Chant Is Infantile Says Dominican Priest
#1
It's pains me to see a member of the Dominican order say silly things like this, but Fr. Gerry Lessard, OP, like many others of his generation, is perplexed why young people have started turning towards pre-Vatican II forms of liturgy and devotional life. No, he is not confused, actually, for he has an answer. They lack ingenuity and, particularly for the millennials, identity; hence they must take refuge in the customs of the barbarous Dark and Middle Ages.

But he goes further, the lack of creativity among the younger Catholics is exemplified in their lack of musical innovation. Fr. Gerry proudly counts himself among the bold, revolutionary movement that introduced folk Masses in the 1960s. This music speaks to modern man and the cause of social justice. Older liturgical and sacred music, while nice, doesn't allow anyone to participate.

When one such younger Catholic, questioning whether Fr. Gerry's complains were satire or given sincerely, responded by repeating the Church's teaching and tradition that Gregorian chant and polyphony are the music proper to the Roman Rite, Fr. Gerry responded with this startling bit of profundity:

Quote:You find my sincerity incredible because you don’t understand music as well as I, who began teaching music 50 years ago. Our Rite is not limited to any one or two kinds of music because it’s Catholic, i.e. universal. Although some myopic liturgists in the Curia give Gregorian chant and polyphonic music “pride of place,” the doctrine of the Church expressed at Vatican II is that everyone should participate in the Liturgy. As I said, polyphonic is for show. The people can only “participate” with their ears, but not their mouths. Reread my last paragraph and perhaps you will begin to see why chant compared to modern music is like arithmetic compared to calculus because of all the things that I listed that it lacks. Chant is infantile, but I’m not against it. I chant daily. On the other hand, what you call “poor and threadbare” is objectively far more advanced than anything composed in the time of Gregory I. Besides, there is nothing more or less “sacred” about either form of music as long as it is scriptural or prayerful. I’m glad that very old music disposes you to prayer, but why would you deny others the new music inspired by the Holy Spirit that would lift up their hearts to God? My article is about the lack of inspiration and creativity among young people. Your opinion only confirms my point. Who are the new young liturgical composers? Does your generation obey the command to sing a new song to the Lord?
The thing that irks me most is that any cultured church goer who has the misfortune of attending Fr. Gerry's parish is forced to sit through such tripe by priests like him abusing their power and their 50+ years of musical expertise, dictating to the rest of us philistines from on high that his music is what speaks to us, because it has always moved him so deeply, and the rest of us just "don't understand music as well as" he does. If that isn't clericalism, I don't know what is!
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#2
(11-13-2019, 03:30 PM)piscis Wrote: They lack ingenuity and, particularly for the millennials, identity; hence they must take refuge in the customs of the barbarous Dark and Middle Ages.

Instead of critiquing millennials for feeling this way, maybe he should reflect on why they feel this is the case despite the presence of his "expertise" and supposedly objectively good music.

Aaaaand now he's defending altar girls.  Never mind, he's terminal.

Edit: Btw something like this:

Quote:Reverence is a virtue, but when they kneel for Communion or forbid girls to serve as acolytes, then they pretend to be more Catholic than the Church.
 
Isn't an argument.  It's a deflection.  It's a sign of dishonesty.  It's also clericalism.  Always note/call out this type of language.  It is insidious.
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#3
Quote: They fill their lungs with incense and watch young priests donning amices in long liturgies that increasing resemble Eastern Orthodoxy.

If the good reverend has any say in it, there will be a Vatican 3, where all remaining ritual elements would be removed from Catholicism, to make it more in line with Evangelical Protestantism. The Cathedrals of the future will be fluorescent lit stadiums, with Christian rock bands, and tuxedo-wearing 'priests' preaching nonsense
"Good above all good, and Beautiful above all beautiful; peaceful repose, Peace, Concord and Union of all souls; compose the dissensions which divide us from one another, and lead them back to an union with charity, which has a kind of similitude to Thy sublime essence: and as Thou art One above all, and we, one, through the unanimity of a good mind; that we may be found before Thee simplex and not divided, whilst celebrating this mystery; and that through the embraces of Charity and bonds of Love, we may be spiritually one, both with ourselves and with one another, through that Thy Peace pacifying all; through the Grace and Compassion and Love towards man of Thine Only-begotten Son; through Whom, and with Whom is due to Thee, Glory, honour and dominion, with Thy Most Holy Spirit." - Liturgy of Dionysus
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#4
I think I may have found that clericalism that Pope Francis was looking to root out ...
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#5
Ok, I held my nerves back and tried to be calm, then he came up with the "Lefebvrites"...
Really?

"Naturally, every new generation rebels against its elders to find its own cultural niche."
It's interesting how he tries to compare these young Catholics, these 'millennial medievalists", with a new generation trying to rebel against something. Actually, this new and rebel generation was the one that took an active role during the 60's and 70's, trying to implement whatever new idea they had in mind, while making their best effort to stay as far as possible from centuries of true Catholic tradition/Tradition. The "new generation" responsible for the changes can't stand to see their conquered foe, this evil and old "Tridentine Church" coming back in full strength by the hands and souls of dissatisfied young Catholics, unwilling to be part of this new "springtime of the Church" and to treat Christ Our Lord as a simple friend and not as their King and sovereign.

"As a seminarian in the 1980s, I was only given a semester tutorial in Latin, so even now as a priest, I can hardly pray in Latin."
This is not a badge of honor father.

To end, it's sad to see a member of the holy order of Saint Dominic, a "brother" to Saint Thomas Aquinas and Fr.Garrigou-Lagrange, saying such things against the pre-Vatican II Church and the good faithful who are willing to preserve Tradition whatever the costs.
May Our Lady of the Rosary and Saint Dominic pray for him.
Ite ad Ioseph
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#6
He likes folk Masses, what do you expect? As my mum used to say, "His taste is all in his mouth."
Oh my Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything.--Fr Dolindo Ruotolo

Persevere..Eucharist, Holy Rosary, Brown Scapular, Confession. You will win.
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#7
For someone "who has been teaching music for 50 years", he doesn't have much respect for it.
.
Gregorian chant, to do it well, is very difficult. It is much easier to slide thru "On Eagle's Wings".
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#8
Quote:My concern today is that the young generation seems to have lost its creativity.  Are they no longer open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?  Now, they seem to be mainly interested in returning to the Gregorian chant and organ music of the distant past.  Chant has child-like innocence, but it lacks meter, harmony, a set tempo, an introduction or coda, a bridge and other variations, and seldom has even a refrain.  The only variation of time is between short and long notes, so chant is a rather incorporeal form of music.  Old-fashioned hymns have value, but they can be terribly square and repetitive.  Although polyphonic music in the Baroque style is delightfully elaborate, it is only for performance sake, not for the participation of the congregation.  Therefore, I beg the Holy Spirit to inflame the young generation with the zeal to sing a new song to the Lord.

     Last paragraph of Fr Lessard's "Sing a New Song to the Lord"



I'm having trouble seeing what his actual problem with chant is outside of taste, and wanting the congregation to mindlessly drone some tune.

He complains about old hymns being square(as if there is an actual problem with that),  but I'm sure many in my generation would feel the same about his music(but with different phrasing, unless they're being ironic).

In one place he seems to have a problem with song structure.  Considering many priests and religious his time wanted liturgical music to have more similarities with the popular music of the day that makes sense to some degree.  Song structure in popular music to hasn't really changed on the whole.  That said, if he wants new Catholic composers to have ingenuity, does that even matter?

It's clear he doesn't actually care about simplicity of chant being the problem, otherwise he wouldn't have said what he said about Baroque music.

To be honest, aside from the reasons I think most would agree about on this forum, it seems trying to incorporate modern musical styles would be dangerous.  Many people have very strong feelings about music(much like Fr. Lessard), it's like a religion to many people.  I personal find that most(most not all) popular music today disturbing to the point it makes me sick, regardless of the lyrics.  I also know that many people feel the same way about the music I'm into(is it Fusion or Elevator Music?).  It would be a brilliant way to divide a parish.

I think he's just stuck in the 60s.  I don't know, I could be wrong.
My word choices are based on sound, not meaning.

Yes, that defeats the purpose of language.
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#9
It's a disgrace to any thinking person, especially a Dominican, to say that chant is infantile. Every single great composer, whether secular or religious, in the West has praised plainchant. It is the bedrock of all Western music. Every introductory textbook to Western music will tell you this. The development of polyphony and tonality as well as the unique phenomenon of written music are all because of plainchant. The fact that Fr. Lessard uses his "50 years of musical expertise" as a bludgeon to silence any dissent shows he has no expertise and big case of pride. From an 1881 book: 

Quote:The Venerable Bede, for example, tells us how deeply affected St. Cuthbert used to be when chanting the Preface, so much so that his sobbing could be heard through the entire congregation; and, as he raised his hands on high at the “Sursum corda,” his singing was rather a sort of solemn moaning than anything else (Vita S. Cuthbert, cap. xvi.). The renowned Haydn was often moved to tears at listening to the children of the London charity schools sing the psalms together in unison according to the Gregorian style; and the great master of musicians and composers, Mozart, went so far as to say that he would rather be the author of the Preface and Pater Noster, according to the same style, than of anything he had ever written.

Hmm, Fr. Lessard, the music expert, vs. Mozart or Haydn. Tough one... 

It just strikes me as if Fr. Lessard is speaking an entirely different language. The tragic irony is that sacred music was such a hotly discussed topic in the early to mid 20th century with many great composers and theoreticians trying to conceptualize a balance between the heritage of Western music and the revival of Gregorian chant. You get a wide range of attempts that are each beautiful in their own way—Durufle, Dupre, Tournemire, Poulenc, even Stravinsky had a go at the Mass although he wasn't Catholic but Russian Orthodox, and his Mass isn't exactly suitable for the liturgy. I leave out Messiaen because he is quite exceptional and also wrote very little liturgical music. And then once the folk Mass hit, all the serious composers fled for the hills. Does Fr. Lessard ever wonder why? Stephen Colbert of all people said he doesn't like guitar Masses straight to Fr. James Martin's (S.J.) face.

And really, the question becomes, why stop at folk Masses? Why don't we start incorporating techno, rap, or jazz? Wait, we've been doing that, and look how successful that's been.



Wait, putting religious text to overtly secular music and saying it's good to go... I think I've heard of this before in the history of Church music. If I recall it was an abuse... No, impossible. That's from a judgmental past.

He also is just factually wrong when he says: "Although some myopic liturgists in the Curia give Gregorian chant and polyphonic music “pride of place,” the doctrine of the Church expressed at Vatican II is that everyone should participate in the Liturgy." Really? Does he mean Cdl. Sarah? 

It's Vatican II itself that says Gregorian chant should have "pride of place," but it wasn't the first to do so, nor did it need to reaffirm the importance of chant in order to "settle" the issue. But these people don't care what Vatican II said. They care about what they think Vatican II said. That's the problem with Vatican II: what it actually says AND what people think it said! 

The sheer number of distortions and incorrect statements really goes to show why so many just give up when it comes to arguing with these people. All you can do is pray for them and RUN AWAY, for the sake of all things decent and civilized. It's like what Henry Sire said in the other article posted on this forum—people want to live their faith as if it has existed for 2000 years, not 50 years. By the time you're done clarifying what's wrong with the latter group, you're as old as Fr. Lessard is!
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#10
“And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them, And said: Amen I say And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them, And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.ss you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
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