Chant and polyphony

The other night there was a concert for the Pope.  At that concert he made some remarks.  Among the useful things he said was this:

"A true ‘aggiornamento’ of sacred music cannot be achieved except by following the great traditions of the past, of Gregorian chants and sacred polyphony. For this reason, in the musical field as in that of other forms of art, the ecclesial community has always promoted and sustained those who seek new forms of expression without rejecting the past, the history of the human spirit, which is also the history of its dialogue with God."

The Holy Father has read the Council documents. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Cathy_of_Alex says:

    Indeed he has.

    If only more (any?) music directors at the parish level had.
    I call for an end to any piece of liturgical music where “I” take the place
    of God or Jesus. This weekend I got to reassure everyone to “Be Not Afraid”
    because I (Cathy) will be with you always if you follow me. Then, I
    will give you rest.

    I did not know I had that kind of power. Wow!

  2. CaesarMagnus says:

    Will Latin and Gregorian Chant ever be given “pride of place” if it is not mandated?
    I’m very serious about this question.

  3. Jack says:

    I agree–all music directors should be required to read the council documents as should all liturgy committee members and seminarians. Perhap a therapeutic dose of Msgr. Richard Schuler’s writings should be on their reading list
    Though nothing dramatic has been issued by the Holy Father about sacred music, Fr. Robert Skeris has pointed out subtle hints about the future such as the recent singing of Mozart’s Coronation Mass at the at the celebration honoring the Swiss Guards . as well as the holy Father’s statement at the concert quoted by Father Z.

  4. CaesarM: It seems to me that they have been mandated already. Therefore the question is, more fundamentally, when will ecclesiatical authority act to restore order in this matter? If I recall correctly Bp. Slattery in Tulsa has taken some steps in this direction.

    I am not suggesting sudden imposition of a specific repertory of sacred music for Mass, of course. However, we do need to see some sort of shift of direction, however that it is to be accomplished. My impression is that things are improving with the steady rise of new priests and lay people who aren’t carrying bagage from the ’60s and ’70s.

  5. Each year the CDWDS sponsors a conference on Sacred Music. Last year the conference was a bit different than it had been in the past. There was open positive support of Gregorian chant. Some of the old guard were present and were very uncomfortable with all of this talk of “old stuff” and protested that it didn’t foster “active participation”. That clearly reflects an attitude that emphasises exterior action rather than interior receptivity as the starting point of active participation. In any event, those who pushed chant positively into the limelight were given applause and the aging hippies were seen as passé.

    Things are changing. Slowly. Our task is to be patient and not cause the project to be derailed by any impatience which might provoke a knee jerk reaction on the part of those aging hippies who are still very much in charge in many places.

  6. Noah Nehm says:

    In other words, aggiornamento and ressourcement must go hand in hand in order to be faithful to both. For without ressourcement, aggiornamento loses its bearings, and with out aggiornamento, ressourcement fails to effectively fulfill any promise of renewal.

  7. Noah: Well, yes! I know what you are saying and I agree. The terms “aggiornamento” and “ressourcement” are quasi-techncal terms which concern different fields but they are used very often in exactly this sort of discussion. What you are saying is very good and I agree. Without the past, we in the present have no good way to set a course for the future.

  8. Giuseppe says:

    Fr. Z,

    You say: “Our task is to be patient and not cause the project to be derailed by any impatience which might provoke a knee jerk reaction on the part of those aging hippies who are still very much in charge in many places.”

    I agree with you. However, what would you say about the prject going on in Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO with Bishop Finn?


  9. Guiseppe: As far as I can tell, the man in charge in Kansas City is not an aging hippie, so there is nothing to worry about!

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