Thursday, February 28, 2008

Two Trains

Musica Sacra has put online Dr William Mahrt's A Critique of Sing to the Lord and I was struck by the poignancy in this paragraph:

Another positive statement and a distinct improvement in the present document is the acknowledgement of the role of Gregorian chant, quoting the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which gives chant “pride of place in liturgical services,” (SttL ¶72) and citing the council’s mandate that the faithful be able to sing the Ordinary of the Mass together in Latin (¶74), and even asserting a minimum: “Each worshiping community in the United States, including all age groups and all ethnic groups, should, at a minimum learn Kyrie XVI, Sanctus XVIII, and Agnus Dei XVIII.” A second stage of learning then includes Gloria VIII, the Credo, and the Pater Noster (¶75). Though the document does not mention it, the latter two are particularly desirable for international gatherings, especially for papal audiences, where everyone can participate in a common expression of worship. There is a touching story from the time immediately following the Second World War: Two trains arrived at the same platform, one from France and one from Germany, and the tension between the two groups disembarking was palpable. Then someone intoned “Credo in unum Deum,” and the entire crowd spontaneously continued singing the whole Creed, expressing a common faith which transcended the recent history of animosity. Would enough people today even know the Credo, were the same event even to occur now?

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