Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On the Feast of Pius X

Today is the Feast of Pius X.

The Collect from today's Mass:

O God, who to safeguard the Catholic faith
and to restore all things in Christ,
filled Pope saint Pius the Tenth
with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fortitude,
graciously grant
that, following his teaching and example,
we may gain an eternal prize.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever. (new corrected ICEL translation.)

A hundred and eight years ago on November 22nd, 1903, Pius X issued Tra le Sollecitudini which said:

"The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone. [as opposed to polyphony, classical music, organ music etc. -MCH]

"Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times."

You can find the whole document on the Adoremus website.

Sixty years later to the day (November 22nd, 1963) the Council voted adoption of Sacrosanctum Concilium which called for the more "active" (or "actual") participation of the people: "14. Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the Liturgy."  In historical context, this means we the people should be chanting our parts of the mass as Pope Saint Pius X wanted.  Too sadly we do this too infrequently in either the extraordinary form or in the Ordinary Form.  I have known both traditionalists and progressives who have become upset by efforts to have the congregation chant the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus, the Pater Noster, the Agnus Dei, and/or the responses.

Yet we should joint the martial voices of the angels and the saints:

"8. In the earthly Liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that Heavenly Liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a Minister of the Holies and of the true Tabernacle22; we sing a hymn to the Lord's glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our Life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory23." [Sacrosanctum Concilium. Note the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse of John.)]

Furthermore the Council called for neither blind following of the rubrics nor "doing your own thing:"

"11. But in order that the Liturgy may be able to produce its full effects, it is necessary that the faithful come to it with proper dispositions, that their minds should be attuned to their voices, and that they should cooperate with Divine Grace lest they receive it in vain28. Pastors of souls must therefore realize that, when the Liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is their duty also to insure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects." [Sacrosanctum Concilium.]

You can find the whole document the Adoremus website.

A prayerful reading of Sacrosanctum Concilium would be a very edifying spiritual work on this, Pius X's feast, for Catholics of all persuasions.

Sancte Pie X, Ora Pro Nobis et ecclesia Dei

Note in the Roman Missal of Pius XII, the feast is on September 3rd.  In the Missal of Paul VI it was moved to August 21st.  Pius X died on August 20th, the Feast of St. Bernard.

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