Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Sacred Music Colloquium – Day 2

June 22nd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Friends, I cannot possibly begin to describe to you the depths of devotion and genuine Catholicity which I have encountered here at Duquesne. Wherever you look you see young people conversing with nuns in habits, seminarians, priests, religious brothers, and representatives from nearly every religious order you could think of. While I may not be able to recall each and every item I wanted to share, I will give you the highlights of this second day of splendor.

Exterior of the chapel located on campus, which is used for morning and night prayer (Lauds and Compline).

I woke at 4:30 this morning, so I could wander the campus and get a bit more acclimated. When I got downstairs, in the lobby of the dorm, there was a group of teenage girls engrossed in watching EWTN in the first floor recreation room. I left the dorm, and started walking south, towards the chapel, directly opposite my room. No one was out, and all was still and quiet. In the distance you could hear some people practicing the pieces for today’s English Ordinary Form Mass.

When I got to the chapel, I walked in intending to take some pictures, say a Rosary, look around, etc. However, when I entered the chapel proper, I noticed I was not alone. There was one person in there: a nun, in full, un-modified habit, praying on her knees before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. That, dear friends, is Catholicism. What we have here in Rochester, for the most part, is absolutely lacking in depth. But this isn’t through the fault of our people. No, it’s the fault of the pathetic and apathetic, the inept and corrupt, the lack-lustre priests and nuns who run our parishes. Orthodoxy is the only possible way to hold the Church off the dung-heap of error, and the people here at the Colloquium realize this.

The interior of the Duquesne Chapel.

After I arrived there at the chapel, I stayed until 7, for Morning Prayer, aka Lauds. Women sat on the Gospel side (left) and men sat on the Epistle side (right), so that we could take turns chanting the morning’s psalms. It was so serene, so absolutely majestic in its simplicity. Gregorian chant is the most perfect music for the Divine Office, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and everything in between. Its melodies were written for distinct reasons, the words reflecting, not only Truth itself, but the theological premises behind it. Chant is not arbitrary. Chant is not “too lofty” for a parish choir.

Statue of Our Lady of Victory located on the campus at Duquesne

It is the simplest and most profound form of liturgical beautification, but those “liturgical experts” in our midst are too set in their ways to admit that two millenia of chant trumps 45 years of folk Masses.

After Lauds, we had breakfast, where I met up with some other Rochester folks, and several non-Rochester folks. Everyone knew Bishop Clark, and everyone said that they were praying for us because “you guys need it more than anyone else.” How awesome is that, that some small diocese known for its backward liturgy and politicking is garnering the prayers of hundreds of Catholics from around the country?

After breakfast, we started our rehearsals. The first one on my agenda was for the chant which will be used this week. The highlight of Scott Turkington’s talk was this little story:

“There is an abbey in Connecticut, called ‘Regina Laudes.’ Now, of course, the lay people of the town are invited in for Mass. They’re free to come any time. But the problem with the town and the diocese is that every parish has the unfortunate deformity of feeling the need to have everyone in the church sing everything, regardless of the beauty, the appropriateness, or the coherency. So, to counter this, the sisters there put a sign on the doors to the church saying: At Mass, you may sing the following items: ‘Et cum spiritu tuo,’ ‘deo gratias,’ ‘Amen.'”

Oh, what I would give for Rochesterians to develop this kind of notion of what should be sung and what should not be. I’m all for active participation, but genuine participation – not this fake trash we see at our parishes. Having one person who speaks Spanish does not merit the whole congregation singing a Spanish Agnus Dei. Where’s the catholicity (universality) in that? There is none. Latin, as used through Gregorian Chant, is the unifying force of the liturgy. It is what makes Catholicism catholic. Why don’t people realize that? The liberals are all for inclusivity – what’s more inclusive than everyone on the same page in terms of liturgy?

Just some of the dozens of priests and religious in their habits.

I also met up with a young couple, a very charming couple, who were very well acquainted with Rochester. I sat with them for Mass, and it was so invigorating seeing a young couple, obviously in love, but more aflame with liturgical zeal than with lusty passion. Sanctity abounds here, friends. There is no doubt about it. This couple demonstrates the future of the Church – youthful and orthodox. The people who have held a knife to the throat of the Church for forty-five years are dying off, and the young people are rescuing that beautiful damsel from the clutches of demonic intent. Give that generation twenty years – things will be trending for the better, without a doubt. They already are, and we’re still saddled with these liberal clowns.

The "charming young couple" I met today. Note the Church of the Epiphany in the background.

So, today has been a glorious day. Tomorrow will be as well – we are having a Requiem Mass for the deceased members of the Church Music Association of America. I’m taking the rest of today off, just because I don’t want to get burned out with all this genuine churchiness. It’s kind of like letting a stalag-prisoner eat to his heart’s desire. If he eats too much, too quickly, he’ll just vomit everything up. I’m hoping to avoid that, at least in a liturgical sense.

Until tomorrow, friends. Keep your chins up.

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