Westminster Cathedral (1)

I was asked to read the final lesson in one of Westminster Cathedral’s annual carol services, a slightly terrifying experience for a non-Catholic to read the opening of St. John’s gospel in a modern translation (the New Jerusalem Bible) when the St. James’s version is so well known. But everything else was wonderful: the full panoply of the modern Catholic church, with two Bach cantatas (140, translated by Richard Stokes, and 110), a long Excelsis by Haydn sung by a treble solo, and a beautiful Poulenc Christmas Responsory, all performed with full choir and orchestra in J.F. Bentley’s chancel.

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4 thoughts on “Westminster Cathedral (1)

  1. Thomas Ponsonby says:

    Glad to read your comments about King James versus New Engish (slight typo, tho’ which you will doubtless correct). As a committed 1662/King James man I am really sad that they are so little used now and the wonderful RC services with excellent music and sermons (Brompton Oratory, Westminster Cathedral, Holy Redeemer, Chelsea) use modern translations which, of course, is normal as they rarely use Latin. But those translations disincline me from church attendance.

  2. joan says:

    This does, though, show how ecumenism has come a long way. I can’t imagine that in my youth (I am 55) a non Catholic would have been even invited to read at a Catholic service. I grew up with dire warnings about what would happen to me if I went in to a Protestant church – St Dunstan’s was firmly out of bounds! I thought of this only last week when at a carol concert at St Mary of Eton Church in Hackney Wick (in an attempt to rekindle the relationship with Eton College the concert was performed by choristers from there). I remember, when doing my PhD, reading pamphlets (from the middle of the last century, I think) aimed at visiting Europeans warning them not to be taken in by Anglo Catholic Churches which might – with their statues of the Virgin – be mistaken for proper Roman Catholic ones!

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