telling his acolytes and hangers-on “You don’t have to change a thing! Just ignore all this stuff (including the brilliant keynote address by Msgr Wadsworth about the significance of the new translation and what it would mean for music) and keep Buying My Music.”

    The good news is that about 50 people were in Jeffrey Tucker’s chant seminar, while the rest of the 250 were in one of the other seminars and NOT in Haas’s.

    But it feels like A House Divided around here. At least there’s a strong chant-and-polyphony presence.

  30. TJerome says:

    Eric, I saw the pastor’s photo and noticed the date of his ordination was 1958. That told me all I needed to know. My condolences.

  31. TJerome says:

    Eric, I saw the pastor’s photo and noticed the date of his ordination was 1958. That told me all I needed to know. My condolences.

  32. Henry Edwards says:

    On the other hand, Eric, TJerome’s observation suggests that he may be about 78. Two things are inevitable in the Church–diocesan tax on parishes to support the chancery, and the biological solution to long-standing problems.

  33. catholicuspater says:

    Dear Father,

    The translation of De musica sacra which I quoted from was the The Liturgical Press translation, copyrighted in 1958 by the Order of St. Benedict, Collegeville, MN.

    Here is section 31 in Latin from the Musica Sacra website and the link:

    31. Tertius denique isqne plenior modus obtinetur cum fideles sacerdote celebranti liturgice respondent, quasi cum illo , et partes sibi proprias clara voce dicendo.

    It would appear that the Latin says the faithful are to respond liturgically with the priest as if by dialoguing with him, by saying the parts PROPER to them in a clear voice.

    Observe, if you will, the Latin in Sacrosanctum Concilium #54: Provideatur tamen ut christifideles etiam lingua latina partes Ordinarii Missae quae ad ipsos spectant possint simul dicere vel cantare.

    “Those parts of the ordinary of the Mass which look (?) to them (Christ’s faithful)”

    Thanks for all the advice re: what to do at the Latin Mass here where audible participation is actively discouraged. We were instructed last year by a prominent member of the Latin Mass community that it is a diocesan policy that there be no audible responses from the pews during a low mass. (This was actually printed in the parish bulletin as a diocesan policy.) I finally received a private clarification from the chancery that this was not the case, but this was never corrected publicly so as far as most people know this is still the official policy of the diocese.)

    Fortunately, there are Sunday High Masses available in some neighboring dioceses where the prevailing mindset is less repressive so we regularly travel many miles to attend Mass in those venues instead.

    It would be very helpful if someone in authority could clarify all the misperceptions and confusion on this issue or if someone could simply point out what the Church teaches on this point. The prerogative of the faithful to say or sing in Latin those parts of the Mass proper to them is clearly mandated in the documents; it’s not my personal opinion or preference.

  34. Shadow says:

    @irishgirl: Amen to that!

  35. Henry Edwards says:


    I have responded charitably to you, but now you’re simply wasting our time—as well as that of others, if we are to take you at your word—in claiming things are mandatory, which simply are not.

    ” It would appear that the Latin says the faithful are to respond liturgically with the priest as if by dialoguing with him, by saying the parts PROPER to them in a clear voice.”

    False. Paragraph 31 of De musica sacra says no such thing. De musica sacra, in paragraphs 28 through 34, excludes neither silent prayerful participation nor dialogue responses at a low Mass:

    I have revealed my own affinity for the fullest active participation of the people in a TLM. However, you should not continue to mislead people on what is surely one of the most minor liturgical issues that face us in the U.S. at the present time. You certainly are free to express your personal opinion or preference preference on this or any other matter, but misrepresenting it as a requirement of the Church does no good to your credibility.

  36. catholicuspater says:

    Mr. Edwards,

    I was focusing on the part of Section 31 where it refers to the parts of the Mass which “belong to the people” —the translation of which Fr. Z seemed to be questioning. My purpose was to demonstrate that the Latin uses the adjective “proprias” when referring to the parts of the people, which means “own” “individual” “proper,” so the English translation I was using which used the word “belong” was reasonably close to the Latin.

    I never claimed that De Musica Sacra demanded that all the people must make the responses, and I’m not sure why you interpreted my statement as such. I have never made such a claim here or in any other comments I’ve made on this subject on this website.

    To make it abundantly clear again, I am speaking of a prerogative or choice the faithful have to sing or say in Latin those parts of the Mass which pertain to them. Catholics are certainly not required to say their responses aloud, and I never meant to imply that audible participation is mandatory.

    However, all Catholics should be made aware that it was the strongly expressed desire of several pre-conciliar and conciliar Popes that the people be taught to say or sing aloud their responses to the prayers of the priest.

    Hope that is clear. I don’t believe this is a minor issue at all and am inclined to think after all my research on the subject that how the Church’s teaching on active participation is implemented (or not implemented) can have lasting and far-reaching consequences. As I’ve already mentioned, the fact that this papal mandate has been virtually ignored in my diocese has been one of the principal reasons for many people I know leaving the Latin Mass.

    In fact, you might think about this: If the clear papal mandates for active participation by Pope Pius X and his successors been faithfully and universally implemented, would there have been such a pressing call for radical liturgical reform at the Second Vatican Council?

    Hope everyone enjoys their weekend. God bless.

    I have never stated or implied in any of my comments here or on other blog posts that t

  37. Supertradmum says:

    Henry Edwards,
    adoremus is an excellent source of information, including these links for those who are still confused as to the importance of Gregorian Chant and the levels of participation:

    Several Popes have given guidelines, as well as the above documents regarding the appropriateness of levels of participation. One of my favorite references in Divini Cultus is” All those who aspire to the priesthood, whether in seminaries or in religious houses, from their earliest years are to be taught Gregorian Chant and sacred music.” Of course, this is not happening.

    I am thrilled that you can go to the workshop, Father Z. and that Bishop Morlino is taking such a lead. He is also the Bishop who told my son to be a priest, and a Bishop who regularly says the rosary outside the abortion clinic near the Cathedral in Madison. God bless him and you…And may we all learn Gregorian Chant, as I did in third and fourth grade, with the entire class, not just the voluntary choir!

  38. TJerome says:

    catholicuspater, you seem to be talking past Henry Edwards and myself, two people who “actively” or “actually” participated in the Mass prior to the Council. How old are you? Are you going to the EF at some private chapel run by a group that is not part of a parish community? I happen to go to the EF at 3 different parishes and the participation there is FAR better than at my Novus Ordo parish where they sing insipid 70s music and only the people in the first few rows sing as the “choir” is blaring at them from the altar.

    I just got back from the EF at St. John Cantius in Chicago where several hundred people filled the Church. I noticed most everyone said or sang the responses. I have NEVER experienced the diktat you are speaking about and I do get around the Country to various EFs. Although I always participate (internally and externally) I think it’s a bit heavy handed to force people to do so. If I went to an EF and was told not to make or sing the responses, I would respectfully ignore that ill conceived monitum. I wish you the best in finding an EF that meets the Church’s expectations.

  39. Elizabeth D says:

    AnAmericanMother, like someone else said it seemed to be a lot of Music Directors and choir members, I believe the only priests there were the Bishop, Msgr Bartylla his Vicar General and Master of Ceremonies, and Fr Z. That surprised me. However, this was almost immediately preceded by a convocation of all the priests of the diocese in the Dells for several days. The need to get back to their parishes and catch up with work there may have been the reason why there were no parish priests present.

    Darcywi wrote: “Elizabeth D, I was wondering if you could explain more what was meant by “the textual word alone as killing the spirit but appropriate music vivifying the word in the spirit, taking worship beyond where mere words could.” What is meant by spirit? Just curious. ” This was in the context of talking about sacramentality, signs made Sacrament through the spoken word of the priest and the power of the Holy Spirit, the incarnation of the Word. There is something more than simply the literal, textual, dialectical word which “kills” if it is allowed to be a limitation (I can’t think how to say what I am trying to say), rather the divine Word is present which gives life, the divine Word is infinitely more than the textual word. Appropriate music united to the textual words embodies this in a way that helps us to worship, inspiring appropriate emotions in the listener which take us beyond simply the textual meaning. I am trying my best to reflect from memory what Fr Skaris said, someone else might be able to explain it better.

    Dad29, you wrote “for crying out loud, (UW students) certainly can figure out the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus (etc) all by themselves; they’ve said the English equivalent for their entire lives, right?”

    We do often have the Kyrie and Sanctus in Greek/Latin at weekday Masses, especially there tends to be a little more Latin on Fridays or Solemnities (sometimes they have used a mixed Greek/English Kyrie on Sundays which I don’t like at all but not usually just Kyrie). And everyone is comfortable with these and people even seem to like singing the Sanctus, it seems special. And we have one Latin Novus Ordo per week (Friday 5pm) which some people like, some tolerate, and some don’t much like. I remember when they started having that Latin Mass, the pastor talked about wanting to get enough students trained to start easing in more Latin on Sundays. However I haven’t seen that happen.

  40. laurazim says:

    Elizabeth, I assume you’re talking about St Paul’s: “the pastor talked about wanting to get enough students trained to start easing in more Latin on Sundays. However I haven’t seen that happen.”

    At the Cathedral Parish, definitely during Advent and Lent, and up to the beginning of Ordinary Time at the end of each of those seasons, Latin is in great use for Kyrie (Greek), Sanctus and Agnus Dei. The use of the Pater Noster is also employed. All are chanted. Because of the fine work of the Cathedral Choir, most of the Introits are also chants done in Latin.

    I know there are a number of young adults who regularly attend Mass at St. Patrick on Sundays–I would encourage you to make the short trek over as well! NOT that I would wish to discourage you from attending St. Paul, mind you–it’s just a little different atmsphere at St. Patrick, and you might find the inspiration to speak with the good Frs. Eric about ways to gently introduce the use of the *very* approchable Latin responses. It’s not a matter of being trained well enough–rather it’s a matter of just doing it, for Pete’s sake. If it’s printed and put before them, the people will sing it!

  41. Elizabeth D says:

    Yes, I mean St Paul’s. And I forgot to mention the Agnus Dei, which no one minds in Latin either (on Weekdays–on Sundays, like the Kyrie, it generally appears only as a mixed Latin-English version). We never seem to sing Pater Noster (or the Gloria when appropriate) except at the Latin Novus Ordo where there are (a limited number of) Latin/English Mass booklets.

    I live between Holy Redeemer and St Paul’s, and (though not a student) belong to St Paul’s where my presence is necessary on Sunday for a certain reason, regardless if Sunday Masses there stress me out a little. I occasionally attend the 7am Tridentine Mass at HR and then go to Mass again at St Paul’s at 11:15. But attending St Pat’s on Sundays doesn’t work out for me.

    To those who are not local here, the parishes being referred to are all basically orthodox and no egregious liturgical abuses. We have really good priests in downtown Madison.

  42. dad29 says:

    textual word alone as killing the spirit but appropriate music vivifying the word in the spirit

    IIRC, the context of that remark which you synopsized was a discussion of the different functions of music (melody) and words (text). (There is also another difference between ‘text’ and THE Word.)

    Your take is correct: music ‘vivifies’ the text. Where Fr. Skeris, described the music as “raiment” for the Word, Ratzinger described it as the ‘enfleshment’ of the Word–as it were, the Word is skeleton and musica sacra ‘enfleshes’ it; thus Ratzinger’s remark that melos joined to Word is akin to the economy of salvation.

    In any case, sung Word is the appropriate expression of Catholic faith, for singing is proper to joy; thus the 2 Vatican’s position that sung music is “pars integralis” (integral part) of the liturgy. You may correctly infer that the old “silent” Low Mass is frowned upon by the Council through that statement.

    This is not news, of course. The ‘silent’ Mass is still perfectly licit for a number of reasons, mostly pragmatic–e.g., Mass said without a congregation, Mass said ‘in the catacombs’ as was the case in Ireland and much of England, Mass said under extremely tight time-line constraints, etc.

    Few, if any, of those exigencies apply today.

  43. dad29 says:

    By co-incidence, here’s what Jeff Tucker has to say about a particular Communio chant:

    the connection to a culture of audible learning and sharing, with the music there to ripen and intensive the text, seems hard to overlook


    Same general idea.

  44. darcy-wi says:

    Thank you ElizabethD and dad29 for the explanation on textual word alone as killing the spirit but appropriate music vivifying the word in the spirit. The word painting you find in chant does add a richer dimension to the text, to be sure. And even singing a psalm tone or other simple chant does reach somewhere deeper inside of one than just rattling off the spoken words. God bless!

  45. catholicuspater says:

    Dear TJerome,

    Just a couple of things.
    1) I’m in my forties.
    2) Out of respect for Fr. Z, I won’t name the diocese but there are three parishes where the EF Low Mass is offered in my diocese, and all three are silent low masses. In one place, I was there a little over a year ago when a prominent member of the Latin Mass community came in and informed the schola that there was an official diocesan policy that there were to be no audible responses from the pews. [?!?] She further insisted, when I questioned her on it, that this edict had come from the priest in charge of the Latin Mass in our diocese, the same priest, by the way, who has been in charge of the Latin Mass in another parish for the last 20 years.
    This statement was also published in the bulletin.

    As I’ve mentioned in the comment before, I had to go through alot of hoops before I finally received an answer a year later confirming that there is no such policy in the diocese.

    There is only one problem, though. The three Latin Mass congregations in the diocese, to the best of my knowledge, have not been informed that the lady was wrong and the published statements in the bulletin were erroneous.

    I have a private letter from this individual stating that there is no such diocesan policy, and nor could there be as a lower authority cannot contradict what the Holy See has already permitted. However, I don’t know want to start flashing this letter around, because I’ll quickly be labelled as a trouble-maker, and even more importantly, I don’t want to turn the Latin Mass into a battleground.

    In a second LatinMass location in my diocese a friend told me that when she attended recently and began saying the shorter responses at the low mass, a tall and intimidating lady in one of the front pews turned around and glared forbiddingly at her and told her afterwards that she had no business making any responses at Mass. [This is the sort of harridan who hurts the cause she will in another context profess to support. To anyone out there reading this and who does this sort of thing: Knock it off, you irritating scrub.]

    Now the reason I believe there is so much paranoia about this among certain people in my northeastern diocese is because the well was poisoned long before the Council by an Irish-American clericalist/Low Mass culture aimed at getting large crowds of Catholics in and out of church on Sundays as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    Thus, people came to associate the silent Low Mass as being the only traditional model and came to believe that making the responses was a Protestant conspiracy, rather than something that has a long papal mandate behind it. [That indeed has the ring of truth to it.]

    I would add that I believe one of the reasons the liturgical revolutionaries in my diocese went so far, so fast in their attempt to eliminate every last vestige of the previous liturgical culture was because of their understandable hatred of the silent Low Mass culture where the people remained detached and silent spectators. [People must have awesome psychic powers to know if people are detached.]

  46. TJerome says:

    catholicus pater, it sounds like the priest has decided to become the local “pope” and over-ride decades of liturgical legislation on participation by the laity at Mass. I would simply show the priest (and the harridan too) a copy of my pre-Vatican II missal where it references the Dialogue Mass and degrees of participation by the laity. If that wasn’t good enough for them I would contact the bishop. I cannot imagine a bishop being willing to go to the mat over this sort of issue with the Congregation of Divine Worship when the legislation is abundantly clear. All I can say is that your experience is foreign to me. We began to learn to say and sing the Latin responses in first grade and my experience wasn’t unusual. Good luck.

  47. catholicuspater says:


    What part of the country did you grow up in? I’m encouraged to hear there are more ‘enlightened’ TLM communities out there.

    From what I can tell, active participation was very rare in this part of the northeast—again because of the Irish American influence. Actually someone has told me that the only parish in my diocese which had such a tradition and offered the Missa Cantata on Sundays was a parish run by a Benedictine order of German extraction.

    By the way, the bishop was contacted about this but professed complete surprise and exasperation at the question. He referred me to my local pastor and also said the answer to my question is in the Missale Romanum so I should look it up myself in the rubrics.

    It’s interesting that he knew where to look but he is of a certain age and is quite a Latin scholar from what I understand, and something of an authority on the Vatican II social encyclicals. The EF liturgy is not one of his favorite subjects though if I had to guess from the tone of his letter.

    In addition, the Ecclesia Dei commission was contacted about this question, but the good monsignor there referred me back to my bishop. I didn’t have the heart to tell him my bishop’s response.

    At any rate, it heartens me very much to know that the mindset here is not prevalent everywhere in the United States. It’s probably just going to take time here for the correct praxis to seep in.

  48. TJerome says:

    catholicuspater, I grew up in the midwest. When I was young, in the 1950s, I attended Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the University of Notre Dame campus, which was more Roman than Rome in those days (Notre Dame has a weekly EF in a hall chapel today and polyphony and chant has made a comeback at the Basilica) . The Missa Cantata was the norm. In South Bend, the city adjacent to Notre Dame, the Missa Cantata was the norm in both diocesan and order parishes. When the “reforms” came I was surprised since we were doing what Sacrosanctum Concilium required in terms of active participation (internal and external). But even in my grandmother’s small town parish in Michigan, the Dialogue Mass was the norm, as it was in Norfolk, Virginia, where my grandfather was. By the way, all of the places I just mentioned were populated heavily by the Irish. Sounds like your local clergy is inept and unhelpful. Best of luck.

  49. JulieC says:

    Adding my two cents to this discussion which I’ve been following closely. (I’m actually ‘catholica mater.’ : )

    The longstanding local preference for silent congregations has been greatly compounded by a unusually large extreme traditionalist influence here. The Society of St. Pius X established a church here in the 70’s followed closely by the revolt of the Society of St. Pius V who originated in this diocese and actually took over the SSPX church. If you don’t know who the SSPV are, they are the sedevacantist branch of the SSPX who broke away from Arb. Lefebrve about 30 years ago in protest for his acceptance of the 1962 Missal, if I’m not mistaken, and against other ‘conciliarist’ tendencies of the Society.

    Needless to say, the SSPV were (and still are) adamantly opposed to the Dialogue Mass and laypeople who have crossed over to the ‘indult mass’ and the EF Mass from the SSPV and SSPX communities have carried over the pietistic mindset which is prevalent in both of those communities.

    The roots of this particular mindset, in other words, go very deep in this diocese.

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