As you would expect their is lots of commentary on the music for the Papal Mass today. Jay Anderson reports that Fr. Neuhaus said ""An Overweening and Preening Exercise in Multicultural Exhibitionism"
Whoever wrote Archbishop Wuerl’s welcome for the Papal Mass at Nationals Stadium should resume his career as a diversity consultant.
Ditto for the liturgist. The "multicultural" music (Raymond Arroyo’s description) for the offertory and the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer simply has no place in the Mass. We’ve heard so much about "active participation" by the laity. Explain to me how anyone in attendance can hum these … pop stylings, much less sing them. (Is that a bass guitar and saxophone I hear as Communion is distributed?) Appalling.
Raymond Arroyo, commenting on the odd choices for some of the music in the liturgy at Nationals Stadium, after listening to an absolutely awful conga version of an offertory hymn (including bongos and a kettle drum) just said that "the music in this liturgy, is out of character for papal masses of late. The music has a sort of amazon flavor to it!"
I went to an Easter Vigil Mass this year where the kettle drum was quite prominent in a five minute or longer Alleluia. I thought for a bit that someone was doing a drum solo. The singing of the alleluia itself was pretty hard to describe unless you imagine Tarzan doing this – and unhappily this is not hyperbole. Though to be fair the "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel’s Messiah was extraordinarily well done so there was a bit of an oasis in a liturgical dessert.
Now I realize that those involved in the musical selection surely had good intentions and in their way thought they were honoring the Pope. It seems to me though that a musical selection of this type is kind of like dedicating a Automobile Combustion Engine Museum for Al Gore with a massive tree burning demonstration afterwards.
If those involved have a copy of Cardinal’s Ratzinger’s book Spirit of the Liturgy I bet it is in mint condition totally unstained by any fingerprints. The tone deafness of the selections serve as a antithesis to everything the Pope has written about the liturgy is it is hard to fathom how this was not taking into account. If Bishop Trautman was Pope than they would of hit it out of the ballpark. In contrast the sacred music used during Vespers last night was phenomenal and the beauty of it with the Pope present brought tears to my eyes.
Amy Welborn writes quite well about the problems of critiquing the Mass in general and on this occasion and about the obvious reverence and deportment of the people at the Mass. I just think that this was despite the music and not aided by it. Visiting various parishes I really try to shut down the :Mass Reviewer" in me because it is quite destructive to entering into the prayer of the Mass. So instead of being angry I usually try to shunt off criticism into humor instead and to laugh off some of the sillier displays of liturgical silliness. As Jimmy Akin says it is not God’s will that the Mass be a source of anger for us. So while I think critiques are somewhat necessary if we are ever going to truly start a reform of the reform, we can do it in a manner that will actually lead to reform and not just bitterness.
Update: Looking at Father Z’s post on the subject he says "It is almost as if the organizers of this Mass had never read a single thing of what Joseph Ratzinger has written about sacred music and liturgy." Fr. Z will be updating this post.
NLM focuses on the postive and has many wonderful images.
Jeffrey Tucker at NLM writes:
Indeed, when Marty Haugen’s Mass of Creation finally came on at the Sanctus, it was a moment of dignity—so much so that I want to take back all my negative comments back when I thought that this Mass setting was unsuitable for a Papal Mass. I don’t think anyone knew before this what the phrase "unsuitable" could really mean.