Thursday, May 21, 2015

Until we meet again, Mr. Romeri.

It appears John Romeri has resigned from his position with the archdiocese of Philadelphia after a conflicting interests between he and Archbishop Chaput emerged.

The news was somewhat shocking. I do not know much about Chaput's liturgical leanings; indeed, the reputation that proceeds him made him a darling among neo-conservative types.

This being noted, I am relatively familiar with John Romeri's work at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis under Cardinals Rigali and Burke. Under Romeri, the Cathedral Basilica hit its stride; Romeri had, as I recall, found the formula for the Pauline liturgy. The music at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis never fell victim to the pedestrian or suburban American sentimentalism. His use of Latin chant was selective - admittedly, he didn't utilize it as much I would have liked. This said, he probably had the most astute repetior of vernacular compositions anyone could reasonably hope for. The result of his formula was a liturgy of the modern Roman Rite that seemed neither contrived nor artificial.

If there is one music director who learned how to accentuate the strengths of the Pauline liturgy while cloaking its weaknesses, it is Romeri. He has found, as state above, the formula for the modern Roman Rite and his exemplar ought to be the foundation upon which future musicians and directors should build.

That Romeri has found working with Chaput difficult and determine his best option is to resign is a bit mystifying. Frankly, it is hard to see where a point of disagreement could exist, though this will likely come to light in time.

1 comment:

  1. I lived in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for several years, under both Cardinal Rigali and Archbishop Chaput, and my sense from attending services at the cathedral and elsewhere with both ordinaries was that Chaput has what might be characterized as a more "low-church Novus Ordo" liturgical style, which probably clashed with Romeri's choices and sensibilities. (A telling sign of Chaput's difference in outlook was his choice to relocate the altar in the cathedral: under Rigali, Mass was celebrated at an altar under the baldacchino, where the high altar had formerly been located; Chaput apparently wanted something "closer to the people" and had a temporary altar put in which is much closer to the front pews in the nave.)

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