Friday, December 16, 2011

Chant is nice, too

 Flemish High Mass, 15th century

Francis Phillips tells us that Evelyn Waugh preferred the humble Low Mass to the splendor of the High Mass.  This may startle some, though I would be very surprised if Waugh's preference represented to any degree a disparagement of High Mass.   After all, as Waugh surely understood, High Mass is not simply the fancy Mass, while Low Mass is the plain variety.  The distinction between the two is that at High Mass the priest chants his parts, whereas at Low Mass the priest does not.  The tradition of chant in public worship is older than the Mass itself; in chanting the psalms and other prayers the Church carried on and developed the traditional Jewish mode of praying the psalms.  For an interesting perspective on chant, see this interview with Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, OSB, formerly Rosalind Moss, a convert to the Faith from Judaism.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.

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