ANY CHANGES made to the sacred liturgy during the 1960s are (with the benefit of hindsight) worthy of sober scrutiny. To mention just one: for each Mass in the Ordinary Form, no fewer than eight (8) options are fully licit for the Responsorial Psalm. This has been referred to as a “kaleidoscope of confusion.” Others call it a “tyranny of options.” But when a deacon, priest, bishop, or cardinal questions any aspect of the reform, he is immediately dismissed as a reactionary who “rejects” Vatican II. But what specifically does rejecting Vatican II mean? That question is never answered. Our blog authors have written hundreds of articles vis-à-vis Vatican II mandates which have been ignored completely. For example, in a 2021 article I provided twelve (12) specific Vatican II directives ignored by most bishops for the last sixty years. (I have more to say about this below.)
Who “We” Are • So what are we supposed to do? By “we” I mean those who cherish our Catholic heritage. I mean those unwilling to “conceal” or “keep quiet about” the powerful testimonies from the reformers themselves who admitted—either contemporaneously or later in life—that many reforms were done hastily and should be reversed. I mean those who agree with a filmed interview wherein Cardinal Ratzinger said: “We are today not another Church as 500 years ago. It is always the same the Church.”
Imitating Father Vianney • Let’s remember that SAINT JOHN MARY VIANNEY (d. 1859) didn’t experience the Roman Rite. In France when he was alive, they had the so-called neo-Gallican rites, which Abbat Guéranger fought against. Indeed, it’s said that Catholic priests imprisoned together during the Revolution of 1789AD couldn’t recite the Divine Office together because each French diocese had its own “use” or rite. And yet, Father Vianney became the patron saint of parish priests! In other words, Father Vianney didn’t just throw up his hands, saying: “If I can’t have the Roman Rite in all its purity, there’s no sense in serving God at all.”
Mass Setting For Corrinne • I’m honored to know a platinum artist named CORRINNE MAY. A few years ago, she founded a choir in Singapore which garnered 30+ members within a short period of time! Her church is Ordinary Form, meaning certain “restraints” are placed on the music. For example, in the Extraordinary Form the KYRIE is sung while other things are happening—just like the Eastern rites—but in the Ordinary Form that’s not the case. To make a long story short, I created my Mass Setting in Honor of Saint Noël Chabanel for Corrinne May.
“EF” Adaptation • Some of the movements work well for the Extraordinary Form. For instance, my volunteer choir sang (Mp3) the “ALLELUIA” on 21 January 2024. It’s possible to adapt the KYRIE movement for the Extraordinary Form. We sang this setting (with my volunteer choir) for the first time yesterday.
Polyphony is used on the 3rd, 6th, and 9th invocation:
* PDF Download • KYRIE ADAPTATION (Extraordinary Form)
—Demonstrating how Jeff’s “Chabanel Kyrie” can be used in the Extraordinary Form.
M A recording made on 11 February 2024: https://ccwatershed.org/34215/
Vladimir Horowitz • As you can hear by that ‘live’ recording, I need to remember to encourage my choir members to stop rustling their papers! (How do you prevent noise from page turns?) When Vladimir Horowitz played his famous television concert at Carnegie Hall in 1968, the programs were printed on velvet to eliminate any page turn noise.
OHN VIANNEY did not live to see the Roman Rite restored in France. Nor did he live to see the restoration of Carmen Gregorianum that took place under Abbat Joseph Pothier and Pope Saint Pius X. In a certain sense, however, that doesn’t matter. That’s because Father Vianney now enjoys the BEATIFIC VISION—meaning there’s absolutely nothing lacking in his bliss and happiness. That being said, I don’t believe the current liturgical situation will last forever. Cooler heads will prevail someday, meaning that “defending” or “speaking out in favor of” or “acknowledging the existence of” the Church’s perennial traditions will no longer entail risking censure or exile. But that time is not now.
Repressive Environment (1 of 4) • I know several brilliant priests who refuse to publish anything liturgical because even stating facts is out of the question in today’s ruthlessly repressive environment. A certain cadre (which shall remain nameless) seem to believe the Catholic Church began in 1962. They claim Vatican II is the only council that matters, and any councils that came before it constitute garbage to be discarded and ignored. I don’t feel the need to “go into detail,” as our readers know all too well what I’m talking about.
Repressive Environment (2 of 4) • My conversations with young priests all over the world have convinced me that someday it will be possible to examine the liturgical reforms in a sober and objective way. It will no longer be forbidden to quote the actual reformers, such as the prelate in charge of all liturgical reforms: CARDINAL LERCARO. What did Cardinal Lercaro say? When asked to name liturgical abuses that were damaging and reprehensible—“fanciful” and “deplorable” to use his exact words—Cardinal Lercaro cited (a) Communion in the hand; (b) a Celebrant reciting the Canon in an audible voice. As readers know, both (!!!) are currently mandated. Furthermore, in a letter (25 January 1966) to the bishops’ conferences, Cardinal Lercaro called female altar servers “a grave infraction.” I suppose somebody could say: “Well, Cardinal Lercaro can be ignored because he didn’t know what he was talking about.” The problem with that argument is—as I already mentioned—Cardinal Lercaro was the one in charge of all the liturgical reforms!
Repressive Environment (3 of 4) • The time is not now, but someday it will no longer be forbidden to quote FATHER LOUIS BOUYER, (a close friend of Pope Paul VI ) who was responsible for creating EUCHARISTIC PRAYER NUMBER II back in 1968. Bouyer was certainly no “traditionalist”—cf. page 4 of his Liturgical Piety (1954). He’d been a leader in liturgical reforms for years, and served on Bugnini’s Concilium in the 1960s. When Bouyer saw the results of the reforms, he had a change of heart and referred to the liturgical reforms as “the pathetic creature we produced.” Moreover, Father Bouyer admitted the reformers of the 1960s had no chance of success, since their goal had been “recasting from top to bottom—and in a few months!—an entire liturgy which had required twenty centuries to develop” [cf. Memoirs of Louis Bouyer, page 219]. Indeed, the testimony given by Father Louis Bouyer vis-à-vis Archbishop Hannibal Bugnini nothing short of terrifying:
On 28 August 1964, ARCHBISHOP HEENAN lamented the liturgical reform’s direction, writing (in a private letter to Evelyn Waugh): “The Mass is no longer the Holy Sacrifice but the Meal at which the priest is the waiter. The bishop, I suppose, is the head waiter and the Pope the Patron.”
Repressive Environment (4 of 4) • Perhaps the most important witness of all was CARDINAL ANTONELLI, who had been appointed by Pope Saint Paul VI as “Secretary of the Conciliar Commission on the Liturgy” on 4 October 1962. Although Antonelli had initially been utterly gung-ho about the reforms, when he saw how they were enacted he wrote scathing comment after scathing comment in his diaries. Including all his quotations would take too long; therefore, consider just one. “The Consilium,” Cardinal Antonelli wrote:
“…is merely an assembly of people, many of them incompetent, and others well advanced on the road to novelty. The discussions are extremely hurried. Discussions are based on impressions and the voting is chaotic. […] It is unpleasant to find that questions—which, in themselves are not very important, but which have serious consequences—should be discussed and decided by an organ which functions such as this.”
I could easily spend the next 24 hours including a tons more quotations, but hopefully the reader has gotten the gist.
Cathedral Rector • Regarding the current climate of liturgical scholarship, I recently received the following message from the rector of a cathedral—I’m redacting his name for obvious reasons—who hails from a country where the temperature is usually very hot:
“Sometimes the atmosphere can be stifling. We feel the burden of the heat, the humidity perhaps. It oppresses us, and we count ourselves lucky if we can retreat into the shelter of an air-conditioned room, not venturing out until the weather changes. What is the atmosphere of the Church at present? Some declare that it’s like springtime, fresh currents stirring, a climate of freedom in which to inquire and discover, freedom to question the prevailing wisdom and established narrative, freedom to critique, freedom to propose alternatives. But others say—or rather whisper—that the atmosphere is stifling, the climate oppressive: they groan in their hearts, and wait for things to change (cf. Rom 8:23).”
Conclusion • My friend Corrinne told me that I usually do a very poor job of concluding my articles. (And she’s correct.) Therefore, let me conclude thus:
(a) Someday, it will be allowed to discuss the merits of the liturgical reforms, but that time is not now;
(b) Just because reforms are needed in the liturgy doesn’t mean we should “throw up our hands” and stop serving JESUS CHRIST;
(c) Let us imitate the example of Saint John Mary Vianney, who did everything he could to make the Mass dignified & beautiful.
* For the record, when the KYRIE ELEISON is sung for the Ordinary Form, the nine-fold version is supposed to be used (just like the Traditional Latin Mass). When it’s spoken, the 1960s six-fold version is used. However, most people seem not to realize this.