Dear Father, a pastor of one of our Catholic Churches is allowing a symphony concert to be held in church if it gets rained out. The symphony is going to play show tunes, patriotic songs, lively marches, Stars and Stripes, 1812 overture, with vendors outside the church selling food, drinks, etc. It is usually held on the grounds of a replica of a Fort which is right next to the church. Many people who will attend are not Catholic and I think it isn’t a good example for Non-Catholics or Catholics alike. I think it is very disrespectful, irreverent and inappropriate. Would like to hear your views. Thank you and God Bless.
Can. 1210 provides us with the parameters:
“In a sacred place only those things are to be permitted which serve to exercise or promote worship, piety and religion. Anything out of harmony with the holiness of the place is forbidden. The Ordinary may, however, for individual cases, permit other uses, provided they are not contrary to the sacred character of the place.”
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 1987 issued additional clarifications about concerts in church, published HERE.
Keep in mind that the “Ordinary” would be the local diocesan bishop, the vicar general, an auxiliary bishop, an episcopal vicar, or, if this is a church owned by a religious order, a religious major superior). The Ordinary would have to give permission for something like this, not the pastor. The Ordinary may have determined that there are legitimate reasons for hosting this event in a church.
Praying for good weather, so that this possibility does not become a reality, is highly to be recommended. Though we already nearly a month after St. Swithun’s Day, asking his intercession for good weather would not be too pushy. Besides, he may be on a break right now, and just waiting for someone to ask him to intercede.