Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Isn't watching "active participation"?

I am skimming past and occasionally watching, (that's not the kind of "watching" referenced in the title,) a broadcast on EWTN.
It is the dedication of a new shrine, (to Our Lady of Guadalupe? somewhere in the mid-west? I'll have to look it up.)
A bishop is anointing the altar and walls... never have I so clearly realized the truth of something I once heard Dr Mahrt say, something about how he has from time to time resented being made to feel that his EffCap* depends on his singing something when what the soul needs to participate most fully is to be watching something, a procession, a ceremony, whatever, which one MISSES because of having to look at words and notes, or worse, an animator/cantor flapping away, whoops, is it our turn to sing the refrain again?

Some singing is the purpose of a choir, of a schola, they are deputed to sing with the angels on our behalf, while we perform some action (consuming the Body and Blood of Christ? reverencing a crucifix?) or watch someone else performing some action.
Interesting, macaronic, sometimes handbell-accompanied chanting.
I can't but help think if this were going on around here, someone would think the whole assembly ought to be singing "We're Standing On Holy Ground." or some such, and be unable to give the attention one ought to a perhaps once-in-a-lifetime ceremony.
In order to participate one would NEED, if present, to watch such an anointing, without the distraction of reading music. or perhaps worse, the distraction of singing something so trite and commonplace that the average person could do so without recourse to the printed page.

(Not original, can't remember where I read it... it hits just the right note of snarkiness toward jargon.)

1 comment:

Mary Jane said...

I saw most of this and enjoyed the music. Unfortunately, I was rather startled by the high-Classical Regina Caeli that appeared out of nowhere. But then I actually had to get off the sofa and go somewhere.

I enjoyed the way the chant shifted back and forth between English and Latin and the handbell riffs were not too much. The friend I was watching this with and I observed that they missed opportunities to sing "All Are Welcome" and "Rain Down" and a host of other songs that "would have engaged the assembly" and prevented them from paying attention.