Saturday, 16 June 2007

The 99 Beautiful Names

Hmmph! Not satisfied with the public display of napkins and the ridiculous championing of the book launch for Archer's Gospel of Judas, Westminster Cathedral have done it again. This time they plan to host a concert by Taverner. They do a lot of concerts, and while I personally think Cathedrals shouldn't be used for such secular pursuits, I suppose it is a way of raising some much-needed cash.

However, the work to be premiered is Taverner's The Beautiful Names (of Allah). The work is being performed at the request of HRH Prince (I-want-to-be-defender-of-faiths) Charles. It also includes the playing of Tibetan Temple gongs (or something of that ilk.) Fr Tim raised the issue a couple of weeks ago.

The Cathedral Administrator, Mgr. Langham, is quoted as saying that it's a secular concert, not an act of worship.

Oh really? I'm sorry, but a recitation of the 99 Names of God may not be considered to be an act of worship by Mgr. Langham, but I'd really like to know what Muslims think about this. Just writing about their Prophet in the wrong way gets them pretty steamed, as does printing cartoon pictures. Don't misunderstand me - I do not believe it's ok to insult someone's faith or their holy leaders. But what I am trying to say is that I think your average Muslim would consider this recitation of the Holy Names to be an act of worship.

Similarly, if you started to sing "Tower of Ivory, House of Gold, Morning Star, Health of the Sick" or similar, then, no matter what musical accompaniment or where you sang it, I would immediately associate this with Our Lady and the Litany of Loreto.

I don't care if people try to muddy the waters by stating that Christians and Muslims are both People of the Book and so worship the same God. We do not. Muslims specifically rejected the Bible, and their Book is the Qur'an. Muslims revere Jesus as the Prophet Isa, but not as the Son of God, not as the Second Person of the Trinity. They consider that to be blasphemy.

Now, either God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Christian view) or He is not (the Muslim view.) Either Jesus is the Son of God or He is not. You get the general idea: Christians worship Jesus Christ as the Second Person of the Trinity. God from God. Indivisible. So you can't separate Him off and say that, oh well, apart from that little point, we still worship the same God. That little point is the basis of our Faith: Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, died on the Cross to save and redeem us.

The fiasco over the "Gospel of Judas" was bad enough. That was just a book launch. This recitation of the Beautiful Names of Allah has crossed the line: Westminster Cathedral is a Roman Catholic place of worship - and it houses the remains of several Cardinals, a saint and the Real Presence of Our Blessed Lord himself. I doubt that you would be able to have a recitation of Handel's Messiah (however secular the performance) in a Mosque. Muslims have a more sensitive appreciation of what a place of worship should be used for.

Oh, and I believe that Tibetan Temple gongs are used to "summon" the deity. I dread to think what might be being summoned. It's certainly not the Holy Trinity, nor the Holy Angels, nor the Communion of Saints. I leave you to work it through to its logical conclusion.

I am delighted to read, on Catholic Action UK, that there are plans for a protest outside the Cathedral at the time of the performance. I think recitations of the Rosary, and of the Litanies of the Holy Name of Jesus and of Loreto are definitely called for. The concert starts at 7:30pm on Tuesday 19th June.

UPDATE: Fr. Tim is trying to see who else is going to be around for the protest. Watch this space for further details.


the owl of the remove said...

See why you needed to join the Society of St. James the Moor Slayer?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I asked a local Muslim cafe owner what he thought - fine if it is worship, real anger if something holy is used as an entertainment for which money was paid, he was also concerned about the instrumental accompaniment.

Cathy said...

So, can we go to the local mosque and be welcomed with open arms for a performance of Mozart's Missa Trinitatis?
Oh, riiiight.
Ecumenism only goes one way.

Anonymous said...

It sounds freaky to me!

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Seems to me that Fr Ray is right. I simply can't imagine any of the muslims I know being happy with pagan gongs used in the recitation of the Beautiful Names.
There's plenty for Christian's to find disturbing about the names themselves "The death bringer and destroyer"- strikes me as a name for Satan rather than God
There is so much wrong with this...where to begin!!

Anonymous said...

Tibetans are Buddhists, i.e. nihilists... though they do believe in local demigods (spirits), so the effect might be worse! :-/

Andrew said...

I guess perhaps you ought to drop by Msgr. Langham's blog and leave him a comment. Personally, I find all this 'we worship the same God' nonsense just that, nonsense.

In Malaysia, because of its pluralistic, multiracial and multireligious population, there are sections of the minorities who seem to want to be all friendly with the Muslim majority by spouting this kind of thing. The local Catholic paper gets letters from those promoting a dictatorship of relativism saying that those who uphold the uniqueness of Christianity are close minded bigots. So much for the Nicene Creed they recite every Sunday.

And to make matters worse, we have Muslim apologists like ex-nun Karen Armstrong coming over and saying just how nice and fair Islam is and how great their 'prophet' is.

Anyway, should you be interested, here's something I wrote recently arguing against the 'we all worship the same God' drivel. In response to the Muslim credo of 'there is no god but allah and mahomet is his messenger', I've titled my response "There is but One God and Jesus is His Son".

Mulier Fortis said...

Anne - you said that you left a comment. I didn't receive it (seriously), so try sending it again. I also do not recall rejecting any other comments from you.

However, please note that a blog is NOT, in itself, democratic. I write this one. It contains my opinions. If you don't want to read my opinions, by all means feel free to read many other really good blogs. Even better, be really democratic and start your own. And send me a link.

Fr Justin said...

Wasn't there a ban a couple of years ago on secular concerts taking place in church? I think it came from the Congregation of Rites.
And Mac; your reply to Anne is most tactful. I can imagine just the sort of comment she made; I get some like that.

Anonymous said...

The Taverner musical 'event' is indeed a significant episode in the history of our Church. I think it marks the beginning of the end, actually. 'Dhimmification' is not far behind. Shocking.

Some of the names of Allah are indeed shocking, blasphemous and evil and ought not to be heard in a sacred place of Christian worship.Taverner himself, lauded by the Literatti, the chattering classes and the lily-livered liberals. A truly good interview in the Herald which demonstrated the shallow intellectual thought and the relativist 'spirituality' of the man. One notes, although he claims to have close affinity with the Russian Orthodox, that he didn't approach the Cathedral in Phillimore Gardens to put on this musical event.

Let us get a small group of people together and approach the Regent Park Mosque with a proposal to stage Handel's The Messiah there. How do you think that will handle?

I am seething with anger about this blasphemy. Am I the only one to observe that since that dreadful Islamic 'picket' of the Cathedral in August, against the Holy Fathers alleged 'Islamophobia' in his brilliant Regensburg lecture, Cormac seems intent on not just appeasement but, actually, in outright embrace of Islam.

As it is clearly too late for His Eminence to aquire a backbone, pray God that the Holy Father replies immediately to Cormacs resignation letteron the occasion of his 75th birthday: yes, go dear boy, and here is your carriage clock and set of golf clubs for loyal service.

Mulier Fortis said...

Anne - please just send me the comment you originally wrote for this post!

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