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Friday, June 10, 2016

Traditionalist Catholics and Their Musical Blind Spot

I frequently see traditionalists bemoan the fact that no one wears suits and head scarves to Mass anymore. There's no proper respect shown, it's all part of the Freemasonic reforms of the Second Vatican Council, etc.

But, oddly enough, I never hear them complain about this:
13. On the same principle it follows that singers in church have a real liturgical office, and that therefore women, being incapable of exercising such office, cannot be admitted to form part of the choir. Whenever, then, it is desired to employ the acute voices of sopranos and contraltos, these parts must be taken by boys, according to the most ancient usage of the Church. (emphasis added)
Tra le Sollecitudini, the Instruction on Sacred Music, was a Motu Proprio promulgated on November 22, 1903 by Pope Pius X. The direction is quite clear. But one could already see cursed Modernism entering the Church with a few short decades:
74. Where it is impossible to have schools of singers or where there are not enough choir boys, it is allowed that "a group of men and women or girls, located in a place outside the sanctuary set apart for the exclusive use of this group, can sing the liturgical texts at Solemn Mass, as long as the men are completely separated from the women and girls and everything unbecoming is avoided. The Ordinary is bound in conscience in this matter."
Musicae Sacrae, Pope Pius XII's 1955 Christmas Encyclical on Sacred Music, had already begun to loosen the reigns, apparently because men had stopped participating in the divine liturgy.

"Impossible!" you say. "The men didn't leave until the Latin Mass left!" Well, actually, this is proof positive that the traditionalist position is wrong. The men and boys were already heading out the door by 1955, to such an extent that Rome had to recognize the lack in the sacred liturgy itself. Rome, the most slow-acting organization on the face of the Earth, had by 1955, figured out that men were largely gone from the choirs, so we know the men had departed quite a bit before 1955.

And, just as they had disappeared from the Mass prior to 1955, so they continued to bail on the Mass after 1955. In fact, within 12 short years, the documents had to be revised again. Thus we see the 1967 Vatican II document Musicam Sacram admit total defeat:
22. The choir can consist, according to the customs of each country and other circumstances, of either men and boys, or men and boys only, or men and women, or even, where there is a genuine case for it, of women only. (emphasis added)
On the bright side, we haven't yet had to resort to re-admitting the castrati. Which again, oddly enough, turns out to be something the traditionalists refuse to advocate, or even mention.

So, while we hear traditionalists whine about the lack of suits, ties and head scarves, where are their complaints about their own traditionalist mixed-sex or female-only choirs? The answer is clear: I blame the traditionalists, both men and women, who fail to wear gloves to the sacred liturgy. It is pure scandal that must stop.

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