Monday, December 11, 2006
The ideal: a golden tenor...
Have you every had the delight to hear the Roman Rite sung by a true tenor (who wears the four-horned biretta)? We enjoy this gift, every Sunday, under the Roman sun!
Welcome to our parish, the Church of St. Gregory (http://www.fssp-roma.org/). Our usual celebrant, a son from Catholic Hungary, is a golden tenor.
Why a tenor? The tenor is the highest male voice (except the falsetto), having a compass between about the first c below middle c and the first c above middle c. Of course not every priest is a tenor, but those that are are particularly blessed.
And he wears the biretta with four horns/projections on top! The principal mark of a Doctor’s dignity is the four-horned biretta (versus the normal three-horned). The doctoral biretta given by the Roman universities is of plain black silk and it looks great!
Posted by John Paul Sonnen at 5:05 AM
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I don't think that the four-horned academic biretta is supposed to be worn during Mass.
I thought it was piped the colour of the degree, not plain black?
The source that I always use is "Costume of Prelates of the Catholic Church" by Rev. John Abel Nainfa (copyright 1926).
According to Noonan's 'The Church Visible', the Roman biretta has three horns but the four-horned biretta was commonly by French, Spanish and German nationals in the liturgy.
However, he notes that in the Roman use, this should only be properly used by those clerics with doctoral degrees in the Sacred Sciences and Canon Law and may be worn only in an academic setting. They are piped and tufted with certain colours according to the sort of degree conferred: emerald green for Canon Law, dark red for Theology.
Do you know the name of the tenor?
(I think I know him!)
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