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, email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Obviously," writes Dr. Kopp, both PILGRIMMUSIC.COM under the Administration of email@example.com 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.....
Thank you for posting this! St. John Cantius Parish is well known for the positive role model of an active parish that it is.
But I can't resist commenting on Dan Schutte. What you posted here is of great interest and truth.
Yes, his music is archtypal of the crapola which we are tortured with each Sunday in most churches.
Now what is even more perplexing is not the realization that there are too many gay music directors in parishes; it is that Schutte's music is so beloved among them long before his sexuality became grist for the rumor mill.
This proves two important points:
1) good taste is not the exclusive province of gay people. As a matter of fact, and quick peek in the door of a gay bar, or at the tv program "Queer eye for the Straight Guy", or the Christopher Lowell show tells it all. All too frequently they ain't got no class. And the blatent emotional immaturity doesn't help much either!
2) My oft repeated claim of gay code words which lace the texts of the works of Schutte and his ilk. I would have to conclude that this is a great part of their appeal to all the gay clergy and music directors. Like a dog whistle that they can hear and we can't!
"My oft repeated claim of gay code words which lace the texts of the works of Schutte and his ilk."
I guess I've missed it as many times as you've repeated it.
What are these words?
ok...here is a list of some of the more prominant gay code words which lace our "liturgy song":
Gifts = homosexuality itself, also AIDS (I am not kidding, in some gay circles a "gift-giver" is one who has AIDS). You can learn as much by reading even more conventional rags such as the NY Village Voice.
Diversity = another obvious gay reference.
"wounded" or "broken" = gay persons hurt by the homophobia of Catholicism.
"hopes.....dreams...visions" = that alternative lifestyles will be universally accepted unconditionally.
"justice" = can either have obvious leftist/marxist connotations, or simply be the result of "hopes/dreams/visions".
"outcast/stranger" = can either bothe refer to gay persons, or the former to gays, and the latter to non-believers.
"free" or "freedom" = can be a reference to "freedom" from rebuke, preaching, or teaching on moral matters so as to incite feelings of conscience or compunction.
These bear their meaning in and of themselves, and in conjuction with each other. But they are usually woven into a context which is subtle. Although, if you look at pieces like "Sing a New Chruch", the lyrics are blatent to the point of being frightening.
It almost makes you want to burn the missalettes!
They're only code words if YOU make them so. I find nothing objectionable in those words or phrases, if they are sung as they are written. As for the song "Here I Am, Lord", I always thought it was written from the point of view of a young man offering his life to God and His Church as a priest. Who knew otherwise?
Whatever choices Dan Schutte has made in his life now, some of the St. Louis Jesuits music is very prayerful. I've always liked their use of the Psalms as the basis of many of their songs. Yes, much of it is pedestrian, but at least it gets people used to singing, and they can be convinced to sing other BETTER music later on.
You are, of course, right, SuziQ, but those who wish to tear down the Novus Ordo know that the best way to do it is to associate it with faggotry.
In their warped, hate-addled minds, you and I are homosexuals because we attend the Novus Ordo Mass. We can't possibly be good Catholics, and are condemned to hell because of the manner of worship we choose.
There is a vileness that has come to dominate this forum from those who despise the Church, the Pope, and the Mass that you and I attend. Ignore it. Be confident that your instincts are correct; that those who would debase your worship are simply misguided fools.
"They're only code words if YOU make them so."
Not so. They are code words if the writer intended them so, or if men who suffer from SSAD are using them as such.
One bit of knowledge that I could have done without is that men who suffer from SSAD do use code words to identify themselves and each other.
As I recall, I became aware of that back in the 60s after a thoroughly puzzling (and short) conversation with a stranger about Judy Garland. "What the heck was he talking about?" I asked. He was checking to see if we also suffered from his disorder.
We may wish we were still in Kansas, but the Wicked Witch straddles his broomstick in the sky, ruby loafers never touching the ground, and peregrinates in a never-ending search for victims to drag into "the life."
"and they can be convinced to sing other BETTER music later on."
You know, there are a lot of us who bitterly resent this insistance on everybody singing. It's like the Church was highjacked by John Denver or the New Christy Minstrels gone tone-deaf.
And we had far superior music *before,* so how come we're now waiting for some pie-in-the-sky, as-yet unwritten "better music?"
So, don't sing. Really. If you're going to be bitter about, just zip it.
I didn't say I was waiting for better music to be written, only for the congregations to be open to better music when they are finally introduced to it.
I'm partial to the Oxford Hymnal and Renaissance polyphony, myself.
Hey, everybody, look at message 7.
There's one of those SSPX/Traditionalists flaming people again.
He's saying that people who disagree with him have "warped, hate-addled minds" and that they are vile, "misguided fools."
Man, it really irritates me the way those SSPX/Traditionalists are always flaming people. Thank goodness we can count on the Religion Moderator to suspend people for personal attacks.
You know, the Church was not founded at VAT II.
If today's Catholics have not been introduced to fine music, that is because their heritage was stolen from them by Modernist heretics.
When someone objects to that characterization, you think it's a personal attack.
How long is this stuff going to go on?
They're only code words if YOU make them so
Well, I am afraid that these words are in fact used as codes by their authors - and, very sadly, by certain readers with SSAD. The translation of them is not, in fact mine; it comes from a couple of authors, who are music and literary scholars. Unfortunately I do not have the sources or names to quote at the moment, as I am not at my desk.
My comments were not about Schutte specifically, nor about "Here Am I, Lord".
Actually, Schutte's text for "Here Am I , Lord" is based on Isaiah 6. This is a good basis to write a hymn.
But he bungled the words - to the point that the verses are very close to blasphemy. It is in his use of the word "I". To sing it, one is essentially saying that "I" am God. Such phrases are qualified in scripture and elsewhere by qualification: God said....the Lord said. To cite the context as a reference is insufficient: words have meaning.
Lastly, my post had nothing to do with the Novus Ordo as such. It was simply decrying a very sad reality in contemporary Catholic church music.
I happen to like "Here I am Lord" and think it would very powerful if it had the clarion ring of truth,but it doesn't.
It seems that if we sang TO God,the choir would be singing, "You're the God of wind and rain,You have felt your people's pain."Or,if we were singing ABOUT God,it would say,"He's the God of wind and rain,He has felt His people's pain".
But instead,we are singing praises and attributing power to ourselves. "I am the God of wind and rain,I have felt my people's pain". It is so wrong and affects me like squeaky chalk on a board.
Now, Sara, you stop that.
Don't you know that only "misguided fools" with "warped, hate-addled minds" damage the Religion Forum with that kind of "vileness?"
And no, those words do not constitute a personal attack.
It's perfectly acceptable to say such things about people who express proscribed beliefs.
Oh, how long will this be allowed to continue? (Vamp, vamp, swan about with back of limp wrist pressed to forehead.)
I still say reinstitute tuesday night bingo and weekly singles dances on thursdays, but what do I know?
What do you mean "re-institute"?
Aren't these practices still thriving at "Catholic" parishes around the country.