Thursday, July 05, 2012


Apparently, the Vatican's Sistine Choir has a reputation for singing less beautifully than one might hope.  In a 2010 blog post, "Pastor in Valle" tells the following story, with its Conradian preamble:

Some twenty years ago, I heard a story in Rome, from an official then high up in the Secretariat of State, which is presumably true. 
General Noriega, the dictator of Panama, having recently fallen from power, famously holed up in the Apostolic Nunciature, claiming sanctuary, or something of the sort. The Nunciature was promptly surrounded by hordes of gum-chewing GIs with guns trained on every window. Their war of attrition was prosecuted by loud American rock music (BAWN in the USA and the like) being directed at the Nunciature round the clock from powerful loudhailer systems.
In insomniacal desperation, the Nuncio contacted the Vatican Secretariat of State, and some high-up there telephoned the US embassy to the Vatican, threatening to send the Sistine Choir to sing under his windows unless the rock music was silenced.
There was tranquillity in Panama within the hour.

A few days ago, Fr. Ray Blake repeated the story, less whimsically, and updated it with some video to suggest that the choir has since improved.  Somewhat.  Click if you'd like to investigate, but we cannot recommend the Tallis.

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