Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Blended" Liturgy? An Excellent Image...

I was recently having a discussion with a fellow member of our Diocesan music committee about so-called "blended" liturgies. This term is most often now used to describe a Mass in which a variety of musical styles are made use of, for instance a Contemporary Christian selection for the procession, followed by a Taize style Kyrie and perhaps the Gregorian Chant Gloria. This kind of trade off would ostensibly continue throughout the Mass in an attempt to please everyone.

In fact, I imagine that Masses of this sort (they DO exist) please nobody, and for the following reason. The Canadian talk-show host Mark Steyn offered an excellent image to illustrate why such an idea will necessarily fail to acheive it's goal. He was speaking of bi-partisan political compromise, but the image actually works better for blended liturgy:

"Let's say, for instance, you mix a pint of gourmet macademia nut ice cream with a pint of, well...doggy doo-doo. The resulting mixture will not taste halfway like macadmia nut and halfway like doggy doo-doo. It will, in fact taste completely like doggy doo-doo because that's what happens when you mix crap with something that isn't. The total result is crap."

How true that is for liturgy. Admit anything that is crap and it brings the whole thing down.


Scelata said...

The analogy I've always heard is to a cask of wine and a cupful of sewage.

Your "pint of this and pint of that" does not reflect how grave is the danger of profanation, nor the fact wheter it is an entire cask of wine and a cupful of sewage, or a cask of sewage and a cupful of wine, the result is the same -- all sewage.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

Chironomo said...

I think the result is the same..of course, it's an analogy, so it's tough to find an exact analogy for "profanation". My point is that the result isn't a compromise so much as just another bad option.