Two days ago, we began our long Lent, made longer this year no doubt because of the renouncement by our beloved Holy Father of the See of Peter. We owe much to this man who walks in the Shoes of the Fisherman and one is a new awareness of the Church's liturgy both through Summorum Pontificum and the beginnings of what he called in The Spirit of the Liturgy, the reform of the reform. We have, by the grace of his predecessor Blessed John Paul II and his own work, a new Missal.
On Ash Wednesday evening, I was once again privileged to be able to sing the Holy Mass at the parish where I serve as Cantor each Saturday at the Anticipated Sunday Mass in northwest Toronto. The Mass there is well celebrated in the Ordinary Form.
Let us take a little look of the liturgical music which we put together for that Mass.
Lenten Prose: ATTENDE DOMINE (please join in singing the refrain in Latin, verses in English)
Entrance Antiphon: You are merciful - Cantor
Processional Hymn: O MERCIFUL REDEEMER, CBW #484
Responsorial Psalm: HAVE MERCY ON US LORD, FOR WE HAVE SINNED, CBW #134
Gospel Acclamation: PRAISE TO YOU, O CHRIST, KING OF ETERNAL GLORY
+ + +Blessing and Distribution of Ashes
Antiphons I: Let us changeAntiphon II: Let the priestsAntiphon III: Blot outResponsory: Let us correct (Emendemus)Another chant: TAKE UP YOUR CROSS (if necessary)
+ + +Offertory Antiphon: Let us exult - Cantor
Offertory Hymn: PARCE DOMINE (please join in sing refrain in Latin and verses in English)
SANCTUS Mass XVIII: Roman Missal Chant
MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION: SAVE US, SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD, FOR BY YOUR CROSS AND RESURRECTION YOU HAVE SET US FREE.
AGNUS DEI Mass XVIII: Roman Missal Chant
Communion Antiphon: He who meditates - Cantor
Communion Hymn: LORD JESUS, THINK ON ME
Recessional Hymn: FROM THE DEPTHS OF SIN AND SADNESS, CBW #487
Blessing and Distribution of Ashes
While the Priest places ashes on the head of all those present who come to him, the following are sung:
Antiphon 1: Let us change our garments to sackcloth and ashes, let us fast and weep before the Lord, that our God, rich in mercy, might forgive us our sins.
Antiphon 2 Cf. Jl 2: 17; Est 4: 17: Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, stand between the porch and the altar and weep and cry out: Spare, O Lord, spare your people; do not close the mouths of those who sing your praise, O Lord.
Antiphon 3 Ps 50: 3: Blot out my transgressions, O Lord.
This may be repeated after each verse of Psalm 50 (Have mercy on me, O God).
Responsory Cf. Bar 3: 2; Ps 78: 9: R. Let us correct our faults which we have committed in ignorance, let us not be taken unawares by the day of our death, looking in vain for leisure to repent. * Hear us, O Lord, and show us your mercy, for we have sinned against you. V. Help us, O God our Savior; for the sake of your name, O Lord, set us free. * Hear us, O Lord . . .
Another appropriate chant may also be sung.
CANTARE LA MESSA, DUNQUE, E NON SOLO CANTARE DURANTE LA MESSA
Da più parti è stato chiesto se è ancora valida la formula della Istruzione sulla Musica sacra e la Sacra Liturgia, del 3 sett. 1958, al n. 33: “In Missis lectis cantus populares religiosi a fidelibus cantari possunt, servata tamen hac lege ut singulis Missae partibus plane congruant.”La formula è superata.È la Messa, Ordinario e Proprio, che si deve cantare, e non “qualcosa,” anche se plane congruit, che si sovrappone alla Messa. Perché l’azione è unica, ha un solo volto, un solo accento, una sola voce: la voce della Chiesa. Continuare a cantare mottetti, sia pure devoti e pii (come il Lauda Sion all’offertorio nella festa di un santo), ma estranei alla Messa, in luogo dei testi della Messa che si celebra, significa continuare un’ambiguita inammissibile: dare crusca invece di buon frumento, vinello annacquato invece di vine generoso.Perché non solo la melodia ci interessa nel canto liturgico, ma le parole, il testo, il pensiero, i sentimenti rivestiti di poesia e di melodia. Ora, questi testi devono essere quelli della Messa, non altri. Cantare la Messa, dunque, e non solo cantare durante la Messa.
Documents on the Liturgy 1963–1975: Conciliar, Papal, and Curial Texts (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1982), edited and translated by Thomas C. O’Brien of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 4154 (p. 1299):
Query: Many have inquired whether the rule still applies that appears in the Instruction on sacred music and the liturgy, 3 Sept. 1958, no. 33: “In low Masses religious songs of the people may be sung by the congregation, without prejudice, however, to the principle that they be entirely consistent with the particular parts of the Mass.”
Reply: That rule has been superseded. What must be sung is the Mass, its Ordinary and Proper, not “something,” no matter how consistent, that is imposed on the Mass. Because the liturgical service is one, it has only one countenance, one motif, one voice, the voice of the Church. To continue to replace the texts of the Mass being celebrated with motets that are reverent and devout, yet out of keeping with the Mass of the day (for example, the Lauda Sion on a saint’s feast) amounts to continuing an unacceptable ambiguity: it is to cheat the people. Liturgical song involves not mere melody, but words, text, thought, and the sentiments that the poetry and music contain. Thus texts must be those of the Mass, not others, and singing means singing the Mass not just singing at Mass.
Thus, with tongue only half in cheek, I propose the Index Canticorum Prohibitorum, the "Index of Forbidden Hymns." Herewith, some examples.The first hymns to go should be hymns that teach heresy. If hymns are more than liturgical filler, hymns that teach ideas contrary to Christian truth have no business in the liturgy. "Ashes" is the prime example here: "We rise again from ashes to create ourselves anew." No, we don't. Christ creates us anew. (Unless Augustine was wrong and Pelagius right). ... What's a text that flatly contradicts that teaching doing in hymnals published with official approval?
How do we know the people won't come?
They came on Wednesday.