Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Sunday the Music Died

Glory to God...often through music as worship. Yet, at St. Gabriel's in Brighton, the lobbyists disguised as Roman Catholic priests will have to do a quick scramble to replace their cantor and organist, both victims of Sean O'Malley's politics.

Despite the Herald's love of scoop and concentration on its Catholic readership, the Boston Globe struck first on this one. Its coverage of the dustup in the nave is here.

The short of it is that under orders from the bishops, most compliant priests in Massachusetts have been shilling for the political and politically charged petition to put a vote on the 2008 ballot to rescind same-sex marriage. They announce and plead from the pulpit and have petitions available in the sanctuary to increase the peer pressure to sign.

When they performed this act Sunday, October 8th, the organist, Patrick Kilduff, had had enough. Despite his 28-year tenure, he chose to leave his instrument rather than play the closing hymn. The cantor, Colleen Bryant, had an American moment, choosing liberty and free thought over obeisance. She spoke to the congregation, saying that they did not have to sign the petition.

In the spirit Christian love and, wrong script. The pastor, Rev. Justinian Manning, canned the cantor and the organist quit in higher dudgeon.

Recalling it to the Globe, Kilduff said he told the priests, "I'm done. I can't believe what you guys have done."

No one I know has ever claimed that the RC church is a democracy, but it's anti-democratic tack here seems to surprise parishioners and employees alike. The open politicization of the pulpit has been too much for some. As Kilduff puts it, "Deal with (political statements) at the rectory, at the school, not during church, not during a holy service."

Manning won't talk, but Sean O'Malley's talker, spokesman Terrence Donilon, will. "Any place and time we could reasonably expect a priest to promote those issues that are central to the mission of the church" is fine with the archbishop.

Kilduff had warned Bryant that he would protest the politics. She was inspired by his walk-off to speak out. Before singing two versions of "Now Thank We All Our God" a capella, she recalls saying, "that by no means should anyone feel obligated to sign this petition, especially those of us who, like myself, may believe or may think that politics do not belong in this house of worship."

She exhibits the class that O'Malley and Manning lack.


Diva of Demographics said...

Thank you for commenting on this. I am not a Catholic, and so for that reason I believe I should tread lightly. But my church, the Episcopal church, while it allows all sorts of dissent (in fact, we revel in it...) still can't seem to get it's head around gay and lesbian priests, even though we have tons of them.

Those two individuals who chose to speak out are very brave indeed. It seems sad that there are American institutions left (and this is only one...there are many religious, civic and corporate organizations where speaking one's mind respectfully is NOT supported...) where reasonable, civil dissent seems like such a threat.

My understanding of my faith is that we are all God's children. We are asked to love our neighbor. But apparently in some houses of worship that's asking just a bit too much.

We need to pray not only for those who were marginalized but also for those who did the marginalizing.

massmarrier said...

Indeed, Marge, you have cut to the core. Particularly in a nation and in a state where the citizens so prize standing for their beliefs (and not just what they are ordered to believe), this is a sad development. Your gracious attitude is refreshing.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how interesting this is, but our friend Ms. Massresistance has noticed the Globe article, and she's linked to a very silly blog post by a Catholic priest who's hot and bothered over it.

All very cute.

massmarrier said...

Thanks for the lead, Rieux. I won't visit those bozos on the folks who cruise this blog. On the other hand, this parochial vicar, Robert Carr, is a great example speciousness. He's a real clown, but he differs from Ms. MR -- self-righteousness to irrationality. Take your pick, or stay away from both.