Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Most Impressive Papal Event

It's not been easy to find online commentary on the Pope's Masses better than this site has offered, but I enjoyed this nice report on the Mass at Yankee stadium:

This past Sunday Pope Benedict XVI concluded his six day whirlwind visit to the United States with a massive outdoor Mass in Yankee stadium. The stadium was packed with a crowd of close to 60,000 worshippers for a Mass that was the largest, most energetic and triumphal display of American Catholic identity and solidarity since the Pope touched down in Washington last week. The event was praised by some commentators as one of the most impressive papal events they had ever seen.

The consensus seems to be that the best overall liturgy was the Vespers service at the Shrine, but I'm also drawn to this Yankee stadium Mass because it defied all the usual claims about events on this size and scale. This was a Mass that used the Gregorian Credo III--and not with strange instruments or odd arrangements but rather the pure Latin settings. As the camera panned the crowd of 60,000 you could see people singing it with great piety and devotion. We have to keep in mind that this one demonstration refutes the most persistent claims made for decades that people can't sing chant, don't like Latin, and that the Gregorian tradition is fine for monks in rarefied settings but not for modern people in large public occasions. If it can work here, it can work anywhere and everywhere. In other words, what the General Instruction says about singing the Creed and about chant turns out to be viable in every way, in our times and in all times.

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