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.
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"The union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it."
— Pope Pius XI (6 January 1928)

Singing Propers and Ordinary . . . at Low Mass?
published 19 August 2013 by Jeff Ostrowski

955 Conception Abbey ODAY, I’LL BE SHARING a September 1937 article by Dom Gregory Hügle, O.S.B., one of the most important promoters of Gregorian chant in the early part of the 20th century.

      * *  1937 Article (Dom Gregory Hügle, OSB)

Now that I’ve shared the document, I shall make a few observations about this section:

Q. “Is it permitted to sing any part or all of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) at a Low Mass?

A. Yes, it is permitted to sing the parts mentioned in Latin. With regard to the Gloria the Roman decision remarks “that the intonation should be sung by the choir”.

Q. “Is it permitted to sing the same parts in English at a Low Mass?”

A. No, it is not permitted to sing these parts in the vernacular. Holy Church demands that the liturgical parts be sung in the liturgical language, which is “Latin”.

Q. “Is it permitted to sing any or all of the variable chants of the Proper (Introit, Gradual, Allelttia, Offertory, Communion) in Latin, at a Low Mass in English?”

A. Any parts of the Proper may be sung in Latin, but not in English, for the reason mentioned above. Low Mass is a liturgical function. If you select parts of the liturgical musical belonging to Holy Mass, the same must be sung in Latin.

This information, given in 1937 by Dom Hügle, is not generally known by those who celebrate the Extraordinary Form. As a matter of fact, it contradicts what many authorities say. Perhaps an expert of ceremonies can explain why in the combox.

Speaking of “odd” practices of the EF, I’ve mentioned elsewhere that the 1958 Instruction of Pope Pius XII allows the entire congregation to recite all the Propers (in Latin) along with the Celebrant. (!) This is never done. I doubt it ever was done, although a later publication, the New St. Joseph Sunday Missal and Hymnal (1966), tried to encourage this practice.

Dom Gregory’s words about the Gloria intonation are interesting. In my article, “Who should intone the Gloria at Mass?”, I mentioned that cantors were given permission to intone the Gloria following the Second Vatican Council. If Dom Hügle is correct, this was allowed in the Traditional Latin Mass.

PERHAPS THIS PRACTICE — singing Mass Ordinary & Propers at Low Mass — is not as crazy as it sounds. After all, there were all kinds of “compromises” in the pre-Conciliar Mass. People who really know the EF Mass will admit that only two Masses exist as far as the rubrics are concerned: “Solemn Mass” (with Deacon, Subdeacon, and incense) and “Low Mass.” These are the two we included in the Campion Missal. I’m told using incense without Deacon and Subdeacon required an indult for quite a while. Over the years, all kinds of different practices arose. I’ve even seen a “High Mass” with one server who tried to incense the Sanctissimum at the Elevation while still lifting the priest’s chasuble with his other hand. Here is what Fr. Fortescue said:

Our so-called Missa Cantata is the compromise of a compromise, a Low Mass, with singing as at High Mass, only justifiable to enhance the dignity of Sunday Mass when a deacon and subdeacon cannot be had. And the practice of saying a Low Mass while the choir sings bits of things is too dreadful to be described. (Adrian Fortescue, The Mass, p. 191)

My feeling is that Dom Gregory Hügle is probably correct. He was very highly respected in his day, and Prior of Conception Abbey, Missouri. The entire August 1933 edition of Caecilia was dedicated to Dom Gregory.

By the way, I’ve already talked a lot about vernacular hymns at Low Mass. Read part 1 and 6 of my six-part series to read what I’ve written about this.   [Click here and scroll down to the bottom to view my six-part series.]

One final comment: this 1937 edition of Caecilia gave readers a special “sneak peek” of a new set of accompaniments to the Kyriale which Achille P. Bragers was about to release. Years later, these would become quite famous. Click here to download the Bragers Kyriale for free or puchase the hardbound copy (high key & low key).