Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Year of Priests Cont.

I've been writing for some time that the new and paradigmatic ideal in Catholic liturgical music is the sacred music tradition, not just in theory (which has always been true) but also in practice. Here for example is the line up for the Rome Conference on the Year for Priests:

Jan 4, 2010
Solemn Pontifical Vespers & Benediction in the Ordinary Form
Domus Sanctae Marthae
Celebrant: Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett
Magnificat Octavi Toni: Lassus
Exposition Motet: Lassus - Tui sunt Caeli
Motet: Palestrina - Alma Redemptoris Mater

Jan 5, 2010
Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Ordinary Form
Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere
Celebrant: Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos
Mass Ordinary: Lassus - Missa Vinum Bonum
Offertory Motet: Palestrina - Hodie Christus Natus Est
Communion Motet: Lassus - Ave Verum Corpus
Thanksgiving Hymn: Alleluia, Sing to Jesus
Recessional: Organ postlude

Jan 6, 2010
Solemn Pontifical Vespers & Benediction in the Extraordinary Form
Celebrant: His Grace Archbishop Joseph Augustus Di Noia, OP
Church of St Stefano of the Abyssinians
Plainchant from Liber Usualis
Magnificat Primi Toni: Palestrina (8 part)
Exposition Motet: Victoria - O Magnum Mysterium

Jan 7, 2010
Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form
Papal Basilica of St. John Lateran
Celebrant: Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera
Mass Ordinary: Haydn - Missa Cellensis (Mariazellermesse)
Mass Propers: Gregorian chant
Offertory Motet: Stanford: Beati Quorum Via
Communion Motets: Mozart: Ave Verum & Laudate Dominum
Recessional: Mozart - Epistle Sonata, K. 278

Jan 8, 2010
Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Ordinary Form
Papal Basilica of Saint Peter
Celebrant: Archbishop Raymond Burke
Mass Ordinary: Palestrina - Missa Tu Es Petrus
Gospel Acclamation: Durufle - Tu es Petrus
Offertory Motet: Bruckner - Ave Maria
Communion Motet: Palestrina - Tu Es Petrus
Thanksgiving Hymn: Holy God, we praise Thy Name.
Recessional: Organ Postlude

Just yesterday I was visiting with Fr. Robert Sirico of St. Mary's, Kalamazoo, and he was reflecting on the dramatic change taking place in our time - and also how strangely interesting it is that we are not entirely conscious of it. For example, you might read the above and think: what else were you expecting? It was not to many years ago that a program of this quality in this venue would have been unthinkable. Now it is considered normal.

He had an interesting analogy to when he was learning Italian. He would study and study and work and work at it, feeling like Italian was not a language that was his but something that he had to constantly struggle with. Then one day he recalled that he once thought of Italian as foreign to him, but now he could speak it normally and fluently. There was never a moment in which he felt the switch from one state to the other. It happened gradually and organically and even unconsciously. He once could not speak it and then he could - a long period past between to the states of being but he could not really pinpoint when it happened.

It is the same with music. The whole color of music scene in the Catholic world is changing in ways that are so natural and organic, keeping with the changing times, that we find ourselves not entirely aware of the shift. Someday in the future -- I feel quite certain of this -- we will look back at some of the goofiness of the last decades and laugh about it. What we they thinking? What were we thinking? We will feel about pop music in church the same way we think of leisure suits and shag carpet and sixties dance styles. They will seem like a silly anachronism that will strike us as more ridiculous than tragic. I do look forward to those days. Right now, the tragedy is just a bit too ever present.

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