Happy 63rd anniversary!

As this claims, TLM communities in the Philippines usually form around a priest who celebrates the Extraordinary Form. As a result, if parish priests are transferred, their TLM communities transfer with them as well. And so, when new parochial assignments in the Diocese of Cubao took effect in 2015, the TLM community, to which we belong, transferred with our priest in the Most Holy Redeemer Parish. Our first Mass here was celebrated on 19 July 2015.

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Behold the Lamb of God!

Decree of erectionToday marks the 63rd anniversary of the parish. On 20 September 1954, the future-Cardinal Archbishop of Manila, Rufino Santos, erected the parish on a territory abstracted from the parishes of Santísima Trinidad and Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, both of which still remain under the Archdiocese of Manila (click the thumbnail to see the decree that erected the parish). When the Diocese of Cubao was established on 20 June 2003, with the issuance of Quo satius, the parish came within the territory of the new ecclesiastical circumscription.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

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SP @ 10: Benedict XIV and sacred music

Facistol y órgano
Facistolium and organ in the church of San Agustín in Intramuros

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum. To celebrate this milestone, having a soft spot for namesakes, we find the occasion opportune to release our full English translation of the landmark encyclical on ecclesiastical discipline and church music issued by Benedict XIV on 19 February 1749: Annus, qui hunc. (The repository of documents we have curated is here.) Unlike Saint Pius X’s Tra le sollecitudini, whose English and even Latin translations are already available online, the only full translation of Annus, qui hunc we have seen so far is Italian.

The encyclical is rather long and, while its tenor is chronologically situated close to the Jubilee Year of 1750, it surprises us with how current the problems it raises are. For example, when Benedict XIV states that there is no other evidence of a bishop’s bad administration besides his own priests going about in ugly clothing celebrating Mass haphazardly, aren’t we reminded of those vacationing Filipino priests who say Mass in shorts and flipflops? Or, when he condemns music that merely sounds more like an accompaniment to dance and theatre rather than to prayer, aren’t we reminded of those Masses where the sacrilege of dance itself was incorporated in the very heart of the Liturgy?

Via Crucis in the Colosseum
The Stations of the Cross erected during the Jubilee Year of 1750 by Saint Leonard of Porto Maurizio, four years before being pulled down by the new Italian government in 1874.
Benedict XIV
Benoît XIV | Pierre Subleyras | 1740

Cardinal Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini, the future Benedict XIV, was known to be a consummate intellectual, hailed as one of the greatest scholars of Christendom, and his encyclical, published nine years into his papal reign, just shows that. He synthesised his arguments from at least three Ecumenical Councils and seven local Synods, two collections of documents, four Doctors of the Church, five popes, six cardinals (including himself), two archbishops and four bishops, six monks, five canons, seven priests, one deacon, one musicologist, two musicians (who were choirmasters of the Papal Chapel), one scientist, one philologist, and one divine. Religion-wise, Benedict XIV quoted six Jesuits, five Benedictines, three Dominicans, two Cistercians, and two Oratorians. He only went as far as to quote an Anglican divine to drive home his point about the necessity to distinguish between the music that is churchworthy and that which is not, and this he did with a disclaimer that the source was heterodox, and on a section that referenced Saint Augustine.

We will not go as far as to provide a review of this encyclical, however delicious the prospect appears to us, if only to juxtapose it against the recent irreversibile speech, which, incidentally, is also noteworthy for the selectivity of its bibliography. But indulge us with this one whim. See below a rough structural outline of the encyclical:

SECTION LEVEL TOPIC
0 Introduction Upcoming Holy Year
1 Objective I State and upkeep of churches
2 Objective II Time and fulfilment of the obligation to recite the Divine Office
3 Objective III Sobriety of polyphonic and organ music
4 III-Auth-A Authorities who disapprove the use of polyphonic music
5 III-Auth-B Authorities who approve the use of polyphonic music
6 III-Auth-C Authorities who propose a distinction between theatrical and ecclesiastic music
7 III-Mus Theatrical vs. Ecclesiastic music
8 III-Mus-A Singing proper to churches
9 III-Mus-B Method and rationale of singing in church
10 III-Mus-C Musical instruments permitted in churches
11 III-Mus-C-1 Instruments tolerated in churches
12 III-Mus-C-2 Sound, as accompaniment to singing, tolerated in churches
13 III-Mus-C-3 Sound, by itself, tolerated in churches
14 Synthesis I Application of the law
15 Synthesis II Propriety of priestly attire

One more thing. We might have gotten too carried away with the references. The footnotes that we added are as kilometric as the encyclical itself.

Annus qui hunc LTAnnus qui hunc EN

Ut quae prava sunt, corrigantur ; quae infirma, curentur ; quae mala, amoveantur.

Mutual enrichment

Every goal begins with an attitude.

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Watch ye, and pray!

When Benedict XVI promulgated Summorum Pontificum ten years ago in order to grant universal access to the Traditional Latin Mass, that the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms enrich one another became its corollary goal. Thus, the Italian possono arricchirsi a vicenda [1] later encouraged the conceptualisation of mutual enrichment, on which topic, debates continue to produce intelligent proposals, respectful disagreements, reasonable discernments, and disarming predictions.

There are two sides to mutual enrichment: what it means to the Pope emeritus; and what it means to us. Concerning mutual enrichment, in his letter introducing his motu proprio, Benedict XVI said: “New Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal” [2]. Some of us might feel hurt that the Pope emeritus only saw the virtues of the Novus Ordo, but let us not dismiss the possibility that he considers these two as the only virtues of the Ordinary Form worthy of emulation.

While this papal ideal remains a vision as we strive to attain stability, the enrichment has already begun and continues to gain momentum in the opposite direction. Mutual enrichment begins with our attitude, our disposition, our outlook. Once we attend the Old Rite, it will be quite hard to set aside meaningful habits—those gestures of humility and vestures of modesty—that we have acquired in the Old Rite. Veiling and appropriate attire are an example. Kneeling for Communion is another. The longing for silence, for an interior communication with the Lord, in the Mass, dispose our souls towards what happens at the altar.

Oftentimes, however, when we are in the Ordinary Form, noise and ugly music imperil our disposition. This is where enter church musicians who have been touched by the Extraordinary Form, conscious of the liturgical prescriptions of the Ordinary Form. Sacred music is one of the easy ways through which we can enrich the OF with the EF. We can begin with a serious Catholic musician who is in good terms with his parish priest. Patience and perseverance and gradual amelioration possess an underestimated power to reshape attitudes over time.

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Credo videre bona Domini !

As the clock edges closer to the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum’s entry into force, let us pray for all musicians serving in the EF, who many days in a week battle the absurd prejudices in their home parishes.

Diva Caecilia, ora pro nobis. Dive Gregori, ora pro nobis.


[1] Letter Con grande fiducia (7 July 2017) near the middle: AAS 99 (2007) p. 797.
[2] Ibid.