Sunday, 5 June 2011

Liturgical report: Italy (but it could be anywhere...)

Fr. Mark Daniel Kirby reports:

The Mass at San Giuliano Park

A model of what the Second Vatican Council intended was given at the Mass celebrated by the Holy Father on 8 May 2011 in San Giuliano Park on the occasion on his recent visit to Venice. To my edification and delight a schola cantorum sang the complete Proper of the Mass in Gregorian Chant, while the vast crowd of the faithful alternated the Paschaltide Ordinary (Mass I) Lux et Origo
[WOW!] with the choir. The organizers of this celebratIon are to be commended and congratulated.

The Beatification Mass in Faicchio

[Click to go to original post] The Mass of Beatification of the Venerable Servant of God Mother Maria Serafina del Sacro Cuore on 28 May 2011 gave me a firsthand experience of what appears to be the norm in most of Italy. As Dom Samuel Weber, O.S.B. is fond of saying, "I'm just reporting."
The Proper of the Mass was completely ignored. The Introit, Offertory, and Communion were replaced by songs composed in the popular style. While these pieces were not entirely devoid of scriptural and theological content they were not "the Mass" itself. Consequently, the faithful were not singing the Mass; they were, rather, singing at Mass.

This, of course, deprives the faithful of the richness of the liturgy itself and, at the same time, deprives the celebrant of the very texts out of which the Church would have him preach the homily.

Low Mass With Hymns

The celebrant of the Mass of Beatification was His Eminence, Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. His Eminence has a fine singing voice. He chose, nonetheless, to speak nearly all those parts of the Mass that, in so solemn and festive occasion, ought to be sung. To my dismay, HIs Eminence recited in a spoken tone of voice even the Preface of the Mass, the most lyrical and solemn element of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, one that, by its very nature cries out to be sung.

The end result was an anomaly: on this most festive occasion there was, in effect, nothing more than a Low Mass with a sung Ordinary (Mass VIII) De Angelis and with hymns. Very disappointing. [CASA'S NOTE TO ANY READERS: THERE ACTUALLY ARE OTHER MASSES BESIDES MASS VIII! AS THE NUMBER MIGHT INDICATE, THERE ARE SEVEN OTHERS BEFORE IT!! AND GUESS HOW MANY THERE ARE AFTER IT!!!]

Feast of San Marcellino in Piedimonte Matese

On the morning of 2 June 2011, it was again His Eminence, Angelo Cardinal Amato who celebrated a Pontifical Mass in the glorious baroque Church of San Marcellino in Piedimonte Matese.

A deacon, vested in a splendid red dalmatic and surrounded by a magnificent baroque decor read the Gospel in a spoken tone of voice that rendered it banal. The Gospel could have been, and should have been chanted.

Again, absolutely nothing of the Proper of the Mass was sung. The Ordinary was sung in Italian, using a rather sentimental popular setting of the Gloria with a refrain. The Creed was recited: very disappointing on an occasion when the sung Creed would have been marvelously expressive of the faith of the Church and of her martyrs through the ages.

Again, His Eminence recited in a spoken tone of voice all of the parts belong to the celebrant. This was acutely disappointing, given both his ability to sing, and the solemnity of the occasion. And again, the end result was a Low Mass with a sung Ordinary in Italian and popular hymns.

In the Local Parish

We Southern Italians love to sing, and sing we do! The faithful are deprived, nonetheless, of the authentic chants of the Church. Since my arrival here, not once have I heard the Proper of the Mass (even recited) nor anything even remotely related to it. [DEAR FATHER, DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH...]

The Ordinary of the Mass is trivialized by settings in Italian that are sentimental and that have no organic continuity with the musical tradition of the Church. Not once have I heard a priest sing the orations or the Preface of the Mass and this in a culture where to sing is to love, and to love is to sing.

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