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Monday, 21 July 2014

What Is Happening With NPM

Note the lack of punctuation....... should there be a question mark?

There had been a long dormant thread on the CMAA boards about the possibility of a booth at the NPM.

I should say up front I have never belonged to the organization.
I don't know when it began to exist in any meaningful way, but it was not on my radar when I was first a liturgical associate  -- you see, I was a Cradle Church musician the way some are themselves Cradle Catholics.
I have since become intentional, (as a Church Musician, Catholicism I latched on to deliberately very early.)

I have never attended any national events, but have been to plenty of regional and local ones, as well as to events held by publishers who are, for all intents and purposes, wings of NPM, and I have profited from this attendance, and learned a great deal.

The first time I attended an overnight musicians' gathering, the type most likely to yield fellowship with real heart-to-heart talks, (like sleep-away camp ;oP) I made two good friends, one of whom, after NPM was mentioned in passing during some session was adamantly anti- them and felt compelled to take me aside privately and explain why - reasons with which I heartily concurred; and the other of whom was a regional mucky-muck of some sort in the NPM and felt compelled to take me aside and tell me, while actually affirming the complaints made by the other friend, why I ought to join, for reasons with which I heartily concurred.

The point being, IME all Right Thinking Catholic Musicians acknowledge the faults of problems with NPM and the wrong-headed nonsense they have both perpetrated and promulgated liturgical missteps they have made and the occasional contempt expressed toward those to whom they owe respect and obedience as well as heresies expounded unhelpful ideas impefectly stated  in their keynote addresses and break-out sessions -- but they differ on whether the good outweighs the bad.

And the contributors to the thread linked above, which revived about the time of the NPM national hoo-har are no exception to this, they are divided on the topic.

But is it same old same old?
(Many thanks to Praytell for making much of it available to those of us not in attendance)

What do we see?

Primary Sources!
A priest affirming actual Church teaching, in the face of... well, let me just quote:
Fr. John Foley, SJ.... talked about what sacrifice means. A woman piped up, saying that she thought we'd moved beyond all that, and that for years we've said "celebrate Eucharist," since all of that "sacrifice" stuff is pre-Vatican II. Fr. Foley softly replied, "No, I'm sorry. The Church has never changed its teaching. The mass is the unbloody sacrifice of calvary." Then he talked about why Christ's resurrection is necessary for salvation, in order to put him outside the realms of time, so that the sacrifice is "once and for all," yet happens each time we have mass. The same woman spoke up again: "What do you think about these new Eucharistic communities? They might or might not have a priest, but they just gather and HAVE Eucharist." Fr. Foley replied "Well, they certainly aren't licit, and without a priest, all you have there is a host, not the body of Jesus." She said "Well, it is becoming a big movement!" To which Fr. Foley replied "So is protestantism."

No question, things are changing for the better., this was all very welcome news to me, and very interesting, but then I came across some other news.

Now, it's no use, I've tried and tried, some times no matter how many times you hit the back arrow, or press control/shift/t, you cannot retrace your steps on the internet, you can't figure out why or how you ended up on a page, what link or thought you were following, (that's happened several times recetnly to me with shocking results, but I'll get back to that.)

Anyway, perhaps while looking to find out who the new president of NPM was, as mentioned on the CMAA forum thread, I found myself on a blog by a song-writer for whose output I can't say have much time, or respect.
And I think I've mentioned, I've been a bit disconnected over the past nearly two years, and I've missed a lot of what was going on.
So this is old news, but what he had to say, as well as his no-bones-about-it public take on it was actually kind of shocking to me:
[A newspsper article] tells the details of [NPM's previous president] firing from his post as a parish music director in the Diocese of Arlington (Va.), an event that preceded his departure from NPM, as a result of his having married [his same-sex partner.]. While one must be careful about jumping to conclusions in events that involve complex realities, relationships, and theological issues, I am certain that it is safe to say that there is a relationship, if not a causal one, between his marriage to his partner and his departure from the helm of NPM, an organization with a higher percentage of gay members, I'd go out on a limb to say, sans evidence, than, for instance, the AMA or ABA, if perhaps not of Catholic clergy. I may be wrong, but I think everybody in the organization knows that...
the gradual empowerment of the LGBT movement, especially since the 1969 Stonewall Riots, has been on a collision course with many mainstream religious denominations because of long-held beliefs about sexuality. [Despite the] experience of homosexual people as part of a diverse "norm" rather than as derogatively abnormal, the church, at least its Roman Catholic administrative body, continues to use arcane and unintelligible Thomistic language ("inherently disordered," for instance) to distance itself from gay persons and legitimize its sacramental proscription of persons who "act on their disordered impulses"...
I have a friend who....applied for a scholarship from a national association in his field, which he won. Though certainly in need of the money offered by the organization, he refused the scholarship money offered, in solidarity with the (perceived, at least) injustice to [the past NPM president] who was the subject of the article mentioned above. Others have left church jobs in anger over the incident, shaken the dust from their feet, and canceled their membership in the organization.

So what I'm wondering is, is this instance NPM's very public, (and probably heart-wrenching, to many members,) stance that open flouting of unchanging and unequivocal Church teaching,  
Is NPM's new, or at least newly trumpeted, orthodoxy, in any way connected with a new  lean in to orthopraxy ?

p.s. I cannot begin to fathom how a nominal Catholic, a person who has taken upon himself positions of liturgical, and consequently spiritual and catechetical leadership, could use Christ's command to His friend Lazarus as a rhetorical point writing about closeted gay men. I can see very clearly how he could have written "Jerusalem, My Density."

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