Archive for 2004

Lectionaries, Translations, and Music in the Mass

Friday, May 28th, 2004

Ever since the new (2001) Lectionary for Mass was released, various individuals and groups have pointed a singular anomaly of the current situation: There is not a translation of the Bible which matches the readings in the Lectionary for Mass.

However, I have not seen any mention of a similar situation, which has been present in the English editions of the Roman Rite since they were published: there are many, many texts that appear in the Rites for which no official music is provided.

By their nature, the Rites of the Church are intended to be sung, almost in their entirety. This may seem odd to the modern Massgoer, for whom the sung Mass has all but disappeared. You will find in every diocese some priests who sing the responses of the Mass (“The Lord be with you.”), and many parishes sing the people’s parts such as the “Holy, Holy, Holy” and the “Gloria”. But when was the last time you heard the deacon sing the Gospel; or the cantor sing the General Intercessions? Or the priest sing the Prayer after Communion?

Before the Council, the priest’s Missal and the Graduale Romanum (the book of Gregorian chants for the cantor) contained explicit directions on how the priest, deacon, cantor, and choir were to sing their texts. It contained such details about the three different reciting tones on which to sing the Gospel, and how to “point” the Latin text.

Now, all such musical directives have been removed from the Missal (inexplicably translated as “Sacramentary). So, even as the Second Vatican Council expounded on the wonders of music in the Liturgy, the rug was pulled out from under those who were attempting to sing the Liturgy in all its glory.

As a simplistic example: I was encouraging a transitional deacon in the parish to learn how to sing the Gospels. However, I could not tell him “this is how you should sing it.” Instead, various publishers have developed tones for singing the Gospels, and each deacon/priest is supposed to decide which one to use. This state of anarchy is confusing to most people, inclusing those clergy who really wish to honor the wishes of the Council by singing the Mass in all its splendor.

We need a unified repertoire throughout the US (indeed, the English-speaking world)… but more on that later.

Firefighting the Aviary 1.0 Branch

Thursday, May 20th, 2004

I’ve been working for the past several months on a project for the new Mozilla toolkit called “semi-single-profile”. This project involves significant changes in the startup sequence of the browser. Now that we have branched for firefox 0.9 and 1.0, this project has landed on the branch.

This has caused some build-bustage and some questions from the Firefox community about the “why” of the project. I wanted to give a brief explanation of the benefits.

When seamonkey starts, it launches XPCOM very early in the startup process, before the profile location is known. This means that you have to keep compreg.dat and xpti.dat in the application directory.

This is not a good solution when there are extensions being installed. Extensions can (do) add entries to compreg.dat and xpti.dat that may be incompatible with other extensions. In addition, if you install extensions into your profile, you can have extension information “leaking” between different profiles.

To solve this problem, we need to move the compreg.dat and xpti.dat files into the profile. However, you must specify the location of compreg.dat and xpti.dat when you call NS_InitXPCOM2… you cannot wait until you have a selected profile.

The basic idea of the semi-single-profile patch is to select a profile before launching XPCOM. However, there are situations which make this complicated: Thunderbird has a requirement from commercial consumers that it support multiple profiles. Therefore, we can’t just hardcode a profile path like Application Data/Firefox/profile. The profile-migration features of Firefox also have special requirements about selecting and launching profiles.

I therefore rewrote the startup sequence of the new toolkit (nsAppRunner.cpp). The major problem is that (on the branch at least) we are not allowed to start XPCOM more than once in the same process; there is too much static data in the codebase which doesn’t get cleaned up properly. (On the trunk, we are going to use an xpcom-restart solution).

If Thunderbird needs to show the profile manager UI, or if Firefox need to restart the app for the extension manager, the app will launch a child process (clone) of itself. This is causing a little bit of grief with the tinderboxen and debugging, but we’re working on fixing it.

Vatican document on the Liturgy: Redemptionis Sacramentum

Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

The Vatican recently released a new Instruction on the Liturgy:
Redemptionis Sacramentum
On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided
regarding the Most Holy Eucharist

It’s amazing how little there is new in the document: it’s combining and collection theories and rules from other documents through the years, emphasizing some points and clarifying some roles, but it’s not ‘new laws’ by any stretch of the imagination.

Some writers claim that this Instruction “ends abuse” in the Mass. But seriouly, this document only states preexisting law. It is up to the bishops to enforce the law and promote a prayerful and wondrous celebration of the Eucharist in their diocese.

Hello world!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

Hello, guys and gals, and welcome to BS. This is my place to post information which you may or may not find interesting. Keep coming back, if you find it interesting.