WENTY YEARS AGO, nobody could have predicted that a future pope would issue a decree attempting to curb the spread of the Latin Mass (as a result of its burgeoning popularity among the faithful). Even five years ago, if someone had claimed the CDW would browbeat local bishops to convince them to ostracize Catholics who obtain spiritual consolation from the ancient rites, such a prediction would have been mocked. Indeed, future Catholics will scratch their heads vis-à-vis the post-conciliar years—especially with regard to public declarations by high-ranking clerics saying that “obeying Vatican II” means doing the opposite of what Vatican II explicitly mandated. I don’t pretend to understand why God has allowed certain things to happen. Nevertheless, the response of a faithful Christian must be to pray (earnestly) to God: “Do with me what Thou wilt…”
Calmness • The saints possessed great serenity and peace of soul. Of course, I can’t speak for my colleagues—but I suspect they would agree it’s best to avoid running around “as if one’s hair is on fire.” We should not proceed in a frenzied, panic-stricken manner. Rather, let us pray each morning for the grace to do God’s Will. Having done that, let us undertake our work with tranquility. Catholic monks, by means of a shovel, would remove one ‘scoop’ from the ground each morning. They were—quite literally—digging their own grave. This was done to remind them that “you know neither the day nor the hour” (Mt 25:13).
Psychologist • According to psychologists, you should never mention just one thing. You should never say: “I love my car for many reasons; for example, I love that it’s painted red.” Some people listening won’t understand. In their mind, what you said was: “I love my car for just one reason—because it’s red.” Therefore, I’m taking a risk by mentioning one thing we do here at CORPUS CHRISTI WATERSHED. [Okay, here goes!] One of the many things we do here is make it possible for Catholic musicians to understand our history and tradition. Therefore, we hunt for, obtain, and (painstakingly) scan rare books. Then we make them available online for free!
Extremely Rare Book • Today, we release a professional scan of a book which is extremely rare. We obtained this treasure through the generosity of John Greutman. Our organization paid a lot of money to have it scanned professionally. We believe this book is part of the THESAURUS MUSICAE SACRAE, which Vatican II said must be “preserved and fostered with great care.”
* PDF Download • “LIBER CANTUS GREGORIANI”—1,864 pages!
—IMPRIMATUR 28 December 1950; Dessain (Belgium).
Title Of This Book • The book is called: Liber cantus Gregoriani: complectens Missas, Vesperas et Completorium ad singulos anni dies necnon et parvas horas diebus festivis ex ultimis editionibus Vaticanis. Translated into English: “Book of Gregorian Chant Including Masses, Vespers and Compline for individual days of the year as well as the Little Hours on Feasts from the most recent Vatican editions.” It has completely different typesetting (!) than the 1951 Mechlin Graduale I released in 2008. This book contains as much (or more!) as what is contained in the famous “Liber Usualis” of Solesmes Abbey.
Re: Official Rhythm:
No Weird Stuff (A) • In his 1977 tome, Monsignor Francis P. Schmitt spoke of attending Mass at the SAINT JOSEPH ORATORY in Montreal. He said their choir (consisting of 80+ singers) was as fine as any on the continent. According to Monsignor Schmitt: “A polyphonic Creed was sung during the distribution of Communion.” To my liturgical sensibilities, it’s quite ‘odd’ or ‘strange’ or ‘weird’ to sing a polyphonic Creed during the distribution of Holy Communion. I’m against doing things which are weird during the sacred liturgy. [By the way, I know what Saint Joseph’s Oratory was trying to do. It was attempting to preserve the THESAURUS MUSICAE SACRAE in an era where there was great hostility to following the mandates of Vatican II.]
No Weird Stuff (B) • Somebody might say: “But Jeff, don’t you sing Gregorian Chant in a weird way?” No, I do not. I sing according the system of rhythm mandated by the Congregation of Sacred Rites under Pope Saint Pius X. The book we released above (all 1,864 pages of it!) is a testimony to the reality that many publishers followed the official rhythm. The SCHWANN GRADUALE is another example, as is the version published by the Vatican Polyglot Press. And we will be releasing even more editions over the coming months.
Here’s an example taken from the official edition:
But the edition by Dom Mocquereau—which became very popular—added all kinds of extra elongations (while eliminating many of the elongations mandated by the official edition). Here is how that same antiphon appears in the version by Dom Mocquereau:
Problems With Mocquereau (A) • Dom Mocquereau claimed that most of his additions were based upon a handful of manuscripts, for which he had a predilection. One problem with Mocquereau’s editions is that they (supposedly) reproduce the rhythm from a handful of manuscripts, but they ignore close to 10,000 other manuscripts, which are also part of the THESAURUS MUSICAE SACRAE.
Problems With Mocquereau (B) • There’s another problem. Imagine if each editor had done what Dom Mocquereau did. That is to say, imagine that each editor had selected a handful of manuscripts (for which they had affection) and then modified the official edition based on those. Does anyone think that would be a good idea?
“As Many As Possible” • Katharine Ellis has suggested that Prior André Mocquereau may have had a financial incentive to make his monastery’s editions “special” or “proprietary” or “distinctive.” Specifically, when Dom Mocquereau learned that other companies might attempt to superimpose proprietary symbols over the official edition, Mocquereau was advised to “put as many rhythmic signs as possible in the Gradual and Antiphoner.” In spite of the Vatican decrees, he did precisely that! Indeed, when the GRADUALE appeared (12 march 1908) followed by the ANTIPHONALE (20 December 1912), Dom Mocquereau added so many modifications, many melodies became unrecognizable.
Strongly-Worded Letter! • Indeed, when Dom Mocquereau learned (in January of 1905) that another printer was planning to do what he had done—viz. add rhythmic signs to the official edition based on particular manuscripts—he became full of “rage” according to Katharine Ellis. He wrote an angry letter to one of his supporters in Rome. Referencing his “proprietary” rhythmic modifications, Dom Mocquereau said these modifications constituted:
“our only means to……………………”
What precisely did those ellipses mean? Dr. Katharine Ellis, a professor at the University of Cambridge, claims on page 94 (The Politics of Plainchant in fin-de-siècle France, 2013) that Dom Mocquereau’s meaning was “patently obvious” to his correspondent. That is to say, his point was: these proprietary modifications were his monastery’s “only means” (seul moyen pour nous…) to beat the competition.