Music and Liturgy


This has been a hot topic around St. Blog's lately, and seems to get almost as much air time as the death penalty and the rad-trad/neo-con debate. Over on Caritate Dei , Ad Orientem, Victor Lams, and even Exceptional Marriages one can find good natured debate and hair-pulling angst. Michelle at And Then had something to say about applause during Mass. All this was percolating in my brain during Mass this morning.
When I got home from work this morning, things were running late, and we couldn't make the 1030 at our usual parish (the one where we are in the choir). So we attended 1100 Mass at the big parish in town, the one with the regional Catholic elementary school. Many of our daughter's High School friends and teachers attend, so she is always bugging us to go there. I've been to Mass a few times in this Parish before. Daily Mass is usually OK and pretty well attended because it is at noon. I have winced my way through Sunday Mass there a few times, but today I really was upset.
We got there late (getting teenagers out the door can be brutal), just in time for the first reading. We couldn't get into a pew - there were spaces but they were behind the pillars and no one would move over. OK, it's our fault anyhow for being late. Standing through Mass is penance for running late - that's fair. There was no choir at this mass, just a cantor and a keyboardist. The responsorial song was nearly unsingable even for us, I couldn't hear anyone in the congregation joining in at the response. IT was from the back of the OCP Music Issue. I don't really understand how anyone can take the Psalms and uglify them to that degree. The celebrant kept emphasizing every third word or so, and I didn't recognize the Eucharistic prayer he used. I found myself listening closely to be sure that he didn't omit important stuff in the consecration. It was so 'politically correct' - instead of disciples he said 'friends' and the like. The mass parts were decently sung, and the communion song was "Shepherd Me O God", which I happen to like. I am not sure how appropriate it was to communion, though. I see it more as a responsorial psalm, as the verses are pretty tricky for the average congregation to sing. What really got to me happened right after communion. When everyone was back in the pews, the cantor launched into a solo piece of music, not even a particularly beautiful hymn or one that had really meaningful text (actually, all I remember was the repetition of Allelulia) and sang 4 verses with refrain. At the end, the congregation applauded. My husband had to physically restrain me. I was sick at heart and disgusted. The celebrant then launched into an amusing anecdote, the announcements, and the closing prayer. Only obedience kept me from storming out of the building when the applause started.
Why is it that so few people seem to realize that Mass is NOT performance art?

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on January 12, 2003 4:22 PM.

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