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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“In spite of what it is currently called, the music of these songs is not modern: this musical style is not new, but has been played in the most profane places and surroundings (cabarets, music halls, often for more or less lascivious dances with foreign names). The people are led on to rock or swing. They all feel an urge to dance about. That sort of “body language” is certainly alien to our Western culture, unfavorable to contemplation and its origins are rather suspect. Most of the time our congregations, which already find it hard not to confuse the crochets and the quavers in a 6/8 bar, do not respect the rhythm; then one no longer feels like dancing, but with the rhythm gone to pieces, the habitual poorness of the melodic line becomes all the more noticeable.”
— Unnamed choirmaster (Northern France) circa 1986

Cardinal Sarah’s Missing Paragraph…
published 3 October 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

ISHOP RENÉ GRACIDA recently posted an article (“I Used To Be A Human Being”) on his personal blog. The author was someone I never heard of—Andrew Sullivan—but I found his article intriguing (and eerily true). Speaking of cell phone addiction, I personally have never been a fan of photography during Mass, and if you carefully examine the speech given by Cardinal Sarah on 5 July 2016, you’ll notice that he condemns in the strongest terms priests taking pictures during Mass. 1

Cardinal Sarah initially said nothing about the laity taking pictures at Mass.

But after the conference ended, Cardinal Sarah published a revised version that included this paragraph:

It is equally a scandal and profanation for the lay faithful to take photographs during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. They should participate through prayer and not by spending their time taking photos!

The explanation given was that he did not have time to deliver the full comments. 2 However, because pictures were taken during a Mass offered by Cardinal Sarah at the conference where his comments were delivered—and this photograph is particularly beautiful—his comments require interpretation.

In my view, taking judicious photographs at Mass seems acceptable if the intention is to show our brothers and sisters that a particular parish might be worth exploring, and that reverence for the Blessed Sacrament can be found there. This should be only be done with the celebrant’s permission.

Apropos recordings at Mass, the FSSP.la choir was asked to sing for an 8:00am Saturday Mass during a conference by the Society for Catholic Liturgy, which ended last Saturday.

Here we are warming up:

The following are snippets from the actual Mass. Somebody had a pocket recorder in the Soprano section, which means the Soprano line sometimes comes through too loud. I apologize for the poor quality of the recording, but I hope anyone looking to join a Roman Catholic choir will give us a look:

    * *  Mp3 “Live” • KYRIE (Guerrero)

    * *  Mp3 “Live” • GLORIA (Viadana)

    * *  Mp3 “Live” • ALLELUIA (Guerrero)

    * *  Mp3 “Live” • HYMN TO THE SACRED TRINITY (Guerrero)

    * *  Mp3 “Live” • SANCTUS (Guerrero)

    * *  Mp3 “Live” • AGNUS DEI (Guerrero)

In spite of my aversion to photography during Mass (SEE ABOVE), I did snap a quick shot:

973 Society for Catholic Liturgy

Afterwards I was sorry more wasn’t recorded. Some of the contemporary pieces (as well as the SATB hymns) were sung very well. But that’s how the cookie crumbles!


1   If you scroll to the very bottom of an article by Daniel Craig, you’ll see the shocking photograph that may have been the catalyst for Cardinal Sarah’s comments.

2   Some have suggested Cardinal Sarah omitted that paragraph in order not to offend those at the conference, because photographs were being taken—just as they are routinely taken at the Vatican. While I have no reason to doubt the official explanation, I couldn’t help noticing that the missing paragraph would have required only about 11 seconds to include.