Friday, February 29, 2008

Another Brick In The Wall

In a bold move today, the Vatican effectively denounced the whole of Feminist Theology within the Catholic Church:

"The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) released a statement on February 29 saying that a baptism "in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier," is not a valid Christian sacrament.

The invalid formula, the Vatican statement points out, arises from feminist ideology, and an attempt "to avoid using the words Father and Son, which are held to be chauvinistic.

If either formula -- recently initiated in North America to avoid referring to the Trinity with masculine names -- was used, the person is not yet formally a Christian and any subsequent sacraments the person received also are invalid" said Cardinal Urbano Navarrete in a commentary commissioned by the doctrinal congregation.
(VIS News release)

Well... there you have it! The "inclusive language" phenomenon has now resulted in the invalid baptism of countless persons. Mind you... these are not merely "non-licit"... they are INVALID, meaning that the persons baptized using this formula or any similar inclusive language or irregular formula must be baptized again, regardless of how long ago or whether they were aware of the invalidity or not.

This is a big deal... these persons, and the numbers could be bewildering, would also have received a)INVALID Eucharist b)INVALID Confirmation c)INVALID Matrimony as all of these Sacraments depend on valid Baptism to be valid Sacraments. The CDF was very specific in the remedy:

"Persons who were baptized or will be baptized in the future with the formulas in question in reality are not baptized," the cardinal wrote. If they are now adults and want to be baptized, they must receive the instruction prescribed for all preparing for baptism and they should receive baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist during the same Mass," he said.

In other words, they must go through the RCIA or RCIC process, depending on age, and recieve all initiation Sacraments together. And all because some people felt that it was demeaning to refer to God as "Father". I guess Jesus was misinformed when he said "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Let's hear it for Feminism!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Going to the Chant Intensive

I took the opportunity a few weeks back to register for one of the 17 remaining openings for the Chant Intensive with Scott Turkington this coming June. It looks like quite a rigorous schedule with events from morning until into the night. I've sat on the fence for a while about taking part in one of these training sessions, but finally I have come to realize something. If we are going to undergo an "authentic update" of liturgical music in the Catholic Church, it is people like me who are going to have to lead the way.

While it certainly is important to have supporting legislation and documents from the Holy See, and we continue to pray that such will be the case not too far in the future, the fact is that the music will have to change at the parish level. The recent USCCB document, while rather impotent as far as its actual force of law, takes a new view of liturgical music, renewing interest in the actual Church documents from the Second vatican Council. While it doesn't open the door for the Church's treasures of Sacred Music to come back into the liturgy, it at least unlocks the door. The next move is up to those of us who are in charge of the music in parishes around the country.

Could we use some help? It would be a HUGE help to have some kind of statement, preferably from Rome, about the central role of music in the liturgy. Parish Music Directors need to have a seat at the table, not just an office in the choir room. Also, some kind of descriptive treatise, perhaps in the tradition of Tra le solicitudini, that would lay out some definite parameters for what music is appropriate for use in the liturgy would go a long way towards fighting the use of secular or secularized music at Mass. It may be hoping for too much to see a "ban" on things like guitars and drums at Mass (although it's not out of the question...) given their prominence in the current organization. However, they could well be marginalized if the liturgical style develops in the direction of "chant-based" liturgical music, particularly if unaccompanied singing becomes more prominent.

And so... I'm going to the Chant Intensive in June to brush up on my skills and perhaps get some new ideas to bring to my work. My graduate degree work was heavy on the study of polyphony and conducting, and an appreciable amount of study of chant, although it focused on the historical and musicological aspects. It was more than enough to get me through my AGO exams, but after that I have had little practical use for most of that knowledge. I guess I'm feeling at least hopeful that I might be able to dust off these skills (after more than 20 years...) and actually use them. There is something exciting in that hope.