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 main place should be given, all things being equal, to gregorian chant, as being proper to the roman Liturgy. Other kinds of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.”
— 2011 GIRM, §41 (Roman Missal, 3rd Edition)

Elvis Presley, Offertory Processions, & “Alius Cantus”
published 2 February 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

384 Offertory Procession 1940s ACK IN 2013, we uploaded the complete 1965 Missal, which has generated a considerable amount of interest among those seeking to understand the reformed rites. I was recently made aware of an incredible video which shows an “Offertory Procession” from the 1960s:

      * *  Video • Elvis Presley & 1965 Missal

I’m not kidding. Click the link to see for yourself.

If you scroll down, you’ll see that Offertory processions and “versus populum” were started before the 1960s in some locations. Progressive liturgists of the 1940s justified processions at the Offertory because “the rubrics don’t specifically say they cannot be done.” However, when today’s priests try to reintroduce more traditional practices by means of “mutual enrichment,” these same liturgists complain. A double standard appears to be at work…

In any event, I would say three things about this video: *

1. A most destructive force at work after the Second Vatican Council has been a “loophole” which allows musicians to substitute alius cantus congruus (“anything else appropriate”) for the official Propers assigned by the Church. Only recently have books such as the Jogues Pew Missal made the official texts accessible to congregations. Hopefully more parishes will consider using these assigned texts (in English or Latin).

2. People justify alius cantus congruus in the name of “people participating at Mass.” They fail to realize that when you replace the official texts and sing something else—like Elvis did in that video—you’re no longer participating at Mass the way the Vatican II fathers desired.

3. Everything says something. Everything. If we eliminate the Mass Propers, we must replace them with something. Therefore, we cannot fault Elvis for what he did in that video.


Based on a quick Google search, I assume the video clip comes from a movie I’ve never seen called Change of Habit. Obviously, a film is not real, but in this case, it gives us a glimpse into what was happening in some Catholic Churches during the 1960s.


*   Regarding number 1, the GIRM says any substitute texts must be approved by the local bishop. The USCCB Committee on the Liturgy—in clear contradiction to the GIRM—declared that this requirement can be ignored. However, several Canonists have said the USCCB does not have the power to overrule the GIRM, and official replies by the Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law support this view.