Sunday, November 11, 2007

East and West

So Commonweal warns that the US Bishops, by emphasizing chant, want to make music at liturgy more "Occidental." I had to think about this term a bit but I gather that the idea is to identify that chant as Western in contrast to Eastern and thereby diminish its status as a universal music. So it strikes me that this is some sort of politically correct point, and probably a snide one, if I'm reading this correctly. Or maybe that's my paranoia talking.

In any case, the last time I was in Rome, the tourists from Africa, Korea, and China knew the chants, whereas the Americans and Europeans mostly stumbled through them or didn't know them at all. So the passing observer might conclude from this scene that chant is "Oriental" at root and then imparted to Africa via colonization that had never touched Europe or the US.

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