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Friday, 3 July 2009

"Part of the Service"?

I receive an excellent, and useful emailed new letter from Vivace the website of composer Colin Mawby (anyone who watched the installation of + Archbishop Nichols at Westminster on EWTN was treated to some truly splendid music by him.)

The current edition contains the rare opinion of his with which I disagree.

After quite rightly decrying the rudeness of worshipers who make noise during an organ voluntary played as a postlude or recessional, he has this to say:
The first thing that needs to be accepted is that the Voluntary is part of the service. However tempted people might be, they don't talk during the sermon! They listen to what the minister has to say. The Voluntary is just as much part of the service as the sermon.
This simply is not so!
And I don't think I say this because I am primarily a non-organist at the bench, and thus unsympathetic to my more gifted colleagues -- I feel the same way about our choral postludes or even closing hymns.

They are not part of the Mass.

This is not to say that chatter and rudeness during the extra-liturgical music is not a serious breech of civility, but it is society's etiquette that is violated not the Church's discipline of the sacraments.

And one is bound to respectful silence in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament anyway, whether their is music being played or sung or not.

THAT is what needs to be inculcated in our co-religionists who have been allowed to grow up as liturgical hooligans. Mr Mawby goes on to say:
The organist is a vital part of the service and the Voluntary is an individual expression of worship. It needs to be treated like this and listened to with respect,
and this is inarguable -- up until the last five words.
So dear John Pewduster, you need no more stay and listen (attention to the rubrics pre-supposing that you would not have been so gauche as to race across the transept to cut off Father's egress down the center aisle so as to hit the parking lot before your fellow worshipers, ) as I play my little Guilmant tomorrow, than you need to stay and watch the lovely lady who will remain in adoration for a bit after Mass, (for that is her "individual expression of worship.")

But you do need to zip your pie-hole.

Incidentally I first realized the heights to which liturgical hooliganism had risen when I discovered that our Catholic school principle did not cavil to stomp over to the public address system, er, I mean, the ambo, to shout instructions for the day while the children's choir, made up of his charges, was singing its (never of more than ninety second duration,) choral postlude.

It is going to be a long road back....

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