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Arena Masses

June 22, 1986

I could not agree with John Voland more when he characterizes as "incredibly insensitive" the bringing of "any mass into a sports arena" ("Pavarotti Sings Verdi's Mass--in 76er's Arena," June 11).

But tell me: Who was that rotund tenor who, circa 1940, sang Cesar Franck's "Panis Angelicus" in our Memorial Coliseum at a special mass sponsored by John J. Cantwell, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles? Why, it was John McCormack.

And who was that Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church who, in 1965, celebrated mass in Yankee Stadium? Why, it was Pope Paul VI. And who is that Pope of Rome who, almost every year since 1978, has celebrated mass in any available sports stadium anywhere in the world? Why, it is Pope John Paul II.

Pity that, along with Il Tenore Pavarotti, there are or have been so many incredibly insensitive persons ready, at the drop of a purple or white skull cap, to bring the mass into a sports arena. It is reassuring to me that we have the Volands of the world to protect the mass from the insensitivity of such as these.

WALTER J. KELLY

Glendale

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