Sacred music during the epidemic

Our desire to render honour to God, and to be united with others in our efforts to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy with greater solemnity and befitting ornament, during this current epidemic, must be tempered according to the laws governing Sacred Liturgy and Sacred Music. By virtue of its character of special law, Summorum Pontificum, as clarified by norm 28 of Universæ Ecclesiæ, instituted a tempus ad quod for the Extraordinary Form, in that Summorum Pontificum “derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962”. That means that the last major Roman legislation on sacred music applicable to the Extraordinary Form is Pius XII’s De musica sacra of 3 September 1958.

Norm 74 establishes that:

74. For any radio or television broadcast of liturgical functions or private devotions, the local Ordinary must give his express permission; this is required whether they are being held inside or outside the church. Before granting permission, the Ordinary must be sure that: a) the singing and music fully comply with the laws of the liturgy, and sacred music; b) in the case of a television broadcast, all those taking part in the ceremonies are so well instructed that the ceremonies may be carried out in full conformity with the rubrics, and with fitting dignity.

74. Ad actiones liturgicas vel pia exercitia, quæ cum intra tum extra ecclesiam peraguntur, ope radiophoniæ vel televisionis diffundenda, expressa requiritur Ordinarii loci licentia ; quam ipse ne concedat, nisi prius sibi constet : a) Cantum et Musicam sacram, legibus sive liturgicis sive Musicæ sacræ apprime respondere ; b) Insuper, si agatur de diffusione televisifica, omnes, qui in functione sacra partem habent, ita bene instructos ess, ut celebration rubricis plane conformis et omnino digna evadat.

The permission from the Ordinary is now de facto on account of the current epidemic. It is now our duty to exercise this permission compliant “with the laws of the liturgy, and sacred music”. And so, we draw our attention again to norm 71.

71. The use of automatic instruments and machines, such as the automatic organ, phonograph, radio, tape or wire recorders, and other similar machines, is absolutely forbidden in liturgical functions and private devotions, whether they are held inside or outside the church, even if these machines be used only to transmit sermons or sacred music, or to substitute for the singing of the choir or faithful, or even just to support it.

71. Usus instrumentorum et machinarum « automaticarum », uti sunt : autoorganum, grammophonium, radiophonium, dictaphonium seu magnetophonium, et alia eiusdem generis, in actionibus liturgicis et piis exercitiis, sive intra sive extra ecclesiam peragendis, absolute vetatur, etsi agatur tantum de sacris sermonibus vel Musica sacra transmittenda, vel de cantoribus aut fidelibus in cantu substituendis aut etiam sustentandis.

There are several notions that demand highlighting. First, “other similar machines”, by the qualifier similar, are machines and devices that can function like an automatic organ, phonograph, radio, and tape or wire recorders. Without going into electronic details, the modern smartphone, being enabled by applications and built-in functions, falls within the ambit of these similar machines. Second, the prohibition covers purposes of “[transmitting] sermons or sacred music”, “[substituting] for the singing of the choir or the faithful”, and “even just [supporting the singing]”. This gamut embraces all praiseworthy activities that livestreaming from handheld devices are capable of remotely transmitting. As for broadcasting vis-à-vis livestreaming, skip to the penultimate full paragraph.

But what does choir mean? Does it have to be physically present? The laws governing sacred music have always made it clear that the choir is located within the consecrated edifice. If we cast our glance to the wealth of guidance that our patrimony provides, we will discover that the word choir signifies three elements. First, in a strictly historical sense, the choir is that group of clerics who, since the early days of the Church, sang and chanted praises in the form of a crown standing around the altar [1]. Second, in a strictly architectural sense, the quire is that place inside the consecrated church or that part of the sacred edifice set off on four sides, and surrounded by choir stalls for cantors and clerics, and separated in front of the altar by latticework or by walls decorated with art, in which layfolk ought not presume to enter [2]. Third, having attained in the Church the custom of admitting laymen or persons without holy orders into the choir to perform chant, in a broadly choral sense, the choir also signifies that assembly which laymen constitute, singing for the celebration of the Liturgy, but assisting outside the quire, in another designated place separated from the rest of those attending Mass [3].

And here we must realise, as the various canons of past Councils in the footnotes have disposed—Tours II (567), Toledo IV (633), Milan I (1565), Manila I (1907)—that when Holy Church speaks of the choir, She always treats it as if it were present in the celebration of the Liturgy. (And this parallels the way Holy Mother Church speaks of contraception only within the context of the marital act.) It is fitting that just as the Lord is really present at Mass, all who serve and assist at the Sacrifice must be really present as well. The minimum condition therefore for a choir of laypersons, be it of one cantor or more, is that it must be within the church (or any place where the Liturgy is being celebrated) but situated separate from the sanctuary (or away from the space where the Mysteries are confected), at the very moment the Liturgy is being celebrated.

Note as well that Pius XII enjoined organisers in norm 79 “to remind the radio and television audiences before the program that listening to the broadcast does not fulfill their obligation to attend Mass.” We might nitpick on terms, livestreaming vis-à-vis broadcasting, because livestream has not yet been coined back in 1958, but the entire section E of De musica sacra’s Chapter III.2 encompasses the “transmission of sacred functions by means of radiophony and television”. And livestreaming is transmission, and smartphones utilise radio technology and television signal to transmit. But we must not worry about this, since our Ordinaries have already dispensed us from the spiritual obligation to attend Mass on Sunday.

The temptation to be creative haunts us and taunts us, when resources are meagre, and we are overwhelmed with a sincere desire to adorn the Liturgy with music. We advise others to fast and abstain, and our superiors advise us likewise in order to live the true spirit of Lent. More than any other season, this is the time to fast and abstain from creativity. For creativity itself was one of the viruses that infected the prime movers of modern liturgical upheaval, one of whose victims is Holy Week. And so, mindful of the unique purpose to which we have devoted our lives, every time we sense the temptation rising, we must confront it, and perish it forthwith. For in this case, as in the case we have tackled before, the via pastoralis is to celebrate Low Mass without musical ornament.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

[1] Honorius of Autun, Sacramentary, ch. 33: PL 172 (Paris 1874) 764: “The Choir is the coherence of those who are singing: it is said that they are called a Choir because in the beginning they would stand and chant in the form of a crown around the altar. The Cantors are singers of God’s praises, and the ones who encourage others unto praise. The vestments of Cantors are made of linen, white, and long: made of linen, that they may be refined in ability; white, that they may be clean and chaste; long, that they may be persevering in goodness unto the end. The slack of the copes is the breadth of charity; the tassels, good works.”
Cf.: Idem, The gem of the soul, bk. 1, ch. 143: op. cit., 588: “The Choir is named after the harmony of those who are singing, or the coherence of those who are standing around. For indeed, those who sing once stood in the form of a crown around the altar; but the Bishops Flavian and Diodorus instructed the Choirs to chant alternately. The two Choirs of Cantors represent the angels and the spirits of the just, as though praising the Lord with an interchanging voice. The stalls in which they stand represent the many mansions in the house of the Father (Jn. 14). That sometimes they go from the Choir in procession into some altar, and thither in attention sing, signifies that souls departing from this life come to Christ and in the company of angels sing together unto God.”
[2] Charles du Fresne, Glossarium (Frankfurt am Main 1681) 972: “The part of the Church in which the Choir gathers and sings.”
Cf.: Second Council of Tours, can. 4: Sacrorum Conciliorum 9 (Florence 1763) 793: “Let the layfolk absolutely not presume to stand before the altar, where the Holy Mysteries are celebrated, amongst Clerics both during Vigils and during Masses: but let that part, which is separated by latticework facing the altar, be only visible to the Choir of Clerics who are chanting. But during prayer and Communion, as is the custom, let the Holy of holies by shewn to laymen and laywomen.”
Cf.: Fourth Council of Toledo, can. 18: Sacrorum Conciliorum 10 (Florence 1764) 624: “Some Priests, after the Lord’s prayer is said, immediately receive Communion, and afterwards, give the blessing upon the people; which henceforth we forbid: but after the Lord’s prayer, and the mixing together of the Bread and the Chalice, let the blessing upon the people follow, and then finally, let the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord be consumed; in such order, of course, that the Priest and the Deacon receive Communion at the altar, the Clergy in the quire, and the people outside the quire.”
[3] First Provincial Council of Milan, part 1: Acta Ecclesiæ Mediolanensis (Lyon 1599) 31: “Let the Cantors, where it is possible, be Clerics: but absolutely let them make use of clerical vestments and the surplice in Choir. But in processions, let neither Cantors nor musicians proceed together with the Choir in clerical vestments.”
Cf.: First Provincial Council of Manila, tit. 4, ch. 10, no. 521: Acta et Decreta Concilii Provincialis Manilani I (Rome 1907) 213: “Let lay Cantors be religious and commendable in the integrity of their ways: but by no means let the irreligious and the scandalous be admitted.”
Cf.: Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Musicæ sacræ (25 December 1955) 74.

In defence of the Noveritis

We are two days away from the Circumcision of the Lord, which is the octave of Christmas, and thereafter the days will start to edge closer to Epiphany, the thirteenth day of Christmas. If you missed the setting of the Noveritis we released earlier this month, then open this now. Done? Let us now listen to how the proclamation sounds in plainchant.

One of the many reasons we released this very early is our desire to provide plenty of time for priests and deacons, who still appreciate the beauty of this custom, to rehearse. This tone is not unfamiliar but, as we have said before, the sudden drops can be disorienting and disarming.

Why do we insist on hearing this announcement of feasts? After all, the world has already advanced greatly in its calendrical studies to such a point we can practically get the dates of all the major liturgical feasts in, let’s say, the year 3091 with just a series of clicks in the Internet.

The determination of the dates of feasts hinges on the date of Easter, and the Noveritis clearly admits this in its introduction. “So we also announce to you the joy of the Resurrection of the Saviour,” it declares. The Church, throughout Her life, combated many heresies, among which figured the obstinacy to fix the date of Easter.

The announcement of the date of Easter on Epiphany is a reminder of this great motherly concern that the Church lavishes upon Her children. She desires that we celebrate the feasts of the Lord on the correct days, and so she tells us, quite generously, the dates that She has correctly determined. Continuing this custom reinforces the bonds that unite Her children, the Pope to his bishops, the bishop to his priests, the priest to his parishioners. It is an affirmation of this unity that is not only universal but also hierarchical.

This reason, of course, borders on the melodramatic. Practicality demands that the faithful should simply look at their calendars and spare their priests from chanting the dates they can readily find elsewhere. This is the logic of the world, which always encourages us to choose the easiest path. If we apply this logic to our received tradition, then perhaps we should also compel the Church to abandon the cope (in Latin pluviale, literally raincoat in English) in the Liturgy because, let’s face it, does it ever rain inside a church? Or during Holy Week, when the only thing that is raining is our sweat.

If a reason as romantic as an emphasis on the hierarchical and universal unity of the Church is too gross even for a pewsitter in the vetus ordo, then perhaps a more compelling reason would be an emphasis on calendrical and liturgical integrity. It is not unknown to many Catholics that Bishops Conferences around the world have recently acquired the habit of permanently transferring feast days, resulting to a complete evaporation of the significance their chronological position. Say hello to Epiphany permanently fixed on the first Sunday of January, goodbye twelve days of Christmas and all! Let’s brush cheeks with Ascension three days after the date clearly enunciated in Holy Writ! If the translation of these solemn feasts earned our consternation, why should we visit our indignation upon the Noveritis in the vetus ordo which only faithfully preserves the correct dates? Announcing, therefore, the date of Easter and other movable feasts has a medicinal effect on this prevailing practice.

If we hear our spiritual fathers dismiss the Noveritis as something extraneous, impractical, and obsolete, let us redouble our prayers for the gift of patience.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Epiphany announcement 2020

We are five days into the season of Advent, two days away from the feast of the Immaculate Conception, six days away from the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, nineteen days away from the feast of the Nativity of the Lord. In short, we are a month away from the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord next year. For that, a Blessed Advent to everyone! This year, Epiphany fell on the first Sunday of January. Next year, Epiphany will be on the first Monday! If divine favour is upon us, we might get some Epiphany water blessed on the first Sunday!

Burne-Jones - The Star of Bethlehem
The star of Bethlehem | Edward Burne-Jones | 1887–1891

This means that it is time for our priests and deacons to brush up on the Epiphany announcement, a parallelising misnomer (we will be having the Christmas proclamation this Christmas) for the rather cumbersome announcement of movable feasts. Unlike the Christmas proclamation, this one does not have any stymieing elogium (say, for the phase of the moon), apart from the synodal elogium, which we have omitted, since our local ordinary has not issued an indiction for a diocesan synod anytime this coming 2020. And, unlike the Christmas proclamation, the tone for this announcement (click on the thumbnail to open the file) is familiar, being the same tone used for the Easter proclamation (yes, the Exsultet). Here is the 2019 announcement.

Oh, and a final note, 26 February will be Ash Wednesday. It is one of the two days when Filipinos cannot substitute anything for the obligatory fast and abstinence.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Christmas proclamation 2019

Gallegos - Niños del coro
Niños del coroJosé Gallegos y Arnosa | c. 1885–1890

We are a month away from Christmas Eve. Today is the feast of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Thirteen days later shall be the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Principal Patroness of the Philippines, and four days after this shall be the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Heavenly Patroness of the Philippines before God, whose depiction is that of a mulier incincta in Latin, a mujer encinta in Spanish, a lady with child. Once we get to these great feasts of the Blessed Virgin, we know it is time to prepare for Christmas! Traditionally, before the misa de gallo, the Mass sung at midnight, the first Mass of Christmas, a cantor sings the proclamation of the birth of Christ, what many of us call kalendas, which was sang as prologue to the martyrology the previous day. Amongst us Filipinos, members of some choirs that sang in the Mass before the liturgical changes of the 1960s would probably still remember singing or hearing the kalendas, which used to be sung as a choral rite of passage from tiple to cantor.

We know, of course, that, in a deplorable, but not unexpected, happenstance, the chronological exactitude of the old text of the prologue of the Christmas martyrology was thrown off the cliff and replaced with a generic formula that situates the birth of our Redeemer at a time, rather off-puttingly, “when ages beyond number had run their course”. It is no longer a mystery to us, but we still wonder why the usus recentior strives to countenance this inelegance and ambiguity.

Gérôme - Le Siècle d'Auguste et la naissance de Jésus-Christ
Le siècle d’Auguste et la naissance de Jésus-ChristJean-Léon Gérôme | 1855

For the usus antiquior, it is more common to use the older text. The elogium of the date is the same: the eighth calends of January. This means that 25 December is eight days away from 1 January, which is the calends of the month. The elogium of the moon changes per year, according to the epact of the year and its corresponding martyrology letter. This year, it is the twenty-ninth moon. Practically, especially if referencing the dates against the martyrology tables becomes too daunting a task to accomplish, we can simplify the reckoning by counting the number of days from the preceding new moon, which occurred on 26 November this year, until 25 December. (The lunation for this month means that 25 December is the last day before the new moon; hence, the moon is twenty-nine days of age on 25 December.)

Kalendas 2019

There is a modus ordinarius found in the Martyrologium Romanum, but here we have the modus sollemnior (click on the thumbnail to open the file), which is probably monastic in provenance. If it has fallen upon our happy lot to chant the kalendas this year, then we can exercise the option to sing it in the more solemn tone in honour of the holy birth of our Redeemer.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Traditional Ordo 2019: May to August


Elsewhere, we have uploaded second part of the traditional Ordo for the Philippines for 2019. Apart from what has already been said here, we will only add that this ordo, like its 2017 and 2018 counterparts, has been enriched with particular feast proper to the Philippines, based on older ordines and referenced against published manualia. For example, one will find that on the Thursday after the feast of the Sacred Heart (4 July this year), the feast of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus is celebrated throughout the Philippines, except in the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Manila and of San Fernando, on the strength of the indult granted in perpetuity first on 22 September 1937 and later on 18 March 1938. We hope that this would help guide our brethren in the celebration of the Mass and the Office in the vetus ordo.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Greying the darkness

Tenebræ, as a particular custom of saying Matins and Lauds for the Sacred Triduum, is sometimes explained in incomplete terms to avoid addressing the problems produced by the Pian Holy Week reforms. The word tenebræ in Latin means darkness. It is a plurale tantum, which means we can never find the word used in the singular, *tenebra. As many authors have already described the spiritual side of this darkness, we shall be content with asking one question: How do we experience ambient darkness?

Credo videre bona Domini !

Darkness is simply the absence of light. When the sun sets, its light diminishes, and darkness creeps in. When a household forgets to pay its utilities and the power provider decides to cut the line, it will have no electricity-powered light come nighttime. When we are in a brightly-lit windowless room, and some pranksters flipped the switch off, darkness engulfs us. There are, therefore, two sides to the experience of darkness: first, the disappearance of light; second, the emergence of darkness.

Now back to the Office of Darkness. Monks recited Matins at midnight, Lauds close to dawn. These are hours when the earth is morally still awash in the darkness of night. To sing the Offices, monks needed light. As with other nocturnal Offices, the same necessity for light was expected in the Offices of the Sacred Triduum. What happened differently, however, was the fact that monks started to extinguish the light gradually until all lights had been smothered by the end of Lauds. As Matins progressed and ushered in Lauds, the monks in choir were plunged deeper and deeper into ambient darkness. And what usually happens after the fact? The name is coined. The nocturnal Offices of the Sacred Triduum became the Office of Darkness.

The Office is very long, and, if coupled with extenuating circumstances, such as the staggered recitation of matutinal nocturns in monastic communities, can sometimes extend into daybreak. In places where night gradually shortens after the equinox, this meant that the Office can reach up to midmorning. “The desire to render these sublime Offices more accessible to clergy and laity,” notes the Catholic Encyclopedia, prompted the shifting of the Offices “from midnight to the previous afternoon, when no real darkness can be secured.”

Such desire evidently asserted itself when the Commission for the General Reform of the Liturgy, convened on 12 December 1952, and afterwards on 23 January the following year, and much later on 24 June 1955. In the process, no restoration happened, just another temporal translation, which also turned out to be a band aid solution for the centuries-old rhythm of Christendom to attend liturgies in the morning of the Sacred Triduum. In the process, the Office of Darkness lost the element that gave it its name. Explaining the importance of the Officium Tenebrarum now rests on unintentional half-truths.

The Office of Darkness did not come to be known as such merely by the extinguishing of lights. The service came to be known as Tenebræ after the extinguishing of lights and the darkness that waxes with each extinction. As we sing the Tenebræ on these hallowed days, we participate in the collective effort to keep the ancient liturgies alive. We, therefore, pray to God that He may deign to restore the Sacred Liturgy throughout the world.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.


[1] Herbert Thurston, Tenebræ: The Catholic Encyclopedia 14 (New York 1912).
[2] Verbale delle 25a, 27a, e 51a adunanze. See: Nicola Giampietro, O. F. M. Cap., Il cardinale Giuseppe Ferdinando Antonelli e gli sviluppi della riforma liturgica dal 1948 al 1970 (Rome 1998), pp. 315, 319, 355.


Three years ago, on 6 January 2016, the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued the decree In Missa officially introducing the Franciscoid variation of the rite of the mandatum. We will not attempt to discuss the merit and demerit of this variation, which has now rendered the rite more facile to integrated into latent sloganeering and other patent social activism.

And below is a rare photograph of the twelve beggars whose feet were washed during the mandatum in the Cathedral of Nueva Segovia in 1916.

One notices that these selected men, viri selecti in rubrical Latin, are not the best dressed of the citizenry. We are probably reading too much from this one picture, because from what we see these men look poor, and were probably poor, and, perhaps, because of their poverty, they were given matching attires.

Below is a very brief, almost passing, description of how the mandatum was carried out in the then Diocese of Nueva Cáceres.

During the meal of the Apostles at the [Episcopal] Palace, the seminarians designated by the Fr. Director shall assist to serve the poor at the table and to accompany the Bishop. At two-thirty in the afternoon, the washing of the feet shall begin, and the maundy shall follow, as well the praying of compline.

A la comida de los Apóstoles en Palacio se asistirán los seminaristas que designe el P. Director, para servir a los pobres la mesa y acompañar al Obispo. A las dos y media de la tarde se comenzará el lavatorio, seguirá el Mandato y el rezo de las completas.

A few observations are in place. The first part mentions apóstoles and later pobres. These two mean the same thing. They are the viri selecti, men who have very little or no earthly possessions at all, selected and appointed as apostles whom the bishop invites to his table on Maundy Thursday. Later, after the meal, the bishop washes the feet of these poor men. Largely due to this tradition of calling the twelve men apostles that the new dicasterial decree had to be approached carefully in some places. In these places, the viri selecti are still exclusively men, but a new paraliturgy evolved where, while Mass is suspended in midair, the twelve men go to designated places inside the church and wash the feet of layfolk—men, women, children, etc.

Today, when we celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist, let us offer our Lenten sacrifices for the transmission of the things which we received from the apostles, who in turn received them from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Today, we usually hear charity highlighted, and not so much as obedience, which the mandatum demands, for where there is command, there obedience should be.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Redding the purple

The biggest decisions that ended up changing the Palm Sunday liturgy happened on a Tuesday evening, on 11 May 1954, in the residence of Cardinal Gaetano Cicognani, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, which was in the Pontifical Spanish College. The 40th meeting of the Commission for the General Reform of the Liturgy, formed by Pius XII on 28 May 1948, started at 05:30 that evening, with the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting.

Two matters were in order for this day: the first was the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene; the second, Palm Sunday. After the Magdalene affair, Father Josef Löw, C. Ss. R., distributed to the members a report, which he prepared in collaboration with then-Father Ferdinando Giuseppe Antonelli, O. F. M., containing the historical exposition and the general principles of the reformed rite, that foresees the simplification of the blessing of the palms, and the reappreciation of the primitive notion of a solemn homage to Christ the King, something which by then was no longer very clear. Two new collects, one for the blessing of the palms, and another for the conclusion of the procession, were also prepared and proposed. The structure of the Mass remained intact. The Commission was favourable to the proposal.

Dom Joaquín Anselmo María Albareda y Ramoneda, O. S. B., member of the Commission, then made a distinction between the blessing of palms (the first part, the dry Mass) and the Mass itself (the second part) of Palm Sunday, and proposed, to enact said distinction, situating the entire blessing of palms outside the church, just like the blessing of fire on Holy Saturday. The Commission, however, identified difficulties in implementing this change. Dom Albareda, moreover, proposed using rose vestments in the blessing and procession, considering that there are already two instances in the liturgy for this colour, during parentheses of joy in the midst of sorrow. The conclusion thereby admitted the possible use of either rose or red vestments for the first part of the liturgy.

Msgr. Enrico Dante then proposed simplifying the first part as well, in this way: singing of the Hosanna, blessing of palms using the last of the current collects, distribution, reading of the gospel, procession, final collect. This schema mirrored the prepared and proposed texts, which had abandoned the collects for the blessing of palms, except the last, wherein homage to Christ the King is sufficiently expressed, revised from a stylistic point of view to emphasise said homage. The meeting then ended with the usual prayer at 06:40 in the evening.

Changes on the agreed terms from this meeting were introduced in the next meeting on Tuesday, 25 March 1954. But the next time Palm Sunday came under the liturgical microscope in time for the excision of some lengthening factors was on a Friday evening, 21 October 1955, at 05:00 pm, in the same place, with all members of the Commission present. Again, two matters were in order for this day: first, the examination of the instruction that would later be released together with Maxima redemptionis barely a month later; second, the transfer of the Passion of Saint Matthew from Palm Sunday to Holy Monday. The first matter immediately started after the usual prayer, and the Council members agreed that only peremptory norms should be kept in the decree, while directive norms placed in the instruction. The texts were then reconsidered norm by norm, letter by letter, word for word.

Passing into the second matter, the Commission, considering that ancient tradition of reading the Passion on Palm Sunday, unanimously agreed against transferring the Passion of Saint Matthew to Holy Monday, but the Commission likewise admitted the proposal of reduction presented by then-Father Augustin Bea, S. J., pericoping it from Mt. 26, 36 until Mt. 27, 61, thereby removing a total of 40 verses. With this, the meeting ended with the usual prayer at 07:00 in the evening.

So, now we can map the major items in the synopsis for the Palm Sunday reforms prepared years before by the NLM to their originators: red vestments, abandonment of folded chasubles, omission of the veil on the processional cross, by Dom Albareda O. S. B.; reorganisation and simplification of the entire blessing rite, removal of old readings and prayers, introduction of new prayers, by Msgr. Dante; suppression of old responsories and antiphons, and permission of new hymns in honour of Christ the King, by Fr. Löw, C. Ss. R., and Fr. Antonelli, O. F. M.; reduction of the Passion of Saint Matthew, by Fr. Bea.

Revisiting these processes is an exercise in frustration. The procession of palms on Palm Sunday, interpreted under the reclarified light of a solemn homage to Christ the King, a notion that demands reassertion and revaluation, must be a parenthesis of joy in a period of sorrow. And since the Church allows other colour for such joyous pockets of time, so a less severe colour must be used during the entire blessing of palms, to which is intimately united the procession. The choice is rose or red. Red wins. To reconnect the new colour to the reemphasised element, red must be marketed to the audience as the true purple colour of royalty. But what can be truer than purple except purple itself?

Watch ye, and pray!

One of life’s prudishness that future generations can accuse us of is the moral obligation under which we labour when we feel inordinately repentant for the mistakes of other people. We feel sorry for what the reformers did, because their actions deprived us of the patrimonial riches of the Church, locked safely behind formulations of legality and appearances of abrogation, for quite a long time. The compelling reasons they so thought necessary to alter the age-old rites of the Church exist in an academic utopia built on the foundations of liturgical revisionism and false parallelisms.


Verbale delle 40a, 41a, e 54a adunanze. See: Nicola Giampietro, O. F. M. Cap., Il cardinale Giuseppe Ferdinando Antonelli e gli sviluppi della riforma liturgica dal 1948 al 1970 (Rome 1998), pp. 343–344, 358.

Easter prophetiary

Apparently, the original file for Book I of the Prophetiarium Xicatunense that we uploaded back in 2016 can no longer be downloaded. Hence, we have reuploaded the prophetiary (click the image on the left to access the file) in our Resources section. (Book II, for Pentecost, is in our Resources section, as well.) May it be useful to our mission to honour sacred music in its proper place in Catholic worship.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Tutorial: Ad libitum Easter Vigil prophecy tones

August last year, we received from a reader the tutorial recordings he made for the ad libitum Easter Vigil prophecy tones that this Choir uses.

Yesterday, NLM published the recordings here, which we now also share below. May these tutorial videos help us chant the prophecies of Easter Vigil!







Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.