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Ambassador sees Anglican choir at papal Mass as ‘ecumenism in action’

July 06, 2012

Writing for L’Osservatore Romano, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the Holy See described the role of an Anglican choir at the June 29 papal Mass as an instance of “ecumenism in action.”

“While Pope Benedict distributed the consecrated host, Westminster Abbey Choir sang William Byrd’s great and serene setting of Ave Verum Corpus,” wrote Ambassador Nigel Baker.

Byrd “remained all his life a loyal Catholic, composing settings for the Latin Mass at a time when celebration of the Roman rite in England was punishable by death for treason after Queen Elizabeth’s excommunication by Pope Pius V,” Baker added. “And yet here was Byrd’s music, being sung brilliantly by an Anglican choir, at a papal Mass, bringing Rome and Canterbury, the United Kingdom and the Holy See, together.”


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