Pange lingua gloriosi

Of the glorious Body telling,
O my tongue, its mysteries sing,
and the Blood, all price excelling,
which the world’s eternal King,
in a noble womb once dwelling
shed for the world’s ransoming.

Given for us, descending,
of a Virgin to proceed,
man with man in converse blending,
scattered he the Gospel seed,
till his sojourn drew to ending,
which he closed in wondrous deed.

At the last great Supper lying
circled by his brethren’s band,
meekly with the law complying,
first he finished its command
then, immortal Food supplying,
gave himself with his own hand.

Word made Flesh, by word he maketh
very bread his Flesh to be;
man in wine Christ’s Blood partaketh:
and if senses fail to see,
faith alone the true heart waketh
to behold the mystery.

Therefore we, before him bending,
this great Sacrament revere;
types and shadows have their ending,
for the newer rite is here;
faith, our outward sense befriending,
makes the inward vision clear.

Glory let us give, and blessing
to the Father and the Son;
honor, might and praise addressing,
while eternal ages run;
ever too his love confessing,
who, from both, with both is one.

********
Words: Thomas Aquinas (1227-1274);
trans. John Mason Neale, Edward Caswall and others;
as in The English Hymnal, 1906
Music: Pange lingua gloriosi

Meter: 87 87 87

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Pange lingua gloriosi

Of the glorious Body telling,
O my tongue, its mysteries sing,
and the Blood, all price excelling,
which the world’s eternal King,
in a noble womb once dwelling
shed for the world’s ransoming.

Given for us, descending,
of a Virgin to proceed,
man with man in converse blending,
scattered he the Gospel seed,
till his sojourn drew to ending,
which he closed in wondrous deed.

At the last great Supper lying
circled by his brethren’s band,
meekly with the law complying,
first he finished its command
then, immortal Food supplying,
gave himself with his own hand.

Word made Flesh, by word he maketh
very bread his Flesh to be;
man in wine Christ’s Blood partaketh:
and if senses fail to see,
faith alone the true heart waketh
to behold the mystery.

Therefore we, before him bending,
this great Sacrament revere;
types and shadows have their ending,
for the newer rite is here;
faith, our outward sense befriending,
makes the inward vision clear.

Glory let us give, and blessing
to the Father and the Son;
honor, might and praise addressing,
while eternal ages run;
ever too his love confessing,
who, from both, with both is one.

********
Words: Thomas Aquinas (1227-1274);
trans. John Mason Neale, Edward Caswall and others;
as in The English Hymnal, 1906
Music: Pange lingua gloriosi

Meter: 87 87 87

Verdict: The Quartermaster is Right about Cry Rooms

Over a year ago, I wrote a post (entirely grounded upon my opinion) condemning cry rooms in Catholic churches. That post generated a fair amount of traffic, comment and controversy. At least, a “tempest in a teapot” amount of controversy.

Then, in January 2014, the Holy Father baptized a group of babies at the Sistine and said that “the most beautiful choir of all is the choir of the infants who will make a noise…” I posted a followup to the original post on cry rooms entitled: Pope Francis agrees: Children Don’t Belong in Cry Rooms, and Neither Do You. I stated, somewhat “tongue in cheek”, that Pope Francis agrees with me.

Source: Flickr, under Creative Commons license; Author: jason john paul haskins

Source: Flickr, under Creative Commons license; Author: jason john paul haskins

Tongue in cheek because, while I am an avowed opponent of cry rooms myself, it seems fairly apparent (to me, at least), that I don’t speak for our Holy Father.

Everyone knows that fame and Catholic blogging are never partners, but shortly after I posted that blog about Pope Francis, I received an e-mail from a pretty “famous” Catholic “personality” who blogs, who objected (primarily) to the headline and my attempt to conflate the words of Pope Francis. He (fairly) pointed out that the secular media engages in this practice, and we should be careful not to do the same thing to try to bolster our own opinions.

I was somewhat humbled. Disappointed that my first one or two brushes with a “Catholic celebrity” hadn’t exactly garnered me any favorable ratings. I thought it charitable that this person elected not to make his disagreement public without first approaching me privately.

If nothing else, I wanted to be fair. And I was afraid of being denounced. So I changed the title of the blog post and I made a few modifications to the article. I thanked him via e-mail, and told him it had been very exciting to discover that he even knew who I was, much less had taken me seriously enough to spend the time to write me an e-mail.

Although I’m trying to be more circumspect when it comes to inferring the Holy Father’s positions, I don’t think there’s much left to infer regarding the Pope’s opinions regarding cry rooms, because on December 14, 2014, he said this:

“Children cry, they are noisy, they don’t stop moving. But it really irritates me when I see a child crying in church and someone says they must go out. God’s voice is in a child’s tears: they must never be kicked out of church.”

Read the rest here.

Just to be fair, this article does not state that Pope Francis is speaking directly about cry rooms. Okay? But it strains credulity to suggest that a pope is in favor of cry rooms when he says children must never be kicked out of church, because that’s exactly what cry rooms do.

14745079586_c1d31054d3_osuppose, if we must get really pedantic, that some parents may view cry rooms as a comfort or oasis from worry about disturbing others during mass. I suppose that some might not agree that cry rooms equate to being “kicked out of church”.

But I say in response, “If you built it, they will come.” If a parish constructs a cry room, it sends the clear message that crying babies and their errant parents should go there. It sends the clear message that certain members of the faithful are not welcome to take part in mass with the rest of the assembly. In effect, a cry room effectively does what Pope Francis says must never happen.

The Pope’s statement is NOT infallible, magisterial, take it or leave it dogma of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. It falls squarely into a matter normally relegated to the local Ordinary, at least to date (AFAIK). But if you, like me, believe that Pope Francis is the type of pastor who is always pointing to Christ, then we need to earnestly reevaluate whether cry rooms belong in our churches, because as of now it’s not purely about my opinion (or yours).

Because Jesus is totally against Hugging Strangers…..

…..And totally in favor of referring to fellow worshippers as “dirty apes” because of the way they exchange the sign of peace.

Shaking someone’s hand or (shudder at the thought) hugging an old lady in the Presence of Our Lord is just too much of “a terrible interruption to the mass and a distraction from where our collective focus should be at that moment.” Cursing at and deriding others when they extend a hand of friendship is exactly what Mass is all about. Jesus is happiest when you exercise your option and just ignore them.

I can’t wait for Heaven. It’ll be just like Earth, except distraction-free.

New to the Divine Office? Know the tunes for all the Hymns already?

We don’t. And I’m not particularly musical either. But the kids like singing the hymns, so I did a search for a place to easily access the hymns in the breviary for our family to use at Evening Prayer, which we’ve been doing every night since I returned from Guatemala. Turns out that there is a mighty fine blog called Breviary Hymns, which features an index (alphabetical, by first line of the hymn) of every hymn. If you click on the hymn you want, you get a page with some details about the text, melody, tune, and setting, as well as (in most cases) one or two youtube videos with the hymn itself. My favorite videos are the ones without singing, and just the organ playing (i.e., religious karaoke).

Summer + Camping = Outdoor Mass

DSC_0165Mass is usually held in a church. But, have you ever attended mass at an “outdoor church”?

On our most recent coastal retreat (which also included a visit to the first Russian Orthodox Chapel in North America south of Alaska and to Russian River Brewing Company) we all piled into the car on Sunday morning and traveled for over an hour (for a 13-mile trip) along a one-lane, only partially paved, curvy mountain road (which resulted in some white knuckles for the Quartermaster) to arrive at a tiny village called Cazadero, where there is an outdoor church called (and I am not joking about this) — St. Coleman’s!

It’s news to me that there is a St. Coleman, but an Internet search reveals that there are several churches dedicated to this saint here in the United States. According to this, St. Colman of Cloyne was the first bishop of Cloyne (Ireland) who was baptized by St. Brendan at the age of 50. Someone with an affinity for the pun must have suggested him for this outdoor church. I wonder if he can help perform any miracles with broken (lantern) mantles!

DSC_0168The church is sheltered from the road by a stand of tall redwoods on one side and a sloping hill that climbs up into the forest on the other side. The church just received an installation of fresh redwood pews (with kneelers), and features a “natural” altar composed of a huge redwood slab fronted by moss-covered boulders. A crucifix carved from wood is framed before a majestic redwood slightly behind and to the left of the altar.

The liturgy was beautiful. There were 4 cantors accompanied by synthesized piano, but despite the piano, only one or two hymns were of the not excellent Haugen/Haas ilk. The other hymns and accompaniments were rather orthodox. There was no liturgical weirdness;  it was refreshing and gladdening that this wasn’t a place where someone had come up with an “anything goes” mentality for the celebration of mass outdoors. It is one of the most beautiful outdoor churches, and a true church in terms of its layout and its permanence. The roof is the heavens and the walls are the nature surrounding it.

DSC_0167Father “did the red, and said the black”, and delivered an excellent homily on the Ascension which, for its theme, discussed the fact that the Ascension (and Pentecost) points to the “reconciliation” of Heaven and Earth — that we should not be seeking after the idea of “being delivered” from this world in favor of Heaven, but rather looking for this reconciliation here and now (especially at mass!).

As I stated, mass is usually said in a church, and outdoor churches are rare. What other circumstances permit the celebration of mass outdoors? Canon 932.1 says that mass should be said in a “sacred place”, but this is the ideal. In essence, if a “sacred place” is available for use in the celebration of mass, it should be used. It would not be proper to (for example) have a mass under tents in the parking lot of a church. If the church is available (and everyone who wishes to attend the mass can fit inside), it should be used.

But a “sacred place” is not required in order for mass to celebrated. If it were, there would be problems for military chaplains, missionaries in remote places, priests who are traveling and not near a church, etc. There are balancing factors, but the point (as I understand it) is not to make it all about the novelty of outdoor liturgy (or do things which would not otherwise be unsuitable) but rather about the necessity and importance of the Divine Liturgy. We the faithful need the mass, and the Church does not limit its celebration to instances where a “sacred space” is available; the importance of the mass itself eclipses even ordinary requirements. If celebrated properly, a mass outdoors can (and should) be just as reverent and spiritually fruitful.

DSC_0250Since we were camping on this trip with our pastor who joined us on a Sunday evening, we were privileged to celebrate mass at our campsite on Monday and Tuesday. I’ve been camping at this exact campsite for over 25 years, and it’s a really special place for our family, but I never imagined experiencing mass there.

Father reverently celebrated mass ad orientem overlooking the rugged terrain, just a few hundred yards from the Pacific Ocean. My wife pointed out that on one of the two days, Father’s chasuble — which is a “cream” color — appears blazingly white in several pictures, reminding us of this (but inasmuch as we love Father, and believe him to be a holy and saintly priest, we’re not suggesting something miraculous here, just a special type of light captured by the camera).

Outdoor masses are somewhat rare for most of us who live near a Catholic Church, but if you have not experienced one, I suggest you find an outdoor church or invite your favorite priest camping!

IMG_0077

Pope Francis and Reform: this time it’s Music in Sacred Liturgy

Vatican City — Following his first anniversary last month as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, Pope Francis stunned papal watchers yet again this morning during mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, by breaking Church protocol and declaring new norms for the celebration of sacred liturgy when accompanied by music.

“The voices of the faithful are multiplied when joined in prayerful celebration with musical accompaniment,” said the Holy Father, but he alluded that oftentimes a certain preference “for outdated notions of musical presentation,” which are “tied with a particular focus on one form of the celebration” creates “liturgical situations where the voices are discordant, sharp — out of context with the shared cultural understanding of those gathered together.”

rollingThe pontiff developed this theme during his morning fevorino, saying “Indeed, when the Bishop of Rome addressed the gathering of young Catholics at the last World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, he called them to make noise, but this noise that they make should better resonate throughout the Church, like a swell of air that carries song to Heaven.”


“This noise that they make should better resonate throughout the Church, like a swell of air that carries song to Heaven.”


He continued, “Certainly there are some voices in the Church that are consonant” with the “standard — but antiquated — use of pipe organ and polyphony in the Roman rite,” but that “these voices should not comprise the whole of liturgical musical practice,” and they no longer “represent the majority that is present in the New Church.”

“For centuries, musical theologians have likened the organ to a ‘great voice’, like the wind that passes through nature and evokes the breath that carries the Holy Spirit,” the Holy Father continued, “but in recent times we’ve found many more ways of passing that wind. When it comes to making noise — beautiful noise — there is more than just one organ. Wind can be drawn into many different chambers and expelled in just as many ways, and variety can be very pleasing to God.”

calliope


“…in recent times we’ve found many more ways of passing that wind.”


The Holy Father evoked another of his oft-quoted phrases in discussing musical preferences: “If a music director wishes to use a calliope, or accordion, or perhaps a musical instrument from his or her own cultural tradition, so long as it draws air in and passes it through something that makes a beautiful sound, who am I to judge?”

And, the pope remarked, “dismantling pipe organ infrastructure in churches” may also “reduce cost to struggling churches,” permitting them to “better take their surplus into the streets where it belongs, with the poor.”

While a number of Catholic groups hailed the change as a sign of Pope Francis’ love for inclusion and manifold voices of expression within the Church, other groups were far less supportive.

“I’m hoping that there will be no mandate across the board,” said Clifton Nompierre, President of Project Gregory, a group devoted to “preservation of Catholic Tradition in Musical Form,” who said that “pipe organ and polyphony is the mainstay of Catholic worship. It’s saddening that the Holy Father would sweep it all aside in such a casual and caustic way.”

But defenders of the Holy Father’s reform of music in the liturgy had words for the preservationists: “There have been five primary families in Europe and three in North America that have controlled all the contracts for pipe organ installation and maintenance. They’ve tightly held to their monopolies, withheld information to outsiders on organ mechanisms and methods of manufacture, and lobbied strongly against all changes to musical liturgy, citing the passage of centuries as proof that the pipe organ is the musical instrument favored by the Divine,” said Dale Earnestfuse, who runs a non-profit called “Fipple Church” and has lobbied Catholic authorities to permit the use of the “fipple flute” in liturgical celebrations for the past two years.

“This is just the Holy Father evolving in response to the changing times,” said Mr. Earnestfuse, “which is what everyone in the Church wants, except those with a vested interest in the status quo.”

Huzzah and Felicitations to Sacramento Diocese’s New Auxiliary Bishop

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 3.03.35 PMHis Excellency, Bishop Myron J. Cotta was ordained a bishop today at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento, and will serve as auxiliary bishop for the Diocese. Prior to the Holy Father elevating him to this new position, he was the vicar general for the Diocese of Fresno. He speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese, and grew up in California’s Central Valley.

A few interesting things that I noticed looking over the program for the installation mass: first, he is named a Titular Bishop of the Diocese of Muteci. What does that mean? A titular bishop is one who is not in charge of a diocese. But since “bishop” means “overseer” of a Christian community in Greek, and since there are more bishops than actual dioceses, he is appointed to a “titular see”, i.e., to be the head of a diocese that effectively no longer functionally exists. According to this, the Diocese of Muteci is “perhaps near Ain-El-Anab in today’s Algeria” and “an ancient episcopal see of the Roman province of Mauritania Caesarean”.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 3.22.48 PMSecond, his coat of arms. According to the same program linked above, “For an auxiliary bishop, a fully empowered bishop but without territorial jurisdiction, the shield of his arms is composed completely by his personal design, in this case they are the arms of Bishop Myron J. Cotta…. For his motto, His Excellency, Bishop Cotta has chosen the phrase “GRACE AND MERCY,” for this sums up all that God’s relationship with His People is all about. To reflect the bishop’s heritage, as an Azorean, the motto is rendered in Portuguese.”

Third, there was some speculation among our group of friends as to who would consecrate Bishop Cotta. Turns out that the privilege belonged to Bishop Jaime Soto, ordinary of the Diocese of Sacramento, which seems appropriate. Co-consecrators were Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of Fresno and Most Reverend Joseph Madera, MSpS, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of the Military Services. Nearly thirty other prelates also attended and concelebrated the mass.

A very good (ordained) friend sent me this picture from the ordination mass today:

IMG_20140325_142636_702