Saturday, December 8, 2012

Unplug the microphones?

Kevin White provides here in FIRST THINGS a systematic critique of the regrettable liturgical effect of microphones. As he begins the article:

Catholic clergy and laity seem to accept the use of microphones at Mass without question as something good, or at least as an inevitable feature of the electronic environment in which we all now live and move, as fish swim in water. It is, however, a very recent and very strange development, and one might think it would occasion more discussion than it has.

The article has some remarkable insights, and they all strike me as correct. But there needs to be a part 2 regarding the alternative scenario of no microphones. A number of issues present themselves. Carpet is out. Readers would need to develop less "personality" and more vocal force. Choirs would need to be above congregations and not facing them. The people would have to work a bit to listen and understand.

It all seems right to me. But the adaptation to the new reality would take some thinking through.

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