Musical Disharmony over Pope's Visit
Newsflash: Not everything about planning a papal Mass is love and sunlight. Namely, debates about the music that will be sung there.
A small crowd of serious Catholic music traditionalists went on a tear in the last few days after a list of pieces was posted on the Web purporting to be the Mass musical line-up - but which was apparently incomplete. After the list went up last week, Catholics who believe church music has veered too far into entertainment (and away from tons of Gregorian chants) objected angrily on various blogs (here, and here) and reportedly sent a torrent of hateful emails to Thomas Stehle, director of the special papal choirs put together for the April 17 Mass.
The list didn't include any chants, which are "unmistakably sacred music," compared with the songs on the list, which are "basically theatrical - like Broadway," William Mahrt, president of the Church Music Association of America, told the Post. Mahrt, articulating the position of some church traditionalists, said this is part of "a longstanding battle" to return churches to Renaissance-era sacred music.
Some bloggers wrote that Catholics should be embarrassed and outraged that Benedict wouldn't be able to listen to chants and would instead be welcomed with "popular" music.
Then Stehle told the Post and the National Catholic Register that the list circulating isn't complete, and everyone should hold their horses until after Easter when he releases the final list.
Catholics "have to feel a sense of relief," Jeffrey Tucker, managing editor of the journal Sacred Music, told the Post.
Stay tuned for updates.
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