Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Thoughts on the Papal Mass Music

Now that I have had some time to organize my thoughts I will write this post which was hinted at previously.

At this time two years ago I was writing a paper for a liturgy class on multicultural influences in the Liturgy. The Mass Papal Mass at Nationals Park proved the point that I made in my paper. Incorporating multicultural aspects into the Liturgy is fine and can even be applauded when done with moderation.

Scripture tells is "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendant, heirs according to the promise" (Gal 3:27-29). To parapharase in modern language: When we are at Mass we are neither Chinese, nor Mexican, nor Italian, nor Native American; for we are all one in the Christ Jesus. We are Catholics! That is one of the beauties of the Vatican being a sovereign nation. It is not subject or part of any nation.

As I watched the Mass I was struck by the classical beauty of the Mass of Creation. Ok, so that is an overstatement, but I think it makes my point. After listening to virtually every ethnic instrument known to man, I started to wonder where I was or what I was watching.

It was as though they were so concerned that every culture needed to be included that the Liturgy was forgotten. Catholic culture took a back seat as divisions rather than unity were shown.

When Placido Domingo sang Panis Angelicus, the look of joy and relief on the Holy Father's face was clearly visible. If the music was painful to listen to on TV, I can't imagine what it was like in person.

Needless to say, I am much more hopeful for the music at Sunday's Mass.


Brian Michael Page said...

I finally got to listen to it this morning on Boston Catholic TV's website.

This "music ministry" at the Papal Mass didn't do the Psalm much justice. I've heard it done back when Alex was still living and it sounded far better than that. The DC crew made it sound more like something Dan Schutte would write. I can see why you didn't like it.


John D. said...

I wonder why inculturation must be done in moderation? At some point, one has to ask the question as to why the musical traditions of single corner of the Eastern Hemisphere should be expected to take pre-eminence in a universal Catholic Church.