Lots of blame for the Pope, but no praise

Where are the praises? Where are the bouquets?

The other day we heard from people who blew their stack over the Pope Francis spoken-word-with-pop-music recording made by some record producer.

One Catholic writer reacted on Facebook with one word: “Sick.” A non-Catholic musician heard a Latin Gregorian chant text sung over some drab rock music, and wrote to me to call it “satanic”, and to say that it put a stop to his interest in joining the Church. Other people insisted that this horrible thing was an “official Vatican project” and that the Pope was personally responsible for it.

Really, it was no big deal: adding pop music to papal speeches is just something goofy that happens every few years over in Italy. Here you can listen to samples of the big-name Sony Classical recording of Pope John Paul II’s words similarly adorned with pop music.

But what will the overreacting critics say now? The Sistine Chapel Choir — a real institution of the Holy See — has issued a recording of Renaissance sacred music with some Gregorian chant, and the launch event included the presence of the prefect of the papal household. Following their own logic, those critics ought to be walking on air, saying that Pope Francis is personally responsible for fostering this worthy project. (Audio samples here.)

But they’re quiet now.

The thing that is really a bit sickly is when people are so dispirited about the Pope that they overreact to trivial news stories and jump to ridiculous conclusions.

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