Sunday, April 06, 2008

Who Sez April Fools’ Day’s Lost its Mystique?

The following appeared in a combox on Todd Flowerday’s CATHOLIC SENSIBLILITY and spread like ragweed spores in my hometown all over the WorldWideInterLink. I gotta admit, at first blush (which I should have known was Sutter Home Zinfandel, or something pink from a box,) that its authorship was genuine. So, ever so cautious and discreet, I entered the fray with the response below the original “Haugen” post.

Marty Haugen Says: 1 April 2008
For twenty plus years I have been told, mainly anonymously through the internet, how I have been personally responsible for destroying Roman Catholic worship. I have never responded; however, I wish to offer a few comments now.
First of all, although I am not Roman Catholic, I have a deep love and respect for and faith in the worship tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. My own hesitancy about joining the Church is not about its eucharistic theology, but rather around the unwillingness of the Church to commission, ordain and welcome all humans as Jesus did–male and female, married and unmarried, saints and sinners. I believe that the Church, God’s people and all of creation have suffered from this omission.
I do not think of my own music as central or important to Roman Catholic worship, present or future. I began writing as a parish musician; I still keep the vision that to be “catholic” is to learn and love and embrace the best of the past tradition and to welcome the “best” of what is new, as Gods speaks through all cultures and expressions (see “Lumen Gentia”). I leave it to communities and to the Holy Spirit that will (more than us, thank God) guide the future choices that will last.
I had nothing to do with the choice of “Mass of Creation” for a Papal Mass. Having said that, I believe that attacks upon Tom Stehle in his efforts to engage a congregation with what he hoped would be familiar and meaningful to them (using parts of the liturgy with currently approved texts) were unfair, un-Christian and beneath those of us who truly care about how God speaks through our Sacraments.
Marty Haugen

Charles in CenCA Says:

1 April 2008
Would that Mr. Haugen had been content to let his music speak on behalf of his personal ecclesial philosophy. To whit, I have defended the merit of texts such as “All Are Welcome” against all sorts of charges such as heterodoxy, etc. Like another poster, the de facto reality that MoC is the apparent, pre-eminent default Ordinary setting, hasn’t compelled me to use it on Sundays as well. When I happen upon pieces authored/composed by Mr. Haugen, I give them a just look through and audition just as I do whether it originated from the pen of Lassus, Lambilotte or Lauridsen- each judged upon its own intrinsic merit as I deem that to be.However, all that said, for Mr. Haugen to formally state his personal convictions that the institution (The Church Christ founded) that he has purposefully benefited financially from throughout his career, starting even as a “parish musician,” is essentially at odds and in error with Jesus Christ’s commission (as Mr. Haugen sees it) as regards Holy Orders, seems intellectually dishonest at the least, hypocritcal at the worst. Does he not receive royalties every time a publisher reprints “All Are Welcome” in their hymnal or a recording of it is sold or played on a commercial broadcast? But yet, he does not believe, in fact, that “all are welcome” in the Roman Catholic Church? Hello?Wow, two great quotes in one newsday cycle: Barack Obama wouldn’t want to see his two daughters “punished” by giving birth even though he taught them the merits of abstinence. And “I do not think of my own music as central or important to Roman Catholic worship, present or future.” Then why is Mr. Haugen also on the stump at every NPM or Pax Christi convention replete with product line? Who do they think are buying their hope, promises and product? People who are steadfast in their convictions to their God and their Church? Or those subject to cultic and populist nature of consumerism at its most marketable?Thank you, Mr. Haugen. Now I have to measure my own convictions about whether to program “All Are Welcome” ever in the future again. And if you think that’s a good thing, we’re definitely not on the same page.

Well, it was fun while it lasted. All of the following tumbleweeds were my various interactions among the greater RC BlogNebulae. Things occasionally got very Crabby-Nebulae (nod to Todd’s other avocation.)

Charles in CenCA Says:

Dear Todd 2,I really did not regard my observation of a cognitive dissonance (if only in my mind) as a “cheap shot.”I was not amused when some of our colleagues fabricated their ersatz “Moratorium” group on H/H music. I found that extremely uncharitable and have said so on forums elsewhere consistently.I do grant that in another forum I have responded to another composer’s public polemics with what could be termed clearly “ad hominem” characterizations; but this issue clearly challenged my sense of what ethics and integrity come into play in the high stakes marketplace of “new Catholic music.”Hope this clears it up for you. If you feel I’m being morally inconsistent, I apologize.

From my confriere at RIPnet, Anne:

>> Chuck, Chuck, Chucky!! Was it really necessary to say all that? Do you think that these comments, in any way make the RC faith inviting? There are many of us born and raised Roman Catholic who believe the Church suffers because of the valid points he spoke about. VII asked us to reach out in charity in order to overcome whatever it is that divides us. Mr Haugen has inspired many Christians over the years to sing, worship and pray over the years. For this we should be grateful even if his style is not our preference. I truly don’t care how much money he is making. That’s not my concern. My concern is that we should be servants to one another to bring about the Kingdom.Actually, this whole discussion (I broke my promise to myself and jumped in)has only given me a better appreciation for the works and the person of Marty Haugen.<<

My response:

“My dear sweet Anne,I wish I could say I enjoy being dubbed “Chuck,” but I’m actually “Charlie” to those who know and love me (perhaps few and far between ;-)But “Chucky?” Anne, I’m way to old, fat and bleary-eyed to be associated (by insinuation or innocence) with a malevolent, murderous doll!
Now to the point- what it necessary? If the post was written by Mr. Haugen, yes, I felt it necessary. It’s not about “how much money.” It’s not really about “money” per se at all.It’s about the wisdom of biting a hand that feeds you. I don’t question Mr. Haugen’s morality and you darn well know I give his work the scrutiny and respect that I provide all pieces that I’m charged with employing at public worship.If the post was proffered by a Tokyo Rose, then I fully apologize to Mr. Haugen in this public forum.
Todd (of Catholic Sensibility) then respectfully offered:

“The Catholic Church as an institution does not hire musicians, and it doesn’t utilize the music they compose. Pastors, staff members, and parishioners make these choices. And in any case, their understanding of ecclesiology need not be perfect or orthodox in any sense for them to pay a musician, either by salary or royalties, who may or may not be completely orthodox. If the morality of a composer were any sort of determining factor in using that person’s music, are church musicians prepared to study biography in detail? Or are we being a tad hypocritical?
I suppose a principle strongly held might cause a person to brush up against cooperation with what they perceive as evil, wrong, misperceived, or less than a good thing. I’d suppose that abortion opponents might choose to practice tax resistance rather than cooperate with a society dedicated to the destruction of the unborn. More often, a convenient choice is made: to attempt to punish those who do not believe with full congruence.
I remain unconvinced of the philosophy of “love it or leave it,” or as the neo-orthodox would rephrase: obey or get out. It struck me as rather dumb when applied to Vietnam War protesters in the 70’s. It seems more an exercise in anger today than an exercise in logic. (Please note: I never insinuated nor portrayed such a maxim.)
As a lay person in the employ of Catholic parishes for the past twenty years, I identify far, far more with the people I serve than with the institution. My retirement portfolio is laughable. The institution contributed zero to the cost of my schooling. I think the pope, curia, bishops, and clergy make catastrophic errors in judgment almost daily. If they asked me, I’d get specific. Parishioners have confirmed my call from God, and they make serving as a liturgist fruitful, worthwhile, and a blessed opportunity.
Yet why don’t I feel I’m a hypocrite?
Because I work for the people. I don’t serve my “superiors.” My pastor can hire and fire as he wishes, giving two week’s notice or two week’s pay. The institutional Church owes me nothing and the same’s true in the opposite direction.
Marty Haugen says he differs with the institutional Church. And I say, “So what?” People are free to buy, use, sing, play, ignore, burn, or criticize his music. What I often detect from his critics is an immature sense of envy. “My compositions are better. Why aren’t I published? Why isn’t my music sing for the pope, played in parishes, or the subject of adoring fans?”
My only answer for envy is that no matter how good you are or that you think you are, nobody owes you a darn thing. Tough news, but somebody has to break it.
Or if you want to get Biblical, why do the wicked thrive and the just suffer? If you really want the answer, turn the clock back a few weeks.”

Response to Todd’s point:

Charles in CenCA Says:

2 April 2008
Dear Todd,I thank you for a reasoned response to my post. I cannot reflect and reply now as I’ve got to get ready for a very long day at the school, then staff meeting, then schola rehearsal.I trust that you understand that what I had to say was not couched in terms that would be deemed “bile.” I took great pains to articulate that I had no prejudice regarding Marty Haugen’s actual music catalogue.To be continued in charity and respect…
Then the suggestions of an April Fools’ Con had me shaking my head: “You are such a doofus.”

You know, Todd, now that a have a little down time before the next wave, I think it best to refrain from furthering the discussion between your points of contention and mine. It occurs to me that all of this based upon whether the original post from “Marty Haugen” was genuinely authored by him.I believe the discussion can continue on general principles that we’ve both shared and do not agree upon; but if my comments had their origin via a falsehood, then furthering this debate does Mr. Haugen an injustice. I hope you understand my concern.”

About this time, on The Cafeteria is Closed, Gerald had weighed in with his definitive “Marty Haugen Strikes Back” masthead. A respected poster, Ma Beck, had unfortunately confused the authorship of both Haugen’s “Gather us in” and Joncas’ “On Eagles’ Wings” which I felt compelled to set the record straight:

“ Ma Beck,I was present at the NPM National (1979, Chicago) premiere of OEW, sung by its composer, Michael Joncas (seminarian at the time, I believe) accompanying himself on the guitar with no other supporting instruments. Schutte was there as a member of the SLJ, because this performance was the NALR showcase presentation, for which I was the bass player for all NALR presenters. I was sitting right next to Joncas as he debuted the tune. Whatever y'all think of it now, it was an singularly stunning performance.Just to get the facts straight.”

If you want to check out a younger, skinnier me with the SLJ at their performance, go to:

page 46

To which poster Boots replied

“A stunning performance it may have been, but a Mass is NOT a performance.” Ma Beck concurred.

Being in an altered state (caused by my being in a "Groundhog Day" loop, pychologically) I rashly replied:

“Ma Beck and Boots,First of all, it wasn't Mass at Chicago. So, get yer contexts straight, unless you're so prejudiced that "It don't matter to me."Secondly, on a more deeper level, try to stay with me here, Mass is not a performance? Get real. If it's not a performance, to y'all who regard yerselves as thoroughbreds: then why doth the Blogosphere cup runneth over with glam shots of every canopy, fiddleback, candle arrangements, and the oh-so-austere ministerial entourages that have all their "blocking" down pat before having their own Gerald's "do the money shots?"Give me a break. And, yes, it was a lovely performance. And Joncas could likely advance an argument for or against whatever the h*ll position you think you're so knowledgeable about in a nano-second. Because he's in the vineyard, not a poseur. He's done the heavy lifting in Rome.Not even amateurs. Be ashamed. Be very ashamed.”

My now confriere, Ma Beck, had the temerity to challenge my insolence:

“Maybe you misunderstood me, Captain Run-on-Sentence.I AGREE that you were at a performance. You just got done saying that.I am GLAD it wasn't a Mass.I am HAPPY you had fun.I THOUGHT I made that clear.Now where in the hell do you get off acting like you know anything about me, and being so hostile?(Re: your equating Gregorian Chant, beautiful vestments, etc., with "performance", I can't help you there. Start with "Spirit of the Liturgy.")

But, then, the grace that is and typifies Christianity spread the fog and fury of the rhetoric: Ma Beck invited me to discuss this off-line, which I appreciated and did. And, as should be expected among followers of Jesus of Nazareth, we both “got it.”
Back at the bunkhouse of the ranch, CATHOIC SENSIBILITY, April Fools’ got my full attention, and I wrote:

“You know, Todd, now that a have a little down time before the next wave, I think it best to refrain from furthering the discussion between your points of contention and mine. It occurs to me that all of this based upon whether the original post from “Marty Haugen” was genuinely authored by him.I believe the discussion can continue on general principles that we’ve both shared and do not agree upon; but if my comments had their origin via a falsehood, then furthering this debate does Mr. Haugen an injustice. I hope you understand my concern.”

As an addendum to my own moratorium, which has nothing in common with the insidious philosophy of the erzatz Moratorium on H/H to which many of my friends and peers have zealously attached their names, I clarified, as well as apologized, the tone of my post to Ma Beck and Boots in “Cafeteria.” Those exchanges shall remain in confidence as they were respectfully invited by Ma Beck, to which I respectfully responded, and to which we affirmed a consensus of opinion. (And I so admire her for her temerity as well as her recognizing the providence of her family’s membership in the roles of St. John Cantius in Chicagoland.

Ma Beck had no need for the following, but she posted it in “Cafeteria”:

“ Everyone:I am *SO* sorry for my rude comments to Charles earlier. Thankfully, he is kind and charitable and did indeed e-mail me. I had not understood his meaning but his e-mail made perfect sense.I very much appreciate his kindness in forgiving me for my behavior.I have no idea what got into me - I am NOT like that!Sorry again for any offense I caused.”
Then the ubiquitous “Anon” chimed in: “ Ma Beck, you should know that you hit a soft spot with your logorrheic antagonist.Ad hominem attacks may be made against anybody but Fr Joncas.”

Hmmmmmmmm. The Joncas thing gave away to me a prejudiced opinion from more than a decade ago that I was a blind Michael Joncas apologist. And I found that amusing that someone could carry that mischaracterization for such a long time:

“ Dear Anon,Without looking it up, and with a nod of gratitude to my latest patron saint, Wm.F., I may indeed be dubbed "logorrheic." (I've been hoping for some sort of diagnosis for years now, thank you.) But let it be known throughout the land that I am not, nor intended to be, Ma Beck's antagonist.And you just, just, just might be surprised at how little of Fr. Joncas' actual repertoire I actually program over the course of years! But if you want to imply that I'm a sycophant of Fr. Joncas, I could do worse. From the film of "M.A.S.H."- I don't know your face, stranger, but yer voice is fermilier." Cheers, Anon.And Ma Beck, I'll welcome anything you have to say to me 8 days a week.”

So, once again, as I stated on “Cafeteria” and, I think, CMAA and RPInet, if this was a hoax to being with, and I responded (not alone) to the bait, mea maxima culpa and may it cease and desist as to do otherwise is not Christian charity towards Marty Haugen.
In truth, I hope it was a hoax. In truth, I hope the crux of the imposter’s rationale that the Catholic Church is inherently “unwelcoming” is anathema.

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