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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“To treat harmony and rhythm in this matter was a difficult matter. Facing numerous problems both large and small—that arose constantly—we understood that a flawless harmonization of Gregorian chant cannot be created by improvisation, no matter the competence and ability of the organist or harmonist.”
— Mons. Jules Van Nuffel, NOH Preface

Letter To Hans Küng . . . in 1963!
published 20 June 2013 by Jeff Ostrowski

WOULD encourage you to carefully read this 1963 Letter to Hans Küng by Msgr. Francis P. Schmitt. It is difficult for me to quote excerpts, because the article is written in an odd way. Schmitt makes a bunch of statements, a whole long list, but they are statements he contests.

For those unaware, Hans Küng is a former theologian, censured by the Vatican in the 1970s on account of heretical teachings. Forbidden by the Church to teach theology, he was forced off the faculty of his university. I believe he is still alive.

But let’s get back to the 1963 letter by Msgr. Schmitt. It amazes me that so many of the “issues” he mentions in 1963 are still with us! Now, a full fifty years later, Msgr. Schmitt seems to be on the right side of these issues. For instance, look what he says about the Gradual chant (his emphasis):

Where on earth do you come up with the notion of omitting the Gradual? You talk about the necessity of going back to the very oldest of the Church’s traditions. Certainly the Gradual, the Alleluia, and their versicles rank among these. Certainly the meditative function during this singing is of high importance.

In our times, this meditative function is once more being brought to the forefront, by scholars like William Mahrt, whereas in 1963 it wasn’t “cool” to bring up this subject.

Father Küng, may I say that I appreciated your adhering to traditional, if archaic, translations into English? Scriptural texts must have unction, and besides, everybody knows what “thy” means. A far cry from a particular “English Mass Demonstration” making the rounds (copyright, if you please) which would have us respond to “The Lord be with you” with a flip: “and with you, too”

Little did Msgr. Schmitt realize that we would (basically) actually adopt that translation, and keep “and also with you” for decades! Gasp! If only we would have used “thee” and “thy” — it’s not too late. As Cardinal Burke said during an interview, this would be a great improvement.

LET US CONSIDER one final example. I found it interesting what Msgr. Schmitt says about concelebration:

[Msgr. Schmitt disagrees with the notion] That the matter of concelebration in the early Church is to be taken for granted. As late as the era of St. Francis there was surely one community sacrifice, regardless of the number of priest-friars present. But there is no certain evidence that even in the early Church this practice constituted a sacramental concelebration. The likelihood is that the priests were just standing at their proper places around the altar, assisting at the sacrifice. The sacramental concelebration which we are accustomed to during the Rite or Ordination is a quite late medieval introduction. It will be interesting to see whether the Council expands or contracts the concept of concelebration brought into the Instruction of 1958.

So, what precisely did the 1958 Instruction say about concelebration?

38. In the Latin Church sacramental concelebration is limited by law to two specifically stated cases. The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, in a decision of May 23, 1947 (AAS 49 [1957] 370), declared invalid the concelebration of the sacrifice of the Mass by priests who do not pronounce the words of consecration, even though they wear the sacred vestments, and no matter what their intention may be. But when there are many priests gathered for a meeting, it is permissible “for only one of their number to celebrate a Mass at which the others (whether all of them or many) are present, and receive Holy Communion from one priest celebrant”. However, “this is to be done only for a justifiable reason, and provided the Bishop has not forbidden it because of the danger that the faithful might think it strange”; also, the practice must not be motivated by the error, pointed out by the Supreme Pontiff Pius XII, which taught that “the celebration of one Mass at which a hundred priests devoutly assist is equal to a hundred Masses celebrated by a hundred priests” (cf. Address to Cardinals and Bishops, Nov. 2, 1954: AAS 46 [1954] 669-670; and Address to International Congress on Pastoral Liturgy at Assisi, Sep. 22, 1956: AAS 48 [1956] 716-717).

39. So-called “synchronized” Masses, are, however, forbidden. These are Masses in which two or more priests simultaneously, on one or more altars, so time their celebration of Mass that all their words, and actions are pronounced, and performed together at one and the same time, even with the aid of modern instruments to assure absolute uniformity or “synchronization”, particularly if many priests are celebrating.

Here’s another translation, in some ways clearer:

38. Granted that sacramental concelebration in the Latin Church is limited by law to specific cases, and recalling the response of the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office of May 23, 1957 (AAS 49 [1957] 37), which declared invalid the concelebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass by priests who, though wearing sacred vestments and moved by whatever intention, do not pronounce the words of consecration—it is not prohibited that, where many priests are assembled on the occasion of Congresses, “one alone celebrates while the others (whether all or the majority) participate in the celebration and during it receive the sacred species from the hands of the celebrant,” provided that “this is done for a just and reasonable cause and that the Bishop has not decreed otherwise to avoid startling the faithful,” and provided that in so doing there does not lurk that error pointed out by the Supreme Pontiff Pius XII, which would hold that one Mass at which 100 priests assist with religious devotion is the same as 100 Masses celebrated by 100 priests. (Cf. Address to Cardinals and Bishops, Nov. 2, 1954: AAS 46 [1954] 669-670; and to the International Congress on Pastoral Liturgy at Assisi, Sept. 22, 1956; AAS 48 [1956] 716-717.)

39. What are called “synchronized” Masses are forbidden, however. By this term is understood Masses celebrated in the following way: two or more priests at one or more altars simultaneously celebrating the Mass in such a way that all the actions and all the words are done and said at the same time, even using—particularly if the number of celebrants is large-some modern instruments with which the absolute uniformity or “synchronization” can more easily be achieved.