Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Colloquia 2010 and 2011’

A Reminder: Registration is Open for Sacred Music Colloquium XXI

December 31st, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

If you have ever wanted just to “get away” from Rochester’s liturgical confusion, go to the Sacred Music Colloquium – your soul will be absolutely transfigured. I went last year, and it was, without a doubt, the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced.

To register, click here and follow the instructions.

Colloquium in Review (Part II)

July 31st, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Another masterful video from the folks at Corpus Christi Watershed.

Sacred Music Colloquium XX from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Colloquium – In Review (Part I)

July 14th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The video below is one in a series which will be released by Corpus Christi Watershed. It is excellent. I got to chat with most of the people in this, and they were all very charming and very Catholic. Note how many vibrant young faces are in the crowd. Now compare that to any DoR function. The Holy Spirit is at work, friends, and He can’t be stopped.

CMAA Colloquium XX 2010 from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Photos of Solemn High Masses From Colloquium XX

July 1st, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The following are photos from the Solemn High Mass of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist and the Solemn High Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin.



But remember: orthodoxy DOES NOT pay. (Insert sarcasm)

Group photo of the priests, seminarians, and servers of Colloquium XX

Recessional - "Ut Queant Laxis"

Solemn High Mass, with Priest, Deacon, and Subdeacon

"Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus . . . "

Fr. Pasley elevates the host

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.

Colloquium – Day 6

June 26th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

For today, I would just like to mention one thing. In his homily today, Fr. Pasley described the relationship between sacred music and the Holy Scriptures. He said that, “Just as the Blessed Virgin was the Earthly tabernacle of her God, so too is sacred music the tabernacle for the Word of God. It adorns and beautifies it, keeping it safe and preserving the sacred.”

The sooner that our music directors, schola leaders, cantors and the like realize that the Mass isn’t a performance, but a prayer, the sooner we will see a profound love for the Gregorian Chants which are so proper and conducive to our worship. To have a crisis in chant is to have a crisis in the Church – no other music is as perfectly suited to the sacrifice of the Mass, in either form, than is Gregorian Chant.

Stained glass window in the chapel on the Duquesne campus

The Church asks little of us in terms of the Liturgy. We must participate as we ought to, and we must follow what Her documents set forth. The liturgy documents NEVER decreed that we should do away with chant, but rather, to place it at the head of our liturgical lives. When you remove the chants particular to a certain day, you lose the theme set in place in the earliest days of the Church. And that is a travesty. Fr. Phillips of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius noted that Gregorian Chant is attracting people to the Church. Young couples come to him and say, “We want that music we heard at Mass on Sunday.”

They don’t know what it is, but their souls certainly grasp the sacredness and profound nature of the treasury of that loftiest and simplest of art forms. When we find ourselves in a diocese that experiments with everything except Gregorian Chant, it is only fair and proper that we bring this “experiment” of chant to more churches. Without fail, it will prove to unify a scattered flock. Why? The soul appreciates beauty, even when the mind can’t verbalize what it conjures up. Chant is an echo of the divine, a suggestion of the glories to come, the glories of the Heavenly Court.

Colloquium – Day 5

June 26th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

First of all, this post is pertaining to the happenings yesterday, Friday the 25th. I was expecting to have the stamina to give you all an update, but things didn’t pan out as they should have. Yesterday was certainly the busiest day, and yet, also the most fulfilling. We had breakfast as usual, had chant rehearsal, etc. . . but in addition to all the normal sessions, we had a Renaissance Polyphonic Vespers. It was beyond my wildest expectations. There were three choirs scattered around the church, each assigned certain antiphons, certain motets, and certain psalms which were sung with alternating chant and polyphony.

Two priests emerging from a polyphony rehearsal.

What was truly inspiring about that, though, was that the sanctuary was packed with real priests, young men in seminary, pre-seminary, and high school, and some of the most brilliant minds in sacred music today. In the sanctuary were a priest from the FSSP, an Oratorian, a diocesan priest, a priest from the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, and seminarians from Canada, New Orleans, and Arlington. The entire service was an experience of liturgical ecstasy. Unfortunately, I did not take any video, audio, or photos of the service. There were, however, professionals recording every aspect of the ceremony.

A Passionist nun partaking in a cool beverage at Starbucks

After the Vespers service (and the Mass which preceded it), I sat down for dinner with two nuns, one a Poor Clare from New York City, and one a Passionist Sister from Duquesne University. They were astounded to see people from Rochester, and we were astounded to see nuns who were wearing habits and weren’t over 70 years old. Folks, Rochester is so demented I can’t even begin to tell you the mental and spiritual cleansing that this Colloquium has been.

As I type this, I’m sitting in one of the campus cafe’s, listening to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” What a wonderful world, indeed. Last night as I walked back to the dorms, a group of young people had taken out their violins and just burst forth into song, playing Mozart with such spirit and gusto as I have seldom heard before. I would relate more to you, but my time is a precious and rare commodity which is being mined to exhaustion by the folks of the Church Music Association of America. And for that, I am immeasurably glad.

Colloquium – Interlude

June 25th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I realize it may be somewhat hard to grasp the scope of this Colloquium. You can only get a very slight realization of this thing’s immensity and sacredness from the photos I’ve posted here. To combat this, I’d like to talk about the various religious orders represented here.

  1. The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter – This order, noted for its quest to restore the Traditional Latin Mass, has a strong presence here. There are, by my observation, at least 3 FSSP seminarians and at least 1 priest. The remarkable thing with these are that they are all young, joyful, happy, and passionate men. When was the last time you saw a young, solid, passionate priest aside from some of our recent ordinands? It’s a rare thing, and yet the oldest priest here at the Colloquium is probably 55. The liberals are dying off, and being replaced with young men who don’t care about the trash they need to wade through in order to bring reverence and sacredness back to every liturgy, be it Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form.

    Fr. Pasley ( a diocesan priest) readying the altar for the Ordinary Form Latin Requiem Mass

  2. The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius – This order has three representatives. Fr. Frank Phillips, the founder of the order, is present along with two brothers, one of whom served as the music director at St. Anne Church prior to his entering the order four years ago. This order, like the FSSP, seeks to elevate the liturgy from off the dungheap of fetid and rotting error. Their main focus is the maintenance and administration of St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago. It is a real gem, one which should be considered one of the most brilliant and empowering success stories of the American Church. You can get more information on the order by visiting this link:
  3. The Spiritans – This is the order which founded Duquesne, and which maintains a strong presence on campus. I have seen one priest and one brother (?) who are quite active with the Colloquium. Again, they are both young. The brother (?) looks to be around 19 or 20, and the priest can’t be any older than 40. They both wear a very distinctive habit, which looks like a normal black cassock, plus a rather pronounced and pointed hood, which is worn in place of a biretta for liturgies. Their role on campus is undeniable – everywhere you look, there are young people who aren’t afraid to practice their Catholic faith. And these young people aren’t with the Colloquium – they’re just the summer students at the university.
  4. Diocesan priests – Several diocesan priests and seminarians are in attendance. I have met Fr. Pasley, a diocesan priest whose parish is 100% Tridentine. And the people love it. It has grown by leaps and bounds. I also met several young men who are in the formation/seminary process. These fellows were from New Orleans, Mobile, Virginia, Montana, and several other cities and states that I’m blanking on. They are all proudly wearing their cassocks, and those in the actual seminary (not just pre-seminary/doing theology and philosophy in college) are wearing their collars. What a beautiful statement this is. Our diocese would surely see an increase in vocations if our young men, our discerners, our seminarians, were all held up and given the support they deserve. When was the last time you saw one of our young men in a cassock and collar? There is a certain pride of fraternity when young men see eachother “looking the part,” as one of the pre-theology students said.
  5. Passionist Nuns – Perhaps the most moving sight of the Colloquium thus far came from one of these nuns. Let me preface this by saying that every nun at this Colloquium (and there are several) is wearing a habit. When I was walking back to my room the other day, I noticed one of these nuns sitting beside a young woman who had just finished her “chironomy” class. (That’s a course on how to direct Gregorian Chant.) Evidently, the girl was struggling with the very precise hand gestures, so the nun had volunteered to help. Sitting side by side on a bench, the nun took the girls hand into her own, and began to move it as they sang Kyrie XI together. It was a very moving sight to behold, seeing a nun acting as a nun ought to, with love and kindness, not just for the girl, but for the sacred music traditions of the Church. Below is the Kyrie they were singing together.

Hopefully this helps you appreciate the depth and breadth of the diversity we’re celebrating here in Pittsburgh. There is no need to watch what we say, because we’re all saying the same thing: We need to restore the sacred.

Colloquium Day 4

June 24th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I’m breaking my pattern of posting at night for this trip because it’s a bit too tiring. This post will be devoted to the various conversations I’ve had in the past few days. Every person to whom I turn has the same greeting, “You’re from Rochester . . . I’ll pray for you.” The priests with whom I have spoken and dined all say that they have never heard of a more corrupt, more inept, more scandalous diocese than Rochester. Priests from Kalamazaoo, Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and beyond all agree on the following points:

  1. Gregorian Chant is the most liturgically-appropriate music there is
  2. Sacred Polyphony is a priceless treasure which must be used at Mass
  3. The Diocese of Rochester is “a wasteland”

Now, this may go without saying, but all these priests, seminarians, nuns, and lay people are bastions of joy. They aren’t dangerous reactionaries, angry traditionalists, or spiteful in their liturgical preferences. They are the embodiments of charity. But, with true charity comes clarity, and a willingness to expose wrongs where they are. And, by exposing these wrongs, they oppose them.

Window from the chapel on campus at Duquesne

Bouncing from class to class, from meal to meal, and from lecture to lecture may sound tedious. When you’re surrounded by 250 like-minded people, it is anything but. You walk past a Starbucks, and there are priests and seminarians studying the proper rubrics for certain Masses. You see young couples practicing chant together. You see nuns demonstrating to young girls how to direct chant scholas. Folks, that’s what the Church is.

In Rochester, we are indoctrinated (yes, even us) to think that we need to feel defensive about our faith. Being at the Sacred Music Colloquium, you can see that the reality of the matter is the exact opposite. We need to have an overt and non-precocious zeal for orthodoxy. Don’t be afraid to do the right thing because you’re the only one. Do it, and others will follow you.

I have never experienced this depth of Catholicism. Ever. In the Church, there is no room for debate on doctrinal matters. There is no room for kinky liturgical preferences. No – the Church gives us Truth, the Church gives us Goodness, and it is up to us to give the Church beauty, not dissonance.

Colloquium Day 3

June 23rd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Today’s post will dedicated entirely to photos of the local parish we are using for our Masses. It is absolutely marvelous. The parish’s name is “Epiphany Church,” and it served as the cathedral here for some time.

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.

Colloquium Day One – “What is beauty?”

June 21st, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Today was the first day of the Sacred Music Colloquium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This week-long event is already proving to be something which will be a life-altering occurrence. I know this sounds trite, but being here, and seeing all these radiant faces, joyful, loving, Tradition-loving faces, I can’t help but feel a tremendous surge of hope for the Diocese of Rochester, and the Church universal, as well.

Real nuns wear their habits.

I will start at the very beginning. We arrived, Choir Loft, Sr. Emily, and I, and we promptly stowed our gear, got registered, and began to mingle. The first thing that struck me was the absolutely permeating presence of young people, ranging from 18 to 30. I would say, with certainty, that over 60% of the people at the Colloquium are under 30.

Another thing which promptly stuck out to me was that ALL of the nuns present were wearing some form of a habit. ALL of the priests were in clerical garb, most in cassocks. ALL of the seminarians were clad in like manner. No one was dressed like a tramp, no nuns were making political statements, no priests were shying away from their roles – all was exactly as it should have been.

Fr. Pasley addressing the priests, seminarians, pre-seminarians, and servers, regarding the Mass schedule. Note the young man in his religious habit in the foreground.

We then were ushered into the vast and spacious Shepperson Suite on campus for dinner – the first ever sit-down, non-buffet style dinner in CMAA history (which goes back into the 1870’s). We had stuffed shells with a sumptuous vodka sauce (I think) with salad before and dessert afterward. During our dinner, we had several speakers give presentations: Jeffery Tucker, Dr. William Mahrt, Fr. Pasley, Alrene Oost-Zinner, and Scott Turkington. Each one brought a beautiful offering to this “dialogue of orthodoxy.”

The presentation which particularly grabbed me was Dr. Mahrt’s lecture on an overview of what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it. The theme was “what is beauty?” His answer was so absolutely clear and satisfying that I must now pass it along to you.

“Beauty,” he said, “is the glue which holds Truth and Goodness together.”

A group of Colloquium attendees entering the chapel for the chanted Compline service

And what is more beautiful than 250 people, from all over the country, singing in perfect pitch and harmony all the verses to “Veni, Creator Spiritus”?

Well . . . something which may be more beautiful to you, the readers, is that at our table of 9, each and every person knew about Bishop Matthew Clark and the Diocese of Rochester. And not in a good way, mind you. The woman to Sr. Emily’s right said, “Oh, you have Bishop Clark . . . the one that closes all those churches. Yes, we read about him on the internet.” This woman lives in a small town in Kentucky. The two girls to her right were from New Jersey and Virginia, and they, too, had heard of our liturgical improprieties. Seated next to them was a young man discerning the call to the priesthood, who hails from Cincinnati. While unfamiliar, initially, with Rochester, he promptly figured out that Rochester was “that backwards place that Rich Leonardi talks about all the time.”

Just a small sampling of the good people with me at the Colloquium.

You know it’s bad when Kentucky country-dwellers, college girls, and a theology student in Ohio all know and cringe at the name “Matthew H. Clark.” May God give us strength, and may His mercy fall upon those who most need it.

Laetatus Sum

June 21st, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Within a few short hours, the Colloquium’s Cleansing Fire Contingency will be “within thy gates,” O Pittsburgh. Wish us luck, all. I will be trying to give you updates every night as to what’s going on, and how absolutely transcendent the experience is. How beautifully the psalmist’s words capture our emotions:

“I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord.”

Anima Mea Liquefacta Est

June 20th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The countdown for the Sacred Music Colloquium is entering its final 24 hours. This piece is one which will be sung during one of the week’s liturgies, a Requiem Mass in the Ordinary Form. The translation can be found below the video.

My soul melted when my beloved spoke; I sought him, and found him not; I called, and he did not answer me. I adjure you, Oh daughters of Jesusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him that I languish with love. (Song of Songs, 5:6-8)

Reason #154 Why I’m “Totally Psyched” for the Colloquium

June 15th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

These are the instructions which were sent out to the clergy and seminarians who will be attending, and who will be numerous to say the least. My emphasis is added.

Welcome to Colloquium XX. We are so happy to have you with us. Here are some practical points for your preparations.

1. So far we have not been able to arrange for private Masses in any Church. You are welcome to concelebrate on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The Extraordinary Form will be said on Thursday and Saturday where there is no concelebration. On the days that the EF is scheduled we will announce a time when the priests, who wish, can concelebrate at another Mass.
If you do not wish to concelebrate, you may bring a Mass kit with you to say
Mass privately in your room. If we can procure the side altars at the Church of the Epiphany, you will be able to say private Mass there as long as you bring your own Mass kit, hosts and wine and vestments.
(So this means that, in one church building, there can be as many as thee Masses being said at the same time – when was the last time we saw something like that in Rochester? 1952?) The parish does not have the facilities or the staff to take care of a large number of priests wanting to say private Mass.

2. To concelebrate you will need an alb and the proper color stole. If you are going to attend the Masses in choir, for both the EF and the OF, you will need cassock and surplice, stole for communion, and if at all possible the biretta, or hood for religious (thebiretta is optional).
(Basically, “Even if you’re just in attendance for Mass, you WILL wear a cassock, you WILL wear a collar, and you WILL wear a surplice, so help you God.)

3. Seminarians are invited to attend all Masses in choir dress; cassock, surplice and biretta (optional). We will also need servers for the Masses. (Something simple like this does more for vocations than any steak dinner or diocesan theme-Mass at the cathedral.)

4. The Masses are as follows:
Tuesday, June 22, 3:00PM – OF English – SS John Fisher and Thomas Moore – RED
Wednesday, June 23, 3:00PM – OF English – Requiem – BLACK
Thursday, June 24, 300PM – EF – St John the Baptist – WHITE
Friday, June 25, 3:00PM – OF English/Latin – Ferial Mass – GREEN
Saturday, June 26, 3:00PM – EF – Mass of the BVM – WHITE
Sunday, June 27, 10:00AM – OF Latin – 13th Sunday of the Year – GREEN
The colors you will need are Red, Black, White and Green
. (You mean, no rainbow??)

5. Priests are expected to wear the Roman Collar to the classes, the practices, the Masses and other religious services. At other times you can do whatever you want. For both priests and seminarians, if you wish to wear the cassock, you may do so at any time. (At the Colloquium, it is the customary practice to have the priests look like priests, the nuns look like nuns, and the seminarians look like seminarians. Radical, I know. Talk about your dangerous subversives . . . )

6. We will need your help to make confessions available. A sign up sheet will be made available at the beginning of the Colloquium Looking forward to your participation in Colloquium XX. (Wow. You mean we’re going to have fun AND have confession? I’m pretty sure that’s not in the DoR binder of diocesan norms.)

Rev. Robert Pasley
Chaplain, Church Music Association of America

Orthodoxy – the Obvious Choice

June 2nd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The two videos below are from two valid Masses in the United States. However, the one is markedly different from the other. The first one is from a “Teen Mass.” I guess a regular “Mass” isn’t good enough for some people. When I watched this video, I was struck by how trite the whole thing is. There’s more effort going into throwing the slides on the screen than there is in trying to read the Word of God worthily. The second video is from the 2007 Sacred Music Colloquium in Washington. Now when you compare the two, and you measure the reverence, the piety, the tastefulness, the beauty, and the eye appeal, the obvious “winner” is the second video.


The Mass is a reenactment of Calvary – it is not a talent show, a powerpoint presentation, a chance to socialize, or an opportunity to meet new friends. It is Heaven on Earth, and those who are loyal to the Church, and whose views are orthodox and unfaltering, realize this.

So watch these two videos, and feel free to comment on what you feel is more sacred, and why you feel that way. Bear in mind that these are both Novus Ordo Masses, that is, “Ordinary Form.” They are using the same missal, the same rubrics, the same norms. However, one of them is celebrating Mass according to the genuine spirit of Vatican II, and the other is possessed by the impostor spirits of Vatican II, which were not of divine origin.

The Key is Dignity

May 16th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I had a chat today with a musician at  the Church of the Assumption, whose musical abilities are undeniable and clearly God-given. She was asking about my liturgical tastes, and I explained to her that the liturgy of the Church must be “mutually enriching,” to borrow a term from our dear Pope. We must learn from the old when conceiving the new. Continuity is integral to liturgical music, as is seen by many new hymns being published which are in English, but set to the old Gregorian melodies. When I gave her this reasoning, she was very pleasant, but she looked at me, put her guitar down, and said, “well, if you want to go a step backwards, that’s okay.”

Backwards? This is going a step forward, in the true spirit of Vatican II, which declared that Gregorian Chant have “principum locum,” principal, primary place in the liturgy. The Council never intended for guitars and plucky psalm-tones, but alas, that’s what we have. And so, I decided to tell her about my upcoming trip to the Sacred Music Colloquium with Choir, Sr. Emily, and two other friends of the blog. I particularly pointed out that we will be singing Latin motets written, not 500 years ago, but 25 years ago, and which are wholly reverent and suited for the liturgy. They are undeniably sacred. Of course, we will be singing the old pieces as well, Tallis, and Byrd, and Victoria among them. Again – this is what the Council had in mind: a refreshing of the old in light of the new.

The debate then turned, most subtlety to the question of dignified music. However, what I said can be summarized in this video just released by the Lalemant Polyphonic channel. Be sure to check out their psalm settings for the Ordinary Form. They are quite beautiful.

Colloquium XX Registration is Full

April 22nd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The registration for the twentieth Sacred Music Colloquium is now closed. You can still register, but you will be added to a wait list which, in my opinion, isn’t very promising.

However, before the deadline closed, Cleansing Fire received two new members to the delegation! That means that five of us are going to be doing liturgically backward, antiquated, things in clear defiance of the Spirit of Vatican II.

But wait – what’s that? Gregorian chant is the spirit of Vatican II? Are you sure?? Wow. So I guess we’re not dangerous reactionaries after all. I kind of feel drained of importance.

“I told you Latin sounded witchy.”

I’ll Rub Shoulders For Y’all

April 22nd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I’m sure many of you know that when I’m down around the Mason Dixon Line this week and weekend, I’ll be in attendance for the Pontifical High Mass at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

What I’m sure many of you didn’t know is that I will be there with some of our Catholic blogging elite: Fr. Z will be there, along with Kat from the Crescat, along with many others.

Envious yet? So, when you’re bracing yourself for another weekend of exile and dissent, I’ll be at table with Fr. Z and the Crescat, along with throngs of others. I feel like a total blog-snob, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Did I mention that Choir, Sr. Emily, and I will be carousing with the New Liturgical Movement people during the Colloquium? Oh, that’s right – I did.

Si Iniquitates

March 17th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The following is from the MusicaSacra YouTube channel.