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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Gonna take a sentimental journey



Mgr Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Director of ICEL delivered the keynote address to the Church Music Association of America on 27 June at Salt Lake City. Vultus Christi has posted the full text in a blogpost. If you prefer a Scribd edition (which you can download as a pdf), thanks to NLM for this upload.

Mgr Wadsworth's address is a helpful, concise and balanced summary of the key issues that face us in the celebration of the post-Conciliar liturgy in its ordinary form. He has caused something of a storm because he illustrates some of the problems by referring to the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. The Mass was not a halloween/clown/beer-festival Mass of the sort occasionally featured on those dreadful blogs that show liturgical abuses (mea culpa.) Many priests and laity would see footage of it and wonder what all the fuss is about.

And that is the point. Mgr Wadsworth's criticism is precisely that the reforms promoted by Pope Benedict have been so comprehensively ignored that even many priests simply don't understand that a major occasion such as the closing Mass of a Eucharistic Congress should set an example by having the proper texts of the Mass sung, and by using sacred music, sung as sacred music and not a performance. His point is understood by the Italian press: Cattiva Liturgia. A Dublino la rivincita dei vecchi baroni (Bad Liturgy. In Dublin the revenge of the old barons.) The most obvious "old baron" was the President of the Commission for Eucharistic Congresses, Archbishop Piero Marini, whom Pope Benedict replaced with Mgr Guido Marini and a very different approach to Papal Liturgy.

Mgr Wadsworth has possibly aroused more fury than he meant to by criticising the postcommunion song by  "The Priests" as "impossibly sentimental." That's rather like saying that Daniel O'Donnell singing "The Blue Hills of Breffni" is a bit saccharine. I hope the good Monsignor has his windows boarded up - Mrs Doyle and her nuclear-handbagged associates will be searching to see whether Ryanair do cheap flights to Washington. If you want to see how unfounded Mgr's suggestion is, go to 2:39:56 on the above video and see how much the song is firmly placed in the Roman tradition of sacred music and not even a little bit impossibly sentimental.

Neither is Daniel O'Donnell. Totally not sentimental at all. (Now will you keep away from my windows, Mrs Doyle?)

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