Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Colloquium – Gloria Finita Est

June 28th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Yesterday marked the last day of the Sacred Music Colloquium in Pittsburgh. What a glorious week it was. Our last Mass was on Sunday, and featured Schubert’s Mass in G for the ordinaries (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus) and Gregorian Chant for the propers and Credo. It was absolutely splendid. Over the course of the week, I ran into several people from Rochester and its surrounding areas – several whom you would know, and several whom you wouldn’t. I hope to post photos of the people and Masses as soon as they are made available at Musica Sacra’s website. (I wasn’t able to take too many pictures – they kept us VERY busy.)

The one thing that really stood out to me at the Colloquium was how absolutely backwards the Diocese of Rochester is. Our vocations program is a shambles compared to other dioceses, our music programs are trash compared with what they could be, especially considering Eastman’s presence, our clergy are, for the most part, lukewarm, and our faithful lay people are, for the most part, clueless and uninformed. The priests who were present (and there were many) came from many different places, not all of them overtly welcoming to the cause of orthodoxy. However, their parishes and communities are all thriving. Why is this?

It’s because they do things right. And when things are done correctly, as they ought to be, our souls realize that. We are created by the Divine – why do we resist our urges towards rendering Him the glory due to His Holy Name? Why do we insist on lowering our liturgical standards? Why do we say that chant and polyphony are too hard? Why do we claim that our people are incapable of understanding the Mass? If people aren’t sure about something liturgical, you don’t change the Mass to suit their misunderstanding – you teach them. When a student says that 2+2 is 5, you don’t change the rules of mathematics to make his misconception a “reality.” You say, “No, it’s not. And this is why ‘4’ is the correct answer.”

The main thing that the Colloquium taught me wasn’t how to sing polyphony, or how to direct chant, or even how to sing in a choir of 250 people. It taught me to be unabashedly Catholic, not to tread lightly around liberals and erring children of God, but to confront their ignorance with clear teachings of the Church and with the utmost of charity. We must not let people rest complacently in their ignorance. We must rouse them from their liturgical slumber and show them that “this is what we’re all about.” We need to replace our banal hymns with the chants particular to that day, for the chants always and unfailingly capture the proper mood of the Mass. And there’s no reason not to – they have all been translated into English. There is absolutely no reason why you can’t have an English Chant Mass. In the words of Dr. Mahrt, “The people will love the chant, but they will love it even more when they realize how much more beautiful it is in Latin.” In Fr. Z’s words, “brick by brick,” people. We can’t just change everything we want to in one way, or in a direct fashion. But slowly, over time, we can win hearts and minds back to Holy Mother Church, even those hearts and minds which think they serve Her, but rather, serve to castrate Her message and Her liturgy.

I will be spending the next week or so on a mini-retreat in Buffalo. I’ll be posting some photos from Fr. Baker’s later in the week.

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5 Responses to “Colloquium – Gloria Finita Est”

  1. Nerina says:


    So we need a step-by-step plan to reintroduce chant into local churches. I know we always have the release valve of OLV and St. Stan’s, but it seems like we really need to make an effort at restoring Catholic traditions in ALL parishes (before Bishop Clark closes them :)). I would love to have a discussion about how a person could do this on a parish level. How would he or she start? How would she sell it to her priest?

    Also, it would be great to have an even bigger showing from CF at the colloquium next year. Has a date been set yet? I am very interested in attending.

  2. Gen says:

    We are definitely hoping for more CF folks to join us next year. It will be held at Duquesne again, and will probably take place during the same time (last week of June). Nothing is 100% settled yet. I know that my little group was so undeniably uplifted by this, and you would be a welcome addition to our party.

    Regarding how to bring this up to your pastor, that is a post in and of itself. ;)You should probably see that sometime soon, Nerina.

  3. benanderson says:

    It taught me to be unabashedly Catholic, not to tread lightly around liberals and erring children of God, but to confront their ignorance with clear teachings of the Church and with the utmost of charity.

    funny – I never thought you were lacking in fortitude 🙂

    It’s very encouraging to read about your experience. I never thought I would want to sing, but you and choir really inspire.

  4. benanderson says:

    in regards to the liturgy, this was one of first things top twenty articles:

    The liturgy is so important!

  5. Gen says:

    The glory of the Colloquium was that you couldn’t help but sing because of the tremendous amount of fraternity and genuine happiness. There were no inhibitions, because there was no one there sitting in judgment – the goal was solely to render glory to God through the Liturgy. The first night, 250+ people sang without flaw the entirety of “Veni Creator Spiritus,” and it was obvious to me that the Holy Ghost did, indeed, descend into our hearts that night at Duquesne. I have never experienced the Church as I did those 7 days. You may want to consider joining up for the CF schola to get a little residual awesomeness. 😉

    Regarding my fortitude . . . I think the Colloquium served more as a confirmation than a kindling, if you get what I mean. It was like God reached down and said, “Yes, you’re right. Go ahead, and don’t worry.”

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