Friday, April 18, 2008

Papal Mass...and music

There is plenty that has already been said on the internet about the dreadful music at the Papal Mass. I, for one, have not heard it, but don't feel the need to either. I'm familiar enough with the junk that is played in many parishes across the U.S. and if this was bad enough to get such a huge reaction from Catholics then I'm better off without hearing it. To paraphrase Jeffrey Tucker, it's really bad when Marty Haugen saves the day.

Just in case you don't quite understand why many Catholics are upset about this, I'm happy to explain. We have almost 2000 years of the Church's existence, and Western Music has been formed by masters who wrote a large amount of their works for the Church and for God. Gregorian Chant, known to far too many young Americans as "kinda like that music from Halo", is probably the holiest sounding music ever created. Any classical piece you find titled "missa" is going to have music for a Mass, and this music was thoughtfully written by geniuses.

There has always been, alongside "high classical" music, songs that were known and sung by the people, folk tunes. Modern folk tunes in the U.S. are called commercials and tv theme songs, but I digress. These folk tunes were enjoyed at home, but never at Mass. The idea was that Mass, where we worship God and celebrate His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary, should have a certain reverence and piety.

That idea is lost on the American bishops who organized this Mass. Instead, the Mass music became a cheesy slogan, an Old Navy or Mentos ad, with BLACK MUSIC! ASIAN MUSIC! AND DON'T FORGET LATINO MUSIC! put in to show off how diverse we are.

When Mass becomes a place we go to show others who WE are, rather than to give glory to God, thanksgiving, satisfaction and repentance, and for graces and blessings, then we forget the nature of Mass and put ourselves in God's place.

It is a shame, but not a surprise, to hear of this circus of a Mass. Let us pray for our bishops and priests, and for the Holy Father. And let's remember what we're attending when we visit our churches on Sunday for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

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