D. Oakland, Bp. Barber: Novus Ordo Requiem, Latin, Black Vestments, Faure

The use of Latin in our liturgical worship must not be limited to the Usus Antiquior of the Roman Rite.  Latin is the language if the Latin Church.  That means Extraordinary and Ordinary Form alike.

For this reason I object to the phrase “The Latin Mass” when speaking about the Usus Antiquior or Extraordinary Form.  We should at least say “Traditional Latin Mass” or TLM.

That said, His Excellency Most Reverend Michael Barber, SJ, Bishop of Oakland has a great entry at his page (HERE) about their All Souls Requiem, celebrated in their Cathedral.

Here is a video:

All Souls Day Requiem Mass from Diocese of Oakland on Vimeo.

What really caught my eye was something Bp. Barber wrote about the Mass. Emphases in the original:

I was so pleased with the turnout at our first Solemn Requiem Mass for All Souls Day, where our Cathedral Choir sang Gabriel Faure’s Requiem. The beauty of the music led so many to a heightened interior participation in the Eucharist. The choir and musicians did a superb job, and I look forward to making this an annual tradition.

Did you catch that? The music led to heightened interior participation! He absolutely nailed it.

The actual/active participation we are called to is, first and foremost, interior action, indeed actively interior receptivity. This is made possible by baptism, which allows us to receive graces and instruction which the Lord, the true Actor in liturgical worship, wants to give us through the mediation of the Church’s rites and her sacred ministers. Active, attentive listening is a key mode of actual participation. It is not automatic and it is not easy. It is hard to listen in an attentive way, with real openness to the content. Music, therefore, is of critical importance.

Liturgical music must be both sacred and true art. It is art from the point of view of both composition and performance. It is sacred, or should be, from the point of view of its texts and its music idiom. Music is not an add on. It is not simply an ornament. It is part of the liturgical action itself.

Bishop Barber put his finger on an important point. The act of choosing to listen to the sacred liturgical music brings about interiorly active receptivity which is a profound mode of actual participation. This in turn heightens appropriate outward expression in participation at the right time.

Alas, the Bishop – a Jesuit – quoted Karl Rahner, who said, “When a person is with God in awe and love, then he is praying.” Immediately, I must counter the effects of Rahner by quoting St. Augustine, “cantare amantis est… Singing belongs to one who loves” (s. 336, 1 – PL 38, 1472).

So, Bp. Barber had All Souls Mass in the Cathedral, in Latin, in the Novus Ordo, in black vestments, with worth sacred music.

More photo there.

Brick by brick.

Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Barber.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Bishop Barber again making a difference – modeling how to be faithful to the Church. His resume as a former US Navy chaplain and professor at multiple seminaries has helped. Look at how he answered a question about his mission as bishop:

    “When I retire in 15 years, I will be happy if I have instilled a sense of the sacred in our parishes and schools.”


  2. thefeds says:

    Fr. Z, you’ve nailed it again. Serving this Diocese, and Bishop Michael, I have many reasons for hope for the Church in Oakland, in particular, and in general. I hope to serve this community by helping to form the bricks.

  3. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Please add to your Kudos for Bishop Barber the following: on Friday Nov 7th, at St. Margaret Mary’s in Oakland, His Excellency will confirm a class of 40+. Mass to follow confirmations. When I have pictures, I’ll send.

  4. Faure Requiem = heaven. Or pretty close.

  5. dans0622 says:

    “Immediately, I must counter the effects of Rahner by quoting St. Augustine”–good one, Father. The Rahner quote may give rise to a spirit that sneaks under the door like a roach…but it was immediately vanquished by the boot of St. Augustine.

  6. Ed the Roman says:

    The first time I sang Faure’s ‘lullaby for death’ it was an All Souls mass in Orlando.

  7. Michael says:

    I had the very distinct privilege of seeing Bishop Barber back when he was still Fr. Michael Barber, because he was visiting one Sunday at the chapel where we went to Mass. He gave an excellent homily about the Holy Eucharist, was reverent all throughout, used the Roman Canon (as he did at his episcopal consecration Mass), and at the end, he thanked everyone for their faith as they went out the door. I feel honored to share his name.

  8. Gregorius says:

    I think one small positive result of Benedict XVI’s liturgical influence has been demonstrated here this past week in the fact that more and more clergy around the country are willing to use black vestments. This Mass would have been unthinkable ten years ago, and speaking from my own experience even up until a short time ago my own diocese would only allow the use of black ‘where it is already an established custom’. Like another commenter here said on another post, I had grown up with the idea that with three vestment colors to choose from, wearing black would be seen as a mean statement on the state of the departed soul(s).
    Now if only clergy would start wearing black at actual funerals….

  9. Sonshine135 says:

    This reminds me of how my Mass looked. I couldn’t agree more with the Bishop.

    Lex orandi, lex credendi

  10. Amateur Scholastic says:

    The brilliant David Warren was in typically fine form recently, on the use of Latin in the liturgy.

    Google ‘david warren all the souls’, without quotes.

  11. frsbr says:

    On All Souls Day, our 40+ strong children’s choir sang the Faure Pie Iesu and the In Paradisum. If 3rd graders can do it (flawlessly, I might add), it’s certainly within reach of a motivated choir of any age.

  12. moconnor says:

    An OF Requiem in Latin with the Faure Requiem was also given in Palm Springs, FL at St. Luke’s, celebrated by Fr. Andrew Brierley. God bless faithful priests.

  13. franlhl says:

    The church looks modern but the vestments are sooooo beautiful! That’s good to reflect the beauty of the Most Blessed Sacrament! I hope we may see nice black vestments in our region too.

  14. donadrian says:

    I take it that everyone who approves the use of Faure’s Requiem is aware that the composer takes several serious liberties with the text of the requiem mass. Apart from omitting the gradual, tract and ‘Dies Irae’, he also alters the offertory ‘Domine Iesu’ by changing ‘libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum’ (‘deliver the souls of the faithful departed’) to ‘libera animas defunctorum’ (‘deliver the souls of the departed’). There are other changes. The result is to minimise the ideas of sin and judgement. This accords very much with modern sentimentality, of course, but deviates rather seriously from both traditional Catholic teaching and traditional Catholic liturgy.

  15. JonPatrick says:

    donadrian, the prefect must not be the enemy of the good. At the All Souls Day Mass I attended, we sang “Here I am Lord”. The Faure Requiem may not be totally in keeping with Church teachings as you point out but is a considerable improvement over banal and sometimes heterodox and uninspiring music such as one finds at most parishes. At least it is moving people in the right direction.

  16. JonPatrick says:

    Sorry that should be “perfect” in the first line.

  17. oldCatholigirl says:

    A Requiem Mass in black vestments is always beautiful, consoling, & uplifting–even when it must be a Low Mass because the feast was transposed to Monday and our parish (St. Mary’s in Kalamazoo) does not have the resources to have an organ and choir/schola during the week very often. Our regular Sunday TLM was a Missa Cantata, as it is regularly during three seasons of the year.
    As an aside–I do not see why that particular quote from Karl Rahner was offbase.

  18. JonPatrick: “the prefect should not be an enemy of the good”

    Indeed, he ought not.

  19. Gregorius: “Now if only clergy would start wearing black at actual funerals….”

    Though certainly an exception here as elsewhere, it happens that the last several Novus Ordo funeral Masses I’ve attended have been celebrated ad orientem in Latin with black vestments.

  20. Dave N. says:

    Bp. Barber is such a breath of fresh air; a drastic change from his predecessors–two careerists and one liberal. When things go wrong in the diocese he actually takes action instead of making endless promises to “looking into things” that never lead anywhere.

  21. I was the Deacon of the Word for this Mass. It was a great time. Bishop Barber continues to amaze me as his tenure here continues.

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