Elevator music

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 26, 2011

In the land of Bach and Beethoven, what sort of music would you expect to hear at a Mass celebrated by the Pope, with a congregation of about 70,000, in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium? Something magnificent, right? 

Definitely not elevator music—which is the charitable description that Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia gave to this atrocity. Who selected this music for this occasion?

  • Someone who hates the Pope?
  • Someone who hates the Mass?
  • Someone who hates music?
  • All of the above?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Sep. 28, 2011 5:57 PM ET USA

    Do not the have talks with the powers that be before they get there? I regret that nothing is changing in my diocese as far as music(sic) goes with the new translation. there will be no chanting. the words are being set to music for piano, drums and guitar.

  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Sep. 28, 2011 9:10 AM ET USA

    All of the above. Plus, I second AgnesDay's comment. I could only handle 38 seconds worth of it. Not sure what I would have done if I had been at that Mass. Would I have run out screaming with my hands over my ears like Munch's painting? Or would the draw of hearing the Holy Father in person been enough to retain me and I would offer the music up as so much "sweet" suffering? (That means the suffering one has after having had way too many sweets.) That's a hard call.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Sep. 27, 2011 5:55 PM ET USA

    Please, somebody! Let me off this [email protected]!!) * elevator!

  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 26, 2011 10:48 PM ET USA

    A collision course was set into motion decades ago. It is reaching a point of impact. The traditional Catholic mind is at odds with this "atrocity" and so much more that is so much more offensive. Holy Father, these people are not your friends. Martin Luther is not an historical ally. Holding hands with all faiths is not effecting the salvation of souls. Man-oriented liturgies do not afford God the praise that is His due, and statistics show irrefutably that Catholics are not interested.

  • Posted by: Defender - Sep. 26, 2011 7:56 PM ET USA

    Sounds like yesterday's Sunday Mass to me except: after the priest made the opening blessing, we had to sing Happy Birthday to the music director; after he dropped his microphone, he decided to act as if he had been just shot; etc, etc. Bet the pope didn't do that!

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Sep. 26, 2011 5:09 PM ET USA

    It only got worse, Phil. Flipping back and forth between the Mass and a Red Sox debacle, I came across a group singing a hymn that's even cheesier than "Sweet Caroline"! The lowest point was when I asked my [Lutheran] wife, "Is that a nose ring she's wearing?" and she replied, "Yup." I wanted to say, "Honey, this isn't really my Church," but unfortunately she had already noticed the Pope. I wonder if B16 ever feels the urge to do a knock-over-the-tables-in-the-temple imitation during Mass?

  • Posted by: spledant7672 - Sep. 26, 2011 4:41 PM ET USA

    This was so absurd I laughed out loud - the Kenny G mass! But nothing could stop the incontestable truth of the Pope's words on this trip. If you want to see hoisting one's opponents by their own petard being elevated to an act of grace, read his "MEETING WITH CATHOLICS ENGAGED IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH AND SOCIETY" under Germany 2011 on The Holy See website. Benedict XVI perfectly merges the prophetic and the pastoral. I am so strengthened through him.