"Chaput, Romeri and the Battle Over Music in Philadelphia"

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Tom_Neal
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Parish / Diocese: Portsmouth

"Chaput, Romeri and the Battle Over Music in Philadelphia"

Post by Tom_Neal » Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:55 pm

I'm sure many of you will have heard about Dr. John Romeri's resignation as Head of Liturgical Music in Philadelphia.

As the author of the following article points out, the debates surrounding Dr. Romeri's resignation seem all the more worrying when we consider he is an "aesthetic moderate," and therefore hardly a controversial figure by any standards.

You can read the story, with some commentary, here:

http://www.onepeterfive.com/chaput-rome ... ladelphia/

This certainly provides much food for thought –– and, I fear, cause for significant worry among our colleagues in the USA.

Southern Comfort
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Re: "Chaput, Romeri and the Battle Over Music in Philadelphi

Post by Southern Comfort » Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:23 pm

This has been going on for a month now.

Plenty of discussion on Facebook (some of it in closed forums, or I would point you to it) and also here: http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2015/05/21/john-romeri-resigns-from-office-for-liturgical-music/
and here: http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2015/06/02/more-on-romeri-in-philly/ and most recently here: http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2015/06/04/still-more-on-romeri-and-chaput-in-philly/

Tom_Neal
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Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 4:51 pm
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Re: "Chaput, Romeri and the Battle Over Music in Philadelphi

Post by Tom_Neal » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:14 am

Thanks for the links, Southern Comfort! I'd be interested to hear your own thoughts on the situation. It is rather worrying, is it not?

Southern Comfort
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Re: "Chaput, Romeri and the Battle Over Music in Philadelphi

Post by Southern Comfort » Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:41 am

I don't think it's worrying — but very unfortunate.

A very respected colleague writing on Facebook said "It's a cathedral, for heaven's sake! If reconciliation can't take place there, we're all in trouble." But Chaput is a Benedict appointment. He doesn't do dialogue, and never has. All of his many criticisms were apparently handed down via the cathedral rector, so the stories about him saying unpleasant things to Romeri after the Chrism Mass, etc, seem unfounded. There appears to have been no personal contact at all. Chaput might have felt threatened by competence, or he may have something against his predecessor in Philadelphia and saw Romeri as a symbol of that. No one will ever know. People have been calling for the archdiocese to make a statement. I think that is the last thing they should do, and would make matters worse, rather than better.

Romeri was unwise, in my view, to go public in the way that he did. Airing dirty linen is often ill-advised, and he has more or less guaranteed that he will never work again for any bishop, for that would be seen as an insult to a brother bishop. On the other hand, he may have felt forced into making his own statement. After only being there for five years, to simply say "It's time for me to go" would have aroused much speculation, most of it probably prurient; and perhaps he didn't feel able to cope with that prospect. If he had departed quietly, he would have retained the moral high ground. As it is, there is no moral high ground for either side to take, now that the disagreement is out in the open. We don't know if he tried to dialogue with Chaput and was rebuffed. I suspect that Romeri's future lies in working for a non-catholic cathedral or diocese, as has happened with some of his colleagues, and that would be sad. But time will tell. Romeri has just accepted election as Dean of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, so it doesn't look as if he is planning to move in the immediate future.

Tom_Neal
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Re: "Chaput, Romeri and the Battle Over Music in Philadelphi

Post by Tom_Neal » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:39 pm

Southern Comfort wrote: Chaput is a Benedict appointment. He doesn't do dialogue, and never has.


There is an implied criticism here of the Holy Father, which I think ought to be retracted.

Southern Comfort wrote: All of his many criticisms were apparently handed down via the cathedral rector, so the stories about him saying unpleasant things to Romeri after the Chrism Mass, etc, seem unfounded. There appears to have been no personal contact at all.


This is good to hear, because every other report has described direct confrontations in the sacristy. What's your source for this?

Southern Comfort wrote: Romeri was unwise, in my view, to go public in the way that he did. Airing dirty linen is often ill-advised, and he has more or less guaranteed that he will never work again for any bishop, for that would be seen as an insult to a brother bishop.


I agree. I think that's a first for us, Southern Comfort! ;)

But I really do think this situation ought to be worrying for all of us. Dr. Romeri was not radically traditional nor radically liberal; he was very much the 'middle ground' in his musical and liturgical tastes. None of the evidence suggests he was rocking the boat.

Southern Comfort
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Re: "Chaput, Romeri and the Battle Over Music in Philadelphi

Post by Southern Comfort » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:03 pm

Tom_Neal wrote:
Southern Comfort wrote: Chaput is a Benedict appointment. He doesn't do dialogue, and never has.


There is an implied criticism here of the Holy Father, which I think ought to be retracted.


Not a criticism of the Holy Father at all. Merely acknowledging that during Benedict's pontificate the Congregation for Bishops included two very conservative US bishops on it (one of them Chaput's predecessor in Philly) who forced through a succession of unfortunate appointments, of whom Chaput was one (but by no means the worst). Since those two bishops were moved off the Congregation under Francis, recent appointments in the States have been much better.

Tom_Neal wrote:
Southern Comfort wrote: All of his many criticisms were apparently handed down via the cathedral rector, so the stories about him saying unpleasant things to Romeri after the Chrism Mass, etc, seem unfounded. There appears to have been no personal contact at all.


This is good to hear, because every other report has described direct confrontations in the sacristy. What's your source for this?


"Every other report" in fact derives from just one lady, an instrumentalist who played for Romeri, who seems to have gone off at an angry tangent after most other people had told their stories. All the reports you have read simply repeat what she said. My informants, who are members of the cathedral and diocesan choirs, say there was no direct contact at all.

Tom_Neal wrote:
Southern Comfort wrote: Romeri was unwise, in my view, to go public in the way that he did. Airing dirty linen is often ill-advised, and he has more or less guaranteed that he will never work again for any bishop, for that would be seen as an insult to a brother bishop.


I agree. I think that's a first for us, Southern Comfort! ;)

But I really do think this situation ought to be worrying for all of us. Dr. Romeri was not radically traditional nor radically liberal; he was very much the 'middle ground' in his musical and liturgical tastes. None of the evidence suggests he was rocking the boat.


I don't know whether you have noticed the blog exchanges (and there have been more on Facebook) concerning Romeri apparently allowing his choral singers to use American-style competing vibratos, which is fairly unpleasant to listen to. I have certainly seen a YouTubevideo of such an occurrence at a diocesan liturgy, but am told that this was early on in Romeri's time there. It could simply be that Chaput didn't like the choral sound Romeri has getting from his singers. Again I say, we will never know.

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