Chants of a Lifetime (Sacramento Bee)
  • This is a fantastic article in the Sacramento Bee, based on the work of our dear friend Jeffrey Morse, with comments by William Mahrt and others. You will LOVE this article.

  • Why did the writer have to go here..

    "In some cases, politics is behind the growth of chant.

    Many Catholics associate Latin Mass and traditional music with conservative politics, said Princeton's Jeffery.

    Indeed, at St. Stephen's during a recent Mass, political stickers on cars in the parking lot were all in support of the McCain-Palin ticket or initiatives aligned with a conservative social agenda."

    That was unnecessary and not even true. Most conservative Catholics I know clutch their Glory and Praise with a death grip.
  • Michael, my whole experience with this confirms what you say. In fact, my own experience, for what it is worth, suggest precisely the opposite intuition concerning the relationship between politics and liturgical music.
  • My goodness, there is a video to go with this
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    That video is way cool. Young people!… all singing from the Triplex!… beautifully!… and the young lady about halfway in who was so articulate in explaining that it's all in service of the Mass, rather than like a concert.

    Loved it. Thanks for the link. Consider me inspired.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "Why did the writer have to go here.."

    Because it's "interesting". If the article were just "NEWSFLASH: Catholics singing like Catholics", it would impress no one. They have to sensationalize it to "IN A DARK BUILDING PEOPLE WHO HATE OBAMA SING ANCIENT AND STRANGE HYMNS THAT NO ONE UNDERSTANDS, PERHAPS DIRECTED AGAINST OBAMA!!!11!" There's your Media 101, for the final exam please circle 5 examples of bias in Wednesday's New York Times.
  • Michael & Gavin,

    The plot Fr John Berg FSSP and I hatched seven years ago when he hired me has been uncovered! A secret Republican operative.....

    I agree. How sad that this was even mentioned. I cannot imagine that this comment was really "newsworthy". The real "plot" we hatched was to get young people singing and understanding the Chant. Not just parroting the music, but really understanding this music by giving it to them when they are young(most started studying the Chant with me as choristers at about 8 years old). Then again, I clearly have failed "Media 101"....
  • Let it be known that not all conservative Catholics are in love with "Glory and Praise." In fact, most of the conservative Catholics I know in our city attend the one parish where the EF is the rule rather than the exception.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Oh, at my last job I was the "lib'rul" because I refused to do a single Glory & Praise song. Those people WERE genuinely conservative. When there was a pro-life function, everyone turned up. At the election, there wasn't a single voice for Obama, and many complaining about McCain. A criticism of Bush in that church may well have been a Eucharistic defamation. And chant and Latin were as unwelcome as unwelcome can be. Most suburban parishes ARE about evenly split between GOP and dem. And it's true that you won't find a democrat at the EF. But I'd say they're hardly unified; it seems there's a toss-up between die-hard Republicans (usually the mean old folks who just want the Mass from their youth), the libertarians(younger crowd and people in bow ties), and monarchists (can't stereotype them, but don't get them started if you find one!) Just yesterday on Fr. Z's blog I saw someone say that every good Catholic is obligated to pray for the presidency to be replaced by a pope-appointed King...

    What does all that have to do with the EF or chant? NOTHING! Again, it's just the news media trying to make the story interesting, and if it were in a Catholic paper I'd assume they're trying to put the people outside the "mainstream". But aside from that, it's nice reporting.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,507
    I agree there's not a lot of correlation between musical preferences and political ones. On the other hand, people who care about the Latin language and the Tridentine Mass seem to be more conservative about both Catholic doctrine and secular politics. The rightward lean of the traditionalist movement in France is a well-known phenomenon.

    The results can be paradoxical: a successful EF Mass in a parish can attract rather liberal-minded people, even non-Catholics, by the beauty of the celebration and rather conservative-thinking Catholics simply because it's the old form of Mass.

    The other demographic effect I've noticed in the Tridentine Mass is that it tends to bring in as many men as women to the congregation, a phenomenon I've never noticed in average parishes.
  • Warning! Thread drift here. For those who cannot bear this sort of thing, please skip this comment...

    I've noticed myself that men are much more willing to give chant a go than to sing in a parish choir. With no evidence to present, I simply opine that the EF is less "touchy-feely" and, for now, the old rules about men's and women's roles are still in effect. David Murrow's book, Why Men Hate Church presents a rather business-seminar-presentation-like answer to the question posed by the title, but I think it hits on something important. From his website:

    "A business guru once said, 'Your system is perfectly designed to give you the results you’re getting.' Christianity’s primary delivery system, the local church, is perfectly designed to reach women and older folks. That’s why our pews are filled with them. But this church system offers little to stir the masculine heart, so men find it dull and irrelevant. The more masculine the man, the more likely he is to dislike church.

    What do I mean? Men and young adults are drawn to risk, challenge and adventure. But these things are discouraged in the local church. Instead, most congregations offer a safe, nurturing community-an oasis of stability and predictability. Studies show that women and seniors gravitate toward these things. Although our official mission is one of adventure, the actual mission of most congregations is making people feel comfortable and safe-especially longtime members."

    Take these statements for what they are worth. I find them a bit simplistic and stereotypical, but there is a kernel of truth in this. The EF is a challenge. It doesn't ask you to raise your hands and express your feelings in public. It doesn't ask you to sing childish love songs. It challenges you to connect with an action that doesn't offer to "raise you up" but rather walk into areas of spirituality that are not comfortable.