Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

"And in other breaking news, prohibition is repealed..."

A periodical devoted to liturgy and ministry, from a more or less Catholic perspective, (less "more" and more "less" all the time,) is all... het up?... over something that happened four decades ago.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

These words from John 14:1 are encouraging, but how hard we struggle with them. We find so much to be troubled about. ...
We are living through troubling times in our world and in our church. In past years, [this periodical] has filled the pages of this music ministry issue with articles by leading pastoral musicians who were excited by the next page in music ministry. There were always new texts to explore, new perspectives on ritual forms, new ideas, and renewed purpose.

Not this time.

In the past, pastoral musicians were joined here by liturgists who wrote about the integration of various musical forms into the liturgy, enhancing ritual elements through sung prayer.

Now, no one wants to take the chance of saying the wrong thing and being censured for it. For example, we know that we will receive a new Roman Missal and that as a result of the translation most of the musical settings of the common of the Mass (music we have come to love and know by heart for years) will cease to exist.

That’s troubling. It’s very troubling to the hearts of pastoral musicians who have devoted countless years to building up repertoires of Mass settings for their assemblies that for the most part will be discarded. It’s troubling when people who are fine musicians, fine pastoral people, and solid theologians are replaced by individuals who have no formation but can play “what the people want to hear.” It is very troubling that the people with the right training, the right skills, the right formation, and a close connection to the Holy Spirit are considered too threatening, too challenging, too subversive for parish life.
It also seems a little drama-queeny to throw a pity party now, in light of the fact that there are finally signs of this situation being remedied.

Yes, good and skilled organists and composers and singers were, figuratively speaking, thrown on the bonfire in the '60s and '70s, while their instruments and pages and pages of music were lost to the auto da fe, somewhat more literally.
And they and it were replaced with graduates of the "Gee, nobody else knows what he's doing, so I might as well be a Catholic music director too!" school of liturgy, and music cribbed from "Skunk in the Middle of the Road."

But that's all water under the thingummy.

Oh, wait... are they really talking about discarding the build-up of rubbish that has passed for liturgical music in recent years? THAT'S what passing is being mourned?

Hmmm.... maybe I was reading The Onion.

(p.s. I do not rejoice in ANYone losing his job, particularly if he is competent.
But I don't see that happening.
At all.)

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