A comment on the Holy Father’s Mass at Nationals Stadium

Click HERE for a link to the USCCB blog entry on this Mass.

It is my understanding that people are posting comments on that blog about the Mass, but the Moderator is removing them as quickly as they are posted.  I fully understand moderating comments.  I remove comments too.  But not all of them!  I let criticisms through all the time. Close the combox, for pity’s sake and stop pretending!

[uc]

I don’t know precisely what is planned for the Mass in NYC.  Perhaps it is the intention of the organizers to counter-balanced some of what we saw and heard in Washington. 

I have live feed from the USCCB (they talk way too much) and also CTV.

The greatest gift that Vatican TV or Radio, EWTN, or the USCCB could give us is an option to stream live feed without ommentary.  Then they could chatter away on the regular stream.

Some of the music for the Mass in Nationals Stadium was simply dreadful.  For example, the Responsorial Psalm… well… it reminded me of something one might hear during an episode of The Twilight Zone taking place at a carnival.

In no way am I faulting the musicians, who were clearly well-trained and, obviously, focused for this event.  They did their part, I think.

I must ask why the very best music was reserved for before the Mass began, for example, when the emense choir sang Tu es Petrus or the whole stadium sang Grosser Gott wir loben Dich?  Tremendous!  But as Mass went on, it was fairly clear that they got all the obviously Catholic music out of the way at the beginning.

The Mass seemed over consciously multi-cultural.  To my mind, it was terribly self-conscious.  I had the feeling that this was a stage event, a show moving from one episode to another, at least until the Eucharistic Prayer began.  Then it settled down a bit. 

The distribution of Communion was, under the circumstances, fairly ordlerly, I suppose.  Communion was given in the hand even by the Holy Father.  The yellow umbrellas over the priests with the ciboria not only marked the station but acted as a kind of ombrellino.

But what was that horrible caterwalling during Communion?  It might be partly because we were hearing the live feed and it was overly amplified, but… oh my. 

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.

 I am not bothered by some Spanish or other enthic expressions, but this was so self-conscious, so multi-culturally in your face, so much like a show tune review.

Then there was a token handful of dirt thrown out with a phrase from Ubi caritas.

It was terribly distracting.  It was distracting to hear Gregorian chant, frankly.   The whole thing was distracting.

Obviously the theme of the whole thing was "new Pentecost" thing, with all sorts of languages and tongues.  But… for pity’s sake.

Even when the great Placido Domingo sand Panis angelicus, every bit as well as one would desire, it still gave me the impression that this was the next moment in the review.

At the end of Mass I was somewhat amazed to hear that the Pontiff was to bless a cornerstone for a new High School to be called "John Paul the GREAT"(ADDENDUM: The USCCB website doesn’t say John Paul "the Great."  But I thought I heard this announced during the Mass.  Did my ears deceive me?)  So, this seems to be a sort of approbation of that title.  I wonder how this fits with the cause for beatification.

I did enjoy watching the Pope go into the dug out at Nationals Stadium.

_________

 

Click HERE for a link to the USCCB blog entry on this Mass. 

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111 Responses to A comment on the Holy Father’s Mass at Nationals Stadium

  1. Jrbrown says:

    Fr Z.
    I couldn’t hear the music from where I watched, but it’s somewhat saddending that almost every comment from people whom I trust, including this blog, has been greatly distressed by musical and liturgical elements of this Mass. I heard there was great applause throughout Communion, which obviously is inappropriate, as well as clearly unliturgical music. I find this very disturbing, given the fact that it is the liturgical crisis, and lack of reverence, which has largely destroyed the Church in the West.

  2. Dominic says:

    It was so bad, maybe it will remind the Pope how ghastly things are, and of the need for drastic action. Given the number of people who must have been involved in planning the Mass, can one assume that none of them had read anything the Pope has written on the liturgy? Surely it can’t have been a deliberate kick in the teeth to the Holy Father?

  3. Manuel says:

    I was watching the mass on EWTN, and I heard one of the commentators harshly criticize the performances at the Nationals Stadium. Does anyone know who the commentator was? I was expecting all-positive reviews from EWTN, but no…

  4. ML says:

    That music is so out of tune ( pun intended) with the sacrifice of the Mass. Just imagine being at the real foot of the cross and have the bongos, electrical guitars and so on played! That trivializes Mass.
    Then after the “performance” we heard the pope say “let us pray”, it just doesn’t fit!

    I had to turn the sound off.

    We have a great pope! and I must stay focused on what he says. :-(

  5. Christopher Milton says:

    He exited through the dug out?

    I would have expected him to come and go via the Papal Bull-pen….

  6. The music made me sick (literally)…Hopefully this will mean direct actio from the Pope in gettng these songs banned from Masses. It was dreadful watching this Mass..self-idolizing worship…hopefully New York will be better.

  7. David says:

    Father Z,

    There is quite the discussion going on over at the New Liturgical Movement.

    You may want to know that the USCCB is consistently deleting post after post of criticism of this liturgical circus!

    http://usccb.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/homily-at-nationals-park/#comment-282

    Have they no shame!

  8. Will says:

    Dominic: No, I don’t think they were meaning to insult the Pontiff. They acted in good faith, even if they were wildly misguided. Hopefully the Pope will use it to teach how to properly use sacred music in the mass.

  9. Keith says:

    I think there is a positive side to this, namely that the Holy Father will see first hand the state of the liturgy in our country. After all, if this is the best they can do when the Pope visits, what must an ordinary parish be like?

  10. Timothy James says:

    I thought that Mons. Marini came all the way over here prior to the Holy Father’s visit so that he could work all of this out before it happened… With His Holiness recently talking about the problem of these large-scale Masses, and with Mons Marini in charge now, I thought it would be much better. Did Marini just go to NY to work out the Yankee Stadium Mass, or did he also go to Washington?

  11. CK says:

    Fr. Z. Thank you so much for saying this. I was watching from home, and I’m embarrassed! It’s like when you’re expecting the boss to your home and you serve McDonalds on a paper plate! While wearing a holey (not holy!) tshirt and flip flops. The Bishops KNOW who Pope Benedict is, and this is the best they could do? I’m hoping NYC does it right. Please, NYC make us proud.

  12. Is it possible that the USCCB blog entry on this Mass doesn’t have even a single comment at this point?

    The poor blogmaster at the USCCB must be lonely (or very busy moderating the comments that have been sent).  How about giving him something more to do?

    Click HERE for a link to the USCCB blog entry on this Mass.

  13. Ken says:

    Although it is easy to blame the Conga Mass on the Archdiocese of Washington, let’s not ignore the fact that Msgr. Marini knew the music ahead of time and gave a thumbs up to its diversity.

  14. David says:

    Father Z…”Is it possible that the USCCB blog entry on this Mass doesn’t have even a single comment at this point?

    No Father, it is not possible.

    They keep deleting them!

    This needs to be shouted out and they need to listen!

  15. vox borealis says:

    Fr. Z,

    I posted multiple times on the USCCB blog; each time the comment was held for moderation then disappeared. I used no inappropriate language. I was short and to the point. I expressed dismay and embarrassment over the fact that the musical program seemed to contradict everything the Holy Father has written about authentic Catholic worship. And my voice was silenced.

  16. David: Let’s not shout. I think reasonable and calm expressions of one’s opinions and feelings will go much farther.

  17. Limbo says:

    That mass was terrible. To think we sat up to watch it live on CNN ! We drive miles to get away from masses like that !!
    Watching here in Australia I felt embarassed for you folk in the U.S. I felt very sorry for the Holy Father having to be a part of something that resembled a protestant sham. He was obviously surprised at the noices around him until he realised it was meant to be music !!!
    Good grief we’re in a mess. It is entirely the fault of the Novus Ordo and don’t give me any of that dribble about a NO Mass said well.
    The music and the deliberate pushing of unveiled women on the sanctuary was a clear picture of the modernist mess your country is in. Ours is no better, WYD will be a shocker – it already is.
    On a bright note at least the boil has been exposed please God there is someone out there courageous enough to lance it.

  18. Le Renard says:

    Some of the music for the Mass in Nationals Stadium was simply dreadful. For example, the Responsorial Psalm… well… it reminded me of something one might hear during an episode of The Twilight Zone taking place at a carnival.

    This was one of the most dreadful organ-playing I have ever heard in my life!

    The music was a cacophony even more unpleasant than the sound of my alarm buzzer that wakes me up in the morning!

  19. gsk says:

    Manuel: I think you\’re referring to Father Richard John Neuhaus, who will now be forever linked to the description \”preening and overweening\” with which he decribed this \”liturgical stew.\”

  20. Victor says:

    The music was truly devastating! I think the purpose was to show the Holy Father what an ordinary Sunday Parish Mass looks like in the USA (judging from the reactions – I never was in your country and couldn’t say myself). Even the musical setting of “Panis Angelicus” was just awful! But I think the Spanish one – what has been called the “mariachi style” – was one of the better pieces. Also, I heard the Haugen Mass of Creation the first time today – and I kind of liked it! It is nothing great, of course, and had I heard it every sunday for the last 10 years or so, my opinion was probably another… but still! Haugen and Mariachi were some of the petter pieces today.

    I was following the Mass at EWTN via the Internet, and at the end Mr Arroyo (President of EWTN) and Father Neuhaus were exchanging their feelings of disgust about the musical choices. Then they spoke with a lady in the stadium, and she praised the diversity and multicultural approach of the music! To which Fr Neuhaus (I suppose) commented off-screen: “Hmpph!”…

  21. US Navy Chaplain says:

    I agree with all the comments about how dreadful the music was, and how obvious it was that they were parading “Catholic minorities” around like a show of the “American Church’s” diversity. However, I do have to say that I watched it on CNN’s live stream and it was excellent! NO Commentary. Of course non was needed it was in English anyway.

  22. JC says:

    Ken: I don’t think it was a “thumbs-up” but rather he decided not to mess with it, and leave it up to the organizers of the Mass. Also, let’s not be harsh on Mgr. Marini, since this is his first full-scale trip abroad… I assume this is a faux pas that will not be repeated. We’ll probably have to wait for the WYD to see the results…

    What is really, really sad is the fact that ANYONE in charge of that Mass (from the most general perspective to the actual music director (!) must have known of His Holiness’ opinions, and they just disregarded it completely. This will translate, sadly, in an odd example for the already downbeat state of liturgical music in the US… alas!

  23. David says:

    Thank you Father for the gentle correction.

    It just seems as if the clock has been set so far back…but…Spe Salvi!

  24. I just put a comment up there, (anyone willing to wager that it’s only going to be up for half an hour?, haha)…this Liturgy totally underminded the Holy Father :(

  25. boredoftheworld says:

    It’s a little difficult to be calm and reasonable after witnessing the triumph of the aging hippies.

    I don’t know what else to call it but a victory for the status quo in the liturgical wars. Barring papal action I think that Mass will be the face of liturgy in the United States for years to come, no matter what happens in New York, Washington will be the standard by which everything else is judged. It will be used to cut the legs out from under those who are trying to reform the Pauline rite.

  26. Ken says:

    In case someone wants a citation for my earlier comment — this was from ten days ago:

    Msgr. Marini said the Vatican did not dictate the choice of music and hymns for the U.S. liturgies.

    “The repertoire is rather vast,” he said. “There will be Gregorian chant, polyphony and some hymns that are more popular in the American repertoire.

    “I really like this variety of styles that has been prepared for the celebrations,” he said.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0801862.htm

  27. Mark Jacobson says:

    So now the Holy Father sees what we have to put up with weekly in our parishes! It is a disgrace and it is why every day I pray for the abolition of the Novus Ordo and the complete return of the Traditional Mass. Every Novus Ordo I’ve ever been to mixes Protestant music, pseudo-chant by the priest, modern Catholic ditties and modern Mass settings to produce the cacaphony the Holy Father endured this morning. This is the chaos of the Novus Ordo – welcome to parish reality!

  28. Hugh Dyment says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf,
    I watched the Vespers yesterday followed by the Holy Father’s comments to the bishops and was quite moved. I’ve begun praying the Liturgy of Hours the last few months, often alone, so it was wonderful to see it chanted and sung. Do you have any comments on the Vespers service?

    Thanks,
    Hugh

  29. Terry says:

    Have you read Fr. Blake’s comments? All I can think of is the chant from the Democratic convention in the 60′s at Chicago:

    “The whole world is watching!”

  30. Posted on the USCCB blog, but probably never to see the light of day there:

    Can anyone explain to us, your American faithful, why this Mass was turned into a festival of showing off our talents and focusing on how wonderfully diverse of a people we all are… instead of worshipping God in union with the Holy Father and the universal Church? Was there even any room for Christ our Hope to fit in, between the mariachi band and the headline performers? How did that liturgy committee get the authority to unilaterally decided that “our” welcome to the Holy Father would be a Mass so forced and contrived that it was utterly awkward to all watching instead of just the Mass? Isn’t the Mass good enough? This is not a matter of taste in music – anyone watching could see that this display was fundamentally a sequence of performances interspersed with some very prayerful words of our Holy Father. This is not entering into the Catholic liturgy, this is a committee creating their own version of liturgy and foisting it upon everyone else… and saying that it is what “we” want! Well, “we” beg to differ. And look forward to seeing whether the liturgy in New York will be a performance or a Mass…

  31. Fr. Upnorth says:

    The music for the Mass in Washington was a great embarrassment for us. I do hope that something good can come from this painful display of bad taste. I posted a mildly-stated critique of the music at the USCCB site, but it was deleted. So, forget them!

  32. Ken: Thanks for that comment and link. Here is a bit more of the relevant text.



    “A few small things were modified to reflect the liturgical attitudes of Pope Benedict,”
    [A few small things.  The rest, one must assume, was not expressed to the organizers.] [Msgr. Guido Marini] said; they include a request that a crucifix be placed on the altar for eucharistic celebrations, that concelebrating priests be as close to the altar as possible and that the offertory gifts be limited to the bread, wine and charitable gifts.

    Msgr. Marini said the Vatican did not dictate the choice of music and hymns for the U.S. liturgies.

    “The repertoire is rather vast,” he said. “There will be Gregorian chant, polyphony and some hymns that are more popular in the American repertoire.

    “I really like this variety of styles that has been prepared for the celebrations,” he said.

    The last statement might surprise us a bit, but remember, he is not an American. He is also a great gentleman.

  33. I am also interested in hearing from those who liked the music selections. 

    I know it might be intimidating to post a comment after reading some of the more harsh posts here, but I will do my best to keep things under control as long as I can.

  34. Emilio III says:

    Fr. Z, the USCCB blog entry you linked to says “During the final blessing, the Holy Father blessed religious articles brought by the faithful as well as the cornerstone and the tabernacle for the new Pope John Paul the Great High School in the Diocese of Arlington (Virginia).”

  35. PAT says:

    Fr. Z: At the end of Mass I was somewhat amazed to hear that the Pontiff was to bless a cornerstone for a new High School to be called “John Paul the GREAT”. (ADDENDUM: The USCCB website doesn’t say John Paul “the Great.” But I thought I heard this announced during the Mass. Did my ears deceive me?)

    No, Father, your ears are probably just fine. There are radio advertisements running here in the DC area for “John Paul the Great High School.” There’s even a Web site.

  36. tradteach says:

    Fr Z.,

    I too have posted respectful, yet pointed comments about the musicals selection for the Papal liturgy. Yet, the USCCB moderator has condemned them to oblivion. Apparently, only strictly positive comments are allowed to be posted. Didn’t the Holy Father just speak about how he admired the freedom the people of the U.S. enjoyed? Apparently the bishops and/or their staff don’t agree.

  37. CK says:

    I liked that they didn’t sing “On Eagle’s Wing’s”. I tried, Fr. Z, I really did.

  38. Dorothy says:

    Fr. Z, I will say I liked that Spanish folk-pop thing that was performed during the offeratory. But I would prefer to hear it in my car on my commute, or at a nightclub. It was jarring and strange to hear it at a papal mass. That’s the most positive thing I can say!

  39. TNCath says:

    Yes, it was pretty embarrassing, especially after the fine effort made last night at the National Shrine with the bishops. That chasuble was a bit much as well. That huge collar around the Holy Father’s neck made him look like an ambassador on a Star Trek episode. As Father Z said, they put all the decent music in before the Mass and we were faced with the Mass of Cre(m)ation (If those parts had to be in English, I’d have rather heard Jan Vermulst’s People’s Mass), the late Father Lucien Deiss (although “All the Earth” isn’t his worst work), and whatever other ditties were being barked out. Couldn’t all the multi-cultural music been sung before the Mass to keep the crowds entertained before the Mass began? And while it’s hard to find fault with Placido Domingo, the musicians accompanying him were much too overpowering and it did seem to be more of a performance than a Communion meditation. That’s the great danger with solos. Overall, it was very disappointing, even though I figured it would be since I had already seen the program. Nonetheless, it could have been a lot worse.

  40. Guy Power says:

    Hmmpf! No great highland bagpipes? Pah!

    I turned on the radio late while driving to work and caught the Rio de Janiero Carnival station by mistake, I think; or, was it the Baja Marimba celebration?

    Sheesh, what a let-down.

  41. Tom says:

    Let us not forget that there are many Catholics who prefer the style of Mass that was just offered at Nationals Stadium.

    A great many U.S. bishops are certainly pleased with the Mass in question.

  42. Dominic says:

    Good question, Fr Z, about what was actually liked :-)

    While we should be grown-up enough to be able to sing the Gloria (like other parts of the Mass) in Latin, I quite liked the way in which it was done – there was a sign of ‘continuity’ insofar as there was some Latin and at least the words were the correct translation and not some concocted version we sometimes get.

    I was too wound up by the time Panis Angelicus was sung to really appreciate it. And it was additionally disappointing that Placido Domingo was clapped when people realised who was singing (as well as afterwards). Unfortunately it seemed to be more of a performance for the people or the Pope, and not sacred music designed to raise the mind and heart to God.

  43. Tom says:

    Let us not forget that there are many Catholics who prefer the style of Mass that was just offered at Nationals Stadium.

  44. David M. Wallace says:

    Father Z et al.,

    I live in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. I was unable to attend the Mass and was only able to watch the Papal Mass via internet from the Communion until the end.

    Yes, the music was embarrassing and horrendous. Most of it was entirely inappropriate for the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.

    We must take into account, however, the interesting diversity of the Washington Metropolitan Area. There was a misguided attempt to show the cultural diversity of the United States. This attempt worked. The Mass was the perfect model of the political, social, and cultural cacophony that I live and work in. The District of Columbia with its suburbs is BABEL. We are attempting to build a tower of political correctness to overshadow the decadence of the declining way of life in this fast-paced region of the country. We are blinding ourselves to the truth, and this Mass was an attempt to show ourselves that everything is alright. “I’m okay, you’re okay.”

    And yes, the new Catholic high school for the Arlington, Virginia Diocese is called Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School. It will be staffed by Nashville Dominicans, as well as lay teachers. It will be located in Dumfries, VA, and should open its doors in the fall 2008.

  45. Will says:

    Fr. Z, the missalette for the trip does indeed say “Pope John Paul the Great”. See page 30 (as counted by the pdf, page numbering is 55).
    As for the music: As modern American mass settings go, the Mass of Creation by Marty Haughen isn’t too bad. The mariachi and gospel-style music was execrable. “Pange Lingua” was different, but not painful.

  46. Volpius says:

    Very disappointing. Out of charity I will say more, if the Pope can’t stop them who can?

  47. simeon says:

    “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.”

    I’d be surprised if more than a small handful of mainstream ‘liturgists’ have ever read anything that Card. Ratzinger wrote about sacred music and liturgy.

  48. Some excerpts from my own admittedly review:

    “The music was very well done, and made for good performance. As an act of worship, it was a bit of a hodge-podge, presumedly to underscore the ‘diversity’ of American Catholics. There are those who would eschew this approach to such a degree (myself among them), in favor of the unitive approach of Gregorian chant as actually called for by the Second Vatican Council… But it makes for a colorful event just the same… Then there were these songleaders after Communion wearing what appeared to be stoles draped loosely on the left shoulder… Somebody wanna tell me what’s that about? Is that like a ‘semi-priest’ thing or whatever?”

    The moderator of the USCCB site probably thinks if he allows just a little criticism, it’ll turn into a riot like some other comboxes we all know. He probably answers to a bishop, and you and I both know how well they handle bad news, don’t we? So he draws the line way in advance. Apparently.

    As to what the papal MC may or may not have approved, we know he came here, and we know he went over the details. BUT… we also know he didn’t stay to see the programs run off the press. I have also been told by people who have visited Rome, that it was all Pope Benedict could do to get them to say Mass at St Peter’s in Latin instead of Italian. Something about pounding his fist on the table in the sacristy at one point. And you think his MC would have better luck without the home field advantage, eh?

  49. TJM says:

    My comment to the USCCB website was not posted either. It was respectful but I let them know the music at the Liturgy did not follow
    the precepts of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Perhaps the webmaster there is unfamiliar with that document. It’s also disappointing that
    the webmaster is displaying Soviet style tactics of only displaying complimentary comments. Tom

  50. Antiquarian says:

    It is amusing that the announcement ahead of time that the Mass of Creation would be included inpired such venom-spitting, and that it turned out to be the least of the problems. (And as one who was there, I must say its inclusion may have been justified by its familiarity– the sound of the entire stadium singing its excerpts was quite impressive.)

  51. Will says:

    I posted this at the USCCB blog, we’ll see if it makes the light of day:The Holy Father delivered yet another brilliant, intellectually rigorous homily intended to help us understand our role and duties as Catholics in a world needing conversion.

    However, the music was appalling, and in direct opposition to everything that Pope Benedict has been writing and preaching with regard to Sacred Music and the liturgy.

  52. Le Renard says:

    The greatest gift that Vatican TV or Radio, EWTN, or the USCCB could give us is an option to stream live feed without Commentary.

    So true!

    Although I respect the EWTN folks for providing coverage, but could Raymond Arroyo just shut up and let me hear what the Pope is actually saying?

  53. Volpius says:

    Taking into account the diversity of the Washington Metropolitan Area is exactly what we should not be doing, at least not during Mass, when you do that you turn a event that is meant to strengthen our unity and sense of community into the opposite, a individualistic celebration of what makes us different, it becomes then all about man instead of about God and becomes a celebration of what divides.

  54. Cathy Dawson says:

    I posted a comment on the USCCB’s article. It is awaiting moderation. I don’t think it is too inflammatory. I really, really don’t understand why the Holy Father puts up with this. I have read Spirit of the Liturgy and know how important he thinks the liturgy is to the very life of the faithful. Sometimes I think we should die a martyr’s death rather than allow liturgical abuse to go on. I feel like I’m living in the Twilight Zone. The Church teaches one thing, but what we experience is something so different.

    Here’s my comment:

    I don’t understand why people who organize papal Masses don’t follow the liturgical preferences of the Holy Father as he has expressed in particular in his book Spirit of the Liturgy. It seems to me that to do this would be a great sign of love and respect for him. It would also be very uplifting to the faithful in attendance.

  55. As I type, there are still no comments posted on the blog of the USCCB.

    Click HERE for a link to the USCCB blog entry on this Mass. 

  56. Lindsay says:

    Why even have comments if you don’t post some bad with the good. How silly.

    Thank you Father Z for articulating my feelings after seeing the mass much better than I could.

    I respect the idea of having the mass in a place where such a large number can celebrate with our Holy Father, but my almost 4 year old kept telling me “that’s not a church–that’s outside” and I kind of think he was right–the music sure did fit in more with the stadium setting.

    Did you hear the phone interview with the lady in the crowd right before mass started on the USCCB feed? When asked about her Catholic education (at Fordham) given the pope’s upcoming address, she said how much she loved the Jesuit spirituality because it taught her that prayer without service is meaningless.

    Even if she just articulated herself poorly (of course, we are called to serve, but for prayer to be meaningless?), it still seems that poor articulation of our Catholic faith is a product of her Catholic education, and that is somewhat telling. I assume she can generally articulate herself well if she was chosen to be the spokesperson from the crowd, yk? It just struck me as ironic.

  57. Guys, I just went to the USCCB site. At least one person will read mine:

    “Hey, moderator, this one’s for you. That’s right, just you.

    “Your attempts to delete numerous posts which are the least bit critical of the music at the Papal Mass, including those which call to mind certain liturgical principles that may have been compromised, is even now under scrutiny by anyone and everyone on the internet. As it is written in The Course in Miracles: ‘You who cannot control yourself should hardly expect to control the universe.’ Good luck trying, though.

    “Check my website, know where I’m coming from, and stay in touch.”

    Well, it should be gone by now. But it was fun while it lasted.

  58. TNCath says:

    Sorry, I may have posted on the wrong entry that my comment to the USCCB blog that I was disappointed in the Mass at National Stadium was removed. Apparently, the “Censor Blogorum” at the USCCB is working overtime today!

  59. Maureen says:

    If you look at the Missal, you’ll see that a large amount of the music
    is by local DC/Shrine composers/employees.

    I realize the advantages for familiarity’s sake, if the Shrine choir is
    used to singing music by these guys. I also suppose it might be cheaper.
    But it seems a bit much, for an event of this nature.

    If these folks really wanted to showcase their local music, it would have
    been more fitting to compose an entire Mass, rather than this piecemeal
    stuff. (Though I’m glad the Mass of Creation worked out all right.)

  60. evangelical_catholic says:

    I was able to watch live streaming from the washingtonpost.com website, which had just the live audio/video feed from EWTN and no commentary overlaid. Too late this time around, and I don’t expect they will carry the Yankee Stadium mass. Perhaps check the NYTimes website for the next one?

  61. Nuggen says:

    I am so disheartened by the USCCB and it is draining the hope of authentic Catholicism in this country. I’m embarrassed to be an American.

  62. mco says:

    I posted a comment asking them to provide the rules/guidelines for commenting. An hour and half later, it’s still awaiting moderation…

  63. Maureen: If these folks really wanted to showcase their local music, it would have been more fitting to compose an entire Mass, rather than this piecemeal stuff.

    I agree!  But the whole thing seemed at its core to want to avoid “leaving anyone out”.

    Clearly the liturgical “theme” revolved around a “new Pentecost”.

    Aside: Why do Masses of the “establishment” in the USA have to have “themes”?  This reminded me of the product of the “liturgy planning” we had to do in seminary in the USA.  Why not just let the Masses texts and prayers, and sound sacred music along the lines the Council asked for, do it for us?

    Otherwise, have a Mass composed for the occasion?

  64. Ioannes says:

    One of the aspects of Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy in which I most believe is its emphasis on integrating more Biblical material into the liturgy. Why is it that songs and hymns during mass have become decidedly less Biblical over the years?

    Whatever happened to the Council’s idea of “noble simplicity”?

    Yes, the American church has a long way to go to a fully mature appreciation of sacred music. It is like all this music is designed to keep little babies awake and attentive. As the American chuch matures, maybe we’ll here less infantile attempts at sacred music. Maybe Marini simply thought that this is the best infantile Americans can do and wasn’t going to fight this battle. Or (gasp) what was planned was much worse! Before I saw what is in store at Yankee Stadium, I had been hoping to get a ticket to see the Holy Faterh. Now I’m even less disappointed.

  65. Chironomo says:

    I am listening to the rebroadcast. Fr. Neuhaus said it perfectly.. “it doesn’t say on the program who is responsible for introducing the Holy Father to the aesthetic sufferings endured by Catholics in this country, but perhaps there will be some word of it later”.. ” we will see”…

  66. Le Renard says:

    I agree! But the whole thing seemed at its core to want to avoid “leaving anyone out”.

    I beg to differ.

    In spite of the horrendous music, they left out the “Praise Music” often played at Mass in one of the Catholic churches I formerly attended, complete with all the drum-beating and what not.

    I wonder what the Pope would’ve thought had he actually witnessed such a spectacle that’s more characteristic of the music evident in many of American Catholic churches today!

  67. Ansjo says:

    Some nice performances. But they were just that: showy, theatrical performances with no place in a papal mass.

    It felt like a Celebration of Us rather than a Celebration of God, which is exactly what the pope hates about this kind of liturgy.

    The pope’s views on these matters are well known. The mass came across as a defiant “screw you”.

  68. Ansjo: You’re exactly right, pure diobdence, pretty much, forget the Holy Father and what he thinks

  69. Michael C. says:

    John Paul was a great Pope, but can we really say he did more for the Church than all of those great pope who were never given that title? All of the new orders seem to be enthusiastic about this title. Hildebrand, SAINTS Pius V and Pius X, or Innocent III? Did he do more than them? Did he do as much as Gregory or Leo? If the world would only church from the proper perspective and realize it didn’t start in 1962, perhaps they’d be more hesitant to call him “the Great.” Where is this enthusiasm coming from? Is he called the great because he changed the world, destroyed heresies, rebuilt the Christian civilization, left us with writings of such a caliber that theologians in 1500 years will still be weaving them into their sermons? John Paul was the greatest Pope the Church had since Pius XII. Does that make him THE great? The fact that people like Neuhaus don’t think saint hood is a requirement for that title is an insult to Leo and Gregory.

  70. RichR says:

    I found Fr. Richard Neuhaus’s comments spot on. That man reminds me of my dad: he doesn’t worry about what people think – he’s just calls it how he sees it.

    Yes this event was very embarrassing for Americans of all cultures. We welcome the Holy Father with self-aggrandizement. It is a symptom of liturgical, historical, and musical amnesia. It should be a wake up call to us that what the HF is trying to do in his Marshall Plan is to give us back our Catholic identity. Liturgy has practical consequences. If you have bad liturgy, you have bad theology.

    That having been said, let’s look at what was positive.

    No altar girls
    Absolutely no EMHC’s (this apparently caused a furor….I say, “Good”)
    Nice vestments
    Incense
    Cassocks and surplices
    Crucifix as the central point of focus, not the Pope

    It’s not the end of the world. It’s just the end of an age – the age of ugliness.

  71. Eric says:

    Father Z,

    I was in attendance today and found the experience incredibly moving. I would like to caveat my comments by saying I only attend the Extraordinary Form, but I couldn’t stop from weeping tears of Joy. Was the music what I like? No. Was it a traditional liturgy? No. But the presence of the Holy Father seemed to repair any faults in the Mass. I guess it’s not something that one can appreciate via TV or radio.

    Today I reaffirmed my baptismal vows to the Successor of St. Peter. Today, God gave me the grace to see a glimpse of Heaven, where a huge multitude of faithful were adoring God with genuine outpourings of faith and fidelity.

    I was sitting with a group of gentlemen in discernment for the priesthood in the Archdiocese and there were native speakers of every language spoken at the Mass, Vietnamese, Spanish, and even Igbo.

    The Holy Father’s visit to the city where I live provided me with an abundance of grace and I cannot, in good conscience, criticize the liturgy.

  72. Eric: Thanks very much for those great comments!

    I am very happy that someone who is so dedicated to the older form of Mass found such spiritual nourishment in this Mass.

  73. Jeff says:

    I was at the Papal Mass in DC…sitting in the front row of the stands.

    Regarding the reverence of those attending the Mass — no complaints. During silences in the Mass, it was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. I don’t think I’ll ever hear that kind of silence in Nationals stadium again.

    Regarding the music — Some commentators might be missing the fact that music that sounds garish to us IS reverent for the Hispanic populations that were present. Most of the reverent and orthodox Hispanics that I know do prefer to worship to the pop-folk music that Anglos love to malign. What’s reverent to one community may seem out-of-place to another.

    Regarding the multiculturalism: The situation “on the ground” in the Archdiocese explains some of this. The Archdiocese of Washington is only thriving because of the large numbers of ethnic minorities who are moving into the area and becoming active in the church. As long as this continues, the Archdiocese will do everything they can to pander to these minorities and persuade them to stay. All the languages used during the Prayers of the Faithful did correspond to languages used by various ethnic Catholic communities in the DC area.

    Music I liked during the Mass:
    Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
    O Spirit All-Embracing
    O Holy Spirit, by Whose Breath
    The Kyrie eleison
    the Alleluia
    the Agnus Dei
    Lord, you Give the Great Commission

    Regarding the applause that broke out during various parts of the Mass — It made me uncomfortable, but the Pope was obviously encouraging it by waving in response. If it doesn’t bother him, it shouldn’t bother me.

    My biggest complaint: The opera performance of Panis Angelicus after communion. That was a performance, not a meditation, and the crowd applauded enthusiastically at the end. (Lest you see this as an indictment of those who attended the Mass, the Knights of Columbus seemed to be the ones who were most enthusiastic in their standing ovation… )

    A comment to David Wallace: The immigrants who you deride as causing a “cacophony” in DC are the only people keeping our struggling urban parishes alive. Get rid of the immigrants, and at least a dozen parishes would immediately close, due to a lack of parishioners. Somehow, I doubt that you, sitting in the safety of your Virginia home, would attend Mass at these urban parishes and help sustain them, so I would suggest being more charitable to those who are keeping the Catholic Church alive in neighborhoods where you would fear to tread.

  74. Geoffrey says:

    Eric: Thank you for saying that, indeed! Though watching live on EWTN, I felt the same way! Laudetur Iesus Christus! Viva il Papa! Deo gratias!

  75. David2 says:

    Jeff, is it the immigrants themselves who are responsible for the cacaphony, or rather Bishops and so-called liturgists with a stereotypical and condescending view of what constitutes “multicultural music”? It’s the latter. White folks who’ve been in the US for generations chucking in every bit of what they supercilliously assume to be “ethnic color”, because that’s what they think “those people” like. I betcha most of the people responsible for this liturgical drag-show (what!! No “sisters of perpetual indulgence” singing “I will survive” or “It’s Raining Men”? – heads will roll for that one!) have never spoken to an actual immigrant!

  76. Johnny Domer says:

    I was touched when His Holiness thanked Placido Domingo for his singing. Mr. Domingo seemed pretty emotional when he went over and kissed the Pope’s ring–it looked like that bit wasn’t really planned, from what I remember, and it seemed so sincere. His Holiness appreciates genuine culture and beauty, and Domingo was the only person singing anything cultured and beautiful, practically.

    St. Pius X must be rolling in his grave. (Read Tra le sollicitudini and you’ll understand why)

  77. Br. Pius says:

    I am surprised that no one has yet mentioned the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at the Mass at Nationals Stadium. An odd decision on the part of the Archdiocese of Washington, I thought.

  78. CPKS says:

    Some of the music I personally didn’t like. From my cultural perspective, musical idiom derived from secular entertainment is (as many have commented above) distracting, self-asserting. Liturgical music should be an act of prayer.

    The problem is, I think, that in the USA, a great many people simply don’t have a vocabulary of prayer-music, so that they must needs draw upon entertainment-music in order to make prayer-music. Had they (for example) a tradition of plainchant or of church polyphony, they would frame their liturgical creations according to those traditions. But for at least the last century, this has not been the case (the rot set in long before the sixties).

    However, I think all of the music represented people trying to do their best to make a magnificent liturgy, as far as their imagination could conceive it. I am sure that it was all done for the glory of God.

    And if I am right, then we will certainly not expect to see any of the music from this Mass published under copyright, with royalties payable, subtitled “as performed at the Nationals Stadium before His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on 17 April 2008″.

  79. Michael LaRue says:

    I try always to put the most charitable spin on things that I can. However, given teh wide knowledge of our Holy Father’s views on these matters, I can only come to teh conclusion that this was a deliberate kick in the teeth to our Holy Father. I have as much said so to the moderator of the blog at the USCCB website. I am now going to do the best thing I can at this moment, go pray compline with the intention that God will have mercy on and convert those responsible for this blatant act of disobedience and insult to the Vicar of Christ.

    Kyrie eleison!

  80. Sandra in Severn MD says:

    I love your “security word” BTW!

    I LOVED the music, BEFORE MASS. I have no idea who thought it was a good idea… but I have seen and heard better.

    For those that are not aware of some of the local Arch-diocese stuff – thus would not be unusual for a Diocese of Washington’s church in close proximity to the Nation’s Capital, it resembled a normal Sunday Mass. The music is bad, and the hymns used… well not all that great either.

    In some communities, they go “WAY” over the top on “multiculturalism” for its own sake, not to embrace all cultures universally but to make a statement and plant a flag.

  81. Jeff says:

    Sandra: Exactly right… those who think the music style was for the benefit of the Pope should visit some of the local parishes and see for themselves. The musical styles used at this Mass are the same as the music used in churches around the diocese, every Sunday.

    David2: In the local parishes where I’ve worshiped, the “ethnic” music was definitely initiated by the immigrants. And I’ll refrain from replying to the rest of your post, because I can’t tell if you’re the same person as “David Wallace” or not.

  82. CPKS says:

    It occurs to me to add that multiculturalism is a modern virtue of secular origin, being the state of collection of communities that, while coexisting peaceably, have no common or shared culture (such as would perhaps make them one community).

    For the Catholic Church, it is perhaps a poor substitute for the shared culture and sense of identity that I think Pope Benedict and many others would prefer to see.

    Ut unum sint!

  83. walter says:

    “Today I reaffirmed my baptismal vows to the Successor of St. Peter.”

    That must have been really moving and truly a blessing. I would have sat throught he horrendous music and singing and “multi-culturalism” just for that.

    I am still hoping the wife, baby and I can get tickest to yankee stadium.

  84. richard says:

    Yes, the music was abysmal, if, unfortunately, familiar. I kept expecting His Holiness to send Marini over to get them to stop- PLEASE! And at least the distribution of communion did’nt descend into a food fight, as it does usually at these mega masses. But the one thing we must all be grateful for, and view as a true sign of change, was the complete and utter abscence of JPII’s favorite mega mass adendum- THERE WERE NO LITURGICAL DANCERS! HALLELUJAH!! Though there was, no doubt, a near riot among that crowd at their abolition from this liturgy…

  85. rcesq says:

    This is the comment from Bishop Kicanas of Tucson on his blog about the Papal visit:

    “At the very end of Mass, Placido Domingo sang “Panis Angelicus.” I have never heard this beautiful hymn sung so passionately and with such grace. The Holy Father was so moved he went to the world famous tenor to thank him for his beautiful praise of God in song.

    I thought to myself how powerful and spiritually moving liturgy can be when it is carefully planned and carried out with love and respect. Inspired by my experience today, I hope we can continue our efforts to enhance the beauty and meaning of liturgies in all our parishes.

    The Eucharistic Liturgy is moving, prayerful, and inspiring. That was certainly my experience today, an experience that I could sense was being felt by the thousands in Nationals Stadium.”

    http://www.newvisiononline.org/bishopblog.html

    The rest of the entry is about the homily.

  86. rcesq says:

    This is the comment from Bishop Kicanas of Tucson on his blog about the Papal visit:

    \”At the very end of Mass, Placido Domingo sang “Panis Angelicus.” I have never heard this beautiful hymn sung so passionately and with such grace. The Holy Father was so moved he went to the world famous tenor to thank him for his beautiful praise of God in song.

    I thought to myself how powerful and spiritually moving liturgy can be when it is carefully planned and carried out with love and respect. Inspired by my experience today, I hope we can continue our efforts to enhance the beauty and meaning of liturgies in all our parishes.

    The Eucharistic Liturgy is moving, prayerful, and inspiring. That was certainly my experience today, an experience that I could sense was being felt by the thousands in Nationals Stadium.\”

    http://www.newvisiononline.org/bishopblog.html

    The rest of the entry is about the homily.

  87. RC says:

    The Holy Father has come to America to suffer in solidarity with us.

  88. elizabeth mckernan says:

    ‘Give us your thoughts’ says the USCCB site. How strange – nobody seems to have any yet and it’s now the following day! Or at least it is here in Britain. Perhaps the site will be inundated today – I can’t wait to read them.

  89. gr says:

    I suggest you stick to your musings over battleships.

  90. Fr Joseph Mack says:

    Just out of curiosity I went to the USCCB website yesterday afternoon after reading your blog about the Papal Mass yesterday and left a comment about the unsatisfactory music chosen for the Mass, especially after the beautiful music that was used for the Vespers the evening before. I just checked the comments section and it has been deleted. It still shows \”no comments\”. How rancidly pathetic.

  91. Coletta says:

    The comment I left at the USCCB website last night has also been deleted.
    I don’t think I was too extreme in my language. I posted what I said on my blog because I am not ashamed of my opinion.

    Immaculatae.blogspot.com

  92. Still not a single comment visible at the USCCB blog entry.

    Click HERE for a link to the USCCB blog entry on this Mass. 

  93. Margo says:

    Re the total lack of absence of comments at the USCCB blog entry, is there any
    chance that it’s a technical problem rather than a volitional one? I’d like to
    think that everyone interested in reporting on the Holy Father’s visit would
    have worked out all their technical bugs, but perhaps they’re puzzled why “no
    comments are showing up”, too. Perhaps?

  94. ST says:

    Yes, it would seem the wagons are circling — I haven’t heard one more “off the cuff” (honest/spontaneous) remark from the EWTN people re the Mass at Nationals. Too bad, because they actually gave voice to what was going through many minds as we witnessed the spectacle of the new age…

    One can only hope that while these criticisms are being censored at the USCCB site and elsewhere in the Catholic media, that perhaps someone somewhere is receiving them, reviewing them and reflecting on the groanings of the spirit of many of us….??

  95. Elizabeth says:

    I posted my brief comments about 9 or 10 minutes ago and they’re still there! The only comment there, however.

  96. Yes, the USCCB Papal Blog is removing any criticism or critique that can be seen as negative. For example, in their posting on Catholic education, I questioned wheter Georgetown and Trinity are really Catholic institutions, given their efforts to undermine Catholic doctrine. I also commented on the first Communion song — that it was highly inapropriate — more like a jazz session than Mass.

    Having said that, it is their blog and they can post or not post whatever they like but it does say something about the USCCB when even minor criticism is entireely rejected.

  97. Fr Joseph Mack says:

    I think several posters here have hit the nail on the head. Someone in charge of the comment areas is deliberately deleting any post that criticizes not only yesterday’s rather abysmal music at the Mass, but anything else as well. Pray for the USCCB.

  98. Cole M. says:

    I wonder if anyone has made a comment on the USCCB site waxing rhapsodic on how the music celebrated the cultural and ethnic rainbow that brings life and vitality to the Catholic community in Washington, etc., etc. If such a post is allowed to remain, it would go a long way in demonstrating that they are removing only criticism rather than the presence of a technical glitch.

  99. Cole M. says:

    I wonder if anyone has made a comment on the USCCB site waxing rhapsodic on how the music celebrated the cultural and ethnic rainbow that brings life and vitality to the Catholic community in Washington, etc., etc. If such a post is allowed to remain, it would go a long way in demonstrating that they are removing only criticism rather than the presence of a technical glitch. I would myself, but I was unable to see the Mass.

  100. RBrown says:

    I think several posters here have hit the nail on the head. Someone in charge of the comment areas is deliberately deleting any post that criticizes not only yesterday’s rather abysmal music at the Mass, but anything else as well. Pray for the USCCB.
    Comment by Fr Joseph Mack

    They call that Fascism.

  101. Peter says:

    Hmmm. Anyone here who knows reporters at the Wash Post or the
    Wash Times?

    The systematic deletion of critical comments at the
    bishops’ site might make an interesting piece of investigative
    journalism.

  102. Keith says:

    About the comments on the USCCB site. I posted something saying how reprehensible it was for them to keep deleting comments. This i did yesterday. The comment didn’t make it to today. It too, was gone.

  103. Le Renard says:

    I think several posters here have hit the nail on the head. Someone in charge of the comment areas is deliberately deleting any post that criticizes not only yesterday’s rather abysmal music at the Mass, but anything else as well. Pray for the USCCB.
    Comment by Fr Joseph Mack

    They call that Fascism.

    Comment by RBrown — 18 April 2008 @ 10:13 am

    Is this any surprise?

    Isn’t the USCCB a See unto itself?

    I believe the many times they disregarded Rome’s teaching and instruction in the past proves as much.

  104. Jack Brons says:

    Is it honest for the USCCB to continue to say that there are “no comments”? I would certainly think that they would have expected a mixture.

  105. David Raber says:

    Someone asked Jesus, What is the first commandment? and he replied, Thou shalt do liturgy always in good taste and without innovations, and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt vigorously berate those whose taste does not accord with your own, and universalize thine own personal taste to the level of theology. And thou shalt never, ever dance liturgically!

    But that last one almost goes without saying. One would almost say it is the very heart of the gospel.

  106. RBrown says:

    “And call no man your father upon this earth (NO POPE SHOULD BE CALLED YOUR FATHER, NO PRIEST SHOULD BE CALLED YOUR FATHER….) ; for ONE is your Father, which is in HEAVEN.”
    Matthew 23: 9

    When I saw the news of the Pope arriving in United States – I thought of Chapters 17, 18, and 19 in Revelations. I felt it was BLASPHEMY for the pope to call himself Holy Father, and appalling to me to hear people call him that.

    Your interpretation would also prevent you from calling anyone your father, including the husband of your mother (presuming that they are married).

    I also thought of Matthew chapter 7:15, 21-23 – in summary – we need to BEWARE of false prophets and not everyone that CLAIMS TO BE A CHRISTIAN REALLY IS ONE.

    Interesting because I say the same thing about you.

    To me the “Roman Catholic MASS” – is an ABOMINATION ! ! !

    You think that because you cannot understand Scripture. Your false interpretation, which was fed to you by someone you worship, will lead you straight to hell.

    Read Hebrews 10:9-14 – in part it reads: “…..By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can NEVER take away sins; BUT this man (Y’shua/Jesus) after he had offered ONE sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God….”

    That passage from Hebrews does not contradict Catholic teaching on the mass. In fact, it confirms it.

    Having once been a Protestant, I know that they can often quote certain texts, but seldom are able to understand them.

    I watch the crowds worship this MAN, and think of how easy it will be for a ANTI-CHRIST to come and have RELIGIOUS PEOPLE bow down to him…like the bible says they will. How SAD it is that it has come to this….and these people are not looking for the GREAT WONDER TO COME…that Jesus will return thru the clouds he left after his resurrection. But…regardless if they are looking and waiting for the RETURN OF THE KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS, Y’SHUA (JESUS) – they will face his JUDGMENT, if they want to or not. The bible says that EVERY MAN (person) WILL BOW DOWN TO HIM when he comes back. You will never see me bowing down to a pope (man) or worshiping a pope (man) – I give the HONOR, PRAISE,and WORSHIP to the HOLY FATHER, son, and Holy Ghost – GOD almighty..not a man.
    Comment by NewYORKresident

    But your refusal to embrace Christ’s words in the sixth Chapter of John means that you have rejected Christ Himself.

  107. RBrown says:

    Is this any surprise?

    Sadly, it is not. And it is even more disturbing to consider that this situation exists after 28 years of the Wotyla papacy.

    Isn’t the USCCB a See unto itself?

    I believe the many times they disregarded Rome’s teaching and instruction in the past proves as much.
    Comment by Le Renard

    JXXIII wrote in Veterum Sapientia that Latin is the link to the Universal Church. Once the liberals were able to get rid of Latin liturgy, the national bishops’ conferences usurped the authority of Rome.

  108. RBrown says:

    Hebrews 10:11-14 KJB “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can NEVER take away sins: but this man (Y’shua the Hebrew name for the son of God, some call Jesus)..after he had offered ONE sacrifice for sins FOR EVER, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expeccting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by ONE offering he hath perfected for EVER them that ARE sanctified.”
    Comment by BronxNY

    The Catholic mass participates in the ONE sacrifice. And so, as I said above, the text from Hebrews confirms Catholic teaching on the mass.

  109. Le Renard says:

    RBrown has done a remarkable job here dealing with these anti-Catholic remarks.

    One thing I must point out to this fellow is the following:

    Mal 1:11:
    11 For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.

    Where else is this fulfilled but in Our Lord’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church!

  110. Jordanes says:

    David Raber said: And thou shalt never, ever dance liturgically!

    But that last one almost goes without saying. One would almost say it is the very heart of the gospel.

    No, it can’t be, because it’s not even possible to “dance liturgically.” Catholic liturgy and dancing are as natural together as perfume on a skunk.

  111. Eric Bermingham says:

    It doesn’t really matter so much what we think of the Papal Masses as what God thinks. Within 24 hours of each of the outdoor stadium Masses, there was a moderate earthquake in the Midwest, the Heartland of America. Hmmmm …