"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

'My Piano' Editorial Update [Revised]

One Apology Accepted, Several Questions Linger

Re: 'My Piano' By Mags: Wrong Place and Time

If you don't know Damian Goddard or at least know of him then you should.  He's the sportscaster who was fired by Rogers Communications for a personal tweet he sent out defending traditional marriage.  You'll notice all he said was he supports the traditional meaning of marriage.  He didn't condemn anyone, express bigotry, threaten violence, etc.  To think there isn't a double standard in modern society is absurd.  Consider the following scenarios. Damian would still be working at Rogers had he tweeted anything like: "I support capital punishment", "I support a woman's right to choose", "Happy Pride Parade all you naked party animals", etc.  Marriage isn't a right; if it was a right you'd be allowed to marry your sibling, multiple spouses, your pet, or even a bridge.  Shutting down debate, getting people fired who disagree with you, suing businesses who don't want your business, threatening faith groups with financial implications is in a word 'homofascism' and it's gaining momentum.  There will be more victims but the mainstream media will probably ignore them too.

Since leaving Rogers Communications, Damian has ventured into the new media with his own website, a strong social media presence, and the soon to be launched Ignite TV that he describes as a combination of Glenn Beck meets EWTN.  Good luck, Damo!  One of his first ventures was producing a series of videos featuring Elmira, Ontario singer Mags. Maggie and her father David Wang, front man for the 'Catholic Rock' band, Critical Mass make no secret of her recent battle with depression.  I'm sure everyone is glad to know she was successful in this battle as teenage depression is a serious condition.  From what David Wang has said publicly the videos are a 'testimony' of this battle and the role her faith played in supporting her.  While this is a very moving story and hopefully inspirational to other teenagers struggling with depression, it does not give the Wang family special entitlements in the Church.

In Damian's mea culpa he admits to not performing due diligence.  He didn't make the arrangements with the church the video was produced in.  So if the producer of the video didn't make the arrangements then who did?  It's safe to exclude the videographer as he was most likely an independent contractor.  On the video production side that seems to leave Maggie and her father.  David Wang publicly inferred he had permission from the Bishop of Hamilton.  In a private email I was told David Wang also stated both the bishop and pastor of this church gave permission.  The pastor of this church at the time said that wasn't true.  No proof of permission has been provided - obviously someone is lying.

The more serious question is who on the church side gave permission and scheduled the production?  It's not reasonable to think Damian, the Wangs, and the videographer jumped into a car one day and drove randomly through the Diocese of Hamilton looking for an available church.  No, this all had to have been arranged beforehand with probably a pre-production meeting in the church.  The pastor said he never gave permission, it's doubtful the associate pastor would have been so bold, so someone else on staff with access to the church calendar must have scheduled the video's date.  This is just a theory on my part; I'm not making any accusations at this point.  However, basic reasoning indicates something covert may have occurred in the making of this video.

The proper authorities need to get involved and investigate this matter.  If they don't then a precedent has been set.  What it will mean is anyone with a contact in a parish office can secretly arrange a non-sacred event in a Catholic church without the pastor's knowledge.  If a pastor doesn't have control of his own church then what kind of chaos will ensue?

Damian admits if he could do it all over again he wouldn't have used a Catholic church setting.  That took fortitude and wisdom: two gifts most of us could use more of.  While it's admirable to extend an olive branch to those who disagree it's also important not to lose sight of the truth.  Canon 1210 of Canon Law and the 1987 document produced by the governing authority, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments  are quite clear: no profane/secular music in churches.  I am not aware of any exceptions or excuses; someone please provide them if they exist.

In speaking to his audience Damian several times addresses both sides of this matter.  Mags has her fans, many of whom are Catholic, many in full support of the video.  While it's good to have dialogue especially with our fellow Catholics (the majority of whom being poorly catechized honestly don't know what they don't know) it's also important to know when not to debate an issue to avoid giving it undeserved credibility.  For example: it's laudable to debate Christ's divinity with atheists assuming your intention is to convert them.  In Church history there have been saints who over-reacted to the futility of having this same debate with someone claiming to be Catholic, Ho! Ho! Ho!  I'm kidding of course, no threats of violence from me...no need to call the police.  The proper thing to do with a Catholic in obstinate error is to let his/her priest know so they can receive proper correction.  Priests are trained for this sort of thing let's remember.  Disobedience is a serious matter as someone who thinks they know better than the Church in one regard may do so in others and that could lead to eternal damnation.  In regards to "My Piano" there's really nothing to debate.  It's no more a sacred/holy song than 'Here Comes Santa Claus' thus not fitting to be played in a church.  Then again, the same can be said for a lot of the content in our modern hymnals.

There's also nothing to debate about the Blessed Sacrament being present for this profane event.  The Tabernacle doors were shut, the candle burning, and the secretary said Our Saviour was present while filming was being done.  Shameful.

Lastly, do we really need to debate the appropriateness of a spaghetti strap sun dress in a church?  If you can't get into St. Peter's Basilica wearing one then why should any other Catholic church be different?  In a Catholic church not only is Our Saviour present in the Tabernacle, but during Holy Mass through the miracle of Transubstantiation Our Saviour becomes present in the Sacrament we are to receive (hopefully in a state of grace).  If you knew you were going to meet God today in Heaven how would you dress?  For ladies, a good rule of thumb is to imitate Immaculate Mary.  Hopefully the strapless wedding dress trend will soon run its course, but I digress...and duck.    

As we are bombarded by the mainstream media and entertainment industry's moral relativism many of us have succumb to the deception of there being no objective truths. Appeasements such as 'tolerance', 'no judgment', 'there's always a grey area' and 'my decision based on good conscience' are part of our modern lexicon.  The reality is much different.  Just as there is night and day, man and woman, Heaven and Hell, there is indeed right versus wrong.

Maggie Wang was interviewed by Bob Cowan of CHCH's Morning Live today.  Thankfully the video of 'My Piano' was not played.  Mags did perform the song live very well.  I'm sure no one who saw it thought for a moment she was out of place not singing it in a Catholic church.  The right thing to do now is re-do the video in a non-Catholic church setting, apologize to those harmed, accept their forgiveness, and learn from this mistake.

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