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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"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."
— Pope Benedict XVI, Letter accompanying "Summorum Pontificum" (7/7/07)

Barack Obama & Catholic Sacred Music
published 1 September 2014 by Jeff Ostrowski

907 Nos Autem HE UNITED STATES has three coequal branches of government—Legislative, Executive, and Judicial—which prevent tyranny by means of checks and balances.

Similarly, the postconciliar liturgy has three “coequal” books: (1) Lectionary; (2) Gradual; and (3) Sacramentary. 1 Therefore, it’s necessary to know WHICH BOOK contains WHICH PART of the Mass. Suppose someone exclaimed: “I’ve looked carefully but cannot locate any Supreme Court rulings by Barack Obama.” The correct answer would be: “You won’t find any. You’ve mixed up the branches of government.” Likewise, someone might say: “Having looked carefully, I can’t find any Eucharistic Prayers in the Lectionary.” Again, the correct answer would be, “You’re looking in the wrong book.” 2

EARLIER THIS MONTH, OCP PUBLICATIONS made an announcement both thrilling and troubling. The exciting part is that OCP will publish, before the end of 2014, more than 400 musical settings for Proper antiphons. But here’s the troubling part:

The OCP editions will be available by the end of the year. The original intent of OCP was to create an English Gradual, but ultimately they chose not to include the Offertory Antiphons since they do not exist in the current Missal.   [source]

The statement by OCP is bizarre. It’s like saying: “We’d planned to include the Prefaces but didn’t, because they do not exist in the current Lectionary.”

The fact is, the Prefaces are not found in the Lectionary. Similarly, the Offertory antiphons are not found in the current Missal: they’re found in the Roman Gradual. While it’s true that some Entrance & Communion antiphons are found in the Missal, those are intended for use in Masses without music. If you don’t understand, read this article. (If you don’t have time to read it, just glance at the amusing image!) When questioned further, the same person added:

I can tell you that this project has been a learning process for all involved. […] The concept and understanding of the Gradual was new to many of the OCP editors.

I admit this subject can cause confusion. For instance, here are eleven different collections of the Propers in English, and each is slightly different:

      * *  Eleven Electrifying Collections — Mass Propers in English

Anyone trying to make sense of the Ordinary Form Propers should obtain the Jogues Missal, which presents each Proper in a beautiful & clear way. Moreover, the formatting of every single page is absolutely unique:

905 Jogues IMAGE


1   The Sacramentary is often called a “Missal,” but that’s not an accurate term.

2   I wish somebody had explained this to me in 2005, when I began working for the Ordinary Form. The Extraordinary Form has just one book—the priest’s red Altar Missal—containing all texts necessary for the celebration of Mass.