Saturday, May 20, 2006

British Liturgical Time?

Fr. Peter mentioned why Evensong (Vespers) is held around 7 p.m. in most Irish, Scottish, and Northern English parishes:
My home parish had a parson from the English home counties who insisted on having Evensong at 6pm. He was cussed every Sunday by those of us in the choir as his retiming of the services interferred royally with our teas. He did not understand the natural sequence - Tea at 5pm, Evensong at 6.30pm, the first pint of Guinness or Beamish at 7.45pm.
This wisdom, courtesy of York Forum.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ambrosian Mass and DVD

I know I've mentioned this Mass before, but you can download video for the entire Ambrosian Mass here. No word on when the DVD will be ready, though....

Book of Kells Screensaver

Go here to download it.

Paying My Respects

It's now old news. (I was not online much of the last week.) Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan has passed away.

I remember to this day the palpable joy I felt when an OCA priest told me of Dr. Pelikan's conversion -- rejoicing that someone as erudite and scholarly as he was had embraced Orthodoxy. He has now joined a more exclusive Body (or rather, moved to another part of the same Body), devoted exclusively to the praising of the All-Holy Trinity. We're grateful for his work.

Requiescat in Pace.

The Da Vinci Bomb

The critics have spoken about the new film, The Da Vinci Code:

"Retarded, ridiculous, and crushingly dull." -- Devin Faraci, CHUD.

"[M]elodramatic, sometimes lifeless." -- Claudia Puig, USA Today.

"[D]uller than watching da Vinci's paint dry." -- Edward Douglas, ComingSoon.Net.

"An oppressively talky film." -- Todd McCarthy, Variety.

"[A] dreary, droning, dull-witted adaptation." -- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone.

"[O]verblown." -- JoBlo, JoBlo's Movie Emporium.

"[A] lifeless adapation that reveals the flaws of its source." -- Joe Utichi, FilmFocus.

"It's not very good." -- Richard Corliss, Time.

It seems The Da Vinci Code film is having the same trouble as the much-ballyhooed ABC series "Ellen" after Ms. DeGeneres announced her sexual orientation: the underlying show reeked, and no one wanted to watch it. No matter how much the left-wing media wanted to promote the causes they promoted ("alternate lifestyles" and slanders of Christianity), the nation tuned them out because the delivery vehicle (the "entertainment") didn't entertain. There was simply no audience for a show about the gay cause-of-the-week, so "Ellen" tanked. (I'm told her new talk show has avoided pounding the "I'm a lesbian" theme every segment of every show.)

As a brilliant commentator wrote about the rejection of another anti-religious program: "This is the latest in a long string of free market rebukes demonstrating the secular, religio-phobic Left is still unable to brainwash the American people, even with the services of all three networks, the prestige press, and all the Turner networks combined."

So, why hasn't Hollywood invested in more blockbuster epic films like The Passion of the Christ, which also happened to make its investors money? Because it's still more interested in trying.

(Additional caveat: We should not be complacent; the critics -- and perhaps the viewing public -- rejected these programs, not because of their offensive messages, but because they could not compete with other cultural bread-and-circus offerings. Others have, and will, succeed; after all, there wouldn't be a da Vinci movie without the bestselling book.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Taize? What'd I Say?

Consider this an open invitation for comments.

Is anyone familiar with Taize music? A (Protestant) friend is deeply committed to Taize services and recently loaned me a few CDs. Being a sport, I listened -- and I'm still not sure exactly what I heard. Some of it was similar to Byzantine chant. Some of the words came from historic Gregorian chants (Veni Sancte Spiritus). Some of it seemed like a less happy-clappy form of Praise and Worship music, literally repeating the same riffs and words over-and-over again for 10 minutes at a time. Occasionally, as I was about to slip into a coma, I would hear a Latin phrase or traditional liturgical chant that perked my ears up, only to see it changed in some way for its audience. Particularly unedifying was a track that was essentially the Byzantine litany translated into ecumenical-sounding ICEL English and chanted by a woman (!).

I'm told its practitioners are mostly Protestants, even evangelicals, who are considered conservatives or trad-trogs in their parishes (but not "trad" enough to know the litany is only chanted by a man in orders?).


It appears to be quite a mish-mash of materials from varying backgrounds. Musically, it is either a dumbing down of the High Church tradition or an attempt to dignify low church/evangelical worship.

IIRC, the founder of the monastery was murdered some time ago by a putatively insane Romanian woman (who was, in all likelihood, baptized Orthodox; Lord have mercy). I'm sorry to see anyone murdered, much less a man who has dedicated his life to prayer. (I'm given to understand, despite his monastic profession, that he was a Protestant.)

Does any one of my highly educated readers have anything that might be instructive?