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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Legitimate and necessary concern for current realities in the concrete lives of people cannot make us forget the true nature of the liturgical actions. It is clear that the Mass is not the time to “celebrate” human dignity or purely terrestrial claims or hopes. It is rather the sacrifice which renders Christ really present in the sacrament.
— Pope Saint John Paul II (20 March 1990)

A Special “Gaudeamus” For 31 May
published 7 May 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

HE FOLLOWING is a special version of the “Gaudeamus” (one of my favorite chants) and will be sung for a Solemn Mass offered by our District Superior on 31 May in Los Angeles. You are invited to attend, and we’d love to see you there.

If you visit the St. Goupil website, you can download the musical score.

Some believe the “translation mess” is the result of Vatican II, but that’s not entirely true. In the 1940s, Pope Pius XII approved a new translation of the Psalter for use in the Divine Office. As far as I know, he didn’t approve new antiphons, so the clerics would use one translation for the antiphon and another for the psalm, even when the psalm contained the antiphon. I’ve spoken to many priests (ordained in the 1940s and 1950s) who have a very low opinion on the Pius XII psalter. To them, it was an artless “piece of garbage” that had no value. My understanding is that Pius XII never imposed this new translation on the Church.

What’s interesting is that the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary—created in the 1950s—replaces the psalm verse for “Gaudeamus” with the Pius XII translation. It’s strange to modify such an ancient chant. Moreover, when that same verse is used for the votive Mass, they did not change it:

521 31 May GAUDEAMUS

Nobody has been able to explain why they would change the verse in one ancient chant but not the other. In early February, I emailed several priests about this topic. 1 Here’s a response by one:

Dear Jeff:

Stranger things have happened, and are happening. Years ago I wrote to the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, asking them why the Gospel for the Last Sunday of Pentecost (Matthew 24: 15-35) was nowhere to be found in the NOVUS ORDO lectionary. Believe me, it isn’t there. They eventually wrote back and agreed with me, saying that I was right and that it might possibly be included in some future edition of the lectionary. So far I don’t think this has happened.

Also, I Corinthians 11: 27-29 (about receiving the Eucharist unworthily) is not found in the NOVUS ORDO lectionary! Is it any wonder that so many Catholics go to Communion, but never go to confession?

With regard to your original question, I know they tried to use the Pius XII psalter for new Feasts, e.g. the feast of St. Pius X.

Here’s how the feast appeared in a Solesmes book from 1957. Notice the antiphon for II Vespers is “Beata Mater,” which is the cantus firmus for our 31 May Solemn Mass.


1   All of them were ordained in the 1950s and all have advanced degrees in Latin.