Just a few random things that caught my eye as I've been catching up on the news over the last day or two.
The site of Blessed Mary McKillop's first school, in Penola, South Australia, was severely damaged on the weekend, inviting questions as to whether it might be a response to the questionable nature of some of the spin being put on her life by her estwhile Order, or to some of the preparations for her canonisation. Cooees from the cloister have an example of exactly what I'm talking about...
The state of the election campaign
The current, farcical, largely policy-free, Australian election campaign is a very sad commentary on the nature of our nation. For an amusing assessment of what the leaders would really like to say, take a look at Annabel Crabb's latest commentary.
The debate over chant
The upcoming release of the new Le Barroux CD highlights an ongoing debate about the role of chant in the Church. On the one hand you have a commercial recording company once more marketing gregorian chant to the mass market; on the other the total absence of virtually any gregorian chant in our parish (and Cathedral) churches. The Glorificamus Society blog reproduces an interesting older commentary on just why people hate chant (in the Church).
And that other debate within the fold of chant lovers is raging hot too: the virtues of (nineteenth century origin) Solesmes style ("do we need another Solesmes-style recording"), with its solemn beauty and relatively straightforward rules, versus attempts to recover more authentic medieval versions of the chant.
I'm not personally convinced it has to be an either-or situation. Whatever its rights and wrongs, for most purposes, Solesmes style is the most practical for amateur singers (though semiological approaches are certainly possible with effort). It has to be said though, that the work done to recover medieval practice produces some very alluring results. Have a listen to this one of Kyrie Orbis Factor, from Ensemble Organum and see what I mean.
And once you have been lulled by that beautiful music into a state of mind where you can let the horrors of what is happening in the Church today just wash over you, have a read of the account of some of the events at the recent Australian National Council of Catholic Priests meeting over at Sentire cum Ecclesia.
The Council, he points out, was attended by around 250 mostly older, clearly liberal priests. Unfortunately, they are still the majority, though the much younger demographic of the rival Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy can only increase in influence.
But do read the account of the meeting - full of nonsensical conspiracy theories being disseminated, blatant disobedience being encouraged, and continuing encouragement of dissent.
One shouldn't be surprised by this of course - even in the Cathedral Church of a bishop with an orthodox reputation like Archbishop Mark Coleridge I was treated to an illicit institution of a group of female lectors (still not permitted by canon law) a couple of weeks ago (and no, it wasn't just the commissioning of extraordinary ministers; the priest talked about calling the women to the 'ministry of lector' and used the full ceremonial prescribed for that ministry).
No wonder people ignore what the Church says, and stay away from Mass in droves.