Monday, November 13, 2006

John Reeves on the emerging Reform of the Reform as typified in Archbishop Burke's archdiocese

Reported by Mr. John Reeves (an NLM reader)

Last Thursday evening, Archbishop Burke celebrated a mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for the Pueri Cantares, the Church's official program for children's choirs. There was a huge turnout. More or less every parish children's choir in Missouri and even in central Illinois filled the church's pews. They provided all the main singing. The Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei were all sung in Latin (the Kyrie being in Greek, obviously), Gregorian Chant, and it was done absolutely beautifully. The Introit, while not the psalm proper to the feast that day, was nevertheless a psalm with the traditional Antiphon, Gloria, etc.

Archbishop Burke gave a homily that could easily have been mistaken for Tra le Sollecitudini itself. He extolled the importance of Gregorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony, and warned that it would be a huge mistake and huge regret if we were to abandon the Church's musical tradition for what is considered "popular" by modern-day culture.

What I found most striking about this entire mass was that this was not something done in an obscure parish that everyone tries to ignore. Nor was it even something that the Archbishop "permitted" as a kind of "concession." This took place right in the Mother Church of St. Louis, under the guidance of the Archbishop itself. And perhaps more importantly, the main people who sang and who heard his homily were all children/young adults, ranging from grade school to high school. These young Catholics were all singing Gregorian Chant, and were being taught on the importance of the Church's musical tradition, and to be wary of attempts to "popularize" sacred music.

This was the Reform of the Reform in one of its strongest manifestations yet. And it was directed at young Catholics! This is the age group that has so often been lied to and deceived about the need to be "hip" and "cool." These choirs are being taught traditional music, and I know that this will have nothing but positive reprecussions in the years to come. The Reform of the Reform is in full swing in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

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