Impressions of a Stimulating Week
By Our Special Correspondent
The grey quadrangle of Wadham College—Post-Reformation but respectably old — was enlivened by the arrival, on Monday, August 9, of some sixty students— priests, nuns, a Christian Brother, several seminarians, many lay-teachers and other lay folk, who came to study what Pope Pius X called " the first and indispensable means of Christian and Catholic piety—the living liturgy of Holy Church."
In a quiet and convincing address of welcome Dom McElligott, 0.S.B., emphasised the simplicity and utter obedience of the Society of St. Gregory to the programme of the Popes. " We are not 2 society of musical cranks. We have no ' " On Tuesday morning the Festal Mass of St. Lawrence, simply and reverently chanted in the cool austerity of Blackfriars, preceded a lecture on " The Layman at Mass," in which Dom McElligott emphasised the right of every baptised person as " a perfect member of Christ " to active participation in the Holy Sacrifice.
At the morning instruction in Polyphony, Mr. Henry Washington, musical director of Brorripton Oratory, was kind and helpful to the timid. Austerity lunch in the fine hall of Wadharn was followed by the annual general meeting, which emphasised the increasing purpose of the Society exemplified in the suggestion that its magazine, Music and Liturgy„ should have a more comprehensive title. The Rev. E. Murphy (Liverpool) gave a well-documented lecture on " The Parish and Communion," which stressed the importance of Holy Communion in its liturgical setting. Plainsong practices under Dorn Aldhelm Dean and Dom Denis Waddilove,
0.S.B., filled in the remaining moments of a most strenuous day.
On Wednesday the parish church of St. Aloysius was the setting of a Requiem High Mass, correctly if rather timidly chanted. Mother O'l.eary (Sacred Heart) gave a stirring address on " The Psychological Background to Mass," which spoke volumes for the formation of her great teaching community. Singing practices continued. A free afternoon brought a refreshed audience to a splendid defence of Latin liturgy by Fr. Connolly (Birmingham), which showed that lecturer and audience were of one mind as to liturgical language.
Thursday O morning the feast of
St. Clare was celebrated in the bright pleasant church of Greyfriars, and the lecture by the Rev. Ivor Daniel (Menevia) outlined the difficulties of a single-handed priest who tries to create a modicum of Liturgical tradition in a small parish. Joseph Daniel (Glasgow) as chairman showed how the liturgical spirit can animate the activities of great youth organisations. The afternoon lecture, " A Layman Looks to the Future," was most sympathetically read by Mr. Henry Washington on behalf of Mr. W. Rooke Ley, prevented by illness. The desire for " Recited " or Dialogue Mass was met on Friday when a whole congregation replied to the celebrant at Blackfriars in impressive unity.
A public discussion. of " The Language of Worship " revealed a strong consensus in favour of Latin liturgy following on Fr. Connolly's able lecture. While many felt that the vernacular might be used in the administration of individual rites. it was unanimously felt that the sacred language of Western Christendom should be preserved and I taught in schools and colleges so that its liturgical use could be appreciated more fully. An important and inspiring lecture by Fr. Agnellus, of " Anvil " fame, showed that our weakness was due to the fact that no attempt had been made to instil the idea of mystical membership and corporate worship.
I CHILDREN DON'T GO TO MASS IN HOLIDAYS . The fact that in an important and well-established parish only 150 of 1.000 children attended Mass during school-holiday showed the acuteness of the failure to instil this central idea into the minds of children. There is no " understanding " of the Mass in average parochial education, and even in convents and training colleges things are little better. The Y.C.W., from its beginnings in Belgium and France, has realised the correlation of liturgy and social life in America and elsewhere— so has the great Grail movement. There is much to be done. Hundreds of letters received from " Anwil " hearers show that non-Catholics are puzzled by what they think to be " pomps, ceremonies and meaningless rites."
The heresy of Liberalism, separating " sacred " from " seculitr." and the modernistic tendency to exaggerate the " subjective " approach to religion, have left their mark on Catholics who think that Divine service should he framed to satisfy their sentiments and music arranged to soothe their senses. said the lecturer.
The salvo of applause which followed this lecture proved how actual and real it was, and at the farewell meeting in the Chmmonroom, Dam McElligott again stressed the essential doctrine of the Mystical Body which is the subject of the Pope's latest encyclical. A Sung Mass at St. Aloysius on Saturday concluded the week.
One's general impression was that of a very balanced outlook on the part of clerics and lay-folk who were not mere idealists but faced the concrete problems of the day, The immediate need of liturgical week-ends, especially in London and large centres, was stressed by one speaker. It is to be hoped that ,no time will be lost. We are fighting for our Catholic lives—and they can but truly live on the directives so plainly enunciated and reiterated by successive Vicars of Christ. It cannot be too strongly stressed that the Society of St. Gregory is not primarily a school of chant, but an association of priests and laity who try to realise the worship of God and the love of their fellowmen as perfectly and obediently as possible. The secretary is Miss X. Spears. Ivy Bank. Bath.