Our response to "Rebuilt"?
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    I know "quality of music" was one of the big things on the list... and in reading the synodal documents... it talked about how people in the congregation complained about the quality of music at churches.

    Well, there's not much there, but this is interesting:

    The true beauty of the liturgy, therefore, is found not so much in the merely aesthetic quality of its celebration, but rather in its presentation of the splendors of Christ himself
    (cf. 2 Cor 4:6)
    As the prologue of John’s Gospel tells us , “Through him all things came to be and not one thing had its being but through him. All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men” (1:3- 4). Here we see that, according to John’s theology, the medieval notion that liturgy and sacraments serve to hide the mysterious reality within them is actually mistaken (E.g., “Adoro te devote latens Deitas” ). For if the life of Christ truly exists in the world as light, then the Church’s liturgy, too, must reveal, not hide, the paschal mystery it celebrates.

    And so, for example, to so camophlage [sic] the altar or pulpit with multiple candles and flowers, or punctuate the sanctuary with sloganed banners and tables, or to overwhelm the whole celebration with“wall-to-wall” music ---thereby obscuring the liturgy’s more primary symbols--- and to do so all in a vain effort to beautify the experience, is actually to betray the very nature of the liturgy itself as a sacramental celebration of Christ as the Source of all beauty in the world. Design and elegance are important, but never at the expense of the liturgy’s more central symbolic forms

    See PP 10/11 of fhe document http://www.archmil.org/Synod-2014/District-Gatherings/bckgrnd/Liturgy.pdf

    The relator here is Fr. John D. Laurance, of Marquette University. I think that Fr. L. does not accurately represent the "Adoro Te" text's meaning. I agree with him that there can be 'too much' of anything (including preaching) during the Mass; but if God is also Truth, Goodness and Beauty, then it follows that beauty in music (and praxis as a whole) IS a manifestation of God. To dismiss that is to shear a part from the whole.

  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    Forming Intentional Disciples

    By the way, the Milwaukee A'dioc'an document (above) is filled with that term "Intentional Disciples." The portion of the document containing those words was written by Bp. Hying.
  • I think the portion about Latin was talked about on page 7.... more so asking the question due to the drop off of participation post Vatican II. I think this is commonly the thing I think about in what Mass means to me, or should be.... something out of the ordinary secular world...

    Could it also be that, with the loss of Latin and the sacred aura
    surrounding the pre-Vatican II, Tridentine liturgy, many Catholics no longer experience a difference between how the new liturgy is commonly celebrated
    and the ordinariness of the rest of their lives, at least not enough to
    lift them above the banality of the secular world in which
    they live, and give them a sense of God's holiness in their midst?

    Another interesting thing I read was page 14.... about what people think of Liturgy as a whole....

    The most typical complaints in regard to the liturgy that Catholics across the country have expressed in recent years are (1) the lack of reverence and prayerfulness in its celebration, (2) the triteness of the words and music they are often asked to sing, and (3) the failure of homilists to break open the deeper Christian meaning of their lives in the world.
    Since among these the need for good homilies is obviously paramount,
    what programs or remedies to existing programs might be adopted to ensure that good homilies become more and more standard in the Church, instruction that truly
    enlightens and supports the Christian life of the faithful?

    #1 is the thing I am thinking about that almost contradicts the entire "mega church" thing. There are some select things that are important, especially things to involve Parishioners outside of Mass... but the Mass and it's sacredness seems important to many...
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    Yes, I saw those, too. It will be very interesting to see how that plays out downstream. It's possible that Abp. L. and Bp. H. will take those concerns seriously, but of course, the rubber meets the road in parishes, not Chanceries. As you note, there are plenty of parishes where silliness prevails because that's what the priest wants--or because the priest really doesn't know (or care) about what should be. (To be fair, sometimes the priest has vocal and moneyed parish members who think Haugen/Haas is the epitome of beauty-in-worship. Those priests have a problem.)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,952
    we ought to ask ourselves whether the experience of attending Mass (preaching, music, ars celebrandi) is doing anything to attract them or drive [men] away.

    I stand by this opinion.

    It's not about downplaying the Church's rites, her doctrine, or her music for the sake of marketing. Rather, I want us to question the *other stuff*, the things that don't belong to the rite, the things we do in typical parishes because someone in the *parish* wants them, even though the Church never asked us to do them.

    I'm thinking of the procedures that don't belong to the rite, actions that are not God-centered but socially-centered, such as hand-holding with strangers, and introducing yourself to neighbors before Mass. There are the hymns that are so "politically correct" that I don't think any man would want to sing them: songs about environmentalism ("Stewards of Earth"), or songs about the congregation itself ("All Are Welcome").
  • Charles, I'm having difficulty discerning to what degree, if any, you are in agreement or disagreement with me. Not that your comment lacks objective perspicacity. I might add, though, that the parable that we heard from the Son of God at mass today makes it rather clear where he stands with regard to our clothing in his presence, his very own wedding banquet; and, one hastens to offer the arguable notion that 'clothing' in the parable may as well be a figurative signifer for attitude, quality of participation, music (prepared with care), charitable disposition, well read readings, and a host of other spiritual clothings - in addition to... clothing. That said, I do agree with your statement as a meritorious addendum.
    Thanked by 2melofluent CHGiffen
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "There are the hymns that are so "politically correct" that I don't think any man would want to sing them"

    Because no man is concerned with political correctness.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    hand-holding with strangers, and introducing yourself to neighbors before Mass. There are the hymns that are so "politically correct" that I don't think any man would want to sing them:

    Well, yes, but all of that is covered under 'ars celebrandi' or 'music.'

    Nonetheless, I agree with your observations wholeheartedly. Silly season remains in lots of places.
  • G
    Posts: 1,388
    among these the need for good homilies is obviously paramount

    Am I the only one who finds this jaw-dropping far from "obvious"?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood Gavin
  • Hmmmm.

    I have serious reservations about imposing Marketing 202 terminology and concepts on the question of one's obligation to God.

    Granted that there is no intent to do so by members of this forum, it seems that we are accepting and using the language (i.e., accepting the terms of the debate) offered by the "business of church" people.

    And by the way: since we are obliged to worship God, it IS "a chore." Duty often is just that.

    So what?

    I'm inclined to agree with you. I remember a workshop with Elaine Rendler, or maybe one of those "Today's Liturgy" articles, where she talked about teaching college, and a girl in one of her classes saying "Tomorrow is All Saints Day - remember to go to mass!" And Elaine, sort of probing her to make use of a "teaching moment" said "Why do we have to go to mass?" The student responded, "Well, if you don't, it's a mortal sin!" Elaine then went on to talk about how that thinking might have worked in the 50's, but if that's all we've got today, it's not going to work. And I disagreed with her because obviously, what the student said was TRUE.

    The problem is that most of the world doesn't see it that way. Now you and I can sit here and agree that whether they see it that way or not, it doesn't change the truth. Yet, if we are for the salvation of souls, surely getting souls into the church, both figuratively and literally, is a great first step. So I think the Church DOES have to make use of marketing, and "mind tricks," and whatever else to get people to come.

    As much as I agree with your point in theory, in practice all that will happen is more people will stop coming to church and we'll sit here and get older and self-righteously say "They should be going to church!" But what will we have done to make going attractive to them?
  • I have read the rebuilt book. My main take away point was that without understanding that conversion of heart to Jesus is the key thing, all other well intended and busy building of parishes and church is meaningless - I agree with this point.
    I believe it applies equally well to building a beautiful chant program as it does to putting out nice coffee or anything else.
    I think one problem to identify is this. There is a definite line of development for conversion from pre-evangelisation through conversion to intentional discipleship, through catechesis including liturgical catechesis to mature Christianity.
    Some things are useful in pre-evangelisation which are not useful in later stages.
    One of our problems with the mass is we are trying to make it do too many things. It is the summit of our worship - that implies it is most accessible to converted, discipled and catechised Christians. It is less accessible to the unevangelised - though with the grace of God elements of it can attract and contribute to their evangelisation. However it is the wrong question to ask - how can we make the Mass accessible to the unevangelised? Because the only answer is by turning into something it is not meant to be. The right question is to ask - what other elements of our evangelisation and catechesis need to be rebuilt so that people are lead properly through the process which will get them to mass ready and able for worship in that way.
    In that rebuilding there is wide scope for elements which include the use of popular religious music (that used to be the sort of hymns used in processions etc, now it might me the sort of music used in evangelical worship). One could use this sort of music at things like prayer meetings etc etc.
    Two problems arise. One is the essence of the problem of the new evangelisation - people who are already participating in the full sacramental life of the church who have not been evangelised; this is made more difficult by the second problem - the attitude of demanding that worship suits me, rather than submitting to God, and the authority he establishes in the church. (I think the rebuilt book contains useful reflection on the consumer mentality of our culture and how it affects people in this regard.)
    I don't think rebuilt is a problem - but I think many people here have the gift to give the church of an appreciation of the contemplative depth to which liturgy should draw us. if we got on with evangelising and catechising with the gift we have, we would worry less about someone else using the insights they have been given.
    (hobby horse re-stabled)
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Jackson, we are in basic agreement about intentionality. As said, there's a subtle distinction as how to regard the issue of "for whom comes the benefit of worship."
    IMHO, modern Am-Church teaches and preaches mostly about how to import gospel living and value outside of the liturgy hour during worship, and might I add is failing miserably.
    What has been a total system fail is that the same AmChurch hasn't said a mumblin' word pervasively, decidedly, once-and-for-all how to comport oneself during that LITURGY hour.
    Your citation of yesterday's parable is spot on.
    In my two choirs- I have one member in schola who is suffering greatly with many issues. S/he nevertheless comes to rehearsals and Mass and arduously tries to struggle on and through those debilitating problems so as to offer twopence to God.
    In my other ensemble, I have a primadonnadiva karaoke singer who comes into Mass like the Tazmanian Devil, disturbing other choristers as we're preparing, not listening to instructions which result in further distractions. If called on the behavior, this 60+ year old thinks nothing of displacing blame on others. This person was the ill-clothed, ill-mannered wedding guest, and when called upon it yesterday, left the choir of its own volition, thus showing its intentionality, which was not to honor the celebration and its object.
    I wonder if in the far flung places, how many of the latter examples do we all try to re-orient in charity and truth, but it's more like spitting into the wind in this "It's all about ME culture?"
    Our Kaspers and Dolans, and our priests who parrot them are doing Christ no favor nor honor.
  • This is my typical response to the veracity of "Rebuilt," so people can see how much is allegory and how much is fact. This photo is taken from my first Lessons and Carols Service at Nativity, First Sunday of Advent 1998. I started July 1: no trebles, maybe a dozen in a volunteer choir.


    About 20 adults are from The Ridgely Consort, a community chorus I directed my two years there. TRC sang Fauré's Requiem, Mozart's Coronation Mass, and Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 with orchestra, and Rutter's Magnificat, Rossini's Stabat Mater and Poulenc's Litanies a la Vierge Noire with organ - all completely supported by outside funding.

    The adult choir learned a few choral Mass settings and the trebles were singing decent literature in head tone (nothing that approached the boy choir that replaced us, who were the diaspora of the group Robert Twynham directed for over 30 years). Perhaps the greatest collegial compliment I received was when Twynham attended a Saturday Vigil Mass on Trinity Sunday to hear the "Gloria Patri" of his Magnificat sung at the offertory; at that same Mass we also sang the Kyrie, Gloria, and Agnus Dei of Gerald Near's Missa Orbis Factor, which Fr. White requested to be neither repeated on Sunday nor ever again.

    I'm not sure how Fr. White described the program I ran, but this isn't it, I'm sure.

    Thanked by 1ghmus7
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Well, I downloaded REBUILT into Kindle and am through intro/chapter one.
    I'd venture to declare at this premature juncture, it might be wiser to not jump to conclusions about this or that facet of the program unless one has read the book and believes there's something so absolutely contrary to common sense or normative/licit ecclesiology within it.
    So far, the authors' saga and initial diagnosis fits my experiences of "day to day church" exactly. And that's not fun to realize, considering we're regarded as a model parish in our diocese, argghh.
    Like most topics hereabouts, music and liturgy are often symptons, not the disease.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Mark, to be clear, you worked under Fr. White?
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,624
    Yes, he did.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    We then infer Mark's tenure with Fr. White proceeded to......?
  • I worked for Father White at Nativity from July 1998 to June of 2000. I was preceded by a Sister of Mercy who left under the guise of a sabbatical. It was she who likely encouraged the young student violinist. The congregation was incredibly gracious to me when I left: I must have had two or three farewell parties between the choir and different small faith sharing groups within the parish.

    I went to Saint Jude the Apostle in Atlanta in the Fall of 2000, following one weekend as tenor chorister at the National Cathedral (Vaughan Williams Mass in G, talk about hitting the jackpot), playing for my first piano teacher's Lutheran church while she recovered from a car accident, and Jewish High Holy Days in Baltimore.

    I would let subsequent employees of Father White speak for themselves as I don't claim to speak for anyone but myself. He does love excellent choral music and he does have very fine taste. We were not a good match. I know this isn't breaking news.

    For anyone interested, here's a profoundly unvarnished clip from our first Lessons and Carols from I Advent 1998; we even rented a Rodgers to augment our modest Schlicker. I'm particularly proud of our boys and girls; the core of the adults are from a semi-pro Episcopal Choir I directed a few years before. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4qglOPl-sY&feature=youtu.be
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,173
    Here's a question: it is interesting to note all these churches that have coffer bars after Mass etc. It would be interesting to find out if any of them have an adoration chapel. One pastor I worked for declared that having a 24/7 adoration chapel had completely changed the character of the parish more than anything else.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,007
    Mark, would that all internet posters were as gracious as you in describing a bad situation!
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 272
    Nativity has adoration every Sunday from 1-4 and on First Fridays from 9:30-5:30. Not as much as some places but a lot more than many.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • One major criticism of them that I do have: the idea of music needing to be what people listen to on the radio, because "lost people don't walk around listening to choral and organ music on their I-pods."

    Well I don't think many people walk around listening to the soundtrack of Titanic on their I-pods either - nor to the sound track of Broadway plays - both of which were and are VERY popular, and both of which had appropriate and suitable music that did not match the type of pop music on the radio.

    I think this approach sells people short in a major way.

    Perhaps because I'm thinking of this fresh off a short vacation to Disneyworld - but there are certain "experiences," both visual and aural at Disney which are unique to that place, and which are breathtaking. But if I tried to describe the music or the sense of them to you, there would be no describing it. The music to Disney's "Main street Electrical Light Parade" sounds nothing like .... anything ... you've ever heard. And I certainly don't listen to it on my I-pod. But the music - in that moment, for that "ritual procession" - is magical and so VERY appropriate (and believe me, Disney does "liturgy." They are quite big on ritual, tradition, procession, etc.) More than that, judging from the clapping in rhythm that I observed and the smiles on the faces of most of the adults there, that music in the context of that ritual is beloved.

    Why wouldn't church and church music be the same way?
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 467
    So I'm looking at their "message series" and it appears that this Church largely has lay preaching at the Sunday assembly, which doesn't really seem to be the mind of the Church on the preaching on Sundays.
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    PGA, I have observed the same thing: with the parades, certainly, but also with the 'preshows', which serve to put you in the proper frame of mind for what is about to start/happen.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 272
    Jahaza--when lay staff give the "message" it occurs after the dismissal but before the final song. Fr. White gives a brief homily (about 4-5 minutes) on those occasions. I don't know if that is the mind of the Church or not, but it does seem to be within the law.
    Thanked by 2SkirpR Gavin
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 467
    when lay staff give the "message" it occurs after the dismissal but before the final song. Fr. White gives a brief homily (about 4-5 minutes) on those occasions. I don't know if that is the mind of the Church or not, but it does seem to be within the law.

    Well I was trying to specifically not be legalistic about it. But if one was of that mindset... it seems that the law requires that the dismissal dismiss the people and not be merely a prelude to an essential 20 minute message.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 272
    Clearly the dismissal doesn't require people to leave the building. But it would be interesting to see how many people leave at that point, thinking, "Good, Mass only lasted 45 minutes this Sunday."
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    "Good, Mass only lasted 45 minutes this Sunday."

    How many people leave with that assessment don't concern me, Fritz.
    It does concern me that our senior clergy (a majority quorum) live and die by that assessment.
    Thanked by 2Gavin gregp
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,952
    To illustrate PGA's comment, here's a look at that Disney parade:
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,325
    I grew up an hour away from Disney World.

    I would be lying if I said it has not had a significant impact in the way I think about liturgy.
  • It really is kind of funny. I wonder how many of the same folks who scoff at the "reform of the reform" and talk about how silly it is will then think nothing of packing up their families to head to Disney World the next summer, where they will marvel at the beautiful experiences they have, experiences which are made up of the very same kind of ritual and pageantry that they profess to disdain.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    ....and why is that any different from the 'pageantry of Middle America' which features jeans, shorts, and ritual casual-ness, which is imported into its mode of worship?

    Remember that the root of "culture" is "cult." I.E., it is impossible to reconcile what the Mass really IS with what it has become; or, turned around, what, exactly, is being worshipped?

    Now someone makes the case for even more of the same in music?

  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380

    Don't give the novelty crowd ideas! Next we will be seeing the Electric Mass!
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,325
    Don't give the novelty crowd ideas! Next we will be seeing the Electric Mass!

    They need no encouragement.

    What impresses me about Disney is their attention to detail, to making sure every element of the environment (including the SMELLS AND BELLS) are contributing to the overall effect. I wish we could bring that level of attention to detail and all-encompassing sensory experience to the worship of God.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    I think most of that attention to detail thing is found in those EF people.
  • Francis -
    EF people don't have a monopoly on fine liturgy. In fact, I would hazard a guess that their liturgies are not always exemplary; it is possible, you know, to perform a liturgy that is otherwise, shall we say, uninspiring, but to do so with the greatest care. In fact, the EF tradition is one of the factors we can thank for our ghastly low-church habits.
    Too, I know that, here and there, there are admirable traditions of beautifully done OF liturgies. And! Don't forget the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter (not to mention the Oriental rites).
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood hilluminar
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380

    Never said anything about a monopoly on beauty. Just making a point about where you are more likely to find it.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,325
    Praytell Blog just published one of its finest pieces in recent memory, a very thought provoking and thoughtful examination of the liturgy at Nativity.

    Best line:

    For all of Nativity’s laudable concern to seek out the lost and to welcome the stranger, I found the experience of the liturgy itself a bit lonely.

  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    More phrases in the article that... make me think, wince, wonder, cry and pray, "God forgive them, they know not what they do"

    As Rebuilt makes clear, the “weekend experience”

    They are quite explicit that the style of music itself is secondary to it being music that the unchurched can connect with.

    Because the leaders at Nativity are quite explicit about how much they have learned from “seeker-friendly” evangelical mega churches

    He is also quite brisk; the pacing of the liturgy was almost breathless. There were very few pauses in the liturgy

    The alleluia featured an electric guitar fill that made my 17-year-old snicker

    Rebuilt places an emphasis on preaching and the need for messages that are well-crafted and relevant to people’s lives.

    We sat after the Sanctus, presumably because Nativity has no kneelers

    the manifest work of the Spirit at Nativity.

    Because the congregation is essentially in darkness, one’s eyes are irresistibly drawn to whatever is being shown on THE SCREENS (not unlike being at the suburban multiplex)

    feeling of disengagement from the liturgical action

    made it difficult to see them as servants at the liturgy rather than as performers at a concert.

    the darkened church and the illuminated screens ended up making me feel profoundly isolated from my fellow worshippers, as if I were watching the liturgy on my laptop at home.

    I did not myself find that the style of music made me want to participate. This might be because I’m a snob who simply doesn’t like Christian rock (I endorse heartily the immortal dictum of Hank Hill: “You’re not making Christianity better; you’re just making rock n’ roll worse”)

    The primary form of worship for Catholics—the Eucharist—is not by its nature “seeker-friendly.”

    The liturgy at Nativity might be viewed as an exercise in liturgical inculturation. The culture of postmodern suburban American—the culture of “Timonium Tim”—determines the style if not the substance of Mass at Nativity.

    “what does Timonium Tim listen to on his iPod?” there really is no one answer (except, maybe, “Almost surely not Contemporary Christian Music”

    I believe that the leadership at Nativity welcomes that friction; indeed, they wish to foster it.
  • I enjoyed that article, thanks fr posting about it. Thought provoking.
  • G
    Posts: 1,388
    the very same kind of ritual and pageantry
    I have completely lost my sense of irony, and ability to discern photoshoppage...image
    I mean, I know Eccles is satire, but the picture came from somewhere....

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,325
    Look at the quality of those costumes. Not a Disney production AT ALL.

    (Just sayin'.)
    Thanked by 2ghmus7 WICatholic