The combox motumaniacs at NLM have taken note of my InsideCatholic piece on Glory & Praise. For the radicals, it’s time to close their eyes, plug their ears, and shout na na na in their worst singing voice. You have only to see how they dismiss Gavin and Liam and spin their own version of sacred music history to assess how far on the fringes of Catholicism reform2 really is. I dare you to test it on the other side of life. The real world, that is. Ask any number of Catholics in any large mainstream parish to explain extraordinary form, summorum pontificum, and reform2. The results would send Roman liturgical traditionalists running for the nearest iconostasis.
I really have to feel for some of them, though. They dandy up their blogs, link great swaths of text from their gurus, and congratulate themselves on self-induced awards, but what is accomplished?
The real world involves exactly what church musicians are doing in their parishes, not the purity of their internet ideologies. How many denizens of the Culture of Complaint can scrutinize their lives in light of the apostle Paul’s charge to the Colossians:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. (3:12-15)
And lest you think I’ve intentionally cut out the “teach and admonish” line in the next verse, read it:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
For reading comprehension purposes, this is usually not interpreted “you teach and admonish all the others.”
The “give and take” to teaching is a problem for some people. Sadly for them, it’s also part of life, including parish life. The internet makes it easy for conservatives to navel-gaze with the best of the rest of us. Hang with your like-minded homies on special message boards and groups, and never cast a wandering eye to what other people are reading or writing. I’m sure that for some, my essay on a conservative web site was like finding a mouse swimming in their morning cup of tea.
When I suggested it’s good for people to get out of their narrow social circles and mingle with unlike-minded people, someone wrote:
More jolting? Yet another 40 years of jolting? This is the prescription? This is some kind of joke?
It’s no joke. If you take the Scriptures seriously, and by extension, the liturgy itself, you have to allow yourself to be jolted. Catholicism doesn’t need turtles and porcupines. Not if we’re taking the Great Commission seriously. It’s not a Latin word, but it’s a great one nonetheless: metanoia.
For people not singing “na na na” tone deaf and blind, I have to give you some sorry news. People actually sing Glory & Praise music. Sorry, but they do. They might sing the more cringe-worthy selections with a bit more strain. And they’ve always seemed to like the songs I sometimes wish would just go away. But it’s part of the great mystery of inspiration. God seems to work with flawed songs in the same way he utilizes flawed people to get the message across.
Let me close with one final hint. It’s clear that most readers of my piece haven’t really read it for comprehension. Aside from a four percent difference of opinion on the usefulness of the Glory & Praise repertoire, the critics really only have one problem with me. I won’t play by their rules.