Thursday, August 9, 2007

Living in a Catholic world

Yesterday (August 8th) was the feast of St. Dominic. Intentional Disciples has a post from a presentation made by Fr. Michael Sweeney awhile ago, but it is just as valid today as it was eleven years ago. If you want to read the original it is here.
It speaks to the great depth of our Catholic faith and the great depth of history, tradition (small "t") and culture that we have. We must remember that such a broad culture extends not only backward into the past, but also throughout each and every historical era. So from the very beginning there were those with charismatic leanings, those who were more comfortable in contemplative payer and those who ministered at table. As Paul says in Romans 12:
For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
So it is still today.The Church needs both defenders of the faith who seek to ensure that her sacraments and liturgy are celebrated according to the forms set down, with reverence and piety. And she needs spirit filled charismatics who, in the words of John Paul II,
...can play a significant role in promoting the much-needed defense of Christian life in societies where secularism and materialism have weakened many people's ability to respond to the Spirit and to discern God's loving call.
We must also resist the urge to believe that any one Catholic individual is incapable of accepting and living in the full breath of our Catholic faith. Attending, and relishing, XLT does not prevent one from also putting aside time for silent adoration. Appreciating the reverent mystery of the Mass celebrated in Latin according to the extraordinary rite, complete with chant, does not prohibit one from also appreciating the ordinary rite celebrated with modern instruments and music. If it does then perhaps the accidents are thought to be more important than the reality of the sacrament.
The way to really tie into your Catholic roots is to spend more time in the midst of your Catholic culture. That means considering that one hour spent at Mass on Sunday is not sufficient. It means spending at least as much time actively being Catholic as spent being a member of secular society. What do I mean by that?
If you spend two hours watching an appropriate secular blockbuster or television event it would make sense to spend at least that much time reading the writings of a Catholic saint or theologian. If you can spend an hour playing Ultimate Frisbee, how about an hour handing out food at the soup kitchen or shelter. Two hours surfing on Facebook. A like time surfing the blogs at St. Blog or reading whats on the Vatican's site or the website of your own diocese. When you go out with friends sometimes do activities that aren't just morally neutral, but that are actively Christian.
Spend less time in the secular world and more time in the Catholic world.


Steve said...

you might enjoy this post over at Swingin' Rosaries

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

has some thoughts which then takes you to this discussion The New Liturgical Movement

TerryC said...

What kind of music should be used at Mass is one of those morass subjects. Steve, as your second link illustrates at NLM, music was on its way away from chant and polyphony before Vatican II and the ordinary rite of the Mass. (Gotta move away from using NO and Tridentine.)
Why do you think that was? I think that chant like beer, wine or opera is an acquired taste. Now that doesn't mean that we should not attempt to acquire it. It does mean that there has to be real incentive to make people want to acquire.
The comparison of Eagles Wings to chocolate is a good one. No one seems to have to acquire a taste of chocolate, they always like it first time.
People like music they are familiar with, which is why hymns based on some modern musical styles were readily accepted. Many of these hymn also have a history of acceptance in Protestant churches, which mean they are readily accepted by converts.
One thing about music from any age is that there will always be far less good music that lasts than there is bad music that is forgotten. Bad chant exists. Bad polyphony exists. I guarantee that most of it is buried and will never see the light of day, except in some musicologists academic paper. Most of the modern music used in Church today will be gone and forgotten fifty, a hundred years form now.
When I was a child at parochial school the nuns ran the youth choir and we learned polyphony and about chant (not much actual chant, I guess that our poor treble range was unsuited for it in their minds.)
Now our youth choir consists of primarily kids who are involved in music at public school. This means they are primarily trained in contemporary music.
I expect that generally our laity are not enthused about chant either, since they have had little enough exposure to it.
Now a strong priest, in collaboration with a well trained music minister could change that, it is happening, but only in a small number of places, yet.
Meanwhile I would rather see a youth choir singing a song by one of the orthodox Catholic songwriters from St. Timothy or Franciscan than songs composed by a Lutheran guy who happen to get a job at a Catholic diocese in the 1970's.