Monday, October 22, 2007

In omnia caritas

[:: UPDATE :: I'm closing comments on both posts related to this topic.::]
My post below (Missa in cantu) has engendered a sort of combox war. I guess I should feel that I've arrived in the blogosphere, but I don't. And yes, I've seen much worse in other comboxes in the blogosphere; this stuff is mild. However, Sherry W (of the Intentional Disciples blog) said something that is very true and right on the money, that I wish all of us who take this silly medium way too seriously would be wise to ponder.
This fighting and re-fighting the wars of 40 years ago has breed an atmosphere of ideologically driven contempt that is beginning to poison some of our most promising young leaders. We are beginning to regard this sort of derision as normal, acceptable discourse among Catholics.

This is not a joyful re-discovery of aspects of the faith that one generation lost track of. It is driven by the sort of bitterness which is always a spiritual and ecclesial dead-end and inevitably leads to another pendulum swing back in the other direction.

Because healthy people can't live off hatred. In the end, they will either be repelled or - more terrible still - they will lose their Catholic faith altogether.

Because they came seeking Christ and his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and found . . .this.

It was hard enough becoming Catholic from my background in the Seattle of the late 80's. If I had approached the Church and encountered this stuff, I would have run a hundred miles in the other direction and not looked back. I would have known instantly that this was not of the Spirit of Christ and probably drawn the conclusion that a Church that seemed to accept and fostered it could not be of Christ either.

I would have been wrong - but how would I know? Especially if,(God forbid!) I was getting most of my understanding of the Church from blogs!
Thanks Sherry.


Anonymous said...

Liturgy is the center of Catholic life, so it is important. It is not a toxic issue. It is the most important issue, which is why it generates so much discussion. It is not confined to blogs. There are plenty of journals and symposia devoted to the subject.

Here is what Pope Benedict said about liturgical song in Sacramentum caritatis:

"42. In the ars celebrandi, liturgical song has a pre-eminent place. (126) Saint Augustine rightly says in a famous sermon that "the new man sings a new song. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love" (127). The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost. Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration (128). Consequently everything – texts, music, execution – ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons (129). Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed (130) as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy (131)."

One song is not as good as another, as the Pope says. And we are to avoid musical genres that disrespect the liturgy. And Pope Benedict puts chant in first place. People may want to use song of their time and place, but it may not be appropriate for Catholic liturgy. And this is according to Pope Benedict.


Anonymous said...

God bless Sherry and her ministry, but I find her critique rather disenguous.

After all, much of Sherry's M.O. consists of continual and broad generalizations about the state of the inner lives of ordinary Catholics, mostly that they are not "disciples," that their inner spiritual lives are deficient and so on.

Honestly, if I were a seeker stumbling across the Siena blog, I would say, "Wow. Catholics are faithfless losers, evidently. Move on!"

Further, she is positing here, that she is "experienced" while those who are concerned with liturgy are not. I would suggest that the vast majority of people posting on liturgy at the New Liturgical Movement blog and other liturgically-oriented blogs are people who are actively engaged in liturgical ministries and who know what they're talking about.

And I think the Pope's concern for liturgy merits more than a pat on the head for the old fellow from Ms. Weddell. She wants respect for her efforts. The feeling is mutual.