Wednesday, March 14, 2007

B16 Totally Rocks - Latin and Gregorian Chant for All!

In his just released Sacrementum Caritatis, which speaks of the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist and its importance, Pope Benedict says the following:

62. None of the above observations should cast doubt upon the importance of such large-scale liturgies. I am thinking here particularly of celebrations at international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater frequency. The most should be made of these occasions. In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, (182) that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin. Similarly, the better-known prayers (183) of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant. (184)

Fortunately, I already attend a parish where Gregorian Chant is sung, though I wouldn't mind more of it, and we could definitely do with more Latin! Not that I expect things to change tomorrow, but it was heartening to read this nonetheless, especially about seminarians being prepared to use Latin and Gregorian Chant, it gives me much hope for the future!

Curtsy to Kate!


Sara said...

Sounds like it might be time to start up a Latin study group. Yay!

kate said...

I really hope that I live to see this become the expected manner of the liturgy in the NO.

Stephanie said...

That would be wonderful, wouldn't it Kate? I believe it will start to blossom in our lifetime...there are already many orthodox new priests popping up who have a love of the more traditional liturgical practices. I don't mean to sound disrespectful to our parents' generation, but I think as they dwindle, the hippy dippy type masses will be less and less prominent.

elena maria vidal said...

Sounds like you have a great parish!

Stephanie said...

I do, I am extremely blessed!!

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog today, after following a link from I really enjoyed reading your conversion story. As a Catholic who spends a lot of time on ecumenical activities with non-Catholic Christians, I find I need a great deal of patience in responding to anti-Catholic attitudes in a spirit of charity and agape love. People sometimes say hurtful things without realizing. Reading your story helped me to understand better the way of thinking of some non-Catholic Christians and especially the CoC (although I rarely come across any CoC members in Hong Kong, where I am based). Thank you for sharing your story with us.

With that as an intro, may I make one very small critical comment? The term "hippy dippy" in your last comment is confusing to me. Do you mean any mass with guitars? Or something more specific? I'm afraid it sounds to my ear like a term of ridicule, which of course was not your intention, but it could come across that way.

I think Sacramentum Caritatis is about raising up and giving emphasis to overlooked traditions like Latin and Gregorian Chant. It is not denigrating new traditions that have emerged: "The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost.....Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed (130) as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy (131)." (paragraph 42)


Stephanie said...

How neat that you're in Hong Kong! Thanks for stopping by =)

As for the term hippy-dippy, well it's mostly a reference to the new age and modern abuses which have cropped up in masses around the country, largely coming out of the hippy era, the late 60s and 70s. By this I mean such things as liturgical dance, and using secular and/or theologically incorrect music at mass (We once heard "Imagine" being played at mass, "Imagine there's no heaven..." uh..yeah...), or trying to make mass into a social event rather than what it is supposed to be, etc. Basically, I mean by the term the rebellious attitude, the lack of respect for authority and the refusal to follow the guidelines set out for the liturgy in the GIRM and elsewhere. This spirit of rebellion, flippancy, and contempt for the "rules" is what I meant to refer to.

I certainly don't mean to say that any modern music or instrumentation is automatically bad, certainly not. And I certainly don't mean anything about guitars, we have a guitar at our Sunday evening mass that is beautiful (he does usually stick to classic sacred music which I prefer, lol, but even so I see nothing wrong with guitars in general.) Musically speaking, some of the more modern music may not be my up of tea, but that's ok. =) As long as it's theologically accurate and respectful, reverent enough for mass, and most importantly as long as it is within the bounds of what is allowed for the liturgy according to the GIRM, it's ok in my book!

God Bless!