The latest CD from my monastery’s record label (www.obsculta-music.at) is meant in part to promote a more faithful implementation of the Second Vatican Council’s document on the liturgy. The following is a translation of my confrere Pater Karl Wallner’s preface to the CD booklet.
The enthusiastic reception of our CDs shows the timeless fascination of Gregorian chant, which has been moving souls for over 1000 years. The calm melodies allow both singers and listeners to plunge into the sphere of the mystery of God. The texts are taken mostly from the Bible. We sing the Word that God has spoken to us back to Him. Chant is not simply song; it is divine worship. Therefore in the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz we sing Gregorian chant only during the Liturgy, especially during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
“Chant – Missa Latina” is meant not only as an “advertisement” for the beauty of God – we are certain that all who hear this chant, whatever their faith, will be moved by the Eternal Splendor – but this CD is also meant as an “advertisement” for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which, as the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) taught, is “source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium 11).
Particularly we want to promote the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Latin. The Mass can and should be celebrated in Latin. Not only in the so-called “Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite,” which was usual before the Second Vatican Council, and whose celebration Pope Benedict XVI facilitated in 2007 (Summorum Pontificum, Art. 1), but also in the “Ordinary Form.” That is, Latin has its place in the “post-conciliar” Mass usual today. It was certainly good that the Council opened up the possibility of a limited use of the vernacular in the Liturgy. But it is entirely beside the intention of the Council that today the ancient and noble liturgical language of the Latin Church is almost unkown. The Second Vatican Council states explicitly: “Care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium Nr. 54)
“Chant – Missa Latina” is meant to promote this forgotten mandate of the Second Vatican Council. Hence the golden cover which is meant to refer to the “golden jubilee” of the opening of the Council, 50 years ago. “Chant – Missa Latina” includes all the chants of the Mass of the Sacred Heart from the Introit to the “Ite Missa est.” The faithful can even use it as a kind of practice CD for learning the parts of the Mass in Latin. The Council also gave high praise to Gregorian chant (Sacrosanctum Concilium Nr. 116); it would be a great enrichment if it were to be sung more often during Mass…
But, dear listeners, one can of course simply listen to this CD and be moved by the beautiful music. The beauty of music of itself gives glory to God – as the Ensemble Vox Gotica shows so well with the “Missa Sine Nomine.” May God bless all who listen to this CD!
Father Karl Wallner, O.Cist., October 11, 2012.