Friday, April 18, 2008

Between Medieval And Folk, Two Mass Audiences

In connection with Pope Benedict XVI's visit, Hank Stuever reports in the Washington Post, April 16, 2008.
"You know, just today I received a publication from a mainline Catholic music organization, and there are aspects of it that seem like the musical version of the AARP quarterly, if you know what I mean," says Jeffrey Tucker, 44, a choir director who lives in Auburn, Ala., and is the managing editor of Sacred Music, a journal of the Church Music Association of America. "There is no question that we are talking about a generational issue here. The young priests and the young people just can't seem to get 'hep' to the whole 1970s thing, and the old people just don't understand why."

I'd be exaggerrating if I said that the audience at meetings of progressive Catholic organizations seems to be made up entirely of people born when Pius XII was Pope. For some of them, it looks like it was Pius XI.
Tucker encounters this all the time, and blogs about it frequently. At a recent conference, a jazz pianist confided to Tucker that he'd been playing at church, but there was a new, young pastor who had taken over and "he said, 'You know what that means.' [And] I said, 'Well, I'm not entirely sure.' So he added, surprised that he would have to clarify, 'That means he wants Gregorian chant!' " In one of his many blog posts at New Liturgical Movement, Tucker characterized most Catholic church parishes as ruled by a "hard-core" group that "is fanatically attached to music of the 1970s and fears even the slightest hint of solemnity, warning darkly that the new priest is going to take the parish into a new Dark Age."

My pastor at St. Al's (seminary class of 1970) talks like that, warning in a homily against clinging to the past, while in a windowless concrete amphitheater "worship space" hung with cloth banners.

(via M.Z. Hemingway at Get Religion)

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