there was no Pastor's Corner
for the 3rd and 4th Sundays of June
Dissonant voices from the Vatican's choirs
Sunday after Pentecost
After the choir of the Sistine Chapel, the
conservatory of the Holy See is also about to be conquered
by those responsible for the musical disarray of recent
“Not Sacred Music, but Sounds of Attack”, March 30,
provide a summary of the above article of Sandro Magister,
which is available in its entirety on the Chiesa
The case of
the Sistine Chapel choir is emblematic. The appointment of Don
Palombella as head of the Sistine choir took the "authorized
personnel" a little by surprise. Although the choir has
now the merit of having recovered the practice of Palestrinian
execution, it must be recognized that the vocal level of the
choir has further declined.
particularly noticeable is the inability of the singers to
maintain an acceptable rhythm. The speed of execution often
slows down in an exaggerated way, as in the case of the Tu
es Petrus by Palestrina. With Gregorian chant, the
problems become even more evident. The schola cantorum
is incapable of holding the key on their own. I would invite
anyone to listen again to the singing of the Litany of the
Saints on the feast of the Epiphany to realize that from the
start to the finish, the singers dropped a good three steps.
upcoming celebration of Sts. Peter and Paul, in Rome, in
addition to the choir of the Sistine Chapel, the pontifical
liturgies will be accompanied by the choir of Westminster
Abbey. Both choirs will sing selections from the Roman
tradition from Palestrina to Lorenzo Perosi. It's a given
that, for the slipshod Sistine Chapel choir, the comparison
with the Westminster choir scheduled will be embarrassing to
say the least.
calamity to the disaster, the new head of the Pontifical
Institute of Sacred Music, the Vatican conservatory, is now
Dom De Gregorio. He has been, since 2010, the number one
expert of the Italian episcopal conference for sacred music.
He replaced Parisi in a field in which mediocrity and
confusion continue to reign supreme, as proven by the national
repertoire of sacred songs put together by Parisi, who enjoys
creating “tunes” with a pop music style, that has always
horrified someone like Bartolucci.
is of the same fabric if we read his positive comments on the
“Messa beat” [“Mass beat”], filled with motifs grafted
in from pop, rock, jazz, gospel, and ethnic music: "It was
a healthy openness, and it was of quality." If this is the
word from the new head of the PIMS, the future of the Vatican
conservatory is sealed: a future of neglect.
The real enigma is how all of this can happen under
the reign of Benedict XVI, in a field like liturgical music in
which his vision of the Church sacredness is constantly
contradicted by events.
Platteville: archetype for what the Church faces
WI) Is the Platteville, Wisconsin situation a microcosm of
what is happening throughout the Church?
battling for two years, members of St. Mary’s Parish in
Platteville were told by their bishop that, if they
persisted in spreading "rumors and gossip," the
Catholics would face the denial of the sacraments of
Communion, confession and burial.
St. Mary’s was a tranquil parish with a thriving elementary
school until June 2010, when Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison
assigned three conservative priests from the Society of
Jesus Christ the Priest to the parish. They replaced a beloved
pastor, Msgr. Charles Schluter, who had served the
1,200-member parish for more than a decade. The order of
priests was founded in 1957 by Fr. Alfonso Galvez and is based
in Murcia, Spain. Priests of the order live in community and
have a special ministry to Catholic youth, according to the
Madison diocesan website.
former parish council member Rose Mary Anderson said the changes wrought by the new
priests "were shocking" to many in the parish. "They
had a reputation of upsetting another parish with their very
conservative ways," Anderson said of the order.
Right away, they said no girl altar servers, only priests
could give Communion and they disbanded the group that took
Communion to the homebound. They said the basis for what they
were doing was that Vatican II had been misinterpreted.
Bishop Morlino addressed a letter to concerned members of the
parish. None of the complaints involved false teaching or
liturgical error, but some of the claims involved "correctable
errors" that had led to hurt feelings, Morlino said. He
stood by the priests and told the parishioners to talk to them
instead of him. "I am confident you will be treated with
dignity and respect.”
Chief among the complaints appears to be a diminished role
of the laity and insensitivity toward people of other faiths.
One of the priests teaching third-graders asked what becomes
of non-Catholics when they die. "They go to hell,"
responded one child. The priest reportedly high-fived the
child and said "I like the way you think."
The priests have their supporters in the parish. Gregory
Merrick joined St. Mary’s after hearing about the priests two
years ago. He lives in Mineral Point, 25 miles away, and
drives in for a 7:30 a.m. Latin Mass. He is also a member of
the Gregorian chant choir. He said he believes the priests are
divine, not divisive.
changes they made are stylistic," said Merrick, whom the
pastor appointed to the parish council. "The changes are
not doctrinal. Everything that these priests bring with them
is good Catholic doctrine. They preach the unvarnished truth
of the Gospels.” The root of the problem, Merrick said, is
that the church has been infused with culture and strayed from
the core teachings. “There is a 'cultural Catholicism'
which is a polite Sunday experience. It's faith based on the
Beatitudes without the law attached. People don't want the
discipline that comes with being Catholic.” “As the
dust settles, it will become smaller and more focused. Pope
Benedict has said the same thing. If that's the consequence,
Here are our comments on this situation, which is well
known to us as our
Madison, WI chapel
of St. Therese is only a few miles away from
It is interesting that these
priests have received such strong criticism for merely
suppressing the commonly accepted de facto abuses,
yet without completely implementing Tradition.
is clear from this example that returning a parish to
Tradition will be a challenge because many of the laity are
often very lax, ignorant
of the Faith and have been presumptive of their "rights" for over four
introduction of conservative post-conciliar practices
results in such a negative reaction, one can only imagine
what the reaction will be
Tradition is re-introduced.
this is a conservative parish (at least this is typically so
of rural churches), and if so, this makes quite a statement
concerning the overall state of affairs in the American
Church, let alone across the United States.
Nonetheless, this story provides us with some hope: that a
local bishop is ready to support his priests to such extent
in an attempt to restore some traditional practices.
we hope that a local bishop will someday lend his support to a full restoration of
traditional doctrine and practices?
I don’t’ think we’re in Kansas anymore
Situated in the rural Heartland of America, the
city council of Hutchinson, Kansas is considering
passing an ordinance that would require all
churches to allow use of their facilities for
same-sex “weddings” and receptions – even if this
is against their beliefs...
by the National Catholic Reporter in a May 2, 2012
article titled, “Wisconsin bishop threatens denial of
sacraments for 'rumors and gossip'”.