Saturday, May 29, 2010

I WOULD HAVE EXPECTED MORE FROM A GREAT CATHEDRAL



Well, what can you say?

The planter obscures the altar and it needs to go!



This may shock you, but there is some modern church architecture that I do like or at least I'm drawn to. I don't like how the new Cathedral in Los Angeles looks from the outside, but the inside fascinates me. I would like to see it in person. There is an artistic flair and fine quality materials. The ambo is hideous though, but the altar is beautiful and if decorated for an EF Mass has great potential. I like the bishop's throne also. The tapestries that adorn the walls are magnificent. I love the spaciousness of the building and the sanctuary.

With that said, I was quite shocked by the music selected for the recent Mass welcoming the Coadjutor Archbishop Jose Gomez. It was not much better that what is experienced in most parishes today. It was blah! Most of the blah, banal, music was chosen because it is of the "happy, peppy, people" type, to paraphrase Lucy.

Prior to the procession there was the "obligatory" rehearsal of the blah music. The cantors harassed and ridiculed the congregation during the rehearsal. I think the congregation knew that some of the music was blah and didn't have the desire to participate. I must say that if I felt coerced into singing by cantors harassing me from the front of the sanctuary prior to what is suppose to be prayer and worship, I would boycott singing too! It is so unnecessary! Get them out of my face! I don't need a conductor for Mass!

The procession of clergy was magnificent, but the accompanying music incongruous with what was happening and out of place. I think there were four hymns to cover the length of the procession from differing cultures, but music more for a concert outside of Mass than for the Sacred Liturgy, it was music at Mass, not the Mass being sung. The Litany of the Saints is the modern one often used today--I personally despise it. The saints were demoted throughout by simply using their first name without the canonization right, "saint" preceding their name. I guess you could say they were decanonized.

I can't comment on the music sung in Spanish but some of it comes across to me as trite. The selections for the parts of the Mass for the most part payed homage to Spanish and English combined but were blah. Psalm 23 was Marty Haugan's "Shepherd Me O Lord" paraphrase, not my favorite. It is very saccharine and drippy.

It seems to me in a multi-cultural assembly for Mass that turning the Mass into an eclectic array of languages to satisfy everyone who attends or not offend them turns the Mass into a cacophony of babel much like the Old Testament choice from Genesis from the Vigil of Pentecost. Why not sing the Latin parts of the Mass throughout and make sure that the choice is one that the entire world should know? Sing the proper Introit, Offertory Antiphon and Communion Antiphon and then pick good metrical hymns in whatever language as fillers where needed.

I would have expected better from the Los Angeles Cathedral because I know they have the resources to do better in terms of Sacred Music. The average Sunday Mass at St. Joseph in terms of music is much better!

See for yourself and make your own judgments:

The streaming video of the rehearsal and Mass (long):
Los Angeles Mass of Welcome of Archbishop Gomez

THE WORSHIP AID OR PROGRAM FOR THE MASS OF RECEPTION WITH MUSIC CHOICES!

SHAWN TRIBE FROM THE NEW LITURGICAL MOVEMENT BLOG HAS SOUND ADVICE FOR LOS ANGELES AND ALL OF AMERICA! PRESS TO SEE AND READ!

2 comments:

Templar said...

Let us pray that when Archbishop Gomez takes over in LA he can correct some of the Cardinal's more tasteless choices in Liturgy. Shame we couldn't have done that $5 million renovation on the Taj Mahoney though.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want about Mahony, I'm certainly not a fan. The cathedral IS beautiful! The first thing you notice is that it smells catholic. It smells as though it's absorbed decades of warm and lovely incense - layers and layers of it. But it's not cloying.

The clean elegance of the design would be so richly enhanced by the simple beauty of chant and moments of sacred silence.

If only Gomez would DO SOMETHING about the liturgy. Sadly, it's just not on his list. There was some discussion of an FSSP parish possibly being invited to set up shop - apparently that's not on his list either. I had such high hopes...