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Veni, Sancte Spiritus: A New Musical Setting

H Spir RoundA liturgical motet by Rev. Anthony Cekada

In the Preface to my book on the New Mass, Work of Human Hands, I mention that the bad music that invaded the liturgy almost immediately after the liturgical changes began in the 1960s prompted me to study music — specifically, organ, choral conducting and musical composition. I was blessed to have studied under some excellent teachers.

More than forty years later, I found myself once again immersed in church music, this time as organist and musical planner at St. Gertrude the Great, where I was able to put to use some of my long-dormant composition skills for the benefit of our small, but excellent choir.

As a result, since 2013, I’ve managed to publish twenty-three editions of Mass settings and liturgical motets, mostly for smaller choirs, on CPDL (Choral Public Domain Library) which makes thousands of pieces of traditional Catholic choral music available for free downloads.

Interested readers can find a list of my editions here. Most of them are arrangements for small choirs of existing works, and would therefore be practical to use in many traditional Catholic churches and chapels.

Among the few, new compositions is my setting of Veni, Sancte Spiritus, the text for the Sequence on Pentecost. It is based on an altered version of the Gregorian melody, harmonized by the late 16th-century composer Seth Calvisius. I reworked the rhythms of the odd-numbered verses and composed descants (a melody that a higher voice sings above the main melody) for the even-numbered verses.

I sought to imitate the harmonized chants and faux bourdons once sung by massed choirs in the great French cathedrals.

It’s an easy piece for a small choir that has at least one soprano able to hit the high notes of the descant. (We’re blessed with a few of these!)

Veni, Sancte Spiritus may be used for the Sequence on Pentecost, a processional on a solemn occasion (such as an ordination or confirmation) or even an Offertory motet.

If you like it, please pass this link along to your local choir director! He can get a pdf of the score here.

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Marcel Lefebvre: Sedevacantist

A video by Rev. Anthony Cekada

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre made many statements that support sedevacantism, the theological position held by Catholic traditionalists who believe that the Vatican II popes were not true popes, due to public heresy.

Father Anthony Cekada, a priest who was a seminarian in SSPX’s early days and who personally knew the archbishop, provides a selection of these statements in this video, and offers a historical perspective on sedevacantism in the Society.

Father Cekada also discusses True or False Pope, a recently-published book-length assault against sedevacantism that was bankrolled by SSPX’s seminary publishing arm, extensively promoted by the Society, and lavishly praised by SSPX Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay, as well as a slew of SSPX priests.

Among the pointed questions Fr. Cekada raises in this video are:

  • What statements did Abp. Lefebvre make in favor of sedevacantism?
  • Why are the archbishop’s statements missing from a book on sedevacantism that Bp. Fellay and its authors claim is “comprehensive” and “systematic”?
  • Where did the priests attacked in True of False Pope get the idea for sedevacantism anyway?
  • Did Abp. Lefebvre treat sedevacantist clergy as non-Catholics and refuse to associate with them?
  • Did Abp. Lefebvre ever indicate that he would publicly declare the Holy See vacant if he thought it necessary, even though he was only a retired bishop?
  • Did Abp. Lefebvre say it was necessary to put a pope on trial before declaring him a public heretic?

The answers will surprise SSPX priests, seminarians and lay supporters, and will be of great interest of other traditional Catholics, whether Indult, R&R or sedevacantist.

For an article that provides additional quotes on the topic, click here.

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Pope Fictions 1: Nestorian Story Time

A video by Rev. Anthony Cekada

The first in a series of shorter videos taking on SSPX’s two anti-sedevacantist musketeers, John Salza and Robert Siscoe, authors of True or False Pope, as SSPX-bankrolled screed against sedevacantism.

To support the R&R theory that a heretical pope would not automatically lose his office, Messrs. Salza and Siscoe point to the case of Nestorius — only to be clobbered with a quote from the great 20th-century Thomist, Louis Cardinal Billot, who lays down a principle that reaffirms the sede position!

 

SGG Choir: Music for Candlemas 2016

CANDLEMAS or the Feast of the Purification on February 2 is always solemnly celebrated at St. Gertrude the Great with either a Pontifical or a Solemn High Mass, preceded by the striking ceremony of the Blessing of Candles and Procession. We are pleased to present excerpts from our choir’s outstanding selection of music for the occasion, directed by Joan Lotarski, Andrew Richesson, Organist.

The selections include:

  • Lumen ad Revelationem,  Anthony Cekada, based on faux bourdons by R. Quignard and P. Chassagne.
  • Mass Salve Regina, J.G.Ed. Stehle, (1839–1915, German, Caecilian)
  • Tota Pulchra Es, Maria, Luigi Bottazzo (1845–1924, Cecilian school, Italian).

SSPX and Bitter Fruit: Look Who’s Talking!

Video by Rev. Anthony Cekada

AN EXAMINATION of the Society of St. Pius X’s charge that sedevacantism produces “bitter fruit,” which some “disproves” its theological reasoning.

  1. Historical perspective: conflict among Catholics where in situations where authority could not be effectively exercised.
  2. Conflict withing non-sedevacantist traditionalist movement in the United States.
  3. A history of the internal turmoil, division and other “bitter fruit” within SSPX itself, with forty-eight examples.

The Pope Speaks: YOU Decide!

A video by Rev. Anthony Cekada

THE YEAR 2016 will be a banner year for traditionalists to argue over the question of the Pope.

First, there will be the ongoing antics of Bergoglio, aka Francis, the “People’s Pope.”

Second, there will be a lot of back-and-forth over True or False Pope? a 700-page anti-sedevacantist tract written by John Salza and Robert Siscoe, and bankrolled by the Society of St. Pius X. Messrs. Salza and Siscoe, and SSPX, adhere to the “R&R” position – that trads must “recognize the post-Vatican II popes” but “resist” them.

The following video is a little analysis of the R&R position.

Viewers may also be interested in two earlier videos in which I discussed Messers. Salza’s and Siscoe’s attempts to refute the sedevacantist position:

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If I Were Not a Sedevacantist…

A New, Short Video

I’M happy to pass along an excellent little video by Fr. Nicolas Desposito, a colleague and theology professor at Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Brooksville, Florida.

The point: If you insist Bergoglio’s a real pope, you’ve got to treat him like one!

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SGG Choir: Music for Epiphany 2016

WE are pleased to offer excerpts from the music sung by the St. Gertrude the Great Choir at Solemn High Mass on Epiphany 2016. The celebrant was Rev. Roberto Mardones of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, who was celebrating the the twenty-fifth anniversary of his priestly ordination.

The selections include:

  • Mass in Honor of St. Joseph Calasanctius, Oreste Ravanello (1871–1938, Venetian, Romantic)
  • O Magnum Mysterium, Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611, Spanish school, Renaissance)
  • Brightest and Best (Star of the East), Alastair Cassels-Brown (1927–2001, American, Modern)
  • Allegro Maestoso from Sonata II, Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847, French, Romantic)

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A Bergoglio Promo for Apostasy Lite

WELL, just when I thought I could give the pope question a rest for a few days, Bergoglio comes out with a sleek, feel-good video promo for “apostasy lite.”

After clip of a Buddhist expressing confidence in Buddha, a Jew professing belief in Yahweh, a cleric in Jesus Christ and a Moslem in “God-Allah,” Bergoglio says that “Many think differently, feel differently.” Then, as a smiling Bergoglio is shown receiving a Buddha idol, kissing a bearded schismatic, and group-hugging rabbis at the Wailing Wall, they are, he says “seeking God or meeting God in different ways.”

Buddhists, Jews, and Moslems actually “meeting God” in their false religions?

Moreover, Bergoglio says,  “In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty we have for all:”

That the Catholic Church is the only true religion? That it was founded by the Son of God, who said “he that believeth not shall be condemned”?

Nope. The only certainty the “Vicar of Christ” has for everyone is  that “We are all children of God.”

One as good as another!

One as good as another! And that ain’t a rosary!

After an “I-believe-in-love” round robin for the Buddhist, Jew, cleric and Moslem, in which each is shown separately holding in his hands a symbol for his religion (Buddha idol, Jewish menorah, Baby Jesus and Moslem prayer beads), there is a final shot of all four holding their symbols together.

You could find no more perfect a symbol for the errors condemned in Pius XI’s Mortalium Animos — and with it, proof of Bergoglio and company “abandoning the religion revealed by God.”

Not “mere” heresy, in other words, but apostasy.

R&R apologists like John Salza and Robert Siscoe will no doubt start shaking their rattles and chanting their best not-infallible/bad-dad spells to reaffirm the ancient tribal myths: Until an orthodoxy buddy gives Bergoglio three “canonical warnings,” and a jury of cardinals (Maradiaga, Kasper, Dolan, Tagle and Gracias?) renders “public judgement” on Bergoglio’s errors, we must all still believe he is the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

But any Catholic with eyes should now see the reality that the myths attempt to conceal: Bergoglio is an apostate, and cannot be the pope.

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The Tribal Myth-Keepers: Salza and Siscoe on Sedevacantism

A "rational" response!

IN THE FIRST four days of 2016, my video Why Do Traditionalists Fear Sedevacantism? managed to rack up a respectable number of views.

It also provoked a testy post by John Salza and Robert Siscoe, authors of True or False Pope? a book urging traditionalists to — wait for it! — fear sedevacantism. They have now dedicated a portion of their website to “sedevacantist watch,” the first watch-ee being me.

Apparently it is acceptable for them to urge Catholics to fear sedevacantism, but a sign of knees-knocking desperation for me to ask why, and then dare to answer the question, which is what I did in the video. This is what they call an “irrational response.”

What you will not be able to “watch” on Messrs. Salza and Siscoe’s post is either a discussion or a refutation, rational or otherwise, of my threefold answer to the question of why traditionalists fear sedevacantism:

  1. Ancient tribal myths.
  2. Cowardice and human respect.
  3. No marketing appeal.

Here I will recapitulate only the first point, because the old tribal myths about the post-Conciliar papacy have begun to crumble in the face of the Francis revolution, and because Messrs. Salza and Siscoe, it seems, have become the new shamans for keeping their tribe entranced and unaware.

Origins of the Myths

To discover the source for the near-irrational fear of sedevacantism that afflicts so many traditionalists, one must first look to the traditionalist movement’s origins in the 1960s and the early 1970s.

Because the Vatican II revolution came “from the pope” and because every good pre-V2 Catholic knew that only non-Catholics “did not recognize the pope” and that only bad Catholics “disobeyed the pope”), proto-traditionalists needed to quickly come up with some sort of plausible explanation for rejecting the errors and evils that Paul VI had officially approved.

The Heart of the Myths

The argument the first traditionalists cobbled together for “resisting the pope” revolved mostly around two primitive notions:

DoubleStamp1(1) Catholics are not really bound by what a pope teaches or legislates unless it has an “infallible” stamp on it (for example, when he makes some once-in-a-century proclamation ex cathedra, as Pius XII did for the dogma of the Assumption), and

(2) A  pope can be like a “bad dad” whose evil commands you can disobey, but whom you recognize as your dad, no matter what he does.

Both ideas were based on a whole array of theological errors that eventually mutated into what came to be known as the “recognize and resist” (R&R) position towards the Vatican II popes. All these errors have been repeatedly and definitively refuted, based on the standard teaching of pre-Vatican II ecclesiology — that branch of theology that deals with attributes and authority of the Church and the papacy.

But at the time, these primitive notions sounded plausible enough to laymen and priests who didn’t know any better, and they were repeated so often over the years that they became the unquestionable mythology that identified the tribe.

The Propagators

From its foundation in the 1960s, The Remnant was the principal organ in the English-speaking world for spreading and defending this mythology, aided by its chief apologist and shaman, Michael Davies.

In France, it was Itinéraires and eventually, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre’s Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).

Resistance to “Rome” was an easy sell in France simply because a strain of it has run through French history for centuries: Gallicanism, the petite église, the French anti-infallibility faction at Vatican I, and the French political right-wing’s anger in the twentieth century over the papal condemnation of Action Française.

But we Americans don’t exactly have a sterling record either. The traditionalist mythology we are discussing got an early start on our shores in the 1940s with the followers of the excommunicated Jesuit, Father Leonard Feeney, and it has been going strong ever since.

Offspring of the Myths

The original myths that sedevacantism threatened eventually spawned others. Sedevacantism could not be true, we are told, because it would leave us without a pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart in conformity with the Fatima message

This argument has long been promoted not only by Messrs. Salza and Siscoe, but also by other R&R Fatima Industry movers and shakers, such as Fr. Nicholas Gruner, Christopher Ferrara and Brian McCall.

Here, a principle invented on the basis of private revelation (which no Catholic is, strictly speaking, obliged to accept) is supposed to trump public revelation (which Catholics are obliged to accept, and which is the data underlying the theological principles for the sedevacantist argument.) The tail wags the dog.

The “Spirituality” of the Myths

Finally, if you have been raised in the R&R camp, you have been taught to fear sedevacantism as “schism.” If you overcome your fear sufficiently to investigate the position, to raise legitimate questions about your tribal myths and to insist on coherent answers based on principles found in the writings of pre-Vatican II theologians and popes, you are told that you are “proud.”

The latter, in particular, is a trick employed by SSPX retreat masters, who are supposed to give at least one conference aimed at indoctrinating retreatants into the SSPX myths. Bad spirituality covers up bad theology.

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IT IS perhaps understandable that in the early days of the traditionalist movement, residual pre-Vatican II attitudes toward the papal office, limitations in the means of obtaining news and factual information, and the sheer physical obstacles to conducting theological research led faithful Catholics to settle for simple myths to justify resistance to the man whom faith told them stood in the place of Jesus Christ on earth.

And it is also perhaps understandable that these myths, combined with those promoted by the press about the “conservatism” or “orthodoxy” of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, led many souls to give Wojtyla and Ratzinger, two Thomism-hating modernists underneath, the benefit of the doubt and give in to the fear of sedevacantism.

Dad says OK!

Dad says OK!

But now we’re talking Bergoglio — who’s moved beyond giving a wink to divorce and remarriage to giving a pat on the back to transsexual “marriage.”

So it is time to put aside the contorted theories of the tribal mythmakers, who claim to “save” the papacy with a theory of “resistance” that destroys it.

You can now see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears, the poisonous modernist heresies of Vatican II, incarnate in the person of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

As such, he is no mere bad dad with an unused “infallible” stamp in his back pocket — still less, the Vicar of Christ.

He he is the Vicar of the Devil. And no one should be afraid to say it.

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