About this blogger:
Richard J. Clark is the Director of Music of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. He is also Chapel Organist (Saint Mary’s Chapel) at Boston College. His compositions have been performed worldwide.
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That the Mass is the central feature of the Catholic religion hardly needs to be said. During the Reformation (and always) the Mass has been the test. The word of the Reformers—“It is the Mass that matters”—was true. The long persecution of Catholics in England took the practical form of laws chiefly against saying Mass; for centuries the occupant of the English throne was obliged to manifest his Protestantism, not by a general denial of the whole system of Catholic dogma, but by a formal repudiation of the doctrine of Transubstantiation and of the Mass.
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

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Dancing on the Edge with Truth and Beauty
published 5 June 2015 by Richard J. Clark

EAUTY IS TRUTH. And truth is beautiful even when difficult. The Gospel message is both Truth and Beauty and sometimes very difficult and challenging. Yet it delivers liberation, peace, and mercy—beautiful truths that may take a lifetime to understand, if ever.

So, the Mass, our greatest prayer, is incontrovertibly a messenger of Truth. United in the Eucharist, we commemorate Christ’s Death and Resurrection through which we are set free. As such, the Mass demands beauty because beauty conveys truth—the very truth proclaimed by the Gospel.

Another difficult reality, is that beauty and truth are rarely appreciated. Quite the contrary, they are a cause of fear and panic in many. Try fostering beauty and substantive theology in a parish music program, and one will often find oneself on the defensive. Proclaim the truths of our faith, in light of mercy and forgiveness, and one quickly may become a pariah.

LTHOUGH NOT NEW, the news of John Romeri’s resignation form the Office of Liturgical Music in Philadelphia is now getting much attention. There has been great speculation regarding the nature of the differences with the archbishop, and I doubt Mr. Romeri will ever reveal any specifics. However, amidst the drama, it is the last line in Mr. Romeri’s resignation letter wrote that struck like a thunderbolt:

“I encourage you to make music at the highest levels possible in your parishes. Our people deserve it and our God is worthy of the highest forms of praise.”

This is true and it is beautiful. Most beautiful, in that it is clear that we are servants of God, the liturgy, and the people. Such a person of humility and skill is ideally who we want leading prayer through music. The robustness of the music program at the Cathedral Basilica is witness to his work; no less his previous work at the Cathedral in St. Louis. By their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:16)

IT SEEMS WE ARE OFTEN DANCING ON THE EDGE. Do we uphold truth or do we compromise? Yet many of us face the daily reality of survival. One false move on the tightrope, and we find ourselves falling.

But beauty is what gives us hope to persevere through difficulty. Through beauty we praise God and we see His face. Furthermore, the truth of the Gospel is that God loves us more than we will ever comprehend.

Oremus pro invicem
Let us pray for each other. Support each other. We truly need it.