Monday, October 26, 2009

Missa de Angelis Sighting

Some time ago I announced that for the remainder of October I would only be dwelling on positive developments in the Church today - the biggest being the announcement of the structures to receive members of the Anglican Church back into the fold. This is a wonderful development for the Catholic Church, and it underscores a truth about our present Holy Father that so many in the mainstream have failed to pick up: he is a Pope of unity. Now the big question is that if we can reconcile Anglicans who have been in schism and heresy for 500 years, what on earth is stopping us from reconciling the SSPX? That's another topic.

On a more local level, something wonderful happened at my parish this week. I was praying in Church Thursday night with the men's prayer group that I am a part of when the pastor and our music director came in and went up to the choir loft together. As I prayed, I heard her rehearsing the Gloria from the Missa de Angelis with him; she was teaching him how to intone the first line. I thought to myself, "That's awesome. He wouldn't be rehearsing that unless he is going to use it. I hope we use that in our Mass here someday soon."

Well, the someday came sooner than I thought, because this past Sunday at all the Masses the Gloria from the Missa de Angelis was sung (hitherto we had been using some English Gloria that was based on the Missa de Angelis Gloria). The pastor came out before Mass, announced that we were going to start doing this Latin Gloria, and then gave an excellent little summation of why we were doing it, which can be summed up in two main points:

-Latin was never meant to be abolished after Vatican II and this is how we ought to be doing the Mass parts.

-Latin is the future of the Church, and part of the job of a pastor is to keep parishioners abreast of what is going on in the Church and teach them something that they will probably be hearing more often.

Then we rehearsed it twice with the music director leading and we were ready to go. It went over flawlessly and (as of yet) I haven't heard of any complaints; granted it has only been one day.

I attended an NO parish years ago that did the Missa de Angelis Gloria acapella. It was the most beautiful part of the Mass and what I looked forward to every week. I am so very grateful that this beautiful piece of music has been restored to our parish. I know that some of you out there hear it every week, and I am aware that the Missa de Angelis has been called the pre-Conciliar "Mass of Creation" (as here) and that there are other settings for the Mass. Fine. But you have to admit it that if you've not had a Latin Gloria in your parish for over thirty years then this one is a pretty good one to start with.

But how about my pastor's explanation of why the Latin Gloria was being used? Most of us who consider ourselves inclined towards traditional things instinctively revert to an argument from the past as to why certain things ought to be done (it's tradition; we've always done it that way; this is what the saints did, etc.); my pastor instead made an appeal to the future: "This is the way the whole Church is going, and you are going to be seeing a lot more of it in the future. This is the mind of the Church and a well-rounded Catholic needs to know these Mass parts." While this argument can't really stand alone, I think it is a very interesting and valuable addition to all of the other arguments (both historical and liturgical) for a liturgical praxis of continuity.

Kudos to my pastor and the music director for getting this done.


Anselm said...

Great news indeed! That makes me very happy :)

Mr S said...

Yep..... it was like coming home again.

During the time that the "smells and bells" were gone.... they were not forgotten. And their return, one ring, one scent at a time is very comforting.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog - I appreciate your view of things!

A while back you encouraged people to write in with questions, I have one for you...

I believe you are a youth director at the church. May I have your opinion on World of Warcraft? From different descriptions of the game I have come to the conclusion that it is a very evil game. My son, who is a fan of fantasy, also thinks this game is horrible. However, I don't seen any catholic website warning people off of it. Even more disturbing...I recently witnessed the spetacle of a popular catholic website basically saying it is no big deal except for wasting time. Only a couple of people spoke out against it.
Apparently there are millions of young people playing this online game!
Could you please give your opinion?Thank you!
God bless you!

Sam Danziger said...


I think perhaps I have a few intelligent things to say on World of Warcraft (WoW). For better or for worse, I live in the city where Blizzard (the company that makes WoW) is located. Because of the circles I run in, I have close friends who were/are involved in making WoW.

That being said, I haven't played the game personally in years, so some of what I have to say *may* be out of date.

Please feel free to use any/all/or no part of these comments.

1) For the most part, WoW is a neutral game. Morally, I think it would be most directly comparable to gambling. At the WoW release party in Los Vegas, one influential Blizzard employee was overheard having a long conversation with one of the pit bosses. The employee was convinced that based on their experiences with WoW, they could make the slot machines more addictive.

2) Given the general tone of the internet, WoW is a relatively clean place. They work hard to make sure that no one names their characters anything offensive, and have curse word filters on the chat. When Blizzard found out that one of their players was making World of Warcraft inspired pornography and advertising it in the game, they quickly banned that person from playing.

However, when you tell the Nightelf Female to "dance", it does look like a stripper dance.

3) There are two ways to play WoW: Player vs Player (PvP) or Player vs Environment (PvE). In Player vs Player, you are stuck in a war with the other team and the language filters are set so that you cannot communicate with your enemies. This does lead to all sorts of horrible behavior. I've seen grown men still furious over something that happened days ago in a PvP game.

4) WoW does a good job of teaching people how to be organized and work in teams. Running a guild is a lot like running a club or a company in the real world, and being a guild member is a lot like having a job. WoW can teach people how to get along with others and get things done.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your clear and reasoned response to my question. You gave a good explanation of the games original intent. However, you did not comment on some of the areas I have problems with (maybe these were added to the game later) For example, the "ritual portal" in which you sacrifice to demons to get more power. Using weapons made from demons. Choosing to fight with the evil side. The whole game seems to make light of of evil, which I find very troubling!

Sam Danziger said...


To my knowledge, the folks at Blizzard treat all monsters pretty much the same whether they are dragons, demons, or out of control mechanical harvesters.

A standard quest goes like this:
1) You must collect 10 units of X to complete the quest.

2) X is dropped 15% of the time if you kill monster Y.

3) You spend about three hours killing Y to get 10 units of X. Then you get the quest reward.


Unless things have changed, you cannot chose to play on the evil side. You can play as the "Horde", which is composed of Orcs, Undead and so on. Horde characters are certainly uglier than Alliance characters. However, in the WoW mythos, the Horde are very specifically not evil.

spraffmeister said...


I've put off commenting for a long time because I basically feel I've nothing to say (unless I have actually commented before and can't remember), but I must say that your blog has been absolutely instrumental to my progression from Catholic conservatism to being a traditional Catholic. Besides this blog, the other contributor is the fact that here in Nantes in France, there is an FSSP Church so I have been able to attend Sunday TLM and even daily TLM, as well as Confession in a proper Confessional where I am on my knees behind a screen (as it should be). Therefore, I've been able to read your reasoning on this blog and then see the practical reality and truth of your points when attending the TLM. So for that, I would like to say thank you and that you're in my prayers :)
PS Don't read my blog: it was conceived in pride and I waffle immature nonsense in the few posts I've put up - the only advantage of having it now is so that I can read blogs like yours more easily.

Anonymous said...

Recte dicitur "Missa de anglis" non "missa de angelis", id est, "British mass" non "Angels' mass".

Boniface said...

It is "Misse de Angelis" not "Missa de Anglis."