Thursday, March 22, 2012

In Defense of Bells: Their Use and History in the Roman Liturgy

Whenever the subject of church bells and bell ringing arises, my mind first turns the Dorothy Sayers novel, The Nine Tailors, followed next by recollections of my own opportunity to play a few notes on the carillon at the University of Toronto nearly 15 years ago by virtue of a chance meeting with the university's carillonneur. It was an enthralling experience to know that those notes were solemnly ringing out over that university campus, heard by countless individuals and casual passers-by. Indeed, anyone who has heard the pealing of the bells or the somber tolling of the bells for the deceased will know of the great power bells can have.

At any rate, back in 2010 I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Steven Ball at a Latin Liturgy Association conference where we both gave presentations. My own presentation was on the nature and character of the new liturgical movement, while Dr. Ball presented on the subject of campagnology -- a subject he clearly has a great passion for.

Recently, Dr. Ball submitted the following paper to the NLM on the very same subject. The paper sets out to explain the origins of bells in the church and "to address fundamental misconceptions about the subject of bells and how they should be rung... to discuss the dangers of automation, to look at the current state of affairs and why the situation is not at all optimal either for the bells themselves or the traditions associated with them ..."

In Defense of Bells: Their Use and History in the Roman Liturgy

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