Swiss Bishop with Guitar Inspires at WYD

Swiss media report that their bishop for youth, auxiliary Marian Eleganti of Chur, inspired the crowds gathering for World Youth Day after Mass today in Fortaleza, Brazil with his guitar playing. He “rocked almost like Bob Dylan,” it is said, and there were storms of enthusiasm in the crowds.


Weihbischof Eleganti mit seiner Gitarre in Fortaleza 2013 (Bild:
An earlier YouTube of the bishop in action is here.



  1. Even better to hear about bishops who play guitar ;-p – and who are not afraid to pray in public with it!!!

    1. @Adam Wood – comment #3:

      Hey, watch it! I’m in my early 30’s, and I have a huge 60’s and early 70’s folk LP collection. I’ll readily admit though that the Byrds did Dylan better than Dylan (no flame war) 😉

      I say, let the Jugendbischof rock on. His performances back in Switzerland have a following, it seems. And it appears that his concerts are post-Mass, so I don’t see why anyone would object.

  2. It’s hardly a surprise that a Benedictine bishop would have an appreciation of the place of music in the liturgy and in prayer. 🙂

  3. It was interesting looking at the young people in the congregation in the video link. They seemed completely disinterested to the antics of this bishop with a handful trying terribly hard and most charitably to clap to the tune but others wondering when the whole thing would be over. They looked like hostages, poor souls.

  4. Really, Allan, more spin. Guess this guitar playing bishop is the oppostie of your Nashville Thomistic Institute in which you proclaim:

    “We can contrast this with groups in the Church, usually older, nostalgic for the hippy-dippy 1960’s and 1970’s and desiring the Church to go backwards to a time of the 1973 missal, ad libbed Masses and overall me, me, me generation.

    There are still people debating the new translation and wanting to reverse what we have gained thus far. They want to go back to the “We” of the Creed, the “and also with you” of the greetings and an equivalent translation of the English from the Latin that leads to a dumbed down version of our liturgical piety and spirituality.

    Thank God the conference I attended wasn’t into these ideologies. Rather, they embraced with enthusiasm the new liturgy chanted properly and with the entire liturgy celebrated, including the Propers.”

    Yep, guess this bishop and all of the singing priests of Brazil are just *dumbed down* versions of 60’s wildness.

    And, of course, by watching a video, you become an expert and able to give us the *real story* – hostages, poor souls, barely able to follow along and clap, etc.

    Wait until this week and Francis in Brazil – can’t wait to see your next defensive stretch of the imagination.

  5. I imagine no such cohort for this total embarrassment devoid of any real skills from and for any demographic. What is the fascination Alpine peoples have with third class, faux and caricature American C and W anyway? Chasuble says Mass possible. Lack of emotive engagement on the faces of acolytes, deacons and possible concelebrants, along with the listless, I-don’t-care if I’m clapping on 2/4 or 1/3 of the congregants, proffered by a Swiss Bishop? Vergessen Sie est, Er ist einer grosser idiot dann Ich ersten hat geglaubt!
    Carey Landry has written better songs for Kindergarten, likely by accident rather than intent. AWR should’ve put an appropriate category as being filed under “humor,” “liturgical tragedy and travesty,” or Dorian Gray syndrome for fanciful clerics.
    With friends such as this bishop, VaticanTwoNistas don’t really need enemies, do they? Welcome, you who’ve sat on your hands when you should have been honing your personal skills thinking “Lord, six chords are enough for me.” No mas, no mas por favor.
    Jackson, this cultic bishop, in this particular activity, bears no resemblance or relevance to either his target audience, to the true concept of noble simplicity, or to his duties demanded of him as a succesor to the apostles.

  6. They probably found it more “relevant” than if he was wearing 20 lbs of vestments, turned his back to them and muttered away in a dead language. Talk about wanting to “go back!”

    1. @Norman Borelli – comment #13:

      The Jugendbischof and the Brazilian megachurch-style pastor are just two examples of what I like about Pope Francis’s Church. As a traditionalist, I was overjoyed when Pope Benedict was in office. He acted like what I thought a pope should act like — regal, traditional in liturgy and in office, erudite, intellectual. However, all was not good: for example, Pope Benedict looked not amused when various church choirs sang for him in Washington, D.C. I understand that the Mass selected for him wasn’t baroquetastic, but it was a representation of the District. The Catholics of the District appeared to give their hearts to the pontiff — but he wasn’t ready to reach out.

      Pope Francis isn’t sporting the ermine. Maybe that’s better. Pope Francis probably isn’t going to say the EF, but I also don’t think he’ll go unplugged or try his hand at megachurch pastor. I suspect that he recognizes the spectrum of interests in the church, but celebrates the sacraments in a very middle-of-the-road manner to emphasize unity. From my view, Pope Francis has never denigrated any liturgical style. He’s looking for a broader coalition where the faithful of different convictions can rally behind his common cause of living Christianity simply, in joy and in charity. So far, the recipe’s working.

  7. And all that about Francis’ liturgical “stylings” relates to this bishop’s appropriation of the Mass to sing a cheezy country melody (in LATIN???) and strum his geetar (I am a guitarist, full disclosure)….how?

  8. Pope Francis is automatically what a pope should be because he doesn’t wear some of the vesture that Pope Emeritus Benedict wore. But wait!!! It seems that the adored John Paul II and the beloved John XXIII are both often pictured in some of that vesture. Clearly, there is some manner of unwarranted judgment and bias at work here. This carrying on about what the popes do or don’t wear is rather vain and shallow: it doesn’t at all address their character or their contribution to the faith. It is even more immature and venal when one particular pope is pilloried for wearing what other more liked popes have worn.

    1. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #16:

      MJO, don’t get me wrong. I loved it when Benedict XVI reintroduced some of the historical papal vestments. I appreciated the connection with papal history which Pope Benedict wished to cultivate. Officially, I was (and still am) opposed to the reintroduction of the tiara because of the damage this would do to postconciliar ecclesiology. Okay, secretly I wanted Pope Benedict to wear the tiara. I think most traditionalists wanted that at least secretly (and many quite explicitly!). While I agree with Pope Benedict’s decision to present a more “regal” or “monarchical” papacy, this one aspect was divisive in some circles. Like the brief and final attempt at the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in early 19th century France, I suspect that Pope Benedict’s reign was the final echo of the temporal papal monarchy. As you well note, Pope Benedict’s sartorial leanings should not overshadow his intellectual achievements. Yet, for better or worse, these leanings will likely figure prominently in the history of his papacy.

      Dress does not make the pope. Dress and vestments do, however, betray at least a small degree of knowledge about a pope’s understanding of his role within the Church. I get the sense that Pope Francis is trying to strike a middle and inclusive ground by placing aside the mozzetta. His daily Mass vestments look very much like average parish vestments. Does this tell us everything about Pope Francis as a person? No, but dress and vestment tell us something about his mission — a mission, I believe, which aims to heal sore wounds in the Body.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #17:
        Excellent points and insight. I must say, though, that conservative liturgically as I am, the last thing I would ever want to see would be that gaudy, unspeakably worldly and theatrical triple tiara brought out of wherever it has been put. It shreeks a message of which, I fervently believe, our Lord would be ashamed and would repudiate utterly. Nor do I think of Benedict’s outward expressions as particularly regal or monarchical, merely the habit of a Christian, Catholic pope. There is entirely too much reference to monarchy and renaissance princeliness as a method of heaping disapproval upon someone whom many just simply don’t like. In such an environment most any attribute, otherwise of indifference, becomes a cause for ridicule.

        It is a massive injustice that, rather than for his oecumenism, his intellectual gifts, his love of music, his concern for the poor, his message of love, his many missionary journeys, many can only think of him as the pope who wore a fanon and offended the muslims by quoting a Byzantine emperor who had every reason to say the things he did about Islam. The more his detractors carry on, the more childish they appear. (And, no, I don’t hate muslims.)

  9. Well, it looks like Francis on his trip to Rio has just made it rather difficult for anyone to engage in intergenerational warfare.

    Perhaps that should have been obvious in the first place, but Francis has a much different idea about the place and relationships of youth and elderly.

    John Allen has the implications of the story.

    And all this in a few minutes of a “non-interview.”

  10. Re: the Youtube clip: why is it that white people don’t know how to clap along?

    The vestment question is interesting. I can’t think of an instance in which a member of the clergy, in a liturgical role, plays a musical instrument as part of that role. Perhaps this is some creative homilizing?

    Back to clapping: I don’t believe clapping is a culturally-rooted, organic expression for Catholics of white, European heritage in the US. It may be an instance of something that is “borrowed” from other cultures, and I wouldn’t claim that a borrowed cultural expression is inauthentic, but the instances in which white American Catholics spontaneously begin clapping along at mass as a body, uncued / unbidden by someone in a leadership role, is almost unheard of in my experience. Whether the same can be said for white Catholics in Switzerland, I couldn’t say.

  11. Danke sehr, Adam.
    And Paul, frankly weighing in with a diversionary quip about an abbot who’s a “mean bassist” (does that infer he’s angry when he plays or in general, or he’s talented?) stands in stark contrast to your usually profuse and intensive analysis of topics here.
    Cat got your tongue?
    What would happen if you, in the middle of a homily, started an improvisation on “Oob la di, oob la da” for five minutes? Might get sacked? Maybe on the spot?
    But celebrants, be it this bishop or the local chap who puts on an Elvis Wig and huge sunglasses before the Entrance (yeah, it’s happened) can leave the sacristy after Mass unscathed.
    Between this thread and the one about Fr. Rossi, I’m wondering if, in fact, there is a double standard here at PTB regarding what is apropos for questioning the “new church” affect.

  12. Hi Gerard, how are things in Glocamorra?
    Knowing that a cappa magna wouldn’t be found within a 100 kilometers of your first Mass, does it thus follow that you’d employ the good bishop, his gitfiddle and Country/Western-inspired tunes as music ministry for said Mass?
    Sure, we have a straw man here, but Norman’s analogy is premised upon a comparison of apples to potatos. Scaramouche!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.