Saturday, March 2, 2013
Graffiti and the Liturgy
Apologies to any non-Catholics reading for this bit of inside baseball...
I know lots of people with a professional and/or obsessive interest in liturgy, architecture, and the relationship between them. So I mostly would like to open the discussion to these knowledgeable souls about the recent commissioning of graffiti artists to paint the inside of the dome at Santa Eulalia church near Barcelona.
The painting, to my eyes, is stunningly beautiful, and there's no question it draws on specific traditions in sacred art.
My question is about the relationship between making use of a more "popular" medium and style elements in church architecture and the use of more popular musical styles in the liturgy. Pope Benedict has talked about certain traditional types of music (Gregorian chant and polyphony) as being the "supreme model of sacred music." I've heard people of a more traditional liturgical bent go so far as to call this "supreme model" the only music that's really appropriate for Mass.
I struggle with this a bit. Yes, I think music used at Mass should be beautiful and prayerful. And I have a general preference towards older and more traditional hymns. But I would have a hard time getting excited about tossing hymns all together, and though I recognize the importance of the universal nature of the Mass, I see value in incorporating the good and the beautiful from local cultures as well. In fact, I would tend to perceive this as enhancing, rather than detracting from, the universality of the prayer of the Church.
I would see a parallel between hiring a "graffitero" to paint a church and using a gospel hymn at Mass.
What do people think?