Tag: liturgy

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And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.(Romans 1:28) A religion that doesn’t interfere with the secular order will soon discover that the secular order will not refrain from interfering with it.(Archbishop Fulton Sheen) Preview Open

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This post is a shout out and query to my Orthodox friends here – I think I am remembering this correctly (@skipsul, @jamesofengland, @midge, and others who I have missed). Obviously, others may opine as well – as if you need the invitation. At Catholic World Report, Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille has a post […]

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Pope Benedict XVI was a man in love with liturgy. He was a true believer in the Latin phrase lex orandi lex credendi. Lex orandi, lex credendi has become something of a tenet of liturgical theology, especially in the years since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Literally translated, it means “the law of prayer […]

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THE GOOD NEWS The US Catholic Bishops met yesterday and today in their annual fall assembly. Perhaps the most important outcome of this meeting was the election of the head of the Pro-Life Committee. Giving the keynote address, Archbishop Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the Conference said: Preview Open

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In June, I posted on using music to “Retell[] a Poem – the Sacred in the Secular“. Then, I took you behind the scenes, into what the process of setting a poem to music looks like, in the middle of things, while the draft is still incomplete. Now that the draft is completed, in honor […]

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In a recent address to the participants of the 68th National Liturgical Week in Italy, Pope Francis said: There is still work to be done today in (the reform of the liturgy as read in Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC)), in particular in rediscovering the reasons for the decisions made regarding liturgical reform, overcoming unfounded and superficial readings, […]

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Retelling a Poem – the Sacred in the Secular

 

The long shadow Easter casts on our culture is light in darkness rather than darkness in light. The poem off to the right here is lit by that shadow. So much of the poem’s language reduces humanity to mere biology – our ghosts are merely the bioluminescence of the worms feeding off our corpses, rebirth is perhaps nothing more than dirty fertilization, whether of plants or of people – but all is framed to subvert that reduction. The poem shows a light beyond nature and nature’s endless cycling, light from a dawn that remains fixed for all time: the Easter dawn. Really, it’s impossible to put what the poem is saying into words any better than the words of the poem itself. Not all restatement is verbal, though.

Setting a poem for singers will literally restate the words, as they are sung. But the music written for the words is, even when the words are removed, its own retelling. Plenty of us are amateur poets, but not all of us write poems worth saying. Fortunately for amateur poets with some training in music, our own play-acting as poets can help us retell other, much better, poets’ poems in musical form. The following is one such half-finished retelling, which, being half-finished, with sketchiness and seams still evident, gives a behind-the-scenes look at how it’s done:

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So … we’ve been talking religious music around here … and here … and here.  As I have yet to afford a Reagan membership, I’ve decided to create an original post to flesh out my thoughts in a bit more detail.  I do apologize for length here, but this is a topic on which I […]

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Standing On Ceremony

 

shutterstock_168595868As a happy break from writing about crime (gloomy) and marriage (even more gloomy) I’ve lately been writing a paper on liturgical theology, which is intended as a chapter for a forthcoming book designed to foster ecumenical dialogue between Roman Catholics and Latter-Day-Saints. It’s proving to be an enjoyable project, which has turned my thoughts to the role of formal ceremony in American life more generally.

Many of you know that I was raised Mormon and am now Catholic, and as a Catholic I developed a deep love of traditional liturgy. Since I developed that taste primarily in my Catholic life, my initial impulse was to think that Mormons are fairly lacking in any kind of formal liturgy. On further reflection though, that’s not as true as it might seem. Of course, the obvious place to find formal Mormon liturgy is in their temple ceremonies. But even in more ordinary settings, Mormons do have a high appreciation of formality and ceremony, along with a very definite sense of decorum. We both (that is, Catholics and Mormons) run against the grain of so much of our mainstream culture, where people are largely ashamed of anything that seems too formal, too ceremonial, or too “scripted”.

To my mind, the loss of ceremony is something of a tragedy. Ceremony and custom are critical to helping us make sense of moments and experiences in life that are naturally difficult for us to process. Weddings and funerals are two events that should absolutely be steeped in ceremony, because these are the moments in life when we struggle to connect our private experiences to something greater than our subjective emotions. Ceremony helps teach us what these occasions really mean and how we can get perspective on them. Sadly, many or most modern weddings have degenerated into glorified beauty pageants, while funerals often don’t happen at all.

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With a hat tip to the Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi blog, here is what the Catholic Church’s greatest liturgical writer, Dom Prosper Gueranger, had to say in an excerpt from his 15 volume The Liturgical Year. Appended to the bottom of the post is a 55 minute YouTube audio track from Francois Couperin’s setting for […]

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When 10 cents asked what made me happy, I began a series of posts on my favorite Lenten music. The move to 2.0 has disrupted those posts, but today, the Feast of the Annunciation, is the perfect day to resume. And I thought I’d do something a little different this time: post music that is  […]

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