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On Re-Introducing Sacred Music and its Quality Back Into St. Paul’s Parish

October 5, 2011

On Re-Introducing Sacred Music and its Quality Back Into St. Paul’s Parish

 

 

 

 

 Introduction:

 

My Introduction to this talk on Re-Introducing Sacred Music and it’s quality will begin with a story that Pope Benedict XVI uses as a sort of introduction to the first chapter of his book Introduction To Christianity; to help set up the problem of today when great theologians like himself begin to instruct the faith and people don’t truly take him seriously.

“A traveling circus in Denmark caught fire. The manager thereupon sent the clown, who was already dressed and made up for the performance, into the neighboring village to fetch help, especially as there was a danger that the fire would spread across the fields of dry stubble and engulf the village itself. The clown hurried into the village and requested the inhabitants to come as quickly as possible to the blazing circus and help to put the fire out. But the villagers took the clown’s shouts simply for an excellent piece of advertising, meant to attract as many people as possible to the performance; they applauded the clown and laughed till they cried. The clown felt more like weeping than laughing; he tried in vain to get people to be serious, to make it clear to them that this was no stunt, that he was not pretending but was in bitter earnest, that there really was a fire. His supplications only increased in laughter; people thought he was playing his part splendidly-until finally the fire did engulf the village; it was too late for help, and both circus and village were burned to the ground.” (Chapter 1 pages 39 and 40: Introduction To Christianity: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger; Pope Benedict XVI, H. Cox, The Secular City, 2nd ed. (London: Pelican Books, 1968), p.256.)

This story Mr. Cox explains, “as an analogy of the theologian’s position today and sees the theologian as the clown who cannot make people really listen to his message.” His love of great music and the classical music of Bach and Mozart and other classical writers of music and his love of Gregorian chant too. His brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger is in charge of the famous choir at their home parish in Bavaria Germany and conducts it and from what I hear it is quite beautiful.

Here in America and maybe few other countries; our choirs have begun to introduce some Protestant hymns for the Sacred Liturgy; Holy Mass and my parents and I was just at my cousin’s wedding; my mom looked at their hymnal books and no where in it is Catholic music but in ours it is hard to find actual Traditional Catholic Hymns that are theologically correct or the correct quality for Divine Purposes or for the Liturgy we celebrate daily in Holy Mass or Eucharistic Adoration and other Liturgical celebrations where the choir is to be used.

The only music we can use that is now coming home from Rome is the Liturgical Hymnals used with the new Ordinate that is where the Anglicans are coming home to the Church and they keep their identity of being Anglicans; they do the Traditional Mass in the Old English; which we are going to hear more at Mass in November with the correct translations and their hymns are just beautiful and theologically correct. Their churches have the beauty that is lacking in our churches today; when people thought Vatican II told them to take out the beautiful artwork, statues, marble, altar rails and such; their churches look like the church in Park and in Victoria; that is how beautiful their churches are. They truly look like a House of God and not something secular.

A house for God is to be set apart from the things of the world; when you step inside and look inside and hear the choir; your mind should be automatically raised up to Heaven in High Prayer. When Pope Benedict was growing up in Germany and special times of the Liturgical Calendar the choir would do Mozart’s Requiem and it is a Lenten piece and very beautiful if you can find the full thing to listen to on Youtube and this piece by Mozart is the Pope’s favorite that is done by Mozart.

In our hymnals we have a few done by Mozart and Bach; which are wonderful and should be used. It would be nice to add to our classical musician pieces to add Mozart’s Requiem in honor of Pope Benedict XVI. We do have to be careful when using Bach’s music; he did write for the Protestant churches too.

The reason the Pope has issued his Motu Proprio is to have the Ancient Rite; the Roman Rite celebrated again because he noticed the people growing up with it; missed it and that most of the bishops thought it was thrown away after the Vatican II Council; which in Pope Benedict’s letter to the bishops said it was not true and that it should be still used and with the bishops not listening or stalling on allowing priests to use it; the Pope took the problem away; so the priest could celebrate the Ancient Roman Rite or the normal Rite we celebrate at any time he wants without getting permission from the bishop.

With this, the Pope’s aim is to bring the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in the Roman Rite together with the Ordinary Rite; with the Sacred Music and with the reverence. He knows there is a lack of reverence at Mass in everything and he has sent out numerous documents that we do not receive unless we print them off yourself and I have done this for you on most of these documents. Let us get back to the story I shared at the beginning of this introduction and to explain why I shared this story and how it fits in with this talk.

As I will explain on the first page that most of you will not have heard of this information before or even these sources or books. When I start to speak; some of you will see me as this clown and not take anything I say to you as important or serious; even though I ask you to. Others will listen carefully to what I have said and they will use these sources of information to make themselves better.

Some of these people are too full of the “spirit of the world” rather than the “Spirit of God” where “I take things of my faith seriously.” Within this talk I will try to reach these two different groups of people who are in the choir: ‘The people with the spirit of the world and they have no care for what the Church wants.” Then, “People with the Spirit of God who wants to be faithful to the Church.” Also any drifters from both sets of people.

With this I would like to share something from Pope Benedict XVI’s Corpus Christi homily and what he said afterwards while his helpers were getting things ready for the Eucharistic Procession down the streets of Rome: “There is no room for secularism inside the Church and the things that are secular must be removed that has no business within the Church or your parish churches. Cell phones and such should be left outside in the car or at home, purses or other carry bags should be left at home.” Three years ago he said this. The week or a few weeks before Blessed Pope John Paul II’s death; where then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was doing the Stations of the Cross for Pope John Paul II and this is what he said in one of the meditations, “It is time to remove the flith from our churches, our seminaries and colleges!”

This is a wonderful thing that you have all volunteered to be in the choir and I am here to help you to become better with these sources and information that you need to hear and what the Church and the Pope wants the choirs to be like. Everyone in this choir should want to sound the best they can be and to help keep the reverence in prayer for everyone at Mass and to do this means putting in extra time to help produce this quality that the Church expects from Her choirs to help “Glorify God.” St. Augustine of Hippo said this, “To pray twice is to sing it.” That is what choirs do, when you do the psalms; you are praying not once but twice; because the Psalms are prayers to God. Each hymn used at Mass is not be entertainment but a prayer used to Glorify God in the proper way that the Church instructs us how to do this; if we would take the time to listen.

 What is the central point of our faith? It is the Sacred Liturgy; the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. With the proper Sacred Music to go with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; it makes the experience of the Sacred Liturgies how they should be and that is Sacred. If we kept going on with the world inside the church with secular music; we will continue to loose the Sacredness of the Mass and everything Catholic.

These two groups of people and the drifters who don’t know where to fall into place with; they all need to be one group of people and that is faithful to the Church and have the desire to learn the beautiful and ancient hymns of the Church. In the first part of the talk I will be going over dress code and Chant; then I will cover the Sacred Hymns we can use at Mass and what we can’t use; no matter how beautiful they are.

I

 

 For most of you, there will be information that you have never heard of before on Sacred Music and what you will read in these documents I have printed off and hopefully made copies of for all of you or the book I have brought incase anyone would like to take it home to read; will shock you, make you upset and confused on why you haven’t heard this before. Our Diocese hasn’t been telling us the full truth to what we are to be doing at Mass in all the categories. For you as choir members; they have not been telling you what is proper to be sung or what is not proper to be sung or chanted.

They haven’t been telling you the truth of what the Church wants us to do be doing or what the Pope has requested us to do. I have personally asked to be here to tell you what is requested of you to do as a choir and what I have learned over the many years and hours of research on the computer at home and spending money to buy the proper books to read and to study. When I find something new out that we haven’t been doing right; I am just like you: mad and upset and confused to why we haven’t been listening to the Pope in Rome.

Please take these documents home, read them, study them, share them with your friends, family and neighbors who are Catholic and instruct your family on what is to be done in the Church. I know you will get mad and confused when I start talking; because these things are new and contrary to what you were told or maybe you weren’t told anything at all. So, I ask you not allow your emotions to close your ears and heart; keep your ears and heart open to these words so you can be instructed properly on what to do.

This information I will share with you is highly important to follow what it says to do. Also, I know most of you have rejected Gregorian chant and I know why; because no one has taught you about Gregorian chant and why the Church requests it to be used. I have put a training book on three cds for you to help you learn Gregorian chant the proper way and it goes into great detail. Bring a laptop and Projector screen down into the basement to learn it and use that book. Then I have the documents printed out for you as well.

I hope with this information that it will help instruct you all on Chant and Sacred Hymns we can use. At the end of this talk, I will list all the documents for you and the Church Laws on Sacred Music. Let us begin with the dress code and work our way up to the music information. The dress code for all churches that are Catholic should be close or near the dress code of St. Peter’s Basilica; they have guards to help enforce it; we must make sure everyone is dressed properly before entering into the church.

 For the choir; the dress code should be this.

GUYS

1. Dress Pants

2. Dress Socks and Dress shoes

3. Dress shirt with tie, dress sweatshirt in winter times, dress polo shirt with no words on it.

4. Dress belt.

LADIES

1. If you are going to wear pants: no tight pants with normal and proper dress belt.

2. Button up shirt with long sleeves and make sure the chest is covered by buttoning up shirt and when you bend over; nothing will show.

3. Proper dress shoes and dress socks. If you are to wear dresses:

4. Proper and modest dresses that come below the knees or longer and no gap to see things you don’t want to be seen.

5. Proper and loose enough top with long sleeves or sleeves that goes to the elbows and the back is covered.

6. Proper stockings and shoes; no tights or miny skirts.

 People do not need any help with temptations of lust and this is why we dress properly and to show love and reverence to God in the tabernacle. I would also like it if you wore the head coverings Albie wears too.

 Please get enrolled in the Brown Scapular and wear it faithfully and pray the Rosary daily as a family and start going to Confession before Sunday Mass. Also after Mass with your families; start making Holy Hours in Eucharistic Adoration and let our God speak to you and help your families.

Before I move to the next topic; I would like to quote something true and scary from Pope Benedict XVI’s book The Spirit of the Liturgy: “The reason why the demons to do not kneel; is because they have no knees. To kneel in prayer is the true form of prayer for the martyrs.” II Let me ask you a question:

 

II

Why do we have Sacred Music? And why do we use Sacred Music? “Give a little time for them to give answers.”

 

1. We have Sacred Music to help us at Mass to feel and taste the Divine Liturgy in Heaven. It helps our senses to see what is truly happening at Mass. Sacred Music is not for entertainment purposes but to help the people to see the true beauty that is going on at the Mass, it helps the people to know the great beauty and the Sacred Traditions of the Church.

2. Sacred Music helps the person to pray at Mass. You find more frequent answers and questions on this in the hand-out called The Frequent Questions on Sacred Music with the answers.

When Gregorian Chant is done properly and reverently; not rushed or the words are not chanted because of some reason; this Holy and Sacred Music developed by Pope St. Gregory the Great and with this music is prayer and helps people to slow down so they can properly pray and be lifted up to Heaven.

When you do some modern sounding Protestant music or so called ‘catholic” music and it is up beat; it is very hard for the person to pray.

Why? Because everything is moving million miles per hour and there is no way to pray like that. Gregorian chant goes all the way back to the days of the Israelites and Jesus even chanted the Psalms for His prayer.

When we start to talk on Gregorian chant; the Church does say we are to use it and in the documents by the Church it does say, “Gregorian Chant is the Suprememodel for all other Liturgical Music.” I do personally like this music but this not personal to want this music back into the parish; but it is a must if we want to remain Catholic and Apostolic; which means to stay in good standings with the Church and be faithful spiritual sons and daughters to the Pope. What our wonderful and loving Holy Father is asking of us is this: we use the ancient form of Gregorian chant and bring it together with the Sacred Hymns of the Church.

When my parents and I went to Omaha Nebraska year or so ago in September and I had it all planned out; especially for Sunday Mass at the parish church that was ran by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter who only celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass; the Ancient Roman Rite Mass in Latin. It was so beautiful and it lasted two hours long and the time just flew by. I did not want to leave; because I knew what I was coming home to and it was nothing like that; what I had just experienced was being lifted up to Heaven and witnessing what is to be witnessed each time at Mass and with the beautiful choir; just like everyone here.

The first Sunday back from that trip; Mass seemed dull because it wasn’t nor was it how it should be and what I witnessed in Omaha changed me for ever on how I personally act at Mass and the reverence we are to give and show to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. At Omaha they did this; they used the Gregorian chant but also did the proper hymns and shuffled it together so beautifully that it fit perfectly into each part of the Mass.

At each part of the Mass there should be some silent time for reflection; before the priest prays, after each readings before the psalm is chanted or sung, after the homily and a great moment of silent time after Holy Communion time so we can contemplate and reflect on these great and Sacred Mysteries that we have received and just taken part in.

The book store I buy all my Catholic books from in Hays and the Hymnal used at Omaha they sell and it is called The Roman Hymnal and it will go great with the changes to the Mass where it is faithful to the Latin Mass. Around the same time for our trip to Omaha, the Pope put out a nice short little note saying, “I would like it if everyone would learn Latin again.” It is the Official Language of the Church and this way everyone can chant the ancient hymns and chants of the Church.

To keep all this together of what the Pope is requesting and what the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments Antonio Caviars Cardinal Liovera says this, ”receive communion on the tongue and while kneeling.” “Receiving Communion in this way is the sign of adoration that needs to be recovered. I think the entire Church needs to receive communion while kneeling.” “In fact, if one receives standing, a genuflection or profound bow should be made, and this is not happening.” I have his article for you too.

One more item on the Liturgy we need to correct here at St. Paul’s parish and that is how the altar is set up. The Pope in his writings that he sent out a while back that I received and not sure where they are; but he told us how to set up the altars properly.

We are to have one plain white altar cloth, six large altar candles: III + III set up like this with the altar crucifix in the middle; so the focus of the people is not on the priest but on Jesus by looking at the Crucifix in the middle. If a bishop celebrates Mass here it should look like this: III + and altar candle in front of the crucifix as a sign of a bishop is celebrating Mass and then III like the first set up. Seven altar candles if a bishop is celebrating Mass and six for normal Mass by a priest. I have learned so much from our Holy Father and I call him like his personal students he taught as a college professor, “my professor.”

III

 

 The two types of Sacred Chant that is the Suprememodel of all Liturgical Music: Gregorian chant and Classic Polyphony.

The guys in the choir have their own voice and with the help of my friend who is an Orthodox Priest for the Orthodox Church; found us a hymn that both Churches can sing and use. It may sound like the Hail Mary or Ave Maria with some of the words to it; but it is a hymn in honor of the Theotokos or Mother of God.

Last Sunday, October 2nd I finally noticed their voice in the choir and it finally clicked, “to do something from the Byzantine Rite/Orthodox Church; because their voices sound well enough to do those styles of hymns.” Use what they have to produce the great qualities of Sacred Music; as long as it is Catholic; then we can use it.

Here is the hymn that Archpriest Daniel found for the guys to sing: “hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos: Rejoice O Virgin Theotokos, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Saviour of our souls.”

 It is also good to bring in other parts of the Catholic faith for everyone to experience; I’m still talking about the time when my parents and I went down to Orlando FL. I don’t remember anything else about it; except the Byzantine Mass done by the Byzantine Monks and how beautiful it was. Most of their music and hymns are chanted rather than the organ is played; I don’t even know if that church had a pipe organ.

To help keep the guys on the right track with this hymn; we will use the organ to guide them and the other people on how the notes are to sound. Let us talk for a bit on Gregorian chant and Classical Polyphony and then move into the hymnal problem we have with Oregon Catholic Press and why we need to use good Traditional Hymnals for the best quality of Sacred Music.

To tell you what Gregorian chant is this: “Is the central tradition of Western Plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other liturgical or ritual services?” Classic Polyphony ”In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice (monophony).”

Gregorian chant and Polyphony uses no organ but can be used with an organ to guide the choir until they feel comfortable chanting with just their voices. Only thing different between the two is the number of people and the voices blend into making it sound so beautiful; this is the same for chant and it never focuses on one person.

Both types of Sacred Chant uses Treble Clef and on a print out and on the cd will show what is treble clef and how it is used. In Rome at the Vatican for the Pope’s special choir; the boys are started young on training for the choir and it continues. To be able to chant like the monks and nuns who live in contemplative orders; it will take time and it is nothing that can be rushed into learning and should be learned slow enough so everyone can pick it up without becoming lost. Make sure to follow the correct speed of each piece of music; if it says to be 2/3 speed or 4/4 speed; then make sure it is correct.

Remember the Church and the Pope wants the highest quality of Sacred Music used at the Liturgies. Do not think I am saying you are not good enough; you are good enough and by reading these documents and using that book on that cd; you will make yourself better. I know most of you have kids in high school or middle school or grade school; or both and some in college and you run all over to watch their events; which is wonderful; but make sure you take sometime for your faith and for God and by taking time for God you have more practices that can fit into your schedule; so the worship of God on that altar is enhanced.

Get together with Albie and everyone to see if you can add more practice times; I say at least two or three every week or every two weeks; so you have time to let your voice rest for Sunday. It is up to you on what you can fit into your busy schedule.

 

IV

 

Let us now touch on the issue with the Oregon Catholic Press and the trouble they are causing with the inserting of Protestant music into a Catholic Hymnal. This article by Jeffery Tucker President and Founder of the Catholic Music Association and the article is called “The Hidden Hand Behind Bad Catholic Music.” pick up at the talk.

The Oregon Catholic Press has no Church Authority and is a large non-profit corporation and publishing wing of the Diocese of Portland and that is it. It is truly a Scam business that deceives parishes and dioceses under false names to appear that they are faithful to Rome.

All the hymns by OCP or Oregon Catholic Press in the footnotes are NOT CATHOLIC AT ALL. In and before 1980 the Oregon Catholic Press hijacked Catholic Truth and their original name was ”Oregon Catholic Truth Society”. It was started in 1922 “in response to a compulsory school-education law that forced Catholics to attend Public Schools. Archbishop Alexander Christie got together with his priests to found the society, its aim: to fight bigotry and stand up for truth and Catholic rights.”

“But the rest of the story is as in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Oregon Catholic Truth Society began to loose hits mooring. Catholic truth had to make room for the Age of Aquarius.

Thus, in the course of a single decade, a once-reliable representative of Catholic teaching became reliably unreliable. Money given to the organization to promote truth was now being used to advance a revolutionary approach to Catholic life, one that is repudiated traditional forms of the faith.” Read the entire document. With the truth of the OCP told to you; I propose we find some way of getting faithful and traditional Catholic Hymnals to stop this mess; also, we must stop giving money to the OCP and stop using their books.

The same book store I told you about earlier in the talk, they are getting in the new Daily Missal for the changes and in them are just like the ones used for the Latin Mass. It will have one side in English and the other side in Latin. I propose we all get daily Missals and use them for now on.

 

V

 

Let’s touch on a few more issues before closing this talk:

 

In the Rule Book of St. Benedict, he makes sure the person with the best voice does the chanting or the reading; so it keeps the hearers tuned in. If your throat is bothering you to sing or even to speak; then find someone who can replace you until you are well enough.

The Sacred Music we do here or any where must be upheld to the highest qualities and give a foretaste of Heaven to the hearers.

Finally the choir members should be able to read music and know the notes on the sheet music. Also, if you cannot read music; be teachable so you can learn and get better. The choir director should be able to teach how to read music and to teach to each one’s strengths and weaknesses; so everyone can fully understand their part to sing or chant.

Lastly, in the Motu Proprio by St. Pius X says this on instruments: “pipe organs are allowed and proper for use at Mass. Drums, guitars, other stringed instruments, wood winds, and tambourines are here by condemned from being used at Mass.” I do hope you enjoyed this talk and I hope you will use these documents.

Thank you and God bless

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