EBUKE. In this painfully polarized world, is it possible to gently “rebuke” or “correct” or “straighten out” somebody without being accused of attacking them? I have absolutely nothing against Timothy Cardinal Doland. In no way do I wish to attack him. That being said, it cannot be denied that his recent article contains flagrantly ridiculous statements about the liturgy. I don’t have time to rehash and re-litigate his entire article, but let me make a few quick points:
(1) The Second Vatican Council solemnly declared: “The treasury of sacred music [THESAURUS MUSICAE SACRAE] is to be preserved and fostered with great care.” In light of that statement, it is utterly bizarre for Cardinal Dolan to assert that music of excessive length (!) is delaying the Holy Mass and driving people away. I have spent my life making the case that far too much music sung in the Ordinary Form is goofy, undignified, secular, inappropriate, and wholly unworthy of the house of God. As Father Skeris famously asked: “Why does so much post-conciliar church music sound like a toothpaste commercial?” Time and again, I’ve made it clear the musical status quo is completely unacceptable if Catholics really believe what they say they do about the Holy Mass. I’ve publicly lamented how some priests and bishops act as though “preserved and fostered with great care” actually means “forbidden, denigrated, and outlawed” when it comes to the THESAURUS MUSICAE SACRAE. But excessive length? Are you kidding me?
(2) What he said about the Easter Vigil is misguided, and anyone who wants to learn more should purchase the third edition of the Saint Edmund Campion Missal, the preëminent resource vis-à-vis the 20th-century Holy Week changes. Is anyone willing to purchase a copy from SOPHIA INSTITUTE PRESS and present it to Cardinal Dolan in person?
(3) I have been a Catholic my entire life. I have never experienced anything even remotely similar to what he says about “excessively lengthy compositions” like the AGNUS DEI and GLORIA IN EXCELSIS in the Ordinary Form.1
Everybody Loves Raymond • My sister used to watch a show called Everybody Loves Raymond. A famous actress from the television sitcom (named Patricia Heaton) responded on 22 September 2023 to Cardinal Dolan in the following way:
This is more than sad. When the clergy treats the Mass as a chore to get finished as quickly as possible, they should step away. The Mass is the opportunity to receive the actual body and blood of Christ. When you surround that miracle with bad 70’s music and shallow, childish homilies that aren’t intellectually stimulating or spiritually challenging, you lose people. The reason that so many Catholics are asking for traditional and Latin Masses is that they are seeking to experience the sacred wonder of what God did for us over 2000 years ago. It is mystifying that Pope Francis and others seek to squash those who yearn for a true experience of Christ.
1 However, I do admit that if people hate music, or if the music is terrible, or if somebody has only ever listened to pop songs and rock music on the radio their entire life, a 30-second piece can feel like it’s 30 minutes.