Tuesday, June 13, 2006

How the Church of the Future is Experimenting in the Cathedral of Milan

With video installations, electronic music, and abstract art. With Lenten readings from Oscar Wilde and Jack Kerouac. With the pulpit given over to nonbelievers. All this in the great diocese whose patrons are Saint Ambrose and Saint Charles Borromeo
by Sandro Magister

An excerpt:
...perhaps the most revealing instance of how the Duomo of Milan intends to carry out the “new evangelization” came in Lent of 2004...

The stated intent of the three evenings was to meditate upon the “last words of Christ on the cross.” But instead of the texts of the four Gospels, the audience gathered in the cathedral heard famous intellectuals and actors read pages from authors like Oscar Wilde, Marguerite Yourcenar, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Jack Kerouac.

Everything was accompanied by music and video.

The videos were projected on an immense screen that covered the entire wall on the other side of the front entrance to the Duomo. At the base of the screen was a stage for the musicians and singers.

To permit the public to admire the “great multimedia event,” the benches occupying the cathedral’s central nave had all been turned toward the entrance, with their backs turned to the main altar.

But the altar wasn’t even visible anymore, obstructed by a framework holding the reflectors, projectors, and light and sound controls.

On the last of the three evenings, the program assigned a place to the “presence” of the archbishop, cardinal Tettamanzi.

But the Duomo had already seen the precursors of this new course with his predecessor, cardinal Martini. In the summer of 1997, at the culminating moment of the funeral for the stylist Gianni Versace, which was broadcast worldwide, a piano stood at the center of the Milan cathedral. And Elton John played and sang “Candle in the Wind.”

There's nothng quite like the "new evangelization" that results from the transforming of consecrated and sacred things into profane, banal, and pagan use.

No comments: