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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CBCP Says: "No Changing of the Tune of Pabasa"

The sound of voices in monotonous chanting known as the "Pabasa" now waft the air in many barangays in Metro Manila and the provinces as part of the rituals and traditions of Holy Week or "Mahal Na Araw".  Anticipating that some young people may enliven the tune with the melody of popular songs and the beat of rap as was observed last year the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a statement discouraging the new melody of the traditional chant. The Pabasa which started Holy Monday is the ritual reading of the Pasyon an epic poem in stanzas of 5 lines of 8 syllables each interwoven with a dramatic theme recounting the Passion, Death and The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Devotees continue the ritual out of panata or a vow. To keep within tradition the CBCP frowns on the use of the melody of modern songs in the delivery of the traditional Pabasa such as Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus or Roar by Kattie Perry even if that could attract more young people to the ritual. Fr. Garganta Exec. Sec. of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth said "The Pabasa is a form of prayer and as a form of prayer it's an opportunity for us to really reflect and not to entertain ourselves. It's a form of prayer that's why you have the crucifix and the image of Mama Mary there to serve as a reminder to the faithful to whom they are chanting for. Pabasa isn't ordinary singing rather chanting. The tone shouldn't be very secular because it's religious chanting. They should imitate how the elders do the Pabasa from it's tone, timing as this is more meditative." The Pabasa is said to be a Christian adaptation of Pre-Hispanic Pilipino custom of chanting epic poems.    
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