22 November 2011

Ugly Churches, Uglier Music: There's a commission for that. . .

Great News from Rome!  The Congregation on Divine Worship is setting up a commission on church architecture and sacred music. 

No word yet on whether or not this commission will have police powers or the authority to dispatch albino Opus Dei Ninja Monks to "take care" of offending architects, diocesan liturgical officials, pastors, and bishops.  We can always hope, can't we?

A team has been set up, to put a stop to garage style churches, boldly shaped structures that risk denaturing modern places for Catholic worship. Its task is also to promote singing that really helps the celebration of mass. The “Liturgical art and sacred music commission” will be established by the Congregation for Divine Worship over the coming weeks. This will not be just any office, but a true and proper team, whose task will be to collaborate with the commissions in charge of evaluating construction projects for churches of various dioceses. The team will also be responsible for the further study of music and singing that accompany the celebration of mass.

I spent 13 years wandering the theological deserts of Episcopalianism b/c my local Catholic parish met in what could pass for a really ugly urology office.  We could all cite examples of Ugly Churches and Awful Music. 

Until the Church destroys the modernist notion that utility trumps beauty in our architecture and music, we will suffer from a deficiency of truth and goodness in our spiritual lives.   I'm not saying that all Catholic churches must be replicas of St Peter or St Mary Major, or that every parish must have a Gregorian Chant Choir. . .only that the stadium/retail store model must be stopped, and our use of pop music and Prot hymns must be suppressed.   

Please keep in mind that the Vatican thinks in terms of centuries not seasons, so any action on the part of the commission will likely come years from now and any results from their action probably won't be felt until the latter half of the 21st century.   Regardless, they will need our prayers!

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  1. They can start by putting the kibosh on the Crystal Cathedral imbroglio in the Diocese of Orange, California.

    Come to think of it, is there any chance that the Crystal Cathedral business had something to do with this new initiative?

  2. Anita, I doubt it. Things in Rome move way too slowly for the Vatican to act that quickly! My guess is that this whole thing started when Mahoney built his thing his L.A.