lördag 17 juli 2010

Dire cathedral, dire liturgy in Stockholm

Went to Stockholm today and to the Saturday evening mass in the Catholic cathedral. I had forgotten how dire the cathedral is. An attractive late nineteenth century building, it was extended (in the 1970s by the look of it) by demolishing the sanctuary and constructing a horrible new asymmetric space. I don't know what else to call it. The ceiling is covered with hexagonal gold thingies (I don't know what to call them either) and the walls are faced in dark brick, or perhaps they are tiles that look like brick. The design might have been suitable for a station on the underground, but it would still look dated.

The "liturgy" was as dire as the building. The priest's accent was so strong - I am told it was Polish - that I could hardly make out a word he was saying, but I fell asleep for the sermon anyway. The Salve Regina at the end was the only part of the Mass that was done properly.

Such is the result of Cardinal Buggeration's reforms.

Stockholm deserves better. What might better look like? In the first place, the present cathedral should be got rid of. Apart from the architecturally unfortunate addition, it is in one of the tattier parts of the city centre. The church needs a better presence and it would be impossible to do a decent traditional liturgy there. Another church is needed - there is an ample supply of under-used ones in Stockholm to choose from. And then something needs to be done to ensure a constently high standard of liturgy with careful attention being given to the ceremonial and the regular use of Gregorian chant and sixteenth century polyphonic Mass settings. Ideally, this is a matter for the bishop and cathedral clergy themselves, but an alternative would be to bring in a congregation that maintains a good liturgical tradition, such as the Oratory.

The capital city of Sweden deserves no less. The Swedes appreciate mainstream European culture and were the Catholic church to rise to this challenge, it would start to attract attention for the right reasons instead of the wrong ones.

3 kommentarer:

von Post sa...

Dear english-swedish "gentleman",
Du gillar inte katolska Domkyrkan i Stockholm? Det är en smaksak antar jag. Jag gillar den. Den byggdes av H.H.Prelat Johannes F.Koch: det var han som introducerade den traditionella mässan i Sverige efter konsiliet. När han var domprost var liturgin på hög nivå i domkyrkan. Nivån har sjunkit sedan hans bortgång, men att Du med kvasi rasistiska kommentarer kritiserar en präst som bryter på polska är förargligt! Tyvärr genererar Sverige ytterst få prästkallelser, och Du skulle vara tacksam att det finns utländska präster som är villiga att arbeta i det andliga stenbrottet som Sverige är. Kanske borde Du i alla fall ha lyssnat på prästens predikan, men det var Du för stolt för! Du skulle nog säkert även ha suttit blaserad i kyrkan i Ars, när den Helige Kyrkoherden Vianney predikade. Inget för svenskar som simmar i Brighton!
Att Dantebloggen länkade Din jeremiad var nog inte av tillfällighet, men Dantebröderna borde för en gångs skull inse, att det var inte de som introducerade tridentinska mässan i Sverige, utan just den mannen som byggde Stockholms domkyrka: Prelat Johannes F.Koch. R.I.P.

Physiocrat sa...

It is not racist to complain that one cannot understand a word a priest is saying. Or a reader for that matter. There are a lot of people who can't read clearly in any language because the mumble or read too quickly. A lot of people, especially older ones, have difficulty with their hearing. It is a matter of being considerate. Where the liturgy is concerned, it is simply yet another argument for the EF mass in Latin, so that most of the liturgy is the same everywhere.

It is pointless having the mass said aloud when it is such an effort for the congregation to understand, especially nowadays when people move around so much from country to country, both clergy and congregations.

Much of the EF mass is silent and we can follow it in our books. And if Latin is in general use it, language differences do not matter. The use of the vernacular has split the church by language divisions exactly when we should all be joining together.

A friend of mine who is a priest is coming to Sweden for a few days later in the year but because he was not taught to say mass in Latin and can only do it in English, it is exactly the same problem.

Nothing racist about it - just a matter of practicality.

Acreator sa...

The architecture of the Cathedral in Stockholm is a compromise due to bishop Brandenburg. He did not support a two churches solution. Originally the plan was to construct a completly new dome, a round church with a centrally placed high altar, similar to the Temple in Jerusalem, behind the old one, so that the old and new churches could be used independently.

The ceiling is a construction to create the best possible accoustic environment for choir song and organ.

The sained windows with saints are from 19th century Malmoe church and there have been plans to continue with stained windows all over.

I don´t think you could judge an architectural solution that spontanously, without knowing the history behind. The Cathedral is a compromise between old and new, it has many advantages, many pieces of good art, and there are a number of chapels also around that not would have been the case if f.e. S. Jacob´s church in the city would have been chosen. The TLM was celebrated here already under the "Stickler indult" in 1984.

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