Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Getting Cardinal Heenan Right

Rorate Caeli is one of my regular reads, and I would recommend it. There is a very good article here, which I commend to you to read by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, unfortunately Fr Cipola falls into a trap I fell into myself sometime ago and quotes Cardinal Heenan, who having witnessed the first Novus Ordo Mass in the Sistine Chapel says:
At home, it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday we would soon be left with a congregation of women and children.
Which sounds fine - Heenan was against the Novus Ordo, well, no because in his next sentence he goes on to say:
Our people love the Mass, but it is Low Mass without psalm-singing and other musical embellishments to which they are chiefly attached. 
It is "psalm-singing and other musical embellishmemts" he objects to. This immediately followed by a plea for pastoral experience to be listened to by the Consillium.
I humbly suggest that the Consilium look at its members and advisers to make sure that the number of those who live in seminaries and religious communities does not exceed the numbers of those with pastoral  experience among the people in ordinary parishes.
Fr Cipola could have cited plenty of other Heenan references to his preference for the Traditional Liturgy especially in his correspondence with Evelyn Waugh, but this intervention is being misused here.
I left a comment to this effect on Rorate but it has not been published.

We cannot win battles on mistaken premises - it compromises Truth and that is ultimately our concern, as well as academic accuracy. We look foolish and do no-one a service if we bend the facts for our own ends.
However as I say the article itself has much to commend it, so do read it.

For the sake of clarity, and to answer some of the comments here is the whole of the Cardinal's intervention:
“Like all the bishops I offer my sincere thanks to the Consilium. Its members have worked well and have done their best. I cannot help wondering, however, if the Consilium as at present constituted can meet the needs of our times. For the liturgy is not primarily an academic or cultural question. It is above all a pastoral matter, for it concerns the spiritual lives of our faithful. I do not know the names of the members of the Consilium or, even more important, the names of their consultors. But after studying the so called Normative Mass it was clear to me that few of them can have been parish priests. I cannot think that anyone with pastoral experience would have regarded the sung Mass as being of first importance.
At home it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday in the Sistine Chapel [a demonstration of the Normative Mass] we would soon be left with a congregation mostly of women and children. Our people love the Mass, but it is Low Mass without psalm-singing and other musical embellishments to which they are chiefly attached. I humbly suggest that the Consilium look at its members and advisers to make sure that the number of those who live in seminaries and religious communities does not exceed the numbers of those with pastoral  experience among the people in ordinary parishes.
Here are a few points which solely for the sake of time - since only five minutes are allowed for comments - must be put so shortly as to sound brusque.
1. The rule of prayer is the rule of faith. If there is to be more emphasis in the Mass on Bible readings than on Eucharistic prayer, the faith of both clergy and people will be weakened.
2. There is more need than ever today to stress the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. No change in the Mass should be made which might seem to throw doubt on this doctrine.
3. Many bishops in this Synod have spoken of the need of coming to the rescue of the faithful grown restless and disturbed on account of too frequent changes in the Mass. I must therefore ask what attitude the Consilium wlll take to these warnings from the pastors of the Church? I confess in all seriousness that I am uneasy lest the liturgists say "These bishops know nothing about liturgy." It would be tragic if after the bishops have gone home no notice were to be taken of their opinions.
4. In my diocese of Westminster - and in several English dioceses - the rule is that at least one Mass each Sunday must be celebrated in Latin. It would be a great help if the Consilium were to tell the whole Church how the Latin tongue can be preserved. If the Church is to remain truly the CatholicChurch it is essential to keep a universal tongue.”   Thanks to Ttony 


. said...

This does not surprise me in the least. The article seemeed to me to display all the very worst excesses of modern academe: the neverending neologisms, the vague, discursive pronouncements, the complete failure to engage directly with the evidence, preferring to remain aloof in the realm of theory, the absurd prolixity, the monstrous self-importance, the twisting of what old, established words are used to fit new meanings.

But most egregious of all is that this is not a proper essay at all, but a piece of special pleading in which the author, having found a desirable conclusion, has gone hunting for a suitable premise.

Konstantin said...

Thank you Father, very interesting insight.

The Rad Trad said...

Dear period,

Your comment is not an actual criticism, just a broad swipe at an article you did not like. Fr. Cipolla, who has celebrated and deaconed at a parish I once attended, possesses none of the narcissistic traits you indirectly ascribe to him in your reaction to his piece. Critique Fr. Cipolla if you like, but, like Fr Blake, say something concrete rather than tossing, what amounts to, animadversions against the writer himself.

New Catholic said...

Father, the comment did not go through simply because the word "dishonest" was used. It is a strong word that impinges on the motivation of the author. If you had contacted me, I would have explained this to you.

Fr Ray Blake said...

New Catholic,
Making claims that are untrue is dishonest, not doing proper research is dishonest.
It does not serve our cause, it does not belong to Christ!

. said...

The Rad Trad, my comment is a criticism of method, not of content. I have cast no aspersions on Fr. Cipolla. Merely because you do not like my comment doe not make it untrue.

Perhaps you might like to be a little more circumspect and a little less quick to defend an article merely because you support its conclusions.

Also, there is no verb 'to deacon'.

Fr Ray Blake said...

No more anonymous comments - get yourself a name, preferably use your own.

nickbris said...

Real names would be even better,what is the point of being ashamed of letting people know who you are or what you are really about

Fr Dickson said...

while it is true, as you point out, that “Cardinal Heenan goes on to say”, he also states, before the paragraph quoted by Fr Cipola and yourself, that “After studying the so-called Normative Mass it was clear to me...”. It was therefore a study of the new Rite and not simply the singing that he seems to have found problematic, which justifies Fr Cipola’s use of the text. In fact, Cardinal Heenan went on in the same intervention to note six points of criticism, including the weakening of the Eucharistic Prayer against increasing biblical readings and the loss of Latin as the loss of a necessary universal language for a universal Church.

Annie said...

Cardinal Heenan was spot on in his reaction to the music. I've gotten to the point where I can't stand listening to it and no longer sing the songs because they interfere with my worship of God. The songs sung at the Masses are almost uniformly ugly or insipid or inane and most of them have a Protestant tinge to them. The best moment I had at Church the other week was after Mass when I went to pray at the statue of St. Joseph. Why was it the best time? Because *finally* I could hear myself think which I never seem able to do at Mass with all the singing, singing, singing going on. Just as I start talking to God along comes another song to sing. The focus is on us worshipping as a group with the songs put there to tell us what to say to God and we aren't allowed anymore enough time as individuals to speak our *own* thoughts to God from our hearts.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Fr Dickson,
For the sake of clarity I have added the whole of the Cardinal intervention.
I would suggest it is not the Mass per se but the fact High/Sung Mass was presented as not merely "normative" but the usual practice for N.O. that was being objected to, this at the time meant with psalms with antiphons, the three readings, the Canon aloud, Gospel and offertory processions, biddings etc.
I think Heenan was shocked by the complexity and the time it took, and the innovation! But mainly the lack of pastoral sensitivity, what his reaction would have been if it were in the vernacular, I think the readings were, I don't know.

However I do not think Fr Cipolla is justified in coming to his conclusion by what the quote he cites.
He seems unfamiliar with the whole intervention.

The Rad Trad said...

Mr period:

I do not support the article. I read it once and found it flat, but I did not seek to speak in such terms ("absurd," "monstrous self-importance," "twisting of what old...") that inevitably mean characterizing its author as a pent-up, academic snob. The first line is your first comment borders on calling Fr. Cipolla intellectually dishonest, which he most certainly is not.

"Deacon" may not be in a dictionary as a verb, but it's used colloquially enough in sacristies to have entered my vocabulary, and that of some others'.

gemoftheocean said...

Yellow on gray...why are you persecuting us? [I so loved the all black...the whites and yellows so crisp and easy to read.]

Jacobi said...

Fr Cipolla’s article is a profound and accurate assessment of what has happened to the New Mass. Contrary to what has been suggested, it is quite precise in its language.

It argues that the New Mass, while still valid, has been effeminised. It has been turned from the re-enactment of the Redemptive Death and Resurrection of Christ into an inward directed, female orientated, liturgically improper, distraction from that Sacrifice.

Yes it is effeminised and most Catholic men – and women for that matter – have shown their disinterest by walking away in their hundreds of thousands,as in the constantly falling Mass attendance over the last decades.

What Cardinal Heenan predicted, including his warnings about too much emphasis on Biblical readings i.e., the Protestant approach, the diminution of belief in the Real Presence, and the abolition of the continuity effect of Latin, is exactly what has happened.

The Rad Trad said...

That should be "in your first comment". Sorry all!

John Nolan said...

Reading this, one or two things spring to mind. The Missa Normativa trialled in the Sistine chapel in 1967 was celebrated in Italian, not Latin. In the same year Tres Abhinc Annos mandated changes to the Mass which foreshadowed the Novus Ordo and gave the coup de grace to the Roman Rite. These included the vernacular Canon, shorn of most of the time-honoured rubrical gestures, and the merging of the priest's and people's Communion.

Although Heenan comes across as a liturgical conservative (he didn't like the 1955 Ordo for Holy Week, for example), in 1964 the English hierarchy ordered the vernacular to be used at all public Masses for nearly all of the first half of Mass, which as the Catholic Herald remarked at the time, was more than the Council was recommending. Versus populum celebration suddenly became widespread. I doubt that priests did this on their own initiative.

In 1967 I was a teenager in a Lincolnshire parish, and can't speak for Westminster, but I would seriously doubt that every parish had a Latin Mass on Sundays. Mine certainly didn't, and the local Ordinary (Ellis of Nottingham) did not even like the vernacular Mass.

TLMWx said...

Jacobi the New rite is not female orientated. Femininity is not an emasculated masculinity. Fr. Cipolla went to some lengths to point this out in his article. You yourself state that men and women prefer the older rite. Furthermore, if I look around all the people and families I know it is the females that are the driving force to attend the older Mass. The men are not the main drivers.

Fr Ray, Cardinal Heenan's flock were mainly Irish or of Irish descent. For 200 odd yrs they had to snatch low mass in hills and woods or anywhere they could get it. As a result a distorted view of public worship may have been seeded. Sunday Mass is not a private devotion. It is a public act of worship which ought to include psalm-singing and gregorian chant. Personally there is nothing I like better than low Mass. However, this is not the highest form of public worship than can be offered to our good God. I take your excellent point about the selective use of the cardinal's comment and it is quite interesting to see the whole context. Thank you.

Fr Ray Blake said...

John Nolan,
Was all of it Italian?

Rachel M. Gohlman said...

I actually prefer low Mass. Sometimes my ears are left ringing after Mass and I need to stay behind with Jesus in the tabernacle. Lately, I have hungered deeply for silence.

Poppy Tupper said...

A Protestant tinge? Would that they had! Protestantism has produced most of the very best church music. Think of Bach, Mendelssohn, Stanford, Howells...

Gadfly said...

I think that Fr. Cipolla has overreached himself in quoting the late Cardinal Heenan to support his main argument. His mistake is to treat Cardinal Heenan as a contemporary with our perspective of the liturgy when in fact he belonged to another generation with a different mind set to ours (The Mass may be eternal but "the past is a foreign country they did things differently in those days" L P Hartley wrote). Cardinal Heenan certainly wasn't slow to see the doctrinal weaknesses of the new order of Mass or its pastoral implications based on his knowledge of his flock; but to conclude that the new liturgy would effeminize the priesthood requires the gift of hind site, of which Cardinal Heenan would have been incapable.

Genty said...

Think of Tallis, Byrd, Fairfax, Dunstable et al. By the way, what a very strange picture to support the hypothesis of Protestant superlatives. Rather gross, in fact.
Back to the topic, I love High Mass but, day to day, the contemplative silence of the Latin Low Mass is, for me, more spiritually invigorating.
I can't accept that Cardinal Heenan regarded the new Mass as effeminate; more that it would appeal to women and children at that time.
What I do think is that, over the years, the Mass has become incrementally far less muscular than the early vernacular Mass. Inevitable, maybe, but not necessarily foreseen when it was first promulgated.

MC Man said...

I think that Cardinal Heenan was spot on.Too much singing can distract from prayer,sometimes I long for a quiet,simple Mass or a Low Mass in the EF.

John Nolan said...

I understand that the 1967 prototype Missa Normativa was celebrated by Bugnini mostly in Italian. It would not have included the Roman Canon, since the reformers had decided to do away with it (Paul VI later reinstated it) and the Offertory would have been even more perfunctory than in the later rite, since Paul also restored the In spiritu humilitatis and Orate fratres (much to Bugnini's chagrin as he didn't want mention of sacrifice at this point). Despite this, the service was timed at 55 minutes.

Heenan's was not the only dissenting voice. Only a minority of the bishops present (71 out of 176) voted 'placet'; there were 43 'non placet' and 62 'juxta modum'. People assume that it was celebrated ad apsidem, but was it? Versus populum was almost an article of faith for the reformers, and by 1967 temporary forward altars were commonplace.

JARay said...

I think that it is The New Liturgical blog which has described the usual Sunday Mass as a Hymn Sandwich. And that is what many, if not most of them are. Many of the "Songs"...I will not call them "Hymns"...are very Protestant in that they undermine the reality of the Real Presence. They talk often only about the bread and the wine and not the Body and Blood of Jesus.
I really do hate a Hymn Sandwich!

John Nolan said...

The term 'hymn sandwich' has been used in Anglican circles for a long time to describe those non-liturgical services which can still be found in the CofE.

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