Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

avatar

I Was Working in the Lab Late One Night . . .

October 27th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

It seems sometimes that our only consolation is that “at least it’s not happening at Mass.” This is particularly true for an upcoming . . . concert . . . at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Let me preface everything I am about to say by expressing my respect and admiration of the capability of the musicians at Sacred Heart Cathedral. They are all quite gifted musicians whose goal is, ultimately, the glory of God. Of course, we could get into the whole mandolins-at-Mass-isn’t-giving-glory-to-God-debate, but that’s not what this post is about.

What this post is about, however, is this concert I mentioned. The cathedral will be host to the United States premier of Rachel Laurin’s Symphony No. 2, which in itself is pretty innocuous. Churches host concerts all the time, and so long as there’s nothing profane and the Blessed Sacrament is appropriately reposed elsewhere, they can prove to be quite beneficial for the community.

The premier of this symphony, though, is not the only aspect of this event. The concert is being held on Sunday, October 30th, the day before Halloween. So, naturally, the logical thing to do is post fliers around the Diocese advertising this concert as a great opportunity to show up at the Cathedral in costume. (I guess Sr. MaryAnn Binsack’s weekly “Casper” costume doesn’t sate the palate of these philistines.)

The Symphony contains themes from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” a great work, to be sure. I am certain that Ms. Laurin’s work reflects the darkness of Poe’s writing, and I am in no way criticizing her music, the performance of it, or the quality of the performers. What I am criticizing, though, is the classless idea to dress up in (secular) costumes for a (secular) concert in a church, i.e. a sacred space. This extra little twist to an otherwise acceptable event is just like the Passion Mime, which crosses the line between what is in good taste and what is in bad taste. Concerts = wonderful. Costume parties in cathedral = not so wonderful.

Isn’t that a confusing equation? No, you say? Well, it must be confusing, seeing as how the people in charge of the music/social functions at Sacred Heart don’t seem to grasp this concept. The church is a place where people gather, ideally, to pray. Of course, well-built churches have good acoustics, and so concerts may serve to build up the reputation and financial stability of a church. Churches are not built to be used as settings for masquerade parties. They aren’t built to be suitable for good music. They aren’t even built to facilitate community interaction. They are built in order to gather the people of God together, not to talk, not to play dress-up, not to have pizza parties, but to worship.

But, of course, we can’t blame people if this concept, too, is confusing. When our churches look like social halls, and when the Mass turns into some sort of group self-help session with refreshments, how can we expect the people in charge to foster an environment of dignity and respect for the Blessed Sacrament?

So, while at the same time, there will be a Missa Cantata St. Stanislaus, you’re more inclined to see this at Sacred Heart:

Tags: , ,

|
Share this article

8 Responses to “I Was Working in the Lab Late One Night . . .”

  1. avatar Bernie says:

    Those presently in-charge do not accept that the interior of a Catholic church is sacred space. To them it is only sacred when the congregation is gathered together in worship. It is the congregation that makes the space sacred. When there is no congregation present engaged in worship then you can use the space for pretty much whatever you want -and so they do. I don’t think the liberals in-charge would dispute my summary of their theology on this issue.

    (However –and I AM ONLY SPECULATING here– I bet you might have a hard time trying to get a prime-time spot every Sunday morning and Holy Day for the celebration of a traditional Latin Mass [Extraordinary Form of the Mass]).

    It’s a very non-Catholic view of the church building these folks have especially considering the implications for church art and architecture of the doctrine of the Incarnation and the sacramental nature of Catholic and Orthodox Christianity.

    I would guess that there will be at least one of our diocesan churches entertaining the congregation at Mass with a procession of the gifts to the altar made up of little ghouls and goblins –or something along those lines.

  2. avatar Scott W. says:

    Churches host concerts all the time, and so long as there’s nothing profane and the Blessed Sacrament is appropriately reposed elsewhere, they can prove to be quite beneficial for the community.

    Frankly, I’d just assume that sacred space be respected and never repose the Blessed Sacrament. Even for good concerts.

  3. avatar Gen says:

    Alas, we live not in an ideal world, but in the Diocese of Rochester. I would just have concerts held in concert halls, not churches, if the music is secular.

  4. avatar Dr. K says:

    Some in the diocese might argue that this event constitutes prayer.

  5. avatar JLo says:

    I’m with Bernie in the assumption that people think the “space” is only sacred during Holy Mass, and even then, on their own terms, their own limiting view of what should be and what is. Just look at all the churches where, once the priest exits and even during his exit, all the conversations start, making for a noise level like in a gym during a basketball game! And it begins even before then, when people are waving and dashing around during the Sign of Peace, instead of just the decorous nod to those on either side of them, the SAME sign to whomever is on either side and not kisses and hugs and all manner of cheering.

    And this occurs in churches which are peopled by so-called conservatives, too. I see it at daily Masses, which are mostly attended by those in their 60s and 70s and 80s, people who should remember that though Holy Mass has ended, Jesus is still there, still fully present, and should have all their attention while they, too, are there! People used to back away from the altar so as not to turn their backs on God!

    These elderly see reminders here and there… people kneeling still communing with Our Lord, still thanking him and praising him and petitioning him… yet they pay no attention and continue their chattering. Even priests stand in the aisles and chatter chatter chatter. Our sacred spaces are violated routinely because reverence is lacking, the casual supreme… casual in dress and in attitude. Too many have forgotten that Scripture teaches we’ll all be on our faces before God. So sad.

    The bright light for me: I read recently that all of it, all the irreverence, for those who are disturbed by it is also from God… a burden we must bear from him and offer back to him. I am grateful for all things I can offer! So I don’t stomp and grump anymore… I accept it as a suffering from some in the Church Militant and only comment when someone is placed directly in front of me, questioning me, or even interrupting my prayer time with chatter. That is my opportunity to instruct by suggesting, with a warm smile, that I will meet the person in the vestibule in just a minute to hear whatever they need to discuss. Some will understand and be brought back to awareness of just what we have where tabernacles are, and some will think me odd. Amen.

    No perfection on the planet, for sure, and this chattering and disrespect (clapping for the final hymn, anyone?) is everywhere, not just in Rochester.

    +JMJ

  6. avatar Dr. K says:

    I’m with Bernie in the assumption that people think the “space” is only sacred during Holy Mass

    Is this why we enlist liturgical dancers to “prepare the worship space” at the start of some diocesan Masses?

  7. avatar Persis says:

    “I guess Sr. MaryAnn Binsack’s weekly “Casper” costume doesn’t sate the palate of these philistines.”

    @ Gen, I nearly spit my coffee all over the screen when I read this!! :D
    I will never be able to look at Sr. MAB (or any other non-ordained pastoral assoicate/MOC) again, without thinking of this!!

  8. avatar Bernie says:

    RE: “Is this why we enlist liturgical dancers to “prepare the worship space” at the start of some diocesan Masses?”
    I heard that at the recent ‘international’ Mass the cathedral was swept clean of evil spirits by some ‘African representatives’ who were employing an indigenous African practice of non-Christian origins. (I didn’t get a chance to question the person who told me -the conversation was a little unclear- so the cleaning may have been only planned for the liturgy and not actually carried out. Maybe someone who was there can tell us sure.)

Leave a Reply


Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.


-Return to main page-