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Quote:Much is said here about Latin and Gregorian chant: things to be "suppressed" because we do not "understand" them. Well, this is a very serious point. I believe that, as you say, many young people more easily admit that they are dissatisfied with the Gregorian chant and the Latin, because they are made to believe this. I know very well  that in our monasteries in America there is a real movement, and agitation, for this and for still other things. People are pushed into thinking that they are dissatisfied with the Latin, the Gregorian chant, the status of laybrother, the liturgy as we have it, when in reality that is not the case at all. For a long time it was said here that "the brothers" in general wanted to change habit, come to choir, change their status, etc. But it was only a few brothers who, moreover, were not always the best ones but who got more agitated and had more to say, and who tried to persuade the others to go with them, etc. You know these stories quite well by now.

But this is what I think about the Latin and the chant: They are masterpieces, which offer us an irreplaceable monastic and Christian experience. They have a force, an energy, a depth without equal. All the proposed English offices are very much impoverished in comparison--besides, it is not at all impossible to make such things understood and appreciated. Generally I succeed quite well in this, in the novitiate, with some exceptions, naturally, who did not understand well. But I must add something more serious. As you know, I have many friends in the world who are artists, poets, authors, editors, etc. Now they are well able to appreciate our chant and even our Latin. But they are all, without exception, scandalized and grieved when I tell them that probably this Office, this Mass will no longer be here in ten years. And that is the worst. The monks cannot understand this treasure they possess, and they throw it out to look for something else, when seculars, who for the most part are not even Christians, are able to love this incomparable art.

Thomas Merton, writing to the Abbot General of the Cistercian Order, Dom Ignace Gillet, in 1964, in response to the discussions about monastic renewal and change within the Cistercian Order.

From, The School of Charity: The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Renewal and Spiritual Direction, edited by Brother Patrick Hart, p. 236.
That is very interesting. I've often had a wish I'd have spent a year or something in an Abbey. Only for the reason to get a snapshot of understanding like he has written here. I suspect these few malcontents in the Abbeys, the Parishes, and Chanceries are the seeds which produced, no better, subverted the Liturgical Movement.

tim
In the 1980s, I spent almost a week on a Cistercian retreat.  I can say that I appreciated all of the offices and liturgies in Latin.  I remember one of the monks telling me, "we are able to enjoy our Mass in Latin as we always have."  Even though my vocation proved to be as a husband and father, I have fond memories of my time in the Abbey. Amen!
At the time of the changes it always rang like phoney baloney in my ears. Everywhere it was said the "people" had clamored for these changes. Being at the verge of adulthood I was perfectly placed for chucking this aside in disbelief. Armed with what was considered then a solid education if not extensive, I wondered who these "clamorers" were. I saw none. Later after I left I was told by a Msgr. friend of the family in a tavern waiting for our separate tables, that the change was asked for by the priests, because they disliked the old ladies sitting in the front pews rattling their rosaries it started  to click. Many years later it came together that it had to be because of the rosaries because Our Lady will crush the head of these heresies.

tim
Poor Thomas Merton he was sounding the warning in 1964, little did he know that he himself would be swept away with the changes.
(07-21-2013, 10:17 PM)salus Wrote: [ -> ]Poor Thomas Merton he was sounding the warning in 1964, little did he know that he himself would be swept away with the changes.

You mean his ecumenical and anti-war activities?
(07-21-2013, 04:21 PM)eschera Wrote: [ -> ]In the 1980s, I spent almost a week on a Cistercian retreat.  I can say that I appreciated all of the offices and liturgies in Latin.  I remember one of the monks telling me, "we are able to enjoy our Mass in Latin as we always have."  Even though my vocation proved to be as a husband and father, I have fond memories of my time in the Abbey. Amen!

Lucky you! In the early 70s I spent a week or so in a Benedictine Abbey, not on retreat, just some time away from the hurley-burley of the world. Unfortunately, the Abbey in question had been in the forefront of the Liturgical Movement. In the early 50s they had built a new Abbey Church. The old Church, a beautiful Prairie Gothic structure, with multiple beautiful Altars in the undercroft for each monk's private Mass, was given to the parish in town as the parish Church. The new Church had the Altar in the middle of the Choir and was the only Altar, since half the monks concelebrated in the morning, the other half in the evening. Mass and Office were all NO in English. They were beautifully done, but it was still the Mass of Paul VI and McOffice.

A few years before, I had spent a week in an Anglican monastery in Boston. The services were much more 'Catholic', even tho' in English, than the ones I saw in the Catholic monastery.
(07-21-2013, 10:17 PM)salus Wrote: [ -> ]Poor Thomas Merton he was sounding the warning in 1964, little did he know that he himself would be swept away with the changes.

He came to a horrendous end:
"Wikipedia Thomas Merton" Wrote:On December 10, 1968, Merton had gone to attend an interfaith conference between Catholic and non-Christian monks in suburban Bangkok, Thailand, intending to go on to Japan and explore Zen (a form of Buddhism). After speaking at the conference, while stepping out of his bath, it is generally concluded, he was accidentally electrocuted by an electric fan.[26] However, his associate, Dom Jean Leclercq, OSB, contends that: "We will never know exactly and with certitude... On the evening of his death, two different versions were already being put forth by the media of Thailand and of the United States. Papers in the United States only made mention of electrocution; those in Thailand spoke only of a heart attack", and notes that: "Some have begun spreading the rumor that the last moments of his life were in the presence of a statue of the Buddha. Others have suggested that he was assassinated like Martin Luther King had been".[28]
A few pages later in the same collection of letters (p. 249-250), Merton again talks of Latin. There was a large meeting of (Cistercian) American Abbots and Novice Masters at Gethsemani where, among other things, the liturgy was discussed. In a letter to Dame Marcella Van Bruyn, a solitary religious connected with Stanbrook Abbey in England, dated October 29 1964, Merton reports on the meeting and writes:

Quote:Incidentally, I dared to speak up for Latin in the Abbots' meeting, and met with a great outcry, except that one little Canadian Abbot (French Canadian from up among the Acadians in New Brunswick) agreed with me and was delighted to find that the trend toward the vernacular was not unanimous. There is however a great demand for vernacular in office and Mass in our Order, at least in the American houses. I think it is very foolish in a way, because it seems to me to be thoughtless and based on an insufficient and flighty assessment of the Latin. People have just never bothered to see its value. I for one will not be happy with an English office.... I hope a few will keep to the Latin; I know Solesmes will and I presume you will.