Oh, I really don't want to be critical and crabby while the Pope is visiting us, but what the heck was going on with the music at the Mass celebrated at the Nationals Stadium in DC today?? It started out beautifully, there was terrific singing of classic hymns prior to the Mass. But as the Mass proceeded, the music turned into a multi-culti mish-mash. There was a little bit of everything: blues, gospel, merengue, congos, pan flute. What, no bagpipes? No cow bell? The overall effect was dreadful. As Jeffrey Tucker of the New Liturgical Movement wrote:
"It is the grace of all Americans to have Pope Benedict XVI visit this country. And it was to the grave embarrassment of all American Catholics that the music employed at the papal Mass at the Nationals stadium in Washington, D.C., not only represented a repudiation of everything that this pope has written on music appropriate to Mass. We can go further to say that there is no robust tradition of liturgical scholarship that is capable of defending what happened, and that is because it is indefensible."
Fr. Neuhaus of EWTN didn't mince words either, calling it an "overweening and preening exercise in multicultural exhibitionism." Roger that.
There wasn't an overall flow to the music, the songs were all over the place, the differences between styles was jarring and distracting. It didn't feel sacred. It felt like identity politics put to pop music. Father Z wrote:
"It is almost as if the organizers of this Mass had never read a single thing of what Joseph Ratzinger has written about sacred music and liturgy. "
As an American Catholic, I'm embarrassed. I sincerely hope and pray that the music at Sunday's Mass at Yankee Stadium isn't a repeat of this.
Thank goodness it ended on a good note, with Placido Domingo singing Panis Angelicus. Lovely. The Pope came out of his seat to shake Domingo's hand and show his appreciation.
UPDATE: I'm not going to get my hopes up for the NY Mass. According to the fact sheet for this Mass, from noon-time until 2 PM, we'll be hearing the "Concert of Hope, featuring Harry Connick, Jr., Marcello Giordano, Stephanie Mills, Jose Feliciano, and Dana." Ay gevalt.....
UPDATE 2: On the plus side, my dismay at the multi-culti mish-mash motivated me to sign up for the week-long Sacred Music Colloquim at Loyola College June 15-6-22. Chicago, here I come!