Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pray for musicians in Purgatory!

Where are they? Where are the choir leaders, the great composers, the organists, soloists, and singers in the Church Triumphant? The Patron Saint index lists some saints associated with sacred music but when you take the amount of musicians working in the Church throughout history there should be more than this:

A couple of them aren't even really musicians, just patrons of them. This has led me to a few conclusions, all or none of them may be the case:

  1. There could be very few church musicians in heaven.
  2. In the past, monks and nuns were the musicians - and they've got plenty of canonized saints among their ranks.
  3. The great composers just did it for the money and art value and said to heck with actually practicing the faith. ...or...
  4. The Church has just flat out neglected to recognize the holiness of its musicians through canonization.
  5. There aren't many canonized lay people to begin with, why should musicians fair any different? (though this is changing)

Those are just a few ideas. But the contributions to general society by the Church in the area of music are undeniable. The most basic and largest one being the entire TONAL SYSTEM which developed throughout the middle ages in the Church and was adapted by the musicians for secular pieces.

I for one believe that a great number of these people throughout history are probably in purgatory right now and should be prayed out of there ASAP so they can get to work helping us improve the quality of Catholic music. Catholic music I should add - that they helped develop into the gift the Church gave to Western Society. In my humble opinion, the soupy Haugen-Haas era has only made their purgative experience all the worse for them. It has also served as a purgative experience for serious musicians trying to serve the Church faithfully in todays world.

I would also add that sometimes the music is not the best in parishes not because its Haugen-Haas but because there are no professional musicians available, no choirs, and no organists. Its lay people doing their best with what the know and have. So we shouldn't be so quick to judge them. They need the tools and support of knowing and charitable musicians to help them.

Who wouldn't like to see a feast day for "St. Palestrina"? I don't know all ofthe details of his life but its just a thought. Let's pray some of these people out of purgatory shall we? Perhaps even a Mass for them once a year would be even better.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia on Palestrina:

"Palestrina's significance lies not so much in his unprecedented gifts of mind and heart, his creative and constructive powers, as in the fact that he made them the medium for the expression in tones of the state of his own soul, which, trained and formed by St. Philip, was attuned to and felt with the Church. His creations will for all time stand forth as the musical embodiment of the spirit of the counter-reformation, the triumphant Church."

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