Thursday, May 24, 2012

All I can say is HALLELUJAH! The Catholic Church is bringing back the Gregorian chants!

Here's a sample:

I was a stupid Protestant.... very liberal. I personally loved classical music and Gregorian chants. My favorite piece of all time is Bach/Gounod's Ave Maria and I was classically trained with a BA in vocal performance. When at home, I would have my personal worship in a veil, with the most exquisite classical music (and Catholic, which I didn't think about at the time). I was ritualistic with my coffee, my Bible readings, my prayers, candles and my....sigh...wonderful music. I created my own little haven of beauty in worship.

Somehow my love for beauty in my home didn't translate at all to my church. I fought the old stick-in-the-mud elders who wanted people to dress nicely, be reverent in church and keep the music from the hymnal and with the organ.

I wanted to open up the church to standing and raising our hands and singing to contemporary Christian pop music. The more drums the better. (I did cringe at the electric guitar, but I was tolerant because--hey, there is no intrinsically right and wrong music--only personal preference.) I could do the one-hand beating on my heart, one in the air to God with a earnest painful look on your face while singing praise songs look as well as any Christian artist. And I meant every pound with enormous sincerity. 

But when I was in charge of children's church and we started singing more and more songs like: "Jesus loves turkeys" (and I am a turkey), I started wondering. Something of substance was missing. I was so, so sincere and so stupid. I was unknowingly teaching hundreds of little souls in my care that church was theirs... it should meet their needs and make them feel happy--even if it was silly nonsense with a moral attached.

As a Protestant, church became more and more about high-energy, emotionally-driven entertainment. Later our family began going to a mega-church with a really amazing "stage" with a Jerusalem backdrop with curtains and high-def TV screens on both sides of the pulpit and theater seating.... It was awesome. They brought in Hollywood "Christians" to talk and sing. We were so Christian-edgy, causal. Yeah.... we were cool.

Now, the Catholic church taught me that church isn't about me and my personal preferences. Worship is about what He expects from us. Now, ironically, I am taken back by God to what was most natural for me-submission, reverence, holiness and humbleness.

I am not sure I am so excited about this new Vatican push for Gregorian chants because I love them or Christ is loving them through me. Either way.... I am so excited.

See below for announcement: (excerpts).

It is common knowledge that Gregorian chant is not in its finest hour. It has been practically banned everywhere, in spite of the fact that Vatican Council II, in the constitution on the liturgy, reaffirmed its primacy in the clearest of terms:

"The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services."

If Gregorian chant has been banned, it is because of complete amnesia concerning its nature. Its rebirth therefore demands in the first place that it be rediscovered and understood.

The conclusion that Ferrer [undersecretary of the congregation for divine worship] drew from this is that a "clear and precise" magisterium in this regard has been given. But it has been widely disobeyed and contradicted. And the blame has in part belonged to the hierarchy of the Church.

The Church spoke – Ferrer noted – but lacked "a concrete intention to have the discipline in effect applied by those who had responsibility in the matter."

So then, in regard to this sin of omission attributable in large part to the congregation for divine worship of which he himself is part, Ferrer has announced that it is being remedied.

And this is being done at the prompting of a recent motu proprio of Benedict XVI, "Quaerit semper" of August 30, 2011.

Ferrer announced that the congregation for divine worship will soon be endowed with an office for liturgical art and music that will finally apply, all over the world, the prescriptions of the Church unheeded until now, the rebirth of Gregorian chant first among them.

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