Sunday, November 25, 2007

Incentive Pay in the Vatican?

I haven't seen this item mentioned anywhere yet, but it seems to me this is something to make note of... a system of "merit pay" for Vatican employees? In a corporate atmosphere, this would be a sign that the CFO senses a lot of "foot dragging" among the rank and file, and is going to start using compensation as a way of lighting a fire under them.


VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2007 (VIS) -

The Holy See Press Office released thefollowing communique at midday today:

"This morning in the Sala Bologna of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, a meeting was held of heads of dicastery and other heads of Vatican State andof organizations associated with the Holy See or administratively dependenton APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See). "The meeting was presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio BertoneS.D.B. "It was dedicated to presenting a number of important new measures concerning the salaries of personnel working in the service of the Vatican.

"The principal and most innovative measure concerns the new parameters for the payment of staff (who are employed in a system of ten functional levels), and above all the introduction of 'classes of merit' within each individual level. This novelty brings an element of incentive and remuneration into the Vatican salary system, taking account - within each individual functional level - of factors such as dedication,professionalism, productivity and correctitude.

"Other measures relate to management categories and to Regulations concerning lay management personnel. "All these measures will come into effect on January 1, 2008, though the 'classes of merit' will be gradually applied over time. "It should be recalled that, from January 1, new measures for overtime payments will also come into effect, completing those introduced over thelast few months.

"All these measures involve advantages for staff and, naturally, a greater outlay for the administrative offices, which are invited to follow wise management practices in order to be able to meet these new expenses, which are aimed at improving the treatment of staff."

I find the term "correctitude" to be interesting... would this mean something like "following directions well"? And the greater question is what Vatican employees does this apply to.... hmmm....

Friday, November 16, 2007

UPDATE: The New Music Document is Passed (well...sort of!)

This update from NLM... but it is also important to note that at the present time, nobody has seen a final document! There are other stories out on this and 'm trying to catch up!

"Last night I was called about this, late, and told that it was possible that radically amended and patched up music document would be resurrected and passed as a guideline, replacing Music in Catholic Worship but not having the force of particular law. I didn't catch any proceedings today but Fr. Z says this is precisely what happened. The 88% in favor suggests to him that the results are not all that bad - and certainly if any says anything that resembles what the GIRM or the liturgy constitution says, it will be better. But no one will know for sure what lurks therein until we see a copy." - NLM

Monday, November 12, 2007

Revision of MCW Withdrawn

This report is now third-hand information... coming from EWTN via Jeffrey Tucker at NLM. I will update it if necessary as soon as the whole story is out. This is an important turn of events.
Says Jeffrey Tucker at NLM:

According to EWTN (I didn't watch the proceedings), there are two pieces of news on the the proposed music document that had been scheduled to be considered at the Fall USCCB meeting:

1) It has been downgraded from particular law to advisory, which means that it will not have the same binding status and will not require Rome's approval. (In other words, if it eventually sees the light of day, it will not be accountable to the Holy See.)

2) It has been otherwise withdrawn because there were 100 pages of proposed changes and there was no way it could be tackled at the USCCB meeting. (Which means that it was heavily opposed, and will likely no seethe light of day in it present form)

Please correct this post if it is inaccurate in any respect. I'm only reporting what the news anchor said as best as I can understand it.


100 PAGES OF PROPOSED CHANGES??? What does this mean? I have a pretty good theory on what's up, but I'm going to wait several hours at least and see if anything more comes to us from the reporters who are there.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Msgr. Miserachs speaks out!!

It seems like just yesterday I was saying that the rhetoric surrounding the Sacred Music issue was going to heat up and... VOILA! But it doesn't stop there... Msgr. Miserachs proposed solution is to create a Curial Office with authority over Sacred Music. Now where have I read that before? (see previous posting)

ROME, NOV. 8, 2007 ( Perhaps a pontifical office with authority over sacred music would correct the abuses that have occurred in this area, suggested a Vatican official.Monsignor Valentín Miserachs Grau, director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, said this at a conference last Saturday, marking the 80th anniversary of the diocesan institute of Sacred Music of Trent, L'Osservatore Romano reported.

The pontifical institute directed by the monsignor was originally established by the Holy See in 1911. It is an academic institution dedicated to teaching and also performing sacred music. But, Monsignor Miserachs said, "In my opinion, it would be opportune to establish an office with authority over the material of sacred music." ( It's important to remember that Msgr. Miserachs is held in great esteem by Benedict, and there should be no doubt that these statements have their origin in discussions with the Pontiff.)


Monsignor Miserachs contended that "in none of the areas touched on by Vatican II -- and practically all are included -- have there been greater deviations than in sacred music.""How far we are from the true spirit of sacred music, that is, of true liturgical music," he lamented. "How can we stand it that such a wave of inconsistent, arrogant and ridiculous profanities have so easily gained a stamp of approval in our celebrations?"( Many of us can't stand it..) It is a great error, Monsignor Miserachs said, to think that people "should find in the temple the same nonsense given to them outside," since "the liturgy, even in the music, should educate all people -- including youth and children."

"Much music written today, or put in circulation, nevertheless ignores not only the grammar, but even the basic ABC's of musical art," he continued. "Due to general ignorance, especially in certain sectors of the clergy," certain media act as loudspeakers for "products that, devoid of the indispensable characteristics of sacred music -- sanctity, true art, universality -- can never procure the authentic good of the Church." (Msgr. Miserachs appears to have his own criteria for a "three-fold judgment")

A reform

The monsignor called for a "conversion" back to the norms of the Church. "And that 'norm' has Gregorian chant as its cardinal point, either the chant itself, or as an inspiration for good liturgical music." (this is practically word-for-word what Benedict said in his address to the Pontifica Academy in October...) He noted that his recommendations are not related to Benedict XVI's document on the use of the 1962 Roman Missal."

'Nova et vetera,'" he urged, "the treasure of tradition and of new things, but rooted in tradition."
Monsignor Miserachs suggested that contact with tradition should "not be limited to the academic realm, or concerts or records." Instead, "it should become again the living song of the assembly that finds in it that which calms their deepest spiritual tensions, and which makes them feel that they are truly the people of God." (In other's not enough to merely say that this should be so and continue having Sacred Music relegated to concerts and "special events"... it needs to be the normative music in Catholic worship every Sunday)


Well... let's see where this goes.... I'm going to stick to my predictions and will add that Msgr. Miserachs is probably at the top of the short-list to head up a curial office for Sacred Music.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Reforms to Come-Part VI: The Year Ahead

In just a little less than a week from now, the Bishops of the United States will meet, and among the items for discussion and approval is the document Sing To The Lord: Music In Divine Worship. This document, originally intended to be a revision of the 1972 Music In Catholic Worship has transformed into a much larger project than when it began and, I believe, with far greater implications than anybody is attributing to it at this time. With the approval of this document by the USCCB and it’s submission to the Holy See for recognitio, we will be witness to the beginning of the end of the liturgical music nightmare of the last 40 years.

Understand that I am going out on a limb here… it is easy to just post news that has already happened on your blog and feel good that you are spreading the truth or whatever. It is an entirely different matter to commit to predictions with the kind of tenacity that I’m going to commit to these three. So here they are. Listen up.

There is going to be a transformation of the discussion/ debate concerning music at Mass within 6 months. Further still, there is going to be a radical transformation of this issue and how it is discussed. The transformation will become apparent this next week with the Bishop’s vote on Sing To The Lord: Music In Divine Worship, although I will qualify that by saying it is not the document itself that will bring about the transformation. Rather, this document is going to serve as a kind of epitaph for the last 40 years of liturgical music, putting a good face on it and speaking lovingly while affirming that it has passed on, paving the way for what will follow. The key feature of this document is that it will affirm that the directives of the Second Vatican Council concerning music need to be clarified, and that future development of music needs to be guided by the principles set forth in the council documents themselves.

There will be a definitive statement from Rome concerning Sacred Music at some point in the next 18 months. Ok… so there have already been plenty of statements from Rome concerning Sacred Music in the last 40 years, so how will this one be different? It will be different in that it will set out the Second Vatican Council’s vision of contemporary Sacred Music as a continuation of the Church’s traditions and heritage as exemplified by Gregorian Chant and Sacred polyphony, and will “clarify” what “novelties” of the last 40 years are worthy of that heritage and which are not. This document will promote the right implementation of the council’s vision and a renewed connection to this heritage with the introduction of the new Missal translations and the composition of new settings of these texts. I’m saying 18 months because of the role of the new Missal translation which could be delayed until 2009.

There will be a new Curia office to oversee Sacred Music established within a year. This is not my prediction alone and this has been out in the ‘sphere for several weeks now. What I will add is how I think it will fit into the big picture. Just as the Bishops, until recently, had authority over the use of the Traditional Latin Mass in their jurisdiction, they currently have jurisdiction over the approval of music, instruments etc. Just as with the TLM, they failed to use this authority in a way which serves the liturgy, and so as was done with the TLM, this authority will be taken from them and given to a curial office that has specific interest in the issue and possesses the necessary knowledge to make informed judgments independent of self-interest. The goal of this office will be to re-establish the “universality” of the Church’s Sacred Music and to develop resources for liturgical music.

And so… these are the three that I’ll commit to for now. There are other things that I think will happen as well, such as the gradual weakening of the influence that publishing companies have on Sacred Music, and the move away from “volunteerism”, or as I call it, “amateurism” in Sacred Music towards a greater emphasis on professionalism. These however will be less identifiable and slower moving, so it’s hard to set a time frame for them.

The question now is, what are the odds that I’m right? Check back in a year or so and we’ll see….