Skip to comments.A model for revitalizing Catholic parish life
Posted on 09/23/2004 5:56:29 PM PDT by AskStPhilomena
A Wanderer reader from Chicago has reminded FROM THE MAIL that it has been several years since we have reported on the revitalized St. John Cantius parish in Chicago, and the thriving new order of priests, the Society of St. John Cantius, and that we owe readers an update.
After looking at the materials she sent in, FTM agrees, and so we'll look at St. John's and the Order - in the context of the crucial question of what is happening in Catholic parish life in the United States today - but, first, an update on "the singing ex-Jesuit, Dan Schutte" and his domestic partner Mike Gale.
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After FTM revealed, in the July 29 edition, that former Milwaukee Jesuit Dan Schutte, who is still making the rounds on the Catholic music circuit, was a partnered gay man teaching at the University of San Francisco, where he is "musician in residence," some Internet bloggers picked up the article and began a disinformation campaign insisting that: 1, the "Dan Schutte" FTM was writing about was not the popular "Catholic" musician whose songs have become a staple in modern parishes, and, 2, that FTM's "negative" publicity was actually increasing sales of his "music."
Well, the way things work today, FTM has no doubt that the negative publicity is increasing sales - because that's the nature of the Amchurch beast. There are still too many homosexuals directing parish music programs.
But the "Dan Schutte" whose music is sung in thousands of parishes is an ex-Jesuit and he is a partnered gay man.
And affirmation of this comes from occasional Wanderer contributor, Dr. Brian J. Kopp, a Catholic in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, who recently sent FTM some research he has completed on Schutte after he read that Schutte was to be a guest of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
When he learned that Schutte was to be a music workshop leader at Mt. Aloysius College, Dr. Kopp sent the following letter to the local Johnstown, Pa., Tribune Democrat, which was published September 9:
"To the Editor:
"It appears that the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is up to the same old tricks. On Saturday September 11 at Mount Aloysius College there will be a liturgical music workshop by the former St. Louis Jesuit priest Dan Schutte.
"Schutte is a leader of the dreadful movement in modern liturgical music that has changed the emphasis of our hymns from adoring, praising, and glorifying God to pridefully asserting how wonderful and faithful and loving and marvelous We ourselves are. A discerning eye will note how often these new hymns mention 'I' and 'My' and 'Us' and 'Our' far more often than the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Eucharist, God the Father, Jesus Christ, the angels and saints, or even the wages of sin or the grace that saved a wretch such as 'me.'
"More troubling is the fact that Schutte is no longer a priest but is now publicly identified as a partnered gay man. He is best known for his song, Here I am, Lord, a song that has become the anthem for the dissenting gay rights movement within the Catholic Church.
"There should be, and probably are, Church laws against Catholic dioceses and colleges sponsoring workshops by former priests living what most Catholics consider a scandalous lifestyle. But as one of our local pastors quipped, when asked why his parish was making a liturgical change that violated Canon Law, 'In this diocese, we don't obey Canon Law. We obey the bishop.'"
Immediately after that letter was published, Dr. Kopp informed FTM, a rumor began circulating that the Schutte mentioned in the letter is a mistaken identity and is not the ex-Jesuit priest and composer...."
One newspaper reader wrote Kopp: "We have done our own research on the matter of Dan Schutte and found some of the accusations false. There are two Dan Schuttes who live in the Milwaukee area and there are five who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Dan Schutte that is mentioned in the obituaries isn't the one we know. After contacting a friend in a high place at GIA, (not OCP) [Oregon Catholic Press, ed., the publisher of most of Schutte's music], I found out that there is not any truth to Dan Schutte being publicly partnered to a man. They actually said this Crux News.com article [a reprint of FTM's July 29 column] was having a reverse effect because in their words so many of the music directors in parishes (many who are gay) are now ordering more of Dan Schutte's music and they had heard of one parish using nothing but Dan Schutte music for two weeks. The 'martyr effect at play' they said...."
To dispel these rumors, Kopp informed FTM that an Internet search using VoyagerSearch finds:
"69. Mike Gale [Dan Schutte's partner]: Pilgrim Music was founded in 2002 by composer Dan Schutte after hearing time and again from folks in the pew how often they were frustrated by not being able to find his music, or that of other well known artists and composers, in the stores.
"The link goes to http://www.pilgrimmusic.com. Here is their Company History, according to their site:
"'Pilgrim Music was founded in 2002 by composer Dan Schutte after hearing time and again from "folks in the pew" how often they were frustrated by not being able to find his music, or that of other well known artists and composers, in the stores. There are many songs that have been standards, not only of worship, but have also become personal to many Christians in their journey of faith. In response, Dan and his associates have developed this site as a vehicle for folks to find music they might enjoy for their personal prayer, or simply to enjoy around the house or in the car as they go about their day. Much of the music you'll find on this site has been personally selected by Dan. We are continually increasing the number of collections we offer as we search for wonderful new music for prayer.
"A WHO IS search for PILGRIMMUSIC.COM reveals: Domain Name: PILGRIMMUSIC
Administrative Contact: Pilgrim Music, firstname.lastname@example.org; 231 Mullen Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110; Phone: 415-505-6440
"On the Pilgrim Music website, their 'Contact Us' link provides an address of: 109 Franconia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
"A WHO IS search for Dan Schutte's personal website, DANSCHUTTE.COM reveals: 'Domain Name:DANSCHUTTE.COM; Dan Schutte, 109 Franconia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 Phone: 415-970-1500; fax..: 703-991-8203. Email: email@example.com
"Obviously," writes Dr. Kopp, both PILGRIMMUSIC.COM under the Administration of firstname.lastname@example.org and DANSCHUTTE.COM under the Administration of Dan Schutte list this same address, 109 Franconia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110.
"Unfortunately, given that: 1)Dan Schutte grew up in Milwaukee and is mentioned in two obituaries from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stating the deceased is survived by a son, Dan (partner Mike Gale) of San Francisco. If Dan and Mike were only 'business' partners, the obit would probably not mention the 'partner' at all, or if they did, they would specify 'business' partner, for fear others would think their son was gay. Plus, the obits specifically mention Dan and his partner live in San Francisco. Two guys described as partners means only one thing in San Francisco, to my knowledge.
"2) Dan Schutte founded a website to sell his music, and that website is administered by a Mike Gale of San Francisco, and both share the same street address, and, 3) the public announcements that Schutte is a partnered gay man were published in print and on the internet in July, yet there has been no correction of this charge (to my knowledge) by Schutte, and so it appears that Dan Schutte, the former St. Louis Jesuit and composer is indeed presently 'partnered' with Mike Gale in San Francisco...."
That should end the disinformation campaign.
And kudos to Dr. Kopp, for taking information from The Wanderer to inform Catholics in his diocese, who would, naturally, not be aware of the not-so-hidden agenda of modern liturgical musicians.
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With that out of the way, may FTM propose St. John Cantius as a model for revitalizing parish life in the United States today?
St. John Cantius, founded in 1893, had 23,000 parishioners when the Great Depression hit, and in the following decades of social change its population steadily dwindled until the 1980s when the trends were reversed, largely through the direction of its pastor, Fr. Frank C. Phillips, who recognized that a parish is more than a fast-liturgy outlet for hour-a-week Catholics.
The heart of any parish, he understood, is the liturgy; but it also must provide education and formation for parishioners.
Because of the quality of liturgy at St. John Cantius - Masses include Latin Novus Ordo celebrations, as well as the Tridentine Rite - it began attracting a growing number of Catholics from across Chicago and surrounding areas, especially young men who aspired to the priesthood, and in 1998, Fr. Phillips founded the Society of St. John Cantius, a religious community of men dedicated to the restoration of the sacred in the context of parish ministry.
On December 23, 1999, Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, approved statutes for the Society.
The Society's mission, as explained in its published material, is to "cultivate authentic Catholic life that is rooted in the rich heritage of our faith, so as to promote a true Restoration of the Sacred within the Church....The Society considers the musical, ceremonial and artistic traditions, which have enhanced the liturgy throughout the centuries, as a particularly important part of the Church's patrimony that can help in the revitalization of the faith and the spread of the Gospel...."
Here is what the parish provides or offers:
* Six choirs - the Resurrection Choir, which specializes in classic Viennese Masses and other sacred music; the St. Cecilia Choir, which specializes in Renaissance polyphony; the Sine Nomine Choir, which specializes in small classical works in a liturgical setting; the Holy Innocents Choir, a young people's choir of varied sacred music; and the Cantate Domino Choir, a young people's choir that specializes in polyphonic Masses.
* Eight parish societies: St. Monica Sodality, which prays for the return of family members to the Church; the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, to promote devotion and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; the Padre Pio Prayer Group, dedicated to the canonized Capuchin Franciscan; the Ladies Rosary Sodality, which fosters devotion to the Rosary; the Knights of Columbus, for charitable works in the parish; and the St. Anne Apostolate, which offers spiritual programs for grandparents; and the Holy Name Society
* Educational and catechetical programs: in addition to a strong parish catechetical program (using the Ignatius Faith & Life series), the parish offers Latin 101, Latin 102, Latin Syntax and Rhetoric, Latin Readings, Greek 100, and Children's Latin, which offers the young people of the parish instruction in Latin prayers and hymns.
In addition, the parish has a library and book store, youth groups, a basement café for after-Mass gatherings, etc.
On May 18, 2004, Cardinal George ordained two men of the Society into the priesthood, and another into the diaconate - and more men of the parish are seminarians, preparing for the priesthood.
For those readers in the Chicago area, or planning a trip through, there is now a special attraction at St. John Cantius, a faithful replica of the famous Wit Stwosz altarpiece of Krakow, Poland.
The original altarpiece, built over a 12-year period from 1477 to 1489 by the master carver of Nuremberg, Wit Stwosz, features a five-part polychromed and gilded limewood sculpture depicting the life of the Virgin Mary.
The reproduction, commissioned by Fr. Phillips in 1995, was carved by Polish master carver Michal Batkiewicz over eight years, and is one-third the size of the original, but every bit as stunning - as anyone can see by visiting the Society's web site, at www.cantius.org or by writing the parish and asking for copies of their literature (there is a special brochure, in full color, on the pentatych, including the newsletter, Via Sacra, at The Society of St. John Cantius, 825 North Carpenter, Chicago, Ill., 60622-3654.
Sunday Masses, by the way, are at 7:30 a.m. (Tridentine Low Mass, Latin); 9 a.m. Missa Normativa (English); 11 a.m. Missa Normativa (Latin) and 12:30 p.m. Tridentine High Mass. Confessions are available upon request, at 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and before all Sunday Masses.
This is a model parish, one that should be setting the trend for the Church in the United States; it works, it is thriving, it is attracting more and more people to, not only the parish, but the Catholic Church all the time; it is producing priests for the archdiocese (and priests who will, inevitably, be working in more parishes in the archdiocese as the priest shortage intensifies), and it is promoting the Church's greatest possessions: truth and beauty.
Why, after more than 30 years of liturgical and doctrinal chaos, the U.S. bishops do not take the Society of St. John Cantius and the parish as a model for the revitalization of the entire U.S. Church, FTM cannot understand.
But there will always be mysteries.....
The 11:00 Mass is the one with the pipe organ and full choir. I'm not in that choir simply because I didn't want to make the time commitment yet. I sing in the Festival Choir, which sings special Masses like the Masses for the Pastor's 40th and Associate's 25th Anniversaries of Ordination. We also sing the Christmas Midnight Mass with a brief Festival of Lessons and Carols beforehand, and Easter Mass. The organist started the Festival choir because the 11:00 Mass Choir was mostly older folks who didn't want to come out and sing Midnight Mass when our Pastor re-instated it in the mid 90's. We get a great group of folks who are there to sing because we LOVE it, and we are always told how much the music enhances peoples' enjoyment of the Mass. That's what GOOD music is supposed to do.
"I think the participation of the Faithful is important, and is forced by the Novus Ordo."
Uh, huh. Yep. On the nose. ****Forced.****
That's not something that should be forced. If a person wants to sit or kneel immoble throughout the Mass without interacting with the other parishoners, he should be free to do so.
"I disagree about the music being the central place for the Mass, it is an enhancement to Mass."
Spot on. Except, of course, that sometimes it is a detriment.
"If people are worshiping more devoutly by singing a song that is theologically correct even though it may be banal, then that is a good thing."
It's not as good as some of the other alternatives, and frankly, I'm hard put to visualize banality leading to increased devotion or deeper spirituality.
"Music had all but disappeared from regular parish masses before Vatican II."
I very much miss a twenty- to thirty-minute weekday Mass. You don't need hymns at every Mass.
"Unless it was a "high" Mass for a special occasion, such as Easter or Christmas, the standard was that NO music was offered and no hymns were sung. Add the prohibition against any hymns written by Martin Luther, and the Catholic Church was absent anything singable."
Which is exactly as it should be. The Catholic Church should not be imitating protestant services, and especially should not be singing music written by heretics.
Much better to have great music on special occasions than a steady diet of crap forced down your throat.
Brian/Proud2BRC/Polycarp, thanks for your efforts!
While I really enjoy the beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass largely due to its unshakeable reverence, a properly done Novus Ordo Mass is also beautiful. Problem is, the NO is almost never properly done.
"I agree with you otherwise, to me it is banal and a distraction, to a 17yo, it is moving, and helps him worship more deeply. I take it as penance."
Maybe I was just lucky to start playing an instrument in grade school. By the time I was in high school I knew well that the classics were a much higher form of art than pop or rock and roll. My high school and college friends were often quite put out at me for putting classical music on when they wanted garbage.
The point being that, as with so many things, the ability to appreciate great music is a matter of education and exposure. But that's perception. As a matter of objective reality, classical music is superior to pop or R&R just like a fine vintage wine is objectively superior to Boone's Farm Crawdad Hill.
"The Catholic Church should not be imitating protestant services, and especially should not be singing music written by heretics."
That would eliminate 90+% of the music in our parish.
"Problem is, the NO is almost never properly done."
That's not surprising, is it? It was conceived as a means of lessening reverence and attacking faith.
"That would eliminate 90+% of the music in our parish."
My rule, written during NO masses in an ink made from powdered molar and bloody sweat, is this:
Look at the first digit of the year in which the music was written. If it's a "2," burn it immediately.
If it's not a "2," look at the second digit. If it's a "9," burn it immediately.
If it's an "8" or lower number, then look at the author, the history, the theology, and the musical worth of the piece and make a decision.
I also think that every parish should be equipped with an automatic guitar detector that locks on to any guitar within 100 meters and targets it with at least a dozen RPGs.
It's not just an "association." The guy who wrote these songs left the priesthood to live with a homosexual partner. Those are simple facts. No one needs to create elaborate theories when the facts are in plain sight.
What in hell is this supposed to mean?
You speak of immaturity, then come out with this sophomoric remark?
Are you schizo?
Having the same address on whois doesn't mean that is your residence.
Hmmm.......I guess you must be correct. Having two things, organizations, or persons at the same address does not mean anything.
Like the two obviously gay men who direct the choir at the local parish church. They happen to share the same address. They happen to share the same phone number. They are regulalrly seen prancing through the local supermarket together.
But of course, all this is meaninless - and proves nothing. They could not possibly be "partnered".
Or, let's take another innocent coincidental situation. Xavier High School in NYC, and the Church of St. Francis Xavier. Both happen to be run by the Jesuits. Both share a common residence for the clergy. Both happen to share a common street address/mailing address: 30 West 16th Street.
As students there in the 70s discovered to their horror, the infamous gay group DIGNITY was founded by Jesuits at 30 West 16th Street.This group held its gay masses at 30 West 16th Street. It held its meeting, planned stretgy, and held social events at 30 West 16th Street. The identity of the Jesuit members, organizers and planners of DIGNITY and the identity of certain faculty members at Xavier High School comprises a list of identical names.
But of course, this is all mere coincidence......is, by itself meaningless, and proves nothing.
Pardon me while I roll on the floor and laugh myself silly.
Having the same address on whois doesn't mean that is your residence.
Agreed. And the same should apply to pianos, and electronic/casio keyboards. The instrument to be used for sacred music is the organ - with the pipe organ (not electronic gizmo)as the instrument of choice.
Such is clearly indicated in the beloved documents of Vatican II.
On your elimination list I would also include, rocks, sticks, percussion instruments in general, anything which uses and amplifier, a whole wealth of bizzare primitive things from tribes of the rain forests of South America; wind chimes, and two hands clapping.
hah! WHen I go to the dreaded local parish with my family, there are enough of us to fill our own pew, so we are spared the handholding frenzy at the Peace. However, we are forced to witness what we like to call " raincatching": a whole sanctuary filled with people who appear to believe either a) they are concelebrating priests, or b)that it's raining and the roof is leaking. Either way, we refuse to participate. It's just too silly.
I can't believe anyone wants to buy his music
If you want an even more nauseating image, just picture a bunch of bearded & balding Jesuits in casual clothes "gathered" around an altar swaying, holding hands, and singing it, while exchanging meaninful glances with each other, and smiling.........
You just get to imagine the picture I painted above.....I have seen it in living color.
Very bright news. Fr. Phillips reportedly has more traditional priests than he knows what to do with since they only serve that one parish.
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