Sunday, January 08, 2006

Reparations for Redemption Rappers

Well, at about 3:50 p.m. this afternoon, approximately 100 or 110 people (I counted 102 and, judging from my accuracy in counting cattle, I'm sure I miscounted) gathered outside Blessed Sacrament in Kansas City, Kansas. before the "Rap for Redemption" started up. As you can tell, I broke the "no hothead" rule and decided to attend anyways. I figured it wouldn't hurt. After all, word had made it around and the "call to arms," as it were, was posted on the Remnant website and on Seattle Catholic at that point. Given that level of press, there was bound to be a greater hothead than me there.

I'd guess 2/3 of the people were from the Latin Mass Community that met at Blessed Sacrament; the other 1/3 were folks from St. Vincent's. Also present were the Fox affiliate, the NBC affiliate, and Channel 9 (I don't watch TV much, so I don't know which network they're affiliated with, together with some non-broadcast press folks.

I don't know how many people were inside. I just saw the story on Fox news, and it didn't look like many. People were coming and going all the time. Before we started, twenty-somethings were running around with TV cameras and notepads, trying to get a comment from us whacked-out old fashioned kook Catholics. The two laymen who organized the event, one from our community, and one from St. Vincent's, reminded everyone that we weren't here to speak to the media, and asked everyone not to identify them to the press. With cameras rolling and police officers milling about we started.

We were blessed, I suppose, with a little extra mortification. Just as we started, a front blew through and dropped the temperature from a balmy 59 degrees down to the windy low-40's. Many of the people were in sweaters or light jackets, so our offering of an hour of kneeling on concrete was supplemented, shall we say, by enduring a little biting wind and cold without being properly dressed. By the time I got back to the car, it was in the high 30s (I know I don't get any sympathy from Hilary and my Canadian or my Swedish readers on that point).

The FSSP chaplain had mentioned in the announcements before his sermon at the 10:45 High Mass, that he would be removing the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle following Mass, but without stating the reason why. He began the reparation itself just before 4pm, by stating the the three criteria for an act of reparation, i.e., a state of grace, a pious act, and a supernatural intention. He asked anyone who might not be in the state of grace to quickly make an act of perfect contrition, pointed out that our prayers were the act, and stated our intention to be that of reparation for what was going on inside.

Cameras from three or four television stations were rolling, and the twenty-something TV reporters were looking bored and disappointed. After the start of the second Joyful Mystery, they figured out that we were going to be "droning on" in the same way quite a while and went inside to see if anything "more interesting" was going on in the Sanctuary. By the time we started singing the Litany of the Saints in Latin (which is really the only thing that would have made good TV at this event), only one camera was left. After the litany, the concert was still going on, so we said the Joyful Mysteries a second time and got the chaplain's blessing before dismissal.

The chaplain, before dismissing us, reminded us that were didn't need to mill about and talk to anyone--that we should just go on home quietly. Everyone obediently did so, except for one young guy I didn't recognize (perhaps he was from St. Vincent's, with apologies to y'all over there if he was actually "one of ours"). As I drove off, past the church, THERE HE WAS, talking, with three cameras rolling. I hope, against hope, that he didn't say anything stupid.

Which makes me wonder....notwithstanding the fact that we were there to make reparation, not make headlines, if the organizers should have appointed a spokesman or at least handed out a printed statement to the media? The PR people (and at least a couple of PR people are members of our community) will tell you that it's better to give the press (particularly the idiot-box press) information, because otherwise, they'll just make it up. Instead of getting a concise statement of the truth--that we were making reparation for the defilement of our church and our sacred music by mixing it with repulsive, vulgar rythyms of the gang culture, and not because they were prisoners, or they were black, or for any other reason. If a Schola came from Lansing to sing real Gregorian Chant (or even better--early polyphony, like Palestrina, which is a rare treat for Kansas City Latin Massers), we'd be delighted--we'd be in there praying with them.

We'll, I guess I need to find an antenna for my TV, so I can see what this guy said. It's somewhere in my closet, I think. Or maybe it's in my basement.

Update 9:30 PM:
I just watched the 9:00pm Fox 4 news. It must be a slow news day--they were promo'ing the Rosary in the hour leading up to the news. It wasn't as bad as it could have been--right away, they said we weren't there because it was a prisoners' performance--and the guy (whose name I wrote down but won't repeat here) didn't say anything terribly foolish that made the cut for that segment. I did also notice that the close-up shot they used of the Rosary wasn't one of us unstylish laymen, nor was it of our chaplain, who was slunked down under his hat (he was one of the few with the foresight to be prepared for the weather). They shot our photogenic assistant chaplain--a handsome young fellow with nice hair. Of course, they followed and ended with some busibody sponsor of the event saying it the performance was all just "beautiful, beautiful" in response. Overall, the channel 4 take on this wasn't as bad as they could have made it. We weren't entirely made out to be a bunch of troglodyte clods. Of course, as is typical with the few TV news segments I've seen, one walked away knowing precious little more about the situation than one started with.

I started to watch the other channels, but gosh TV news is bad, and all the fancy computer graphics make me dizzy.


CS said...

You da man, Curmudegeon homey.

Anonymous said...

I did not like that the news made it sound like the Bishop did not respond. He is out of town on a retreat for the bishops. I know other events like this were stopped by Archbishop Keleher and I assume that the present Archbishop would have done the same.

Curmudgeon said...

That's a fair criticism, anon., that I didn't pick up on. The story about the Apb. is consistent with what I heard. Somehow these things always happen when the bishops are out of town, which makes it seem like they're always out of town. Of course that isn't the case (except for the cardinals and others that hold curial posts, like Bp. Doran), but it does make them seem detached.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call the Archbishop detached. He led the amendment to ban homosexual marriages in Kansas and held a rally against it whre evangelical praised the Catholic church for leading the charge. He has led two prayer vigils at both the abortion mills in his dioceses in the past year. The bishops in the middle of the country are definitely leading the charge against embryonic stem cell research and more specifically human cloning. Also Bishop Finn led the Eucharistic Procession attended by 2,000. I remember th the days when Catholic Charities was one of the groups who hosted a Hilary Clinton speech and a total of five of us showed up to protest.

Anonymous said...

Nor would I. I don't have any criticism of the Abp, and I'm not being critical that he was out of town. Simply a fact, in this case.

I hear he works quietly, but
effectively and to a good end.