View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mass appeal

Cardinal Arinze has spoken.

The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, in an interview with Inside Vatican magazine, says the Mass is not entertainment.

(There are some Masses I’ve been to that definitely wouldn’t qualify as entertainment.)

"People don't come to Mass in order to be entertained. They come to Mass to adore God, to thank him, to ask pardon for sins, and to ask for other things that they need."

(Or to check out who didn’t come. Or who is wearing what.)

"When they want entertainment, they know where to go -- parish hall, theater, presuming that their entertainment is acceptable from a moral theological point of view."

(Hmm. I wonder if some of the songs I’ve sung over the years would be “acceptable.” My wife does like one song I wrote, “The Shower Song” – “Come on babe, let’s take a shower together. I don’t see why you’re making such a fuss. There’s no sin in having god clean fun - `cause cleanliness is next to Godliness.”)

He has plenty more to say, but naturally I was drawn to his comments about music.

“The local church should be conscious that church worship is not really the same as what we sing in a bar, or what we sing in a convention for youth. Therefore it should influence the type of instrument used, the type of music used."

(Some of my more religious moments when I was younger came in bars. But then, I am Irish.)

"I will not now pronounce and say never guitar; that would be rather severe," Cardinal Arinze added. "But much of guitar music may not be suitable at all for the Mass. Yet, it is possible to think of some guitar music that would be suitable, not as the ordinary one we get every time, [but with] the visit of a special group, etc."

(My guitar gently weeps.)

He goes on to say that Gregorian music should not be banished – and if it is not heard anymore then “somebody has made a mistake somewhere.”

(One of my favorite goof-around songs in college was a bit of Gregorian fluff. All I remember of it is “My father plays dominos better than your father plays dominos. Your move.”)

He also says that there is room for music that respects the language and culture of a people. He leaves plenty up to the bishops.

(Hoo boy. In some dioceses that guarantees some less-than-stellar worship experiences.)

He correctly points out that there are some priests who get caught up in showmanship, and there are abuses. But he also notes there were abuses in the old Tridentine Mass as well.

(And some priests abuse the Mass by not being prepared, racing through the liturgy as if they have an appointment, mumbling the words as if they are just going through the motions, and dull preaching. That can be as bad – if not worse – than the showmanship, because the message conveyed is that they don’t care. And if the priest doesn’t care, why should we?)

The cardinal says the liturgy "is not the property of one individual, therefore an individual does not tinker with it, but makes the effort to celebrate it as Holy Mother Church wants. When that happens, the people are happy, they feel nourished. Their faith grows, their faith is strengthened. They go home happy and willing to come back next Sunday."

(No argument there. But a little guitar music would make me happy. Sniff)

(“… now that our wedding day is here, there’s some wisdom I think we both should heed. It’s something my father taught me: Never buy what you ain’t never seen. So come on babe, …”)


Blogger Talmida said...

"... to celebrate it as Holy Mother Church wants..."

This is the line I really like. How would they ever KNOW what the Church wants -- it's not like they ever ASK us!!

Is Holy Mother Church just a euphemism for "all us ol' boys in red"?


10:25 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

No, and it's not a simple poll of people who consider themselves Catholic at this one moment in history.

How do we discern what the Church, the Bride of Christ, the Mystical Body, desires of its members in liturgy? The writings of saints and Doctors of the Church on the subject might be a good guide.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Larry & Jo Holt said...

I love your thoughts you have expressed here. Jesus was anointed with the oil of joy. Some of his followers seem to be have been anointed with the oil of lemon juice.

However the world sees the church, they will also see our God.

Look iniside the front door of the Father's house after the prodigal son returned - What do you see and hear? That's the best picture of the church that I know of.

2:00 AM  

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