Sunday, January 19, 2014

Interesting Requiem Mass

Something the Rad Trad attempts to do on this blog is to draw attention to those deceased who have played a part in the preservation of the older Roman rite. People will discuss Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ad nauseam and neglect some more obscure, but equally important, names. We have mentioned Fr. Quintin Montgomery-Wright a few times here as well as Msgr. Ducaud-Bourget. In this lengthy excerpt from a November 11, 1995 Requiem Mass we see two men integral to the survival of the older Roman rite: Alfons Maria Cardinal Stickler and Fr. Franck Quoex.

One could not call Cardinal Stickler a "traditionalist" either in the strict or general sense of the word, but he, like Cardinals Ratzinger and Medina, realized that the rapid liturgical transition brought considerable grief to a great many people and that something should be done to accommodate such people. Stickler openly celebrated according to older uses in the 1980s and 1990s when only he and a handful of other prelates "in good standing" would dare touch a pre-Pauline Missal (the bishops of Gabon, Cardinal Medina, and Cardinal Ratzinger are the only others that immediately spring to mind). He and his secretary, Fr. Gregory Hesse, helped Fr. Gilles Wach establish a house of studies in Gricigliano for an African society called the Institute of Christ the King, even ordaining many of their early priests (according to the pre-Pius XII books, as was their norm before c.2000). On May 12, 1996 Stickler celebrated an older rite Mass in St. Patrick's cathedral in New York City, to this day the most attended event in the history of that building. It was Mother's Day; the New York chancery ensured that the Mass was not advertised, but word spread when people learned Mozart's Coronation Mass would be the musical setting. The Roman rite owes much to Cardinal Stickler.

The other man of note in this video is not one of the ministers, but the Master of Ceremonies, Fr. Franck Quoex. Quoex, as recounted elsewhere here, was initially a seminarian with the FSSPX, but found them liturgically disinterested. He found his way to Fr. Wach and the Institute of Christ the King in Gricigliano, where he was one of the first priests ordained for the fledgling group. Quoex eventually became the Institute's liturgy professor and greatly influenced the society's liturgical praxis. Those who knew him said he was the only man in the world capable of arranging a Papal Mass should the need arise (it did not). The Institute eventually compelled him to leave when they switched to 1962 early last decade. Quoex went on to teach liturgy for the FSSP and, when he died in 2007, received an appointment to teach liturgy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, where he would have had the opportunity to influence future generations of priests and bishops. Most impressive to me in this video, as someone who has MC'ed, is Quoex's unassuming deportment. Diocesan clergy, particularly prelates, are often uneasy about celebrating the liturgy in unusual ways and the MC is often tempted to arrange things himself or abjure the ministers for their mistakes. Quoex mildly adjusts Stickler during the Introit and as the Mass progresses eases the Cardinal into his prayer. The Mass is signature Quoex in some ways, very Roman: the Introit seems expanded beyond the versicle, possibly entailing more of the psalm from which it is taken, as in the early Roman liturgy; the choir is—gasp—in the choir rather than in an alcove (the usual thing to do when celebrating the old Mass in Rome); Dies irae is chanted in full while the Gradual is in recto tono, likely for the sake of the choir; the choir master is vested; the Last Gospel is said despite the absolution at the end (you can tell because the Pontificale has been moved despite the scene cutting). Quoex's kindness and affability towards those interested in the liturgy endeared the old rite to people and made them feel easier about celebrating it. He viewed the old Roman Mass as the "purest masterpiece of Western civilization." We ought to treasure it with the same mind and spirit as Fr. Quoex.

Let us thank the good Lord for giving us these two men and for what He did through them, and let us spare a moment for a prayer for the souls of those men.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem. Exaudi orationem meam, ad te omnis care veniet. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.


  1. Excellent piece, glad to see you are back from your break.

  2. So Fr. Quoex was not "do the red, say the black" fellow, but allowed some leeway (in the good sense)?

  3. This effectually divided the priest and the person in the pew (pews are a damned problem on their own) to the point that people viewed themselves as spectators.

    Dear Rad Trad. I know this is off topic but I would really like you to expand on this if you have the time.

    From Tertullian, “The Crown,” we see proscriptions against kneeling referenced - We regard it as unlawful to fast or to worship on our knees on the Lord's Day and Fr Jungmann (Vol 2, p.166) For the first thousand years, standing was the principal posture even during the canon. Note, however, that the circum is not to be construed as though the faithful had ever completely surrounded the altar. Rather the picture intended is what is suggested by the structure of the old Roman basilicas, where the altar stood between the presbytery and the nave, so that the faithful - especially if there was a trasept - could form a semi-circle or “open ring” around the altar. and so I would love to read what you think about pews and kneeling ( I was learnt that pews were a protestant innovation).

    Oncet, I suggested to a Priest (who loves the Tridentine Mass) that this thousand year tradition certainly qualifies as tradition and he nearly bit off my head when I noted that one never hears of a traditionalist making appeals to this practice.

    1. I have nothing against kneeling. Canon 20 of the Council of Nicaea asks that the faithful not kneel in order to maintain uniformity throughout the Church, but I think every rite breaks this request. The Romans kneel for consecration. The Slavic Byzantine kneel after consecration. All Byzantine kneel at points of Lent and during Pentecost.

      My real "beef" is with pews, which box the faithful into their own space and prevent them from moving about the church and praying with their bodies. It was not uncommon, for example, for a procession around the various side chapels (with prayers and hymns to the saints honored there) to precede the main Sunday Mass in medieval England. One can imagine the faithful partaking in the procession, parting with the clergy at the rood screen, praying the bidding prayers, and then separating for high Mass. Similarly when the blessing of holy water and the Baptism of converts took place in the Paschal and Pentecost vigils one can certain assume that the faithful gathered near the Baptistry and followed the procession back into the church proper during the Litanies of Saints. Pews give people the impression that they ought to be alone on their knees the entire time when this is not really the case. Pews were invented by protestants so people could sit for 30+ minutes and listen to a sermon rather than stand, kneel, process, venerate relics, visit side chapels etc.

    2. Dear Rad Trad. Thanks for the explanation. I have been doing a lot of thinking since reading your excellent series and I really appreciate your bringing to our attention the importance of the whole person being active during worship for the pews did tend to increase the practice of the telling of beads and/or the laity watching a sacred play as it were.

      And Fr. Taft has certainly highlighted that in his lectures, articles, and books.

  4. Dear Rad Trad,
    Thank you for the kind words and succinct description of my friend, Fr. Quoex. We were students together in Rome, both studying the great St. Thomas. His dissertation has to do with the Common Doctor's teaching on the Sacraments as worship (if I remember correctly). I think you're accurate to say that he took the "broad view," in a sense, of how to conduct the sacred ceremonies: i.e., his intimate knowledge of past practice and liturgical history enabled him to rise above a mere interpretation of rubrics on the page. I will never forget his chanting of the lesson from St. Augustine at Good Friday's Tenebrae; how it resounded there in San Giorgio in Velabro!
    --Fr. Capreolus

    1. Thank you for that Fr Capreolus. Any more insight about the late Fr Quoex would also be appreciated.

  5. Dear The Rad Trad.

    Thank you for this excellent and apposite Post. I concur. Thank God for the two men you mention in your Post.

    I also agree, somewhat, with the idea that Pews/Chairs, etc, conflict/interfere with the original intent of the Master Builders of Cathedrals, Abbeys and Churches.

    Please see the photo, herewith, of the Interior of York Minster, England, minus Pews, Chairs, etc.

  6. DearRad Trad. As often as I can, I assist at the FPPS Apostolate Mass (1962 RM) in Sarasota, Florida and I was at a presentation given by one of the FSSP Priests who felt comfortable enough to mildly poke fun at some of his friends in the ICK; he was speaking about their rubrics and vestments and all of the comments were jovial and inoffensive.

    That is a really healthy sign of positive growth.