8 February 2011

Pontifical Vespers in the modern rite?

The diocese of Dodge City celebrated the consecration of its new Bishop John Brungardt last week. As has become customary there was a celebration of Vespers the evening before. The Emeritus Bishop presided. Three other bishops attended.
Now, the Bishop-elect may not have been in charge of this ceremony, and it can be a little difficult to find clear rubrics for pontifical vespers in the modern rite. That said, this celebration was quite something. Enjoy this extract.


  1. I think you should have added a health warning for those with weak hearts or weak loudspeakers:-(

    One could not help observing that the tabernacle was not veiled in accordance with the rubrics, nor was the altar decently clothed.

    Does not You tube have 'X' certificate ratings for horror movies?

    Kind regards
    John U.K.

  2. I made it to 00:30 before the mental anguish took hold. Dick Cheney has forwarded this video to impoverished countries that can't afford waterboarding.

    If the cathedral can't find someone who can chant the psalms (either soprano or tenor: I don't mind women chanting) then use psalm tones or simply recite. Do not attempt a faux-melodramatic effect that sounds like the score for a Hyundai TV commercial.

    I've only heard vernacular vespers work once, and that was at a reform-of-the-reform parish with a choirmaster that composed a spectacular English Tenebrae. Evensong rocks because Anglicans have nearly 500 years to create a vernacular office tradition. We Latins have had less than 50 to throw something together, and the result almost always sucks. If no one in the "gathered assembly" is "actively participating" as in this video, just have sung Latin vespers and be done with it. Hand out translations and pass a basket of rosaries around. Anything's better than inflicting aural violence on unwitting townsfolk.

  3. Okay, hafta double post here. I should've braved the rest of the video before making my comments. The vespers actually got worse if that's possible. The incense bowl dancer thing? That's so mid 80's. Damn, didn't the "liturgical committee" look at traditional Catholic youtube videos that ridicule this specific behavior before giving the go-ahead? No mercy. The cathedral has set themselves up for the traditional smackdown.

    I once thought that there could be this reality TV show called "Liturgical Emergency!" where a team of traditional priests would have one episode to change a liturgical Dresden into an awesome solemn Mass. This cathedral would need a whole season to turn around.

  4. Painful to watch! Every time I thought it had reached a nadir - it just got worse. What a waste of everyone's time. It was like Amateur Night on a cheap cruise ship. Yuk!

  5. Was the congregation primarily Native American? If not, this was no place to jump into the murky waters of inculturation. I had a native congregation for four years and served on both Diocesan Liturgical commission and our Committee on Indian work. It is complicated. I did think the nativecontingent was more solemn than the clergy. Did these clerics have to attend in suits? Ugh. The music was banal and I am not certain that the drumming was authentic plains Indian. That is always an immitation of a heart beating. In fancy dancing there is sometimes a lot of counterpoint of these, but religious rites use a generally slow and solemn beat, including the Sun Dance. The Rev. Michael P.. Forbes, Minnesota

  6. That's so mid 80's.

    My thoughts exactly. I had to double check to make sure it was a new video and not the Greatest Liturgical Hits of the '70s and '80s.

    I thought this kind of thing was over and done with. A bit overoptimistic I guess.

  7. This cannot be real. Can it? This not the new rite, it is most likely the post-modern rite.