24 July 2022

Credo ...

 A very fine lecture at Gardone, by our Director of Music, David Hughes, contained this wonderful anecdote, which I suspect must date from the end of World War I.

A French train, full of German prisoners of war being sent home from France, stopped at a railway station on the border. By chance, simultaneously, a German train, full of French prisoners of war being returned to France, stopped at the same station.

Feelings were still raw and passions were high and some jostling began among the two groups of repatriated servicemen.

Then ... somebody ... intoned, using the ancient, universally known melody, the phrase Credo in unum Deum

Within a few moments, the entire station was ringing with this glorious affirmation of Catholicism, of supra-national unity and identity.

Couldn't happen nowadays, could it, and you know why.


Joshua said...

Ben Gard, a fine Englishman and an exemplary Catholic, God rest his soul, whom I was privileged to know at the end of his long life, fought with the Indian Army in Burma during the Second World War, and after VJ Day was sent to Vietnam as part of the Allied forces deployed to supervise the Japanese surrender there. He told me of attending Mass for Christmas, 1945, at Hanoi Cathedral, alongside Catholics from every nation under heaven: Vietnamese, English, French, even some Japanese - "and we all sang Credo in unum Deum", he said.

Expeditus said...

Credo III was probably better known than Credo I. But, even before the Council, the Germans could have used a metrical four-line version to the tune of a Chorale. Things weren't quite as universal as we often suppose!

Jhayes said...

Fortescue has this:

The rite is the same as now; the Pontiff intones : "Credo in unum Deum" and the schola continues. In the middle ages it was commonly sung, not by the choir, but by all the people; wherefore there was only one chant for it' known to everyone.
This chant (in the fourth tone) is noted in the Vatican Gradual as the authentic one. The excellent custom that all the people should sing the creed has lasted in parts of France and Germany and is now being revived.'

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. I wonder how many folks who have been to the Holy Holocaust/Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a Chapel or Church of the SSPX and heard the choir, comprised of men and women, sining Latin Chant understand the choir/schola is in opposition to the teaching of Poe Saint Pius X n Tra le Sollecitundi

3. 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.

And I am not even getting into their Dialogue Masses but shouldn't; one expect that the FSSP, named in honor of the great Pope, would adhere to his teachings?

coradcorloquitur said...

In my experience there are few things more moving than the full-throated singing by a Catholic congregation (such as you find in many parts of Europe but also in Latin American and Asia---but not so much in the USA) of not just the Credo (which is, after all, the personal Profession of Faith of each Catholic attending a mass) but the parts of the Mass that belong to them---as well as the traditional hymns, chiefly as processional and recessional, that adorn and complement the properly liturgical parts of the mass. It might be pertinent to recall that St. Pius X, in a letter, declared that he would consider the highest achievement of his pontificate if Catholics could learn to sing basic Gregorian chants and Eucharistic hymns: here is the great pope defender of Tradition giving congregational singing by Catholics a very high priority for his pontificate. Sadly, too many Catholics of a traditional bent are strangely horrified by congregational singing. One such (a former editor of the excellent blog "New Liturgical Movement) going so far as to state the absurdity that the sound of the footfalls of the officiant at the procession is a more solemn and desirable sound than any singing (or solo music, I suppose, for how can one hear the solemn footfalls if an instrument is being played). Words simply fail, even when we are dealing with mere personal taste and opinion. When---or if---the Church is restored, I pray a Holy See returned to sanity and orthodoxy will solemnly address the question of music, musical instruments, hymnals, choirs, and congregational singing in a magisterial context. I think such would go a long way towards restoring the health of our beloved Church.

Moritz Gruber said...

Dear Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque,

that was not strictly speaking a "teaching", but a matter of discipline. As such, it is no longer binding, if only because there is a custom of at least thirty years against it. And resting as it does on false assumptions, which we all know can happen even in a Pope who is a saint when he is not speaking infallibly, it is a good thing that it is no longer followed.

Which false assumption? Well, the Pope said that the singers in church have a real liturgical office. He is right there, of course. What is wrong is that he confuses this office with that of the ordained ministers, specifically the lector. The singers are not (except in individual cases of course) lectors; nor are they substitute lectors in the way that altar servers are substitute acolytes. The chants represent the *reaction of the congregation* to what comes down from God (this is no modern invention; see St. Thomas, Sth. III 83 IV). Now being part of the congregation is rightfully the place of women (in fact, the congregation, the Church is even structurally female; she's a "she" and the "Bride of Christ" for a reason), und thus there is no "male-only" attached to psalmists and cantors the way there is (in the Novus Ordo: was, but that is entirely a different matter) for lectors and acolytes.

And of course, the very words of Pope St. Pius X themselves indicate that women singers are an established practice in the Church (only that he wishes that practice to end, on which he was wrong).

Of course, the fact that the SSPX, as do others, act on what follows from that, and do have women singers may be ... helped to bring about... by the fact that with men being altar servers and otherwise busy with their jobs and so forth, and no choir of chorister boys present the way there is in Cathedrals, the choice is between women singing and no music at all. However, if this practical necessity helps them to not follow Pope St. Pius X in this, this is a good thing, because, let's face it, on this he was wrong.

Albertus said...

I must agree with Moritz about this. The choirsingers actually represent the lay faithful moreso than the clergy, and custom has long allowed for female singers. In womens convents the nuns sing the Office and the Mass, so objectively, chanting is not a task that can be or ever has been absolutely forbidden to women. Women of course should never sing in the sanctuary, but neither may be they, or laymen without a liturgical task, be present in the sanctuary. At our old rite personal parish there are several scholae: a men's schola sings on two sundays of the month, a mixed 'ancient roman' style schola sings o one sunday of the month, and a women' s schola sings on one or two sundays of the month depending on whether the month has four or five sundays. In the sanctuary, however, the thurifers, cross-bearer, acolytes, and the lector who chants the Epistle or prophecies, are male. En fin, i also very much agree wit coradcorloquitur.

Banshee said...

If the choir is sitting up behind the altar, in the place of a religious community of monks or nuns or canons, or priests sitting in choro, they represent a clerical office. If there is a loft in back or a side area, I do not think it is so clear-cut.

The choir represents not so much the congregation, as the unseen congregation joining with the seen one. The choir is the heard voice of the clouds of witness, because we do not yet hear the saints and angels who make up the senior choir at every Mass.

And yes, primarily choirs are modeled off the Levites; but the whole assembly of Israel also sang, and sometimes the women or the maidens of Israel led songs too.

So it is not clear-cut, and parishes and scholas can differ.

John Patrick said...

Didn't Sacrosanctum Consilium say something about how the people should be able to sing those parts of the Mass that are appropriate to them, and of course that the use of Latin and chant should have pride of place?

I'm sure that since Pope Francis and the Vatican want uniformity of worship and further that we need to accept everything that Vatican II teaches, there will undoubtedly be documents coming shortly from the Vatican about how we all need to be singing the Credo and other parts of the Mass in Latin.