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Wednesday 3 April 2013

Toronto Gaia "Mass" UPDATE

 Confirmation has been received from Chancery officials in Toronto that the Gaia "Mass" at Holy Name Church was "explored by the "appropriate diocesan authorities" as it was clearly, a concern of theirs as well.  The notice on the web page slipped through the radar and it was removed from some time prior to our original post. It also went out to parishes and there is no doubt that many priests took this matter up (as has been confirmed privately). The "event," if you will, will go-ahead. Tickets have been sold. It is clearly not a Mass, but a concert, and we were certainly aware of this fact. However, the fact remains that this composition of sacred liturgical texts and those behind its composition and presentation reveal that this is not sacred music and is anything but appropriate for the liturgy or a Church, even as a concert. that being said, let's take things step-by-step.

It is confirmed, the Blessed Sacrament will be removed from the Church. 

Without bemoaning any further the background of the composers or the suitability of this "Mass" named for a pagan goddess rather than to the glory of the Triune God, the whole matter of concerts in churches is important and needs to be addressed in this and probably many dioceses. 

Under our former Archbishop, Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic, there was a policy consistent with that of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. This policy, as far as we are aware, and we are awaiting confirmation, has not been changed in Toronto. Clearly, it is being ignored and not just for this event. Three years ago, Salt + Light and an FM Radio station turned St. Paul's Basilica into a "facility" as the FM announcer referred, with a hefty ticket price for a recorded for broadcast concert by "The Priests" with the attendance of at least one Toronto Auxiliary Bishop, notwithstanding the policy. This is not the first time that the Basilica has been used as a concert hall in violation of the Congregation's directive. 

Below are some of the more salient points to consider. The entire document, Protocol 1257/87 from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments can be read at Adoremus. It was sent to the presidents of the national conferences of bishops and through them to commissions on Liturgy and sacred art.

In order that the sacred character of a church be conserved in the matter of concerts, the Ordinary can specify that:
a. Requests are to be made in writing, in good time, indicating the date and time of the proposed concert, the programme giving the works and the names of the composers.
b. After having received the authorization of the Ordinary, the rectors and parish priests of the churches should arrange details with the choir and orchestra so that the requisite norms are observed.
c. Entrance to the church must be without payment and open to all.
d. The performers and the audience must be dressed in a manner which is fitting to the sacred character of the place.
e. The musicians and the singers should not be placed in the sanctuary. The greatest respect is to be shown to the altar, the president’s chair and the ambo.
f. The Blessed Sacrament should be, as far as possible, reserved in a side chapel or in another safe and suitably adorned place (cf. C.I.C., can 938, par. 4).
g. The concert should be presented or introduced not only with historical or technical details, but also in a way that fosters a deeper understanding and an interior participation on the part of the listeners.
h. The organizer of the concert shall declare in writing that he accepts legal responsibility for expenses involved, for leaving the church in order, and for any possible damage incurred.
11. The above practical directives should be of assistance to the bishops and rectors of churches in their pastoral responsibility to maintain the sacred character of their churches, designed for sacred celebrations, prayer and silence.
Such indications should not be interpreted as a lack of interest in the art of music.
The treasury of sacred music is a witness to the way in which the Christian faith promotes culture.
By underlining the true value of sacred or religious music, Christian musicians and members of "scholae cantorum" should feel that they are being encouraged to continue this tradition and to keep it alive for the service of the faith, as expressed by the Second Vatican Council in its message to artists:
"Do not hesitate to put your talent at the service of the divine truth. The world in which we live has need of beauty in order not to lose hope. Beauty, like truth, fills the heart with joy. And this, thanks to your hands" (cf. Second Vatican Council, Message to Artists, 8 December 1965).
Rome, 5 November 1987.
Paul Augustine Card. Mayer, O.S.B.

Virgilio Noè
Titular Archbishop of Voncaria



Barona said...

Well, I presume our Modernists are rejoicing. Rigorism, legalism etc. be damned - let us be pastoral and profane this church with a concert of secular music of gnostic/pantheist persuasion.

Anonymous said...

So, it is acceptable to have churches used as concert halls after all, provided they follow those rules? That's what the Vatican document seems to say.

Vox Cantoris said...

Anon at 10:36,

This policy was implemented a decade ago by the CDWDS to try to reign in the abuses going on. As typical with most thing, be they communion-in-the-hand, or altar girls, Rome just can't seem to "just say no." So, they try to nuance and put some controls in place as a compromise. There was a time that a concert in a Catholic Church would have been considered a blasphemy and a scandal.

So, yes; the document is clear. Concerts may happen but there are guidelines.

The guidelines are reasonable, can't we at least obey them?

Then again, if the Holy Father asked me what he should do about this, I would advise him accordingly and it starts with a motu proprio!

Santa said...

The problem as I see it is that any Catholic has the right to enter a Catholic church and pray whenever it is open. Therefore, to charge admission to enter is a violation of his rights.

Vox Cantoris said...

Santa you are absolutely correct. The proof of this is in Montreal where admission is being charged at Notre Dame Basilica to help with its upkeep because of the number of tourists. If one is entering to pray, they don't charge.

We have asked again via email for a clarification on the policy. I suspect the policy from Cardinal Ambrozic has never been abrogated but just ignored. The request may not put them on the spot. Our job is to not let them put it on the back-burner.