About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and two children.
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The representative Protestant collection, entitled “Hymns, Ancient and Modern”—in substance a compromise between the various sections of conflicting religious thought in the Establishment—is a typical instance. That collection is indebted to Catholic writers for a large fractional part of its contents. If the hymns be estimated which are taken from Catholic sources, directly or imitatively, the greater and more valuable part of its contents owes its origin to the Church.
— Orby Shipley (1884)

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Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani (1890-1979)
published 13 April 2013 by Jeff Ostrowski

ANY TIMES in the past I have talked about the following phenomenon: one notices a word or person and then within 24 hours one finds that same word or person mentioned in a completely random, surprising place. I’ve also said that I will not blog on this topic anymore, since readers are probably sick of hearing about it. That doesn’t mean I’m not tempted . . . this phenomenon happens so frequently. For instance, the self-same day I happened to research Cardinal Ottaviani, a friend of mine posted the picture in the upper right hand corner. Odd, is it not?

I feel the time is right for somebody to write a biography of Cardinal Ottaviani. Here are three (3) things I recently read about him (if I make any mistakes, I hope readers will correct me):

1. He was made a Cardinal before being consecrated a bishop, which is rarely done these days.


2. He had a triple doctorate, just like Fr. Adrian Fortescue.


3. He was blind later in life (similar to how Beethoven and Fauré were deaf later in life, but that’s another story!).

Over the course of my life, I’ve often read about Cardinal Ottaviani, but I am certainly no expert. I will mention just a few more things before I bring this blog to a close.

During the Second Vatican Council, before being famously cut off, he said:

“Are we seeking to stir up wonder, or perhaps scandal, among the Christian people, by introducing changes in so venerable a rite, that has been approved for so many centuries and is now so familiar? The rite of Holy Mass should not be treated as if it were a piece of cloth to be refashioned according to the whim of each generation.”

This sounds very much like Pope Benedict XVI, who said (speaking without a translator in an off-the-cuff interview [url]):

“We are today not another Church as 500 years ago. It is always the same the Church. What is one time holy for the Church is always holy for the Church and is not in another time an impossible thing.”

Benedict XVI also said:

“What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.” — 7 July 2007 (Letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum)

Someone has written that as a young Peritus at the Council, Ratzinger acted as “one of the theological young Turks leading the charge against the status quo Ottaviani emodied . . . Ratzinger was among the behind-the-scenes plotters who ensured theat the council foiled Ottaviani on virtually every issue.” This may or may not be the case. Probably, young Ratzinger had some problems and issues with the Curia Romana. That’s ironic, because people “in the know” have told me Benedict had to resign as Pope because he no longer had the strength to fight against the out of control Curia Romana. In any event, perhaps we’ll know someday, if a true historian writes a biography of Ottaviani. Unfortunately, really good historians who actually know something are rather short in supply these days, and that’s a fact.