Monday, July 03, 2006

Ex cathedra

Apparently, Pope Benedict decided that only Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony are worthy musical accompaniments for the Mass. Tell Beethoven, Bruckner, Mozart, Haydn, and the rest of them that their Masses - polyphonic only in the most tenuous of ways, and more chromatic than anything else - that Pope Benedict has no need of their contributions of the Church. What utter nonsense; I can only thank Providence that he didn't make this a matter of faith and morals, thus binding me to his taste in church music.

A.C. Douglas, as much as I have enjoyed his last handful of posts, really should bone up on the rules and history of the Church. A pope just can't go about abrogating the decrees of an Ecumenical Council. Furthermore, no decree - not Sacrosanctum Concilium, not Missale Romanum (which is technically post-Conciliar) - mandates the vernacular Mass. The official text of the 1975 Ordo Missae cum populo is still as Latin as it gets. The major Conciliar decree on the matter suggests making the Mass more palatable to the common folk, not redacting and revising the Mass wholesale. In fact, Sacrosanctum Concilium only suggests saying some prayers in the vernacular and altering a few parts of the Proper. The Roman Canon was preserved, largely untouched by Pope Paul VI and the 1975 books use that Canon.

Furthermore, the John XXIII (Tridentine, Latin, or wacko) Mass was never banned and certainly hasn't had any sort of pall on it since 1988, when Pope John Paul II excommunicated Archbishop Lefebvre and permitted reinstitution of the 1962 books in Ecclesia Dei adflicta.

And people wonder why no one pays any attention to the Roman Church.


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