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Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Deacon John M. Bresnahan

Unfortunately, I think the only way that genuine good, devout, sacred music is going to make it back into the parishes is for Rome or the bishops to ban certain horrendously insipid, or virtually heretical, treacle and saccharine dripping "pop" hymns by name.

Another Steve

Hear hear, and listen to the applause.


I would like to know when the Directory of Music and Liturgy mentioned here: USCCB Subcommittee Report will actually be voted on. In the document, we are supposed to get a directory of liturgical songs that are doctrinally correct, based on Scripture and liturgy, and "relatively" fixed in number.

Brian John Schuettler

The essential question to me will be the response and reaction of the Roman Catholic Church in America (notice that I did not say the American Catholic Church) to any potentially "required" changes to liturgical music. All one need do is read all the comments in the related article regarding liturgical music to realize that there is a vast divergence of opinion about what constitutes valid and/or good music during the Eucharistic Celebration. My own personal opinion is that I cannot see most of the American bishops or priests having any desire whatsoever to change anything that they will perceive as a "return to pre-Vatican 2". This brings up for me a nagging concern that any "reform of the reform" that B16 may attempt will only be as successful as the Shepherds of the flock in the good old USA are willing to implement. I suggest much prayer is necessary for discernment of the Father's Will.

Celestial SeraphiMan

Shall we pray for the renewal of liturgial music?

Brian John Schuettler



There needs to be closer monitoring of the American bishops. The last thing we need is a situation like the Anglicans are facing. Rome _needs_ to get very involved in the Church in America. The Church in America today is not at all what it was pre-V2. Now, it is very much a mission field. There needs to be greater training in American English and customs for foreign priests who can serve as missionaries to America. Rome needs to nip liturgical abuse and theological error in the bud- start censuring and/or removing bishops who deviate from the clear instruction of the Magisterium of the Church. The bishops need to be reminded that not only is every Catholic subject to their bishop, but every Catholic is also personally subject directly to the Pope.

Rome had given a greater degree of autonomy to the USCCB. It's about time that Rome considers that the American bishops have abused their authority and are neglecting their duties toward the faithful. We need Papal intervention NOW before the situation gets truly out of hand and schism threatens. I realize that if Rome is too heavy-handed that might also lead to rebellion, but I would counter that rebellion is already happening and it is very much out in the open. As much as I'd love for all souls to be saved, we need to cut off the ones that are infecting the Body of Christ with their errors. We can either remove the tumor or cut off the whole limb. I surmise that removing the cancer of error from the American arm of the Body of Christ is clearly a superior solution to losing the entire arm. Sometimes I'm not so sure that Rome sees it that way.


We need Papal intervention NOW....Sometimes I'm not so sure that Rome sees it that way.

I would suggest that the Bishop of Rome certainly doesn't see his role as micromanaging the Church, in America or elsewhere. Having read some of his works, it seems as if BXVI emphasizes a community of Bishops acting through the Holy Spirit over a Papal dictator who rules with full authority. Consequently, Pope Benedict will probably limit his own participation and instruction to those Bishop Conferences outside of Rome.

Not to say that Rome won't intervene at some point in the future, but if the John Kerry communion scandal serves as any indication, Rome would only present boundaries instead of rulings. And as others have said, those boundaries would only be enough if they specifically called out every piece of music that ought to be banned, otherwise the non-orthodox elite who have infiltrated the Church will just sidestep the instructions - as they have done with other liturgical instructions in the past...kneeling, bowing before the Eucharist, placing the Tabernacle in the center of the Church, and so forth.


The problem is that the bishops do not respect the boundaries. There is no real accountability. The bishops are, in effect, rejecting Rome's authority. I think it is wise for the Pope to let local affairs be managed by the bishops, but in a situation where a large number of bishops are in open rebellion against the Pope's authority, I think the Holy Father needs to step in and take swift, decisive action- Even if it means publically calling out specific bishops by name and if that isn't enough, removing them altogether.

Brian John Schuettler

I concur with your comments, Augustine, and also feel the frustration with the current situation in America. I also have a special association with the Eastern Rite Liturgy. A very dear friend of our family named Father Joseph Ledit, S.J., of fond memory, was allowed to start a Russian Rite Church in Montreal named the Church of the Presentation. His ministry for the last two decades of his life was the spiritual care and direction of Russian Catholic immigrants to Quebec. My son received his first Communion and Confirmation in that Church and the beauty of the Mass of St. John Chrysostom is unfortunately in stark contrast to most of the Masses in our Latin Rite. We can only hope and pray that something comes out of the Holy Father's deep interest and concern for the renewal. Keep the faith, my friend.


I'm considering joining an SSPX church. What do you think?


I think SSPX go a bit too far in that they almost seem to worship the liturgy itself. What I mean is that they seem to not be able to view the Tridentine Mass in the context of history.

A) There are other masses that are perfectly legitimate and historical, besides the Tridentine
B) The Tridentine is actually one of the most recent of those masses
C) It is indeed possible to worship in a mass translated into another language and not lose the elegance and sacredness of the original. I can assure you that the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom and of St. Basil does a fine job of conveying a sense of awe and sacredness in Church Slavonic or in Arabic. In all honesty, I've been to Greek liturgies, but since I don't know Greek, I can't comment on how good a translation they are in a literal sense, but they are pious and holy translations. ROCOR even has a very fine translation of the Great Liturgy into English which loses nothing from the Slavonic from which it was translated (which in itself is a translation from Greek).

So, I would be a little cautious about SSPX. Although they seem to have the right motivation and spirit, they unfortunately seem stuck on an insistence of preserving the Tridentine Mass in Latin and not really leaving any room for translation or alternative liturgies, which is taking the mass completely out of the context of the history and Sacred Tradition of the Church. They are right that the Mass post-V2 has become a mess. The English translation, in particular, is a mess, and it has been abused incredibly since its adoption. But I think they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It seems to be a bit of an overreaction, not unlike Luther's reaction to the abuses in his day.

When SSPX denounces what they call the "Novus Ordo," they seem to always nitpick on particular words that are translated differently from the plain meaning of the Latin of the Tridentine. They're right to be concerned because the English says some things that are quite frankly easy to interpret in a heretical way. But their insistence on word-for-word faithfulness to the Tridentine is going overboard. Would they deny the sanctity and efficacy of the mass of say, the Ambrosian Rite, or the Byzantine? The Byzantine churches do things much differently and express things in much different terms than the Latin. Yet, these traditions existed side-by-side for over a thousand years. There have been tensions, but the main bone of contention between the Eastern Orthodox and the Holy See has been over papal authority and the insertion of the filioque without the consultation of an ecumenical council. Those that have reconciled themselves with Rome have been allowed to retain their traditions and rites precisely because they have always been viewed as valid.

I'm afraid that SSPX has a very narrow view of Catholic orthodoxy, not unlike what you see among the Protestants, where everyone is insisting that they have the one, true, and only correct set of doctrines and you have literally tens of thousands of denominations because of it. They double talk their allegiance to the Pope and try to have it both ways, agreeing to what they like and rejecting what they don't. They come up with all sorts of creative logic to get around the parts of the Magisterial teaching that they don't like.

I, personally, would try to avoid them. But pray on it. I just think that going to SSPX is like taking one step forward, but two steps back.


Thanks for the input, A. I ask in part because I've been exploring this Trad site:

Mary Hamilton

Here's a fine source of free sheet music for all kinds of Orthodox/Byzantine/Russian chants that are free for downloading if you want to try some for your choir. The troparia and kontakia are easy to sing in either the Byzantine chants or the Russian ones, and are best sung unaccompanied though an organ can be played softly if necessary.

Here's the URL:


Best wishes,


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