Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Multicultural Church

First Published: Thursday, May 15, 2008

I found this on the "New Liturgical Movement" blog. It is about how the traditional Catholic Church's chant and plainsong was so much more multicultural than the new, vernacular, modern, "inclusive" Church. Multicultural in that all members of the Church had the same experience, could speak the same "language," worshiped with the same words, and felt at home in Church wherever they went. The Church transcended cultural differences, it did not pander to them.

The fact is, the Church was founded in Israel under Roman rule. It grew up and flourished under Rome and in Europe. That it spoke Latin, and built churches that reflected European culture was apparently as it was ordained. Jesus did not found his church in the Sahara, or the Orient, or the Americas. But church members were expected to take this church, this experience of the numinous, and spread it to the world - and for better or worse, that included the language, the vestments, the rituals, and the architecture. Well, here, this blogger says it better:

Multiculturalism. The other day I met a priest from Uganda who was visiting the United States for the first time, and the topic quickly turned to music. He sang a Kyrie and I picked up on it, then I sang a Sanctus and he knew that one too. We then turned to propers and sang some of those. It was an instant connection of two completely different worlds. There is no other music that is capable of engendering that type of total global unity. The Catholic Church is a universal Church and we need universal liturgical forms that reflect that.

It is easy to tell the difference between fake multiculturalism and the real thing. The fake kind ends up being patronizing of other cultures, a disguised form of elitist imperialism in which we conjure up what we imagine what the foreign peoples of the world—aggregating their class interests—might desire. The real form deals with reality, and the reality in Catholic music for the world is that chant is the great unifying force. And by the way, this applies to issues of age as well. It is the music that unites the generations.

No comments:

Post a Comment