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.
Connect on Facebook:
Connect on Twitter:
Two pages of modal exercises reflect Liszt’s lively theoretical curiosity. On those pages he analysed the construction, transpositions, and “points of repose” of several modes, copied out several types of tetrachords, and jotted down several definitions of the effects and characters of certain modes. {…} Modality was not the only element of Gregorian chant that intrigued Liszt. Rhythm too was the object of his “studies.” He also copied out plainchant melodies using modern instead of square notation. In his letter from July 24, 1860, to Carolyne, Liszt refers to the necessity of this “modern” practice.
— Nicolas Dufetel on Franz Liszt's interest in plainsong

Fascinating! • Tridentine “Permission Slip” (1985)
published 23 October 2019 by Jeff Ostrowski

80973 holy family OLINESS IS SOMETHING each one of us must attain. We have no choice except to be a saint—unless we want to spend eternity suffering in Hell. One of the great enemies of holiness is gossip; especially since it wastes energy that could be spent on good works. We must guard against dwelling on the evils in the Church. That being said, we are never obligated to hide the truth. If someone forced me to compile a list of the most corrupt bishops ever to serve in the United States, Archbishop Rembert Weakland (Milwaukee, 1977-2002) would definitely make the top ten. Bishops, priests, and monks who knew him dubbed Weakland “rotten to the core.”

Through Twitter, we were sent this fascinating “permission” slip:

    * *  PDF Download • “Permission Slip” to attend Latin Mass (1985)

It references a document bravely promulgated by Pope Saint John Paul II:

    * *  PDF Download • “Quattuor abhinc annos” (1984) — Latin/English

There is great concern over whether someone might bring a son or daughter:

80980 permission slip LATIN MASS

According to that letter, a parent is forbidden to bring, for example, a handicapped child, unless the child applied for (and received in advance) a “permission” slip. Archbishop Weakland seems terrified a young Catholic might experience what the saints for 1,000 years experienced—but what harm is there in attending Holy Mass?  Wicked beyond a doubt!

From Google, I see that Mr. Greg DiPippo has posted another “Tridentine permission slip” from Texas:

    * *  PDF Download • Diocese of Austin (1988)

Do you see what Bishop John McCarthy says at the bottom? 1

While I hope that this arrangement is satisfactory to you, I would ask you to be aware that the vast, vast majority of our people prefer to pray in a language that they understand, and it is the teaching of the Universal Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, that they be allowed to do so. Please continue to pray that Christ’s Church will grow evermore united.

Bishop John McCarthy was not telling the truth:

(1) The Second Vatican Council mandated the use of Latin. It was not a suggestion. For example: Read what page 18 says about “servetur.”

(2) The Second Vatican Council mandated the use of Gregorian chant. Gregorian chant is sung in Latin.

(3) Bishops such as John McCarthy were remarkably poor judges of what “the vast, vast majority” of Catholics felt and knew about the Catholic Faith, to say nothing of their erroneous predictions about “a new springtime.” He was in no position to say what Catholics “prefer.”

(4) Assisting at the Sacred Mass has very little to do with what Catholics prefer. I might “prefer” to attend Mass while laying on the beach—but that doesn’t mean it’s good for my soul.

Bishop John McCarthy should have spent his energy dealing with goofy, uninspired, undignified, heavily syncopated, embarrassing music being used at 1980s Masses. I was a young child, but I’ll never forget the type of music being sung, such as this piece by Paul Inwood:

    * *  Mp3 Sample • “Church” Music by Paul Inwood

Why did Bishop John McCarthy lack the courage to censure such composers? Why did the bishops not spend energy restoring truly sacred and transcendent music such as plainsong, Palestrina, Morales, Lassus, Guerrero, and so forth? These days, I know four (4) dioceses which have spent more than 700 million dollars creating hideous, ugly, disgusting cathedrals—yet these same dioceses claim they have no money to create decent music programs.

Around the same time, an article appeared in Los Angeles (23 February 1985):

Father Arthur Holquin, director of the Office of Worship, estimated that “less than 1%” of the diocese’s 500,000 Catholics would be interested in attending Tridentine Masses.

I don’t know whether Father Arthur Holquin is still alive, but I can tell him this: They tried to kill the traditional Mass, but it wouldn’t die. We are back! And the Weakland “permission slip” now looks totally absurd and bizarre.

On the bright side, many “enemies” of Tradition ended up switching their views. For example, the bishop who tried to shut down Mother Angelica because of “ad orientem” a few years later fell in love with saying the Traditional Latin Mass. To give another example, a priest in a major city (which shall remain nameless) once fired his musician for using Latin—yet that same priest now offers Mass exclusively in the Extraordinary Form. I could cite more examples.


1   In contrast to Bishop McCarthy’s assertion that “the Universal Church, guided by the Holy Spirit” teaches that Catholic people are allowed “to pray [the Mass] in a language that they understand,” the Universal Church actually anathematizes those who say that the Mass ought only to be celebrated in the vernacular. Cf. Council of Trent (Session XXII, Canon IX): Si quis dixerit Ecclesiae Romanae ritum, quo submissa voce pars Canonis et verba Consecrationis proferuntur, damnandum esse: aut lingua tantum vulgari Missam celebrari debere; aut aquam non miscendam esse vino in Calice offerendo, eo quod sit contra Christi institutionem: anathema sit. [If anyone says that the rite of the Roman Church, by which a portion of the Canon and the words of the Consecration are pronounced in a quiet tone, is to be condemned: or that the Mass ought only to be celebrated in the common language; or that water is not to be mixed with the wine when offering the Chalice, for it is contrary to the institution of Christ, let him be accursed.] Furthermore, those who wish to understand Latin can learn the language—just as they can Spanish or Vietnamese.