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Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J., knocks it outta da park on Sacred Music.
Disintegration: What the ‘Folk’ Style Hath Wrought
Benedict XVI makes a startling observation in suggesting that the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy has produced an attitude of opposition within the Church–a partisan and opposing church tearing herself apart (A New Song for the Lord, 142). The Matthean verse, “where two or three are gathered together in my name (Mt 18:20) is used to oppose the institution and every official program of the Church. This verse becomes the place of origin for the liturgy. The group arises on the spot from the creativity of those gathered (Ibid, 145). The institution and the clerical Orders represent a negative image of bondage, opposed to genuine freedom. This new attitude is expressed through the new music by the people of God, and it is the music which gives identity to the group.
The new music is the characteristic of the group’s identity, the emergence of another church. For this group, the content of Pope St. Pius X’s motu proprio on church music is called a “culturally shortsighted and theologically worthless ideology of sacred music” (Ibid., 144). Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony symbolize the power of the institution and the clergy–the other church, which curtails the group’s freedom. The pontiff writes that the “treasury of musica sacra, the universality of Gregorian chant handed down through the ages, now appears as an outmoded and quaint practice of the pre-conciliar Church for the purpose of preserving a certain form of power” (Ibid).
Disintegration is not a pretty word, but Benedict XVI uses it to capture the liturgical crisis in the Church today. A thing deteriorates when its natural form is so disfigured that the purpose for which it was intended is no longer recognizable. It is not simply irreverent music. At issue is that the faithful have become the Church, and they are celebrating themselves through the folly of faddism.