Monday, January 29, 2007

"The first 'U2-charist' in England"

Here's something after all...

The Church of England, the world's most infamously hip-and-with-it institution since being created by a frustrated King in a moment of lust, is borrowing from a weird American idea and will be sponsoring a "U2 Mass," in which the noted band's music replaces the traditional hymns and those present are assailed by strobe lights and wall-sized images of poverty. No word yet on whether or not communion will involve the consumption of Bono's body and blood, but the outlook on that front is Likely.
The Pope may have condemned rock music as "anti-religion" but the Church of England has announced it is to use the songs of a global supergroup in an effort to boost congregations.
The first "U2-charist" in England, an adapted Holy Communion service that uses the Irish rock group's best-selling songs in place of hymns, is to be staged at a Lincoln church in May.
A live band will play U2 classics such as Mysterious Ways and Beautiful Day as worshippers sing along with lyrics which will appear on screen at St Swithin's parish church in the town centre.
The event calls to mind recent Vatican efforts in the same direction, expanding certain sections of the Gospels to include "The Beatleitudes," in which Christ thoughtfully reminds the reader that, among other things, "all we need is love."
The new Gospels of George, Paul and Ringo (called the synoptics, for their similarities; the Gospel of John remains a wild card) are appended to the ends of each of the traditional four, often integrating seamlessly with events both preceeding and following them. A bishop famously declared that this change was so perfect and clarifying that it ought to have been made at Trent. Another bishop informed him that the Council of Trent predates the Fab Apostles by over four centuries. The two fell to blows and a schism was swiftly declared.

Fringe gnostic texts ("The Book of Wings;" "The Apocalypse of the Travelling Wilburys") remain contentious.

In any event, Chesterton had something to say about these weird flights into irrelevancy, though I don't have the text in front of me at the moment. The general sense of it was an assault on the idea of fad-pandering for the purpose of getting more young people in. He wrote the essay in question in response to a letter he saw in the newspaper in which the author suggested that young people don't care about a lot of people and places and things from 2,000 years ago, and that said young people would flock to the churches if only those churches would replace those silly antiquities with something new and modern. Chesterton's chief objection to this line of thinking is that it makes no sense whatever to assume that people will rush out to church once the things they find uninteresting are removed. We may as well hope that people who object to war would suddenly flock to a war monument on discovering that the names and dates thereupon had been scraped off, or that those who are disinterested in Wellington would converge upon a statue of the great general in droves if only the face and plaque were to be removed.

The point is that there are certain incidental things in a church (and a Mass) that aren't strictly incidental. They're sort of the point of the thing.

Perhaps the Church of England knows what it's doing, but it hardly seems likely.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, did you just say "The event calls to mind recent Vatican efforts.."? Really? The Vatican hey? If you're going to make a comment like that, you should probably back it up.

An occasional bishop or priest experimenting with inappropriate music for the liturgy is not the same thing as the Vatican permitting it. And it's even further from the truth to say that the Vatican promotes it.

Please be more careful with your terminology.

Lee Strong said...

I highly suspect Nick was being facetious about the Beatles and the Vatican to point out the foolishness of the U2-charist.

Then again, there was that Fr. McKenzie bit ....

Goo Goo Ga Joob

Anonymous said...

It's pretty clearly satirical, anonymous. You may want to keep an eye on that hair trigger of yours.