"A communion service set to the music of Les Miserables will be held at York Minster at 7.30pm on Sunday 19th January. Led by Transcendence, a team which holds a regular Multimedia Eucharist at York Minster, this service will feature prayers and hymns set to the tunes from the famous musical."
"The Revd Sue Wallace, who will be preaching at the service, helped found Transcendence with the Revd Jeremy Fletcher and a group from the Visions multimedia arts collective" (From the Diocese of York)I fear that the large numbers attending this entertaining service will merely be engaged and not necessarily led to repentance and thanks for God's sacrifice, and they will not be back in equally large numbers the next week.
When I first encountered Les Misérables, it was as an assigned reading in French class back in High School. Later, I watched the 1935 film starring Fredric March, Charles Laughton, and Cedric Hardwicke (which I highly recommend).
When the musical came out, I was not planning on watching it as I thought it was a stupid idea. Unfortunately, family pressures forced me to endure the movie once it was out on DVD. At the time, I wondered what Victor Hugo would think about the musical, but now I have to wonder what Hugo would think about the Misérables Eucharist.
Hugo was a "Rationalist" (human reason, or understanding, is the sole source and final test of all truth), and many of his works were banned by the Catholic Church as noted at the Patheos blog,
"...he became a non-practicing Catholic, and increasingly expressed anti-Catholic and anti-clerical views. He frequented Spiritism during his exile (where he participated also in many séances conducted by Madame Delphine de Girardin), and in later years settled into a Rationalist Deism similar to that espoused by Voltaire. A census-taker asked Hugo in 1872 if he was a Catholic, and he replied, 'No. A Freethinker'...
...the frequency with which Hugo’s work appeared on the Church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Hugo counted 740 attacks on Les Misérables in the Catholic press). On the deaths of his sons Charles and François-Victor, he insisted that they be buried without a crucifix or priest, and in his will made the same stipulation about his own death and funeral. The End of Satan and God (1886 and 1891 respectively, in which he represents Christianity as a griffin and Rationalism as an angel). 'Religions pass away, but God remains'”
Since he was a rationalist, I suspect Victor Hugo might fit in well with the modern Church of England and with many in the Episcopal church, so I am forced to conclude that Hugo is both smiling and turning over in his grave over this most recent attempt by the Church to become more relevant.
This conclusion was made through the use of rationalist thought and has therefore passed the final
test of truth.
If you are interested in an eye-witness account of the Les Mis Mass, go to LizClutterbuck.