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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“Young people have entrusted me with their absolute preference for the Extraordinary Form… […] But, above all, how can we understand—how can we not be surprised and deeply shocked—that what was the rule yesterday is prohibited today? Is it not true that prohibiting or suspecting the Extraordinary Form can only be inspired by the demon who desires our suffocation and spiritual death?”
— Cardinal Sarah to Edward Pentin (23 September 2019)

Something That Would Fix So Much … But Nobody Mentions It
published 16 February 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

750 Queen of Hearts HEN I WAS GROWING UP, my brothers and I hated the villains in television shows, especially the annoying ones. But now I realize that people watching the shows are supposed to hate the villains; that’s why they say “the villain you love to hate.” I suspect this is why the topic of Watergate—a subject I know a lot about—endlessly fascinates historians, who continue producing documentaries about it. After all, Nixon was such a captivating villain! He was passionate, complicated, sneaky, intelligent, and had severe emotional issues. 1

When it comes to Church music, addressing one liturgical abuse would fix a whole bunch of problems instantly—but this abuse is not being promoted by a “bad guy” like Richard Nixon. The villain is…SILENCE.

That’s right: silence. Nobody cares. Nobody will listen. Nobody will lift a finger.

EVER SINCE VATICAN II, CHURCH LAW has required approval from the local bishop to replace the Mass texts—but this requirement has been ignored. Indeed, the Bishops’ Liturgy Committee confirmed on 20 November 2012 that we are not obligated to follow the GIRM. To get around this, they said each local bishop gives his “tacit approval” to texts he’s never seen. To make matters worse, the USCCB “approval” on the front page of some hymnals doesn’t apply to any of the music! But the answer is silence. Nobody cares. As a result, 90% of Church musicians are not taught what Church law requires.

Try sending the following letter to your bishop’s office. You won’t receive a response:

    * *  PDF Download • Sample Letter to your Ordinary

Many liturgical blogs claim they wish to improve the sacred liturgy. Yet, the crucial issue—this purported “tacit approval” which has been abused by 90% of parishes for 40+ years—is never mentioned. Here at Watershed, we will continue doing what we can (in our own small way) to promote authentic Church music. But it’s strange how few seem willing to talk about this most serious liturgical abuse.


1   The documentaries often show “good guys” denigrating Nixon, but neglect to mention that many of these men have been caught playing fast and loose with truth. After all, why complicate things? It’s easier to simply make Nixon the “bad guy” and the ones against him the “good guys.” Please note: I’m not excusing Nixon’s deplorable behavior. I’m merely pointing out that many of his enemies were pretty unsavory human beings, too.

Here’s something you might not know. The whole point of Watergate was proving that “nobody, no matter how high up in government, is above the law.” However, at least one highly placed man never got punished for his crimes. You see, the famous source that gave information to Bob Woodward about Watergate was referred to as “Deep Throat”—and people sought his true identity until 2005. It turns out “Deep Throat” was Mark Felt, of the FBI. The reason he waited so many years to reveal his identity was that his actions were highly illegal. Moreover, “spilling” information about cases to the press was against the FBI code of conduct, considered by his colleagues to be extremely dishonorable. Mark Felt went on trial later on for other crimes he committed—having nothing to do with Watergate—but Ronald Reagan pardoned him.

Someone amazingly came to Mark Felt’s defense, giving money to his legal defense fund and even testifying on his behalf in court. That man was Richard Milhous Nixon.