Cleansing Fire

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“Our Tormentors Demanded of Us Songs of Joy”

June 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Many of you have been following the coverage we supply of the monthly decay of orthodoxy at St. Anne Church. Without fail, Sr. Joan Sobala always manages to drive her speared agenda deeper into the side of Christ, destroying what was once a lively and joyful bubble of Tradition. What is the latest scourge of hers against the Body of Christ?

First, a little background: the 11:00AM Sunday Mass has often been referred to as the “Latin Mass” at St. Anne, with Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony used for the ordinaries. Fr. Frank Lioi started this venerable tradition at the parish, and hoped that it be continued as a beacon of what a reverent Novus Ordo Mass is.  The St. Anne choir became famous locally for its precision and its love of the sacred, and ultimately displaying this love through their flawless participation in the liturgy there.

But, alas, this is coming under the scrutiny of Sr. Sobala. I can barely contain my surprise. The people at the “Latin Mass” at St. Anne are among the last major contributors to the parish in terms of finances – the 4:00 and 9:00 Masses pale in comparison to the generally more “well-to-do” population at the 11:00AM Mass. But now, they are being forced to bend their knees to a “music survey.” The blurb from the recent bulletin can be found below.

The gateway for more liturgical malversation - a "music survey"

You may be thinking “this seems innocuous enough.” Well, in most parishes, I would say you’re right. However, consider these things:

  • Sr. Sobala has said she would much rather have “people music” at Mass than the current “high-Church music.”
  • Sr. Sobala fired the group leaders in the choir – these are the individuals who would be the strong voices upon which the others relied for singing on key and in unison.
  • Sr. Sobala drastically cut back on the amount of sacred polyphony at Mass – there is still some, but nowhere near as much as there used to be.
  • Many choir members have left the parish for Our Lady of Victory, St. Stanislaus, etc. because “our musical talents were being abused.”

Sr. Joan is, to put it mildly, not open to genuinely sacred music. She sees no true need for the venerable antiquity of chant – “we’ve moved beyond that” were her words at one Music Committee meeting, as reported by a certain man wishing to remain anonymous. Why does he wish to remain anonymous? Perhaps it’s because he and his family are clandestinely attending Mass and contributing financially to Our Lady of Victory. The family (and several others like it in the parish) is still registered at St. Anne but, surprise of surprises, they don’t feel nourished with the “adulterated Masses” at St. Anne.

This “music survey” is just another way of making a dictatorship of liberalism appear like a democracy of the laity. It is guaranteed to reduce the role of chant and polyphony, mark my words. The vehemence with which we would replace trash folk tunes if we were in charge of a parish is the same vehemence with which Sr. Sobala intends to deconstruct Fr. Lioi’s “Chant Mass.”

So what will happen if the music program is changed at the 11:00AM “Latin Mass”? I direct your attention to the photo below, showing the recent attendance statistics. Bear in mind that under Fr. Lioi and Fr. Leone, average attendance was anywhere between 900 and 700, with each Mass having no liturgical improprieties. Now, having more than 400 faithful in the pews is akin to a miracle. Liberalism drives away the faithful. They may not know why they don’t like Mass any more, but their souls certainly do.

"For there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion!'"

We go to Mass, not to sit there and be talked at, but to be challenged to become better people. That’s what the allure of the Tridentine Latin Mass is – there is a challenge from the Church to be attentive and figure out what exactly is going on. Mass isn’t supposed to be something commonplace enough to grasp readily. It is a celebration of the Sacred Mysteries. Tell me, what music better supports the mysteries of Calvary and the Mass – feel-good folk tunes or Gregorian Chant? We would be vastly more likely to chant the “Dies Irae” on Calvary than “Lord of the Dance.”

And, of course, the average parishioner in the pews will not realize what a slight difference in music will make, or even the ramifications of saying “I like the normal hymns” on the survey. Their ignorance will be used by Sr. Sobala for personal gratification. That is shameful. If the people were properly instructed in the ways of orthodoxy (as they were under Fr.’s Lioi and Leone), this wouldn’t be a problem. The Second Vatican Council NEVER said that folk music or trite hymns and Mass settings be used – it declared that Gregorian Chant had “principum locum” in the Holy Mass. That means “principal place” – not “pride of place” as the liberals tell you. It is to be used above all other worship compositions, and that includes Mozart and Schubert. The Church directs us, from its earliest days even until now, that Gregorian Chant (and before it, Ambrosian and Gallican Chant) and Renaissance Polyphony are absolutely and uniquely suited for our liturgy. We have a treasure in these pieces, and yet our own leaders are spitting on Tradition in order to soothe their own wounded souls, still bleeding from their spiritual assaults in the 60’s and 70’s. Their souls were ravaged by heresy, and we are the ones paying the price, and paying dearly might I add.

Sr. Joan’s liturgy is one of absolute banality. There is no substance, no spiritual nourishment. Yes, Our Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament, but to discern that easily is to be able to clear away the muck of her irreverence. That’s something few of the remaining parishioners can do.

How apt the words of the psalmist are for those still languishing under Sr. Sobala’s ineptitude at Lourdes and St. Anne:

“Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept: when we remembered Sion: 2 On the willows in the midst thereof we hung up our instruments. 3 For there they that led us into captivity required of us the words of songs. And they that carried us away, said: Sing to us a hymn of the songs of Sion. 4 How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. 6 Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember you: If I make not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy. 7 Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom, in the day of Jerusalem: Who say: Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. 8 O daughter of Babylon, miserable: blessed shall he be who shall repay you your payment which you have paid us. 9 Blessed be he that shall take and dash your little ones against the rock.”

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2 Responses to ““Our Tormentors Demanded of Us Songs of Joy””

  1. avatar Bernie says:

    My wife and I had just about given up on going to Mass anywhere in the diocese when we noticed an ad in the Courier of a Latin Chant Mass every Sunday at St. Anne Church on Mt. Hope Avenue. We checked it out, and stayed. We left St. Anne when Sister took over. We could see the writing on the wall. All our fears have been coming true. It’s been painful to watch even from a distance. She’s a true iconoclast and proud of it!

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    What does one really expect of Sr. Joan, when one must experience at the Deacon ordination service a ‘broadway musical style’ / sung Consecration featuring the vocal stylings of the Bishop? It is really the ‘tone at the top’ (no pun intended) that determines policy and action. Can we expect the student to do better than the mentor? One would hope so, but evidence proves otherwise here.

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