Pagans, Liturgists & The Transcendent

March 2005By Dale Price

Dale Price is an attorney and writer who lives in Warren, Michigan.

A traditional-minded Catholic named David Kubiak offered this comment at a weblog I frequent: "I had a Jewish musicologist colleague who once said to me: 'I don't know if there is a Heaven, but if there is, the music I'll hear when I get there is the Kyrie of the Pope Marcellus Mass.' That is the tremendous spiritual power repudiated by our Church and just recently driven out of St. Patrick's Church in Portland. It is cultural suicide of a type that I am tempted to say is unprecedented in world history...."

This reminded me of a similar experience my wife and I had recently. We are friends with a full-blown, self-identified pagan, who, like us, is in her early 30s. She arrived at paganism after life as an essentially unchurched Protestant. She's also a twice-published author of fantasy short stories. She's a fine writer. We've given her materials showing the truth of Christianity, and so forth. She's receptive, but not convinced -- so far.

But a surprising development occurred after a while: She expressed an interest in going to Mass.

It came about because she is interested in Gregorian Chant. She is moved by the mystery and beauty of it. We told her that a local church offers a Chant Mass. She was immediately interested. It is held at 7:30 AM at the unsurpassed Assumption Grotto in Detroit. The time of day was no discouragement. She and my wife went together, and my wife reports that our friend was very favorably impressed.

It may or may not lead to further interest, but at least she has another positive facet of Catholicism to consider. The good news is that interest continues. In response to her recent request for a readable translation of the Bible, I recently lent her my Knox translation, hoping it would appeal to her love of English. After all, I'm not about to inflict the NAB on her.

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