Pope Francis: modernity, vernacular stirred up many problems – music “mediocre, superficial and banal”

schola cantorum catsNothing will come of this, of course, but it is nice to hear it from Pope Francis.  Alas, Benedict XVI and John Paul II said similar things about music and liberals ignored them, too.

Via Vatican Radio [which is going to cease to be a true “radio” it seems]:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday received the participants in a major international conference on sacred music, a half-century after the promulgation of the Conciliar document, Musicam sacram on music in the sacred liturgy.

Over 400 people taking part in the gathering organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Culture around the theme: Music and the Church: cult and culture fifty years after Musicam sacram, met in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace to hear the Holy Father.

“Certainly,” said Pope Francis, “the encounter with modernity and the introduction of [vernacular] tongues into the Liturgy stirred up many problems: of musical languages, forms and genres.”  [Pope Francis said that?]

The Holy father went on to say, “Sometimes a certain mediocrity, superficiality and banality have prevailed, to the detriment of the beauty and intensity of liturgical celebrations.” [!]

The Pope encouraged the various actors in the field of liturgical music – from composers, conductors, musicians and choristers, to liturgical animators [? I don’t think they mean MCs, do you?] – to do their best to contribute to the renewal of sacred music and liturgical chant, especially as far as the quality of sacred music is concerned.

“To facilitate this process,” Pope Francis said, “we need to promote proper musical education, especially for those who are preparing to become priests – in dialogue with the musical trends of our time, with the demands of the different cultural areas, and with an ecumenical attitude.”

Well, I’ll be!

Let’s now watch the hypocrisy of the libs who hang on every word that Pope Francis utters about the environment as if it is a combination of the Gospels, the oracle of Delphi, and an apparition of Vishnu.  They generally insist on rigid obedience to his each and every oracular utterance.  In this matter, however, they will do nothing…. unless…

Hmmmm… for libs up is really down, black is white, adultery and cohabitation are normalized, women can be ordained and 2+2=5.

Hence, another possibility is that libs will insist that when the Pope says “mediocre, superficial and banal” he really doesn’t mean Joncas, Haas and Haugen.  In fact, that’s the music he wants. The “mediocre, superficial and banal”, they will say, is Gregorian chant, Palestrina and the pipe organ.   After all THEY HATE VATICAN II!

The moderation queue is ON.

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  1. Dan says:

    Pope Francis at times seems a contradiction. Perhaps between his personal desires and the divine guidance entrusted to him as Pope.

  2. APX says:

    When I read the part about “Liturgical animators” the first image that came to mind was the Call to Action giant puppets and liturgical dancers. I really hope that’s not what he’s referring to.

    As much as I dislike banal music at Mass, it was Ash Wednesday 6 years ago and that banal Tom Conry song “Ashes” that disgusted me so much that, despite not really being a fan of Gregorian Chant after hearing it the first time at my first Latin Mass it sounded like Palestrina in comparison to the banal non-sensible Ashes (which is really just New Age heresy), that I committed to driving the four hour round trip each Sunday for the Latin Mass. More proof that God can (and does) make good come from bad.

  3. The Egyptian says:

    The man is sooo confusing, I personally would love to push our blankety blank piano down the sanctuary steps, at high speed, and give the guitarist a heave ho over the choir loft rail, but i just sit and bear it. Fr thinks that it’s “hip”
    but now on this shows up on Drudge Report :
    ‘Pope Francis has urged us to have fewer children,’ claims Vatican academy member
    I am sooo tired
    I wish Francis could just be quiet

  4. Benedict Joseph says:

    Proper musical education is far less difficult to find than accurate and unambiguous catechesis. This isn’t an issue of “Which comes first? The chicken or the egg?”
    Catechesis comes first. Proper Christian aesthetics emerge from properly grounded devotion, or they don’t emerge at all.
    Voila! What we endure almost everywhere.
    Obviously the correction required is not on top of the “honey do” list.

  5. Athelstan says:

    A promising beginning seems to be shipwrecked in his final comment quoted in the article: “…in dialogue with the musical trends of our time, with the demands of the different cultural areas, and with an ecumenical attitude.”

    Which are unfortunately key reasons in how we got into the mess we are in now. “Musical trends of our time.” Inculturation. “An ecumenical attitude.”

    I can’t help but think that his real problem with sacred music as celebrated in the Church today is much the same as that of the present ordinary of Pittsburgh: The problem is not the substance of sacred music performed, but merely its execution.

    The only slim thread of hope remaining is the mention of “liturgical chant.” It would be helpful to know exactly what he said here. Unfortunately, I cannot as yet find any full transcript of his remarks 0nline.

  6. jbpolhamus says:

    One takes encouragement where one finds it, but to limit the comment to “sometimes” given the pervasive and ubiquitous banality which has stupidified our liturgy since the Singing Nun ever picked up a guitar and intoned the Missa “If I Had a Hammer,” (Si autem malleus…?) it doesn’t amount to anything more than the daily distraction of Bergoglian chatter. Just answer the dubia…just answer the dubia…just answer the dubia…

  7. Jack says:

    ” I personally would love to push our blankety blank piano down the sanctuary steps, at high speed, and give the guitarist a heave ho over the choir loft rail,…” The Egyptian

    WOW, You have a Choir Loft??!!
    You’re lucky. Ours was abandoned years ago. Now we have what I charitably call “The Entertainment Section”, in the sanctuary facing the congregation. With a piano of course.

  8. Angela says:

    My reaction was the same as Athelstan above – I definitely don’t like the sound of the last line!

  9. Bender says:

    Pope Francis said that?

    It is fairly obvious that, while he may have given voice to those words, he did not really say that. Aside from substance of the remarks, that is not at all Francis’ manner of speaking. They are almost certainly the words of someone else that were written for him for the occasion.

    [He said it, nonetheless.]

  10. tzard says:

    By “liturgical animator” I think he’s thinking of a cantor or someone in the choir who makes hand or arm gestures to the congregation about when they are to sing or respond.

    Perhaps even when to kneel and such during Mass (it might be more fitting than having the priest go extra-missal and say “please kneel”). This seems useful at times when a lot of non-Catholics may be present (like funerals or weddings).

  11. scholastica says:

    I was thrilled till I read the last sentence… That’s probably all they heard and will focus on implementing to the fullest.

  12. PTK_70 says:

    Did he say anything about “tapping into the rich treasury of sacred music from centuries past?” Did he say anything direct about not cutting ties with the Church’s musical heritage? About how the new is impoverished when completely cut off from the tried and true? Something explicit along these lines would be rather helpful here at 61 degrees North latitude…..

  13. hwriggles4 says:

    As an Altar Boy in the late 70s through the mid 80s, would you believe that the first time I heard Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above O Maria was the movie Sister Act?

    Overplayed songs of 1983:

    Abba Father
    He is Alive – Alleluia
    Gather Us In
    Morning Has Broken
    They will know we are Christians
    We Are Companions on the Journey

    Later, I found that my Protestant friends sang some of these on Sundays with their congregations. Morning Has Broken was often played on secular radio stations.

  14. organistjason says:

    St. Pope JP II and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI have said, what needs to be said, on this matter. As for what the present BOR has said…….I will kindly refer everyone to Sacrosanctum Concilium. Also to the works of Palastrina, Allegri, JC Bach, Tallis, Victoria……..”the aim and final end of all music should be none other than the Glory of God and the refreshment of the Soul.”-(J.S. Bach) Soli Des Gloria!

  15. frmh says:

    I think if you had chosen to put a different set of words in bold print you would have developed a very different presentation of his remarks- especially those last poisonous words ” in dialogue with the musical trends of our time, with the demands of the different cultural areas, and with an ecumenical attitude.”

    So we want music that is like the latest pop songs and as similar as possible to what the protestants are doing- hardly a rallying call for Palestrina.

  16. motherof6 says:

    Does that mean that we have permission to finally get rid of Marty Haugen’s terrible stuff?

  17. Gerhard says:

    Spatchcock the liturgical animators. Then play an unceasing loop of kum bah ya at them.

  18. Gerhard says:

    The key words here are:

    ” in dialogue with the musical trends of our time, with the demands of the different cultural areas, and with an ecumenical attitude”.

    and they are lethal as the basilisk.

  19. Gerhard says:

    BTW – VERY MANY THANKS for signing the Declaration concerning sacred music.

  20. elwinransom says:

    It would be helpful if ” in dialogue with the musical trends of our time, with the demands of the different cultural areas, and with an ecumenical attitude” we just got rid of the songs in which we sing endlessly about OURSELVES!!! “We will arise at the sound of our name.” What does that even mean?

  21. dallenl says:

    Just an observation as a high school choir member. Latin is attuned to Gregorian chant. English simply is not. The practice of singing Latin prayers in chant is most grating on the ear and pretty much obviates any devotional aspect of the hymn. When I lived in the Far East, many churches sung the Lord’s Prayer in the native tongue with music tuned to the native style. The presentation was much more natural.

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