Pope cancels annual Christmas concert

Old new to you?  I learned today that Pope Benedict XVI has cancalled the 12 year annual Christmas concert because, get this,  "he does not share his predecessor’s taste for pop music and wants to avoid scandal" or so it is reported by La StampaI guess that concert was infra Pontificis dignitatem.

The concert will be trasferred to Monaco and won’t be held in the Paul VI audience hall.   The Pope didn’t attend last year, which made some of the old guard freak out. 

"It is impossible not to notice a change under the new pontiff," the ANSA news agency said. "Benedict XVI is a very sober pope and is not inclined toward variety shows. He is more concerned about leading the faith of Catholics to its spiritual essence."

La Stampa suggested that Benedict XVI’s reluctance to continue the Christmas concert tradition stems not only from the German-born pope’s preference for classical music, but also his desire to avoid the small scandals that have plagued the event in recent years.

Some really stupid things happened at those concerts, I can tell you.   I suppose some dopey people will say, "Gee, the Pope must hate music." or "Wow, the Pope must hate young people."

I respond, "Let’s reclaim dignity!"

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Father: Oh, drat, I guess this means Lauryn Hill won’t be back.
    And what’s Christmas at the Vatican without
    “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands?”

    It would be fantastic if he had a “concert” or a Christmas High Mass
    with the musical stylings of Tallis, Scarletti, Bach, or Handel.

    Taste, the Holy Father has taste.

  2. animadversor says:

    Rather, the cancellation of the concert is evidence of the Pope’s love of music, not of his hatred thereof.

  3. animadversor says:

    And who is Lauryn Hill?

  4. Cathy: “And what’s Christmas at the Vatican without
    “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands?””


  5. Sidney says:

    Long live to the Holy Father Benedict XVI!

  6. Father: I assure you, I was being sarcastic.

    If I never have to hear “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”
    ANYWHERE I’ll be thrilled.

    animadversor: Lauryn Hill is a rapper/singer who took the opportunity during her last
    Vatican concert to launch a tirade against the church’s stance on
    birth control and the sex abuse scandals. I believe it was a couple of years ago.

  7. Now I can’t sleep till I clear the air.. I was NOT being sarcastic
    with the 2nd half of my post. I would love to hear those
    composers during a Christmas High Mass at the Vatican, in lieu of the concert.

    I’d even enjoy the Holy Father playing the Grieg Piano Concerto. We can
    call that the Christmas concert.

    Sorry, I’m frequently, a very sarcastic person. An often lamentable
    trait that does not always translate well via email.

  8. Cathy: You worry too much! o{]:¬)

  9. Francis says:

    Are we to take your post as a veiled criticism of JPII (i.e., the need to reclaim the dignity he abdicated)?

  10. Francis: I don’t think that JPII “abdicated dignity”. I also don’t think that that annual event was a good thing in the least. I can be critical of an event, or even His Holiness’ choice to host it without being negatively critical about JPII. I was ordained by JPII and hold him in high esteem, without being in synch with his every decision.

  11. Proklos says:

    Any small step towards tradition is good news. One wonders why he didn’t to decline to attend the Youth Festival in Germany 2005? But then scripture reads that concerning his wifes criticism of his dancing before the ark of the Lord the King David said, “Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be yet more vile even than this, and be humble in my own sight.”

  12. Catholic Lady says:

    The youth festival was about more than music – but I wouldn’t mind seeing more dignity brought to that affair too. Just as I think the dumbing down of liturgical language is an insult to our intelligence, I think young people could step up to a more dignified Catholic festival with more sacred music.

  13. Catholic Lady: I think we need to shape messages according to the audience, for sure. However, I don’t think that young people want to be treated as inbeciles. I was once asked by a parish youth groups to speak at a retreat and have Benediction. I put the jovian kibosh on the wierd make-it-up liturgy they had planned, and did it traditionally and with all the Catholic trimings, including Latin. Though the youth leaders groused and moaned about relevance and “reaching them where they are at”, blah blah blah, the feedback from the kids themselves was that it was the best part of the whole retreat. They had participated with riveted fascination and reverence.

  14. Matt says:

    Dear Fr Z,

    I was at a Youth 2000 festival at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, last weekend. There is a lot of good about Youth 2000 but in my opinion the music is AWFUL! I was saying to a friend just yesterday that I thought most young people had probably never heard Gregorian Chant and would probably respond well if they did, so it’s good to hear about your experience.

    Have you heard about their ‘healing services’? The priest processes ar around the hall carrying the monstrance and people reach out and touch the priests vestments, like the Canaanite women touched Our Lord’s robes. It’s all very reverent, and most kneel in awe as Jesus is carried past…. but it leaves me thinking what’s lacking in the liturgy? Is Mass not enough?

    I’d be interested to know what you think about these services.


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