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Symphony orchestra performs Gershwin, ‘West Side Story’ selections in parish

Catholic World News - May 25, 2011

The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra performed Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and selections from the musical West Side Story during a concert held inside a downtown parish church.

“I think it’s a testament to the fact that St. Pat’s has been so involved in the city of Youngstown for so long, and that it continues to be involved,” said Bishop George Murry. “And I see the concert as a way of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra saying ‘thank you’ to the church for being such a large part of Youngstown.”

In its Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops (Apostoles Successores, 2004), the Congregation for Bishops, citing a 1987 Vatican document, stated that

with regard to the use of sacred places, “only those things which serve the exercise or promotion of worship, piety or religion are permitted in a sacred place; anything not consonant with the holiness of the place is forbidden. In an individual case, however, the Ordinary can permit other uses which are not contrary to the holiness of the place.” In particular, with reference to concerts, the Bishop needs to make sure that only sacred music is performed, that is, music intended for liturgical use or inspired by the Christian faith. The concert should be planned and performed with the explicit purpose of fostering devotion and a religious spirit, and never to the detriment of the primary pastoral purpose of the sacred place. All initiatives of this kind should be carefully evaluated and they should be few in number.

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  • Posted by: edwillneff3195 - May. 26, 2011 11:07 PM ET USA

    Bishop Murry, who apparently thinks Gershwin is Sacred Music, is a Jesuit and has his PhD in "American Cultural History" (whatever that is). In my book he's merely another liberal bishop who's never gotten his hands dirty doing an honest day's work. Could I be wrong? Yes. Am I wrong? Probably not. I'll pray for the good bishop. He needs it. And his flock needs our prayers even more.

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