Music supremo quits only months out from US papal Mass

A liturgical music specialist who was to have a key role in preparations for a US papal Mass has resigned over differences with his archbishop.

John Romeri resigned as head of liturgical music for Philadelphia archdiocese, effective on June 30.

It was a role Dr Romeri held for five years.

It is unclear what role he will have in preparations for an outdoor Mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis in Philadelphia in late September.

The Mass at the Ben Franklin Parkway is expected to draw more than 1 million people.

Concerning his resignation, Dr Romeri said “there are simply irreconcilable differences” with Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput over the role and style of music at Mass generally.

Dr Romeri indicated that he and the archbishop had clashed almost from the time the archbishop was appointed to Philadelphia in 2011.

The music specialist wrote that these “several years of discontent” on Archbishop Chaput’s part culminated with the music Dr Romeri arranged this April for Holy Week and Easter.

The approach, he said, “was not well received by the archbishop”.

A spokesman for Archbishop Chaput said he could not comment on personnel matters and “there are no additional updates”.

But he said that the archdiocese “will be prepared for the visit of the Holy Father on all fronts, including music for the Mass on the Parkway”.

Dr Romeri is said to have more of a “high church” sensibility in liturgy than Archbishop Chaput.

In 2010, Archbishop Chaput said he was grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for allowing a wider use of the extraordinary form of the Mass, “ . . . because we need access to all of the Church’s heritage of prayer and faith”.

But Archbishop Chaput stated that he personally found the Novus Ordo form, “properly celebrated, a much richer expression of worship”.

Dr Romeri will continue as music director for Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Sts Peter and Paul throughout the US summer.

The resignation has sparked online debate among Catholic liturgists.

Sources

News category: World.

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