Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mass appeal

Unbelievably cool find on YouTube: an Easter Tridentine Mass narrated by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

He explains all the chants and everything. And the vestments, and the rites. Everything. This was filmed in Chicago in 1941.

I was looking at the comments on this video a while ago, and someone wrote, "It kind of scares me."

It's supposed to, you know?

That organ you hear at about 6:12 could be an example of that. That is uncompromising organ playing!

Being a post-Vatican II baby I did not grow up with this Latin Tridentine Mass. But in high school I had to read James Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and I remember that book was shot through with all the old Catholic symbolism, and the deep beauty of the old Mass. It is amazing to think of the effect it must have had James Joyce for him to fill his book with it.

J.R.R. Tolkien was another writer who loved the Mass that Fulton Sheen is describing. I read how later in his life, when everything had gone to pot with guitars and everything, Tolkien couldn't stand it. He was a passionate Catholic and so he sweated it out, but every Sunday when he went to Mass, he insisted on making the responses in Latin, to his grandson's mortification. Haaahaa... my Uncle Bob used to do that too.

I think a lot remains to be written about the effect of the pre-Vatican II Mass on classical composers up through Gustav Mahler. It's funny, it is never written about. I think that is because most people don't know any more about the old rite, and most people in academia are not religious and don't care much about this kind of thing.

Anyway, the old Mass, with the old chants, and the old vestments, and the old ceremony. Fulton Sheen will walk you through it.


No comments:

Post a Comment