For those of you who may not know already, if you really want to start a knock down, drag out, mud-slinging dust-up among Catholics, start a debate about LITURGY. Nothing draws attention or raises hackles as quickly, and nothing is as central to Benedict’s pontificate–or the upcoming papal visit–as the way Mass (and other liturgical services) is celebrated. So it’s interesting to see some of the choices for “performers” at the various services. New York certainly grabbed the spotlight by enlisting the first “American Idol,” Kelly Clarkson, to sing the “Ave Maria” to His Holiness at a youth service at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. (Harry Connick and Jose Feliciano will be performing before the Yankee Stadium mass the next day.) Now Washington has answered back–in a more classical key–by signing on the opera megastars Placido Domingo and Denyce Graves to sing at the Mass at National Stadium on April 17.
Is this shaping up as a DC vs. NYC thing? Perhaps not. Domingo also sang the “Panis Angelicus” at a papal mass in New York, back in 1995 in Central Park for John Paul II. (Great settling. Let’s hope the weather will be better for Placido–and the Pope–this time.)
It may shape up as a traditionalist vs. modernist thing, however, as liturgists and pew-sitters with strong opinions on such topics are already weighing in (and inveighing) across the blogosphere.