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 resides with his wife and children.
Connect on Facebook:
Connect on Twitter:
"If the homily goes on too long, it will affect two characteristic elements of the liturgical celebration: its balance and its rhythm. The words of the preacher must be measured, so that the Lord, more than his minister, will be the center of attention."
— Pope Francis (11/24/2013)

"Chronicles of Narnia" by Msgr. Richard Schuler
published 5 April 2013 by Jeff Ostrowski

ANY TIMES IN THE PAST, I have mentioned that our blog is a positive blog. However, from time to time we will publish documentation of realities in the Church, so that we can be “armed with knowledge.” This ought not be viewed as “negativity.” Reality is reality, and we are called to be aware of reality. The true title is not Chronicles of Narnia (it is actually A Chronicle of the Reform), but sometimes the information related is so wacky it feels like reading a fantasy novel:

      * *  Part V • Schuler’s Chronicle of a Reform [pdf]

I don’t always agree with Msgr. Schuler about every subject. One of my biggest disagreements has to do with using “Viennese School” music at Holy Mass. Msgr. Schuler admits that such music (by Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Beethoven, etc.) has a compositional style indistinguishable from secular music. However, he claims that such music can be used during Mass because it was sacred “in language and intent.” In other words, Msgr. Schuler claims that so long as the composer “intended it for use in Church” and it does not alter the text, it is fine to use at Mass. At some later time, I shall examine in greater detail the articles he wrote defending this theory.

However, when it comes to historical facts in the above article, there can be no disagreement. Everything is documented in the footnotes. Msgr. Schuler was very knowledgable about such things, and served in many high level positions. So often in today’s world we “skim” articles. We do not carefully read each word. However, the above is one of those articles that can be read and re-read year after year with profit. If you care to read the entire series by Schuler, you can do so here [pdf].

[ P.S. The good news is, a few years ago, the terrible document Schuler cites in that article was gotten rid of. It has been replaced by Sing to the Lord, which is a real improvement. ]

A few thoughts about that article . . .

There is much that could be said about the article. I will basically “hold my tongue” so the reader can draw his own conclusions.

ABOVE ALL, I am struck by the HORRIBLE SITUATION the Church found herself in during the 1960s. I used to think that the major problems set in at the beginning of the 1970s. This article clearly documents unbelievably terrible things happening in the 1960s.

Here are a few items:


In fact, in some dioceses, their use was prohibited by local legislation that forbade the use of Latin. For a partial list of dioceses in the United States with regulations against the use of Latin, see Johannes Overath, ed. Sacred Music and Liturgy Reform after Vatican II, Rome 1969, p. 22-23.

Can anybody provide this 1969 article? I’ve heard that some Bishops did this, but seeing documentation would be great.


See Richard J. Schuler, “By Whose Authority?” The Wanderer, April 4, 1968, p. 3.

Can anyone provide this article from 1968? I didn’t even realize The Wanderer was around in 1968 !!!


“Music, more than any other resource, makes a celebration of the liturgy an attractive human experience.”
“The faith of those present accomplishes the marvelous change called transubstantiation.”
“The primary sign of the Eucharist are (sic) people gathering together, not the bread and wine or words.”

Say what??


“The hootenanny Mass can give explicit eucharistic and christological specification to youth’s intense involvement in the movements for racial justice, for control of nuclear weapons, for the recognition of personal dignity.”

Say what??


Some of the “top ten” of the liturgical hits in the late sixties were: Michael, Row the Boat; Blowing in the Wind; Gypsy Rover; and Kum-bay-a. Often these had newly composed words whose literary worth was worse than liturgical value of the melodies. Others were totally secular in both words and music, e.g., Hush Little Baby; There is a Ship; Try to Remember; This Land is Your Land, etc.

This is the music of my childhood during Holy Mass . . . but I had no idea such drivel was already around during the 1960s.