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Monday, 18 May 2009

Advice to the Primate

(Is that the right word, is +Archbishop Vincent Nichols about to become the "primate" of England & Wales? Anyway...)
The Times (the UK one, h/t to Holy Smoke) asked a number of people, mostly members of his flock-to-be, what the greatest challenge facing the future Archbishop of Westminster was, (they also asked one Anglican bishop his opinion, and in a remarkable display of self-centeredness, he offered that the greatest challenge facing Nichols would be to sustain the "warm" relationship with Anglicanism.)
James MacMillan, the (very fine,) composer continued his take-no-prisoners assault on the embarrassment that is current liturgical practice in so much of the English speaking world. Hear, hear!
The new Archbishop will no doubt be aware of a widespread anxiety in the Church, stretching from the Pope himself right down into the pews, that there are problems with the liturgy.
Vatican II gave clear guidelines that Catholic tradition should be maintained and nurtured in the new rite. Liturgical “activists” have used the vacuum after the Council to push their own agenda of de-poeticisation, de-sacralisation, and a general dumbing down of the Church’s sacred praise. Pope Benedict is determined to confront the problem.
The faithful are fed up with sloppy practice, inappropriate, terrible music and the gradual drift away from Catholic standards in the liturgy.
My hope is that Archbishop Nichols will give a clear lead in the pursuit of profundity in liturgy.
This means a recognition that there were terrible mistakes made in the past few decades that have made new Catholic congregational music a laughing stock.

MacMillan understands. If we truly believe that the Eucharistic Liturgy, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the Source and Summit of our Faith, we can do nothing more important than performing its rituals to the very utmost of our ability, than purging it of deformations, than bringing it and its life-giving power to the entire world.

Save the Liturgy, Save the World

Also of interest to me was evidence of the thinking of another (rival?) British Catholic journalist often taken to task by Damian Thompson, of Holy Smoke.
It seems he may have a point.
She said:there is a chance for him to urge people to think about how we create a people-centred rather than money-centred society.
Why would a Catholic, or any Christian want to create "people-centred society"? Shouldn't we want, and want our shepherd to point us toward a GOD-centered society?


Aristotle A. Esguerra said...

"Why would a Catholic, or any Christian want to create "people-centred society"? Shouldn't we want, and want our shepherd to point us toward a GOD-centered society?"


"People" is too impersonal a term for me. We should want to create a person-centered society after the example of the perfect Person — Jesus Christ, Who is God Incarnate.

"Brick by brick" goes the saying. If the Church is built of "living stones," we should allow the Lord to work within us and through us, to turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.

Mary Jane said...

I love James MacMillan. His choral works are often quite luminous (and difficult). He also directs a small choir/schola in a parish church - and even (gasp!) copes with folks who can't read music, so he's no aesthete-artist living in an unreal world (to most of us) of auditioned semi-pro choirs.

Scelata said...

Mary Jane, do you know him? or did you read this somewhere?

That's very interesting.

Sometimes, when I am feeling overwhelmed in my own little corner, I think that some of the people posting at MusicaSacra, for instance, have no clue what it's like in the Land of Liturgy Committees, in the dioceses with Os of W with dire sensiblities, working for Mons. Uncooperative, whose motto is "Glory and Praise was good enough for your predecessor!"

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

Mary Jane said...

I wish I knew him. I read a lengthy interview on the website for his latest album, Tenebrae. Try Googling MacMillan and Tenebrae. I was impressed because most professionals won't get anywhere near a parish choir. He's also a Lay Dominican.

Take the time to read through the comments to the Telegraph column. You'll find it a comfort that the music in England and Ireland is hideous as well. And that the educated PIPs are annoyed.

Mary Jane said...

Found it for you.
Linn Records.

Scelata said...

Many Thanks.
Save the Liturgy, Save the World)