Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Return To The Sacred

My commentary follows in bold.

From newkerala.com

Guitars and modern music, may soon be out the doors in Roman Catholic Churches, for it seems that Pope Benedict XVI doesn't quite approve of them, preferring the traditional Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music to it.

The Catholic Church has started using modern musical instruments such as electric guitars in a bid to make more people attend masses. And though these measures were proving to be successful, the Pope doesn't think that they are appropriate within the walls of the Church.

At a concert conducted by Domenico Bartolucci the director of music at the Sistine Chapel, Benedict XVI said that within the church walls the only suitable music was the traditional type.

"It is possible to modernise holy music. But it should not happen outside the traditional path of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music," the Telegraph quoted him, as saying.

I agree with Pope Benedict! I have nothing against contemporary Christian music, but it has no place in the liturgy. Gregorian chant and sacred music were invented specifically for the liturgy and it's about time they were put back in it!

Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, the Archbishop of Ravenna, agrees with the Pope and said that traditional music created a harmony between the concrete and the divine, something that modern music didn't do.

"Mass is the presence of Christ and the music adds so much more when the harmony allows the mind to transcend the concrete to the divine," he said.

Exactly! Most of the music I hear at mass is so wretchedly composed that it distracts me from worship.

However, Cardinal Carlo Furno, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, disagrees with this notion, and that that it was better to have music the congregation enjoyed rather than not having anyone in Church at all, adding that modern music is "a sign of the vitality of the faith".

"It's better to have guitars on the altar and rock and roll Masses than empty churches," he said.

It sounds like Cardinal Furno should not be a Cardinal, let alone a minister of God with statements such as these! He would rather profane the worship of God and have a full Church than worship God with all the reverence and awe He deserves. I've got news for the Cardinal: MORE PEOPLE WILL COME WHEN YOU GIVE GOD THE REVERENCE DUE TO HIM!!!

The people who want guitars on the altar (Did he really say "on the altar"? What a horrible thought. Sacrilege anyone?) and rock and roll Masses (I'm getting queasy thinking about it) are more interested in hearing music that makes them jump around and dance and feel good rather than holy worship of God. That is unacceptable. That's not what worship is about. It is about offering your whole self to God and worshipping Him totally with reverent awe.

The debate on modern and traditional music is part of a larger one concerning the Mass in Latin which was restricted in the Vatican II reforms of the 1960s, when it was found that not understanding Latin was discouraging people from going to Church.

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