People who know me know that it takes an awful for me to say something about liturgical abuses. One, in general I have a higher tolerance and inclination that the chaff will be separated from the wheat. Two, others are doing a perfectly good job of exposing them. Three, if it seems like I’m harder on the orthodox, it’s because those who claim orthodoxy do need to be held to a higher standard. At any rate, it takes a lot for me to say something and for those who thought I never would, grab a chair because this is it.
What I expected to be a Lenten Sunday Mass at the St. John Fisher chapel turned out to be a concert with Mass in a secondary role. The House of Mercy choir provided all the music, including Mass parts.
I have no quibble with the folks from House of Mercy. Their group provides material and other assistance in an area where the need is huge. Yes, it’s good to help the poor (the offering went to House of Mercy), but why does it have to come at the cost of hijacking a Mass?
As for singing at this morning’s Mass, whether they were invited or they asked to sing, the choir simply brought what they knew and sang in a way that was right for them. No, my quibble is with the ordained, both priest and deacon present, who are supposed to safeguard the Catholic faith but who instead denied the congregation of participating in a way that is right for us. In a way that sustains us.
The music did not support the liturgy at all. Not the jazzy style, especially in Lent, nor the songs themselves. I recognized most of them; the Sandi Patti one is one that I like to belt out at home. They’re fine for a praise gathering, but not for Mass. One of the songs had a string of “alleluias” in the song. It didn’t make a difference to the choir, but I was mortified. I felt like someone had walked into my house and thumbed their nose at my family traditions.
“Nitpicky” is one response from the progressives. But it’s not nitpicky. The Catholic Church has seasons and has seasons for a reason. As in a previous occasion, one in which a deacon repeatedly and deliberately stated inaccurate information, it’s not only disrespectful in the immediate situation, but a missed opportunity for catechesis.
“But the choir wouldn’t have known” is another possible response. Yes, that’s precisely why all the music for the Mass should not have been handed over to non-Catholics. That brings me to feeling robbed of even the Mass parts – Kyrie, Gospel acclamation, Sanctus, Memorial acclamation – all sung in the non-Catholic choir’s arrangement. This diocese is so eager to “reach out” to other faiths that it’s perfectly willing to throw out the Catholic faith. That’s not ecumenism.
Right in line with standard diocesan homilies, the deacon’s today was on anything but that we’re still in the middle of Lent. “We’re a post-Pentecostal people.” Yes, that’s true, but we’re still in the middle of Lent. I didn’t actually hear much of the rest of the homily.
Again, this post is not a reflection on the choir but of the negligence of those in the diocese who allow so much that is not appropriate for Mass. There are other things one could say about this Mass, but I’ll leave that to others.